Saturday, August 29, 2015

Making a Target of Yourself

The recent involvement of three Americans and one Brit in subduing an armed terrorist on a French train has prompted certain warnings on the Internet about the availability of Internet information.  Armed with a name, job and perhaps a photo, terrorist could, it is suggested, seek you and your family out for retribution.  The advice is aimed at both military and police, but it doesn’t take much to extrapolate to include EMTs, Civil Service, city employees, Fire Department and teachers.  Just to start the list.  The people who are the gears that make the machinery of society work are also targets.

The advice, of course is to not have an internet profile.  In today’s world this is a difficult goal to achieve.  I worked with one man who confided he had a facebook page only to see pictures that a frat brother post’s of his children.  For many of us working stiffs Linked-In and Monster are employment safety nets.  Even without them the information you are forced to release to websites you subscribe to or purchase from is often sold and ends up as part of a searchable data base you can access for pennies.

Still, what harm?

I Googled a co-worker using only their name and place of employment.  I ignored any website that required I pay for information.  Knowing where they worked told me what state and city.  I had to work through similar names with various middle initials but I soon found a rhythm to it.   I found pointers to street addresses, partial phone numbers, identity of spouse, ages and a picture of themselves that they posted.

Ack!  It was creepy and made me feel dirty, all in 7 minutes.  But to a terrorist it could be a gold mine.

I don’t know what to say.  I’m certainly not an identity security expert.  I went online and found a lot about identity theft related problems and responses, but nothing about preventing someone from finding you, your spouse or your address.

I suggest you never post a picture of yourself on line or allow your children to do the same.  I would suggest using the same ploy Paxton Quigley recommends in “Armed and Female.”  Get a mail box from Fed-Ex or another company that looks like an address.  Employers want to know where you live?  Credit card companies?  On-line orders?  Give ‘em that address.

Keep your personal life off the internet, especially if your job makes you a target.  You still might need to have a Internet presence, but think very hard about what you say and release.  I’m never going to use the same middle initial and thank God I never used my wife’s name or the name(s) of my children, assuming I have any.

So what am I doing blogging?

Even before this I gave some thought and decided I was a low risk if I was careful.  No names, no good pictures, mislead when possible about my personal specifics.  Plus, nobody is really interested in a dog catcher working for…

Thought you had me there for a minute, didn’t you.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sniper Match

Greenport Tactical Association will host its yearly Sniper/Spotter Match September 27 2015.  They have room for 24 two person teams.  While it’s not a true sniper match, no 200 yard craw to make a shot or grassy knoll stuff you will shoot at distances from 50 to 200 yards.  The spotter member will shoot shorter distances, but you never can tell what kind of hi-jinks have been thought of.

I’m not participating this year, but I have to admit it sounds like a great time.  I understand there will be some kind of hanging, spring loaded platform to give you the sensation of shooting from a helicopter.  If you want to find out more check the GTA website

Where is GTA?  It’s an outdoor range not far from Canton, Ohio.  Most of you know how hard it is to find places to shoot outdoor.  If you’re within two hour drive you think about putting together a team and sizing yourselves up against others.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Basics 3: Awareness

One of the most basic skills the tactical operator and guy walking down the street needs is awareness.

The first “O” in Boyd’s OODA loop is Observe.  There is a reason nature prefers eyes on the higher parts of the body and not around the ankles.  To survive in any era, the ability to observe danger is critical.

There are many articles on becoming aware of your surroundings and strategies to improve and become a Yoda-like master of awareness.  The easiest one to start with is: put down that phone!

 walking un-aware, head in the electronic clouds
Heads in the electronic clouds

Do you think either of these men are aware of their surroundings?  Either of them could step into a depression in the sidewalk and do a face plant, leaving themselves helpless.  Going Bluetooth doesn’t help either.  You’ve seen the people carrying on a conversation with their invisible Bluetooth friend and be completely out of it.

Driving is even be worse.  During a half second glance at 60mph you’ll travel 14.5 yards.  Is it any better at slow speeds?

In a parking lot, creeping along at 5mph you’ll travel 1.7 yards in a half second glance.   Just far enough to run someone over or crash your car.

Sure, you need to take the message.  It’s from your spouse or kids.  Some messages are important, a doctor’s appointment that opened up, an accident that you need to respond to, a sick child at school.  I could go on and on.

If you’re driving, pull off the road in a safe location, put the flashers on if needed, make sure the doors are locked and check that message.  I keep the engine running and the car in gear with my foot on the brake.  If my environment changes I can start moving by taking my foot off the brake. 

On foot, the same ensconced outlook prevails.   I want to get out of the flow of foot traffic, and I want to get my back to a wall or a solid object.  This limits the access someone trying to approach me has.  Consider stepping into a building and moving to an eddy area of no activity near the doors.

If you’re with someone, ask them to keep and eye out.  They don’t have stand there with a sword in hand like a temple guard, just stand next to you and watch the people move about.  Take a second to look around youself.  Really, no, really look at everyone.  Is anyone still there when you look up next?  Do they have a reason to be there?  Are they a food vendor?  A cop directing traffic?  Someone already there when you arrived?  Every time you finish an operation, (opening the phone, composing the message, closing the phone, storing the phone) look up and around.  Is anyone without a good reason still there?

Just because this is a basic skill, this doesn’t mean it’s simple.

There’s a joke about Holmes and Watson on a camping trip. 

The two drift off to sleep in their tent and Holmes wakes Watson up in the middle of the night.
Holmes:  Watson, do you notice anything?
Watson notices the night sky, the crescent moon in conjunction with Venus.  The Milky Way is especially visible in all its glory and majesty.  He makes smart observations about the mystery of the cosmos and how man’s intellectual pursuits have enabled him to unravel unimaginable mysteries.     

Holmes waits, taking in his friend’s deep thoughts about the relationship of man and cosmic mystery.  Watson pauses and Holmes says to him:
“Watson!  You dunderhead, someone has stolen our tent!

See and obverse.