Perspectives: Wishful Thinking & Playing Dead is Not a Plan (Part 2)

November 17, 2015  
Categories: Op-Eds

Yesterday we started a series that proved as popular as we’d hoped; it seemed to generate a lot of discussion. The question was, What can the average American do to be as pragmatically, practically and realistically prepared for an event like Paris, Boston, Madrid, etc.? Our hope is that this discussion will 1) reach people who might otherwise not have considered such a question the way “we” do and 2) to bring up some points the choir might not otherwise have considered (in case you missed it, that’s a “preaching to the choir” reference). Here’s Part Two, with more from our editor and more importantly from Kyle Lamb and Greg Ellifritz. Hope you enjoy it, and we sincerely hope you never have to practice any of it.  Mad Duo

Continued from Part One. Part Three is here. Part Four is here.


Perspectives: Wishful Thinking & Playing Dead is not a Plan (Part 2)

David Reeder

So, we’re discussing what the individual or specific family unit can do to prepare for an event like what happened in Paris last Friday. Can someone truly be ready? Not entirely, no. But we can take steps to mitigate disaster.

Note that this is not focused on the macro level. We’re not talking about politics here, nor are we trying to inflame passions with demagoguery. If you want to discuss what we can do about poverty, extremism, open borders, etc., that’s fine, but it’s for another day.

Let’s be candid for a moment. Bring it in close, and take a knee, I’m going to lay some knowledge on you: posting memes and making grandiose statements about how it’s “time to start killing motherfuckers” is neat, and gosh it makes you look hard on social media. But it’s not going to keep your family alive when pressure cooker IEDs start going off at the county fair. Know what else? Making a ‘Terrorist Hunting Permit’ your profile picture isn’t going to stop ISIS or anyone else. Fact is, unless you’re actually going to grab a long gun and go shoot some of these guys in the face, it’s just an exercise in self-congratulatory futility that makes you look foolish.


Do we really need to explain how useless this is, both as a gesture and as a nod to practical family contingency planning? Fact is, unless you’re part of a tiny fraction of the population, it’s moronic.

Know what’s not foolish? Know what will help you or your family? Making sure your son or nephew is as familiar with a tourniquet as he is with an X-Box controller. Take the time to teach your daughter or niece some basic soft skills so she’s as conversant with the concept of cover and concealment as she is with taking selfies. Strive to develop situational awareness in both of them. The best fight is the one you avoid because you were paying attention; sometimes the best way to contribute to the resolution of an event is to be a good witness later.

Most of all, get them to understand that it absolutely can happen to them, and when it does all immediate action is on them. Whether it’s stopping the threat or stopping the bleeding, no one is coming to save them — not soon enough, anyway.

None of the innocent people in Beslan, the Dubrovka Theater, waiting in line at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, running the Boston Marathon, sitting in class at Garissa University College or banging their heads in the Bataclan were expecting to get shot at or blown up. It’s well past time to be pragmatic about terrorist violence. It isn’t visiting soon, it’s here now. In an age of transnationalism, even secure borders and heightened security postures will not be enough to keep it from revisiting.

Prudence also tells us anything we do to prepare for a Paris-type event also prepares us for a carjacking, an active shooter at the mall and a ten-car pileup on the interstate. So what’s the downside? There isn’t one.


It sounds counter intuitive, but do you set a rally point for your family when going to a large event? What happens if the kids get separated? What if the IEDs at the Boston Marathon had been followed up with 2 motivated shooters — do your kids understand cover vs. concealment, or when they should just run like hell?


Kyle Lamb

Kyle Lamb 1Here is my two cents. Pragmatically is Practical and Realistic, so when I think pragmatically I want to skip the fluff and get straight to the meat of the issue. First and foremost, carry a gun. Many of us pride ourselves on being the firstest with the mostest, when in reality many of the braggarts don’t even carry the pistol they supposedly have such mad skills with. If you are going to carry, carry. But what if there are businesses and areas that don’t allow you to carry? Avoid these businesses and areas. A great example for me are restaurants and gas stations, there are plenty that want your business that will let you carry so lets support those that support us.

Secondly, avoid sexy targets. Large groups of people are the perfect soft target for the Islamic Extremists that aren’t man enough to fight a real army so if you want to avoid the possibility avoid the crowd.

Kyle Lamb 2Lastly I must say this, don’t be afraid, live your life and do what needs to be done. If you scamper from light post to light post scared of your own shadow this really isn’t much of a life. Be prepared but don’t be scared.

SGM Kyle Lamb (US Army, Ret.) spent over 21 years in the Army, 15 of them with U.S. Army Special Operations. The vast majority of the latter were spent in a storied  JSOC SMU [Joint Special Operations Command Special Mission Unit]. During the course of his career he took part in combat operations on several continents, including many tours in Mogadishu (he was present for the “Blackhawk Down” incident), Bosnia and Iraq.  Since retiring in 2007 he has conducted training and provided training with his company Viking Tactics. He is a widely sought Subject Matter Expert not just on tactical matters but leadership as well.



Do you or your friends carry the gear to handle something like this, whether it’s you or someone else? Not one of those ridiculously improbable “Pocket Dumps” on social media, but at least a TQ? Wear a belt?


Greg Ellifritz

Greg Ellifritz 2What can the average American do to be as pragmatically, practically and realistically prepared for an event like the Parisian terrorist attack? I would say there are three areas to look at…

The first is being aware of interdiction opportunities. This is the only strategy that is preventative rather than merely responsive. If we can interdict the terrorists before they attack, we get the most optimal outcome. How do normal people interdict terrorists? By being alert to what is going on around them. Large scale terrorist events are not improvised. Terrorists plan extensively. They must acquire equipment, recon the target, assess emergency responses, plan the attack, and facilitate an escape. Many terrorists will spend significant amounts of time doing reconnaissance work at their target. They will be taking pictures and video. They will be testing police response. They will be driving getaway routes. They will be purchasing guns, explosive components, comm gear, and body armor. You could notice any of these activities.

If you see something that looks like terrorist equipment or intelligence gathering, call the police! If you don’t get the response you want, call up the closest FBI office and ask for the local Joint Terrorism Task Force. They will be interested in your information.

The second thing is to routinely carry your gun. Most folks who have carry licenses don’t carry their guns all the time. That has to stop. The quickest way we can stop a terrorist attack is to immediately kill the terrorist. There aren’t enough cops on duty to be able to do that. You are on your own. Carry your damn gun and know how to use it!

The final area to focus on is learning how to provide medical aid to the victims of an attack. An attack of the magnitude of the recent Paris strike will quickly overwhelm medical resources. You should be able to treat yourself in the event you are shot or blown up. It would be even greater if you could provide aid to other injured folks. If you don’t know how to apply a pressure bandage, tourniquet, or chest seal, you are unprepared for terrorist violence. Get yourself to a tactical medicine class as soon as possible.

Greg Ellifritz 4I’d love to see the terrorists interdicted before their attack. If that isn’t possible, I’d like to see an armed citizen shoot them all in the face as the attack is initiated. And if none of that happens, I’d at least like to see everyone able to save the lives of the injured. Combining all three plans creates a legitimate response to terrorist attacks.

Greg Ellifritz is a veteran police officer with over 2 decades of service, and one who has traveled extensively around the world to many remote locations (including some rather unpleasant ones). He’s a master instructor in a wide variety of weapons and is widely sought after as an SME in topics as varying as extreme close quarters shooting and post-collapse medicine. He is the lead instructor for Active Response Training through which auspices he instructs civilian, LE and military students around the country. Interested persons would do well to check his website at least once a week for his regular Weekend Knowledge Dump.


Continued from Part One. Part Three is here. Part Four is here.

That’s it for now. Go forth and conquer.


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Mad Duo David

Reeder Profile Picture 5About the Author: Someone has to corral the writing team, handle business expenses and bail the Mad Duo (and their minions) out of jail. For years the Pentagon, JSOC and the International Association of Chiefs of Police sought an impeccable man to lead the pedagogic and frequently obstreperous team of Breach Bang Clear writers. They needed someone charismatic, a warrior, able to maintain mental acuity under the worst stressors. Unfortunately the program suffered severe budget cuts so they ended up with David Reeder. Reeder founded Breach-Bang-Clear quite accidentally at his young son’s behest several years ago. He is the Mad Duo’s Chief Wretched Flunky and Breach-Bang-Clear’s HMFIC. A LEO for many years and former AF Security Forces SNCO, he was an O/C at the National Homeland Security Training Center for many years a MOUT instructor at the Bold Lighting UWS. Reeder has appeared on Fox News Business and written for a number of publications, from US News & World Report and to OFFGRID Magazine. You can read more about him here. Follow him on Instagram, @davidreederwrites.

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  1. SigP226

    Fantastic article. I wish I could carry my Sig with me “just in case” however in Canada that’s like asking for a unicorn, I would love to see an article about what you should do when you are at a shopping mall or soccer event when all hell breaks loose. What does a mom do to keep her family alive? Playing dead is just asking for it to happen. Give me a plan of defense and attack. What do I look for in the mall? Cement uprights that look decorative but are actually structural are a good place to get behind. But what else? Is there a way to listen to the gun fire to know what direction the attackers are moving? My first goal is to keep my kids alive. My second goal is to stop any other people having to bury their kids. Do you try and get behind them? Then what? Beat them with a lunch tray? If I could disarm them I could make a difference; I’ve shot my fair share of pistols, shotguns and ARS. Can you count on other civilians to help? I agree that being able to help medically is huge and my partner is a paramedic and has taught me how to use Israeli bandages, tourniquets etc. But until the threat is DEAD that has to wait. So…ideas? And my apology if you already have posts about what I’m looking for. This is my first time on this page.As NightEyes said “if you do nothing you lose”. He’s dead right. Some advice to a Canadian female civi would be greatly appreciated. We watched an unarmed guard get slaughtered outside our Parliament Buildings which is equivalent to your White House. We watched his 3 year old son bury his dad. So some situational advice (like a mall or other public place) would be greatly appreciated. Thanking you in advance.

  2. Doug

    Good Trama Kit ? Can anyone share a link please? I’d like to start also carrying one.

    • Paul H.

      Dark Angel Medical & ITS Tactical have some good supplies. But there are others out there. You can also put your own kit together. Some good supplies for a small IFAK (individual first aid kit) are an Israeli Bandage, hemostatic agent or hemo-gauze, a tourniquet (CAT, RAT, SOFTT-W are popular types), medical gloves, and shears. But of all things, get some training! Having to perform under stress is different from just knowing. I speak from some experience. I have been an EMT for 19 yrs, and a firefighter for 12 years. Those who have been operators, medics, corpsman are legends to me, I am nothing. But I took for granted the medical training and work experience that I had until I started carrying a firearm lawfully and then becoming a reserve LEO last year. And I still need more. A TCCC (tactical combat casualty care) course is still on my list of NEED TO DO STUFF. Good luck, stay safe, and be dangerous.

    • Wilson

      Paul H. covers this quite well. The training is extremely important.

      Personally, I built my own.

      If you want to know what’s in them I can post that for you as well. My personal IFAK is kind of sooped up and meant to handle injuries to me, but really built with the idea of being able to handle serious injuries on at least two other people. It fits in a small shoulder bag (8.5″h x 7.5″w x 2.5″d).

      When all is said and done is your friend. Those kits you see for sale from various companies can usually be built item by item for half the price or a bit more of the company charges.

      Doing things this way will usually leave you with a bunch of leftovers you can use to replace used gear or start a second kit.

  3. Wilson

    Just my thoughts here, sorry if this is a bit of a “stream of consciousness” style post, but I have some ideas here that haven’t fully congealed into nice paragraphs… also I’m stuffing food in my face as I write this.

    Mr. Ellifritz suggests a tactical medicine course and I think that’s GREAT idea. It’s not just about carrying a gun. Carrying a gun is great, don’t get me wrong about that, but what if you’re not there when it hits the fan? What if you’re arriving on scene as the bad guys drive off or after they do?

    Personally, I carry an extensive medical kit much of the time, especially if I venture into the city or along our nation’s highway system. However, most people don’t know basic first aid or CPR, never mind understand how to use something like the CAT or Halo Chest Seal.

    Something posted a while back struck a serious chord with me. There was a video posted on the 8th under “tactical dress up”. That video caused me to think about some of my own experiences and the fact that there are a lot of “tactical” instructors out there that have NO idea what they’re doing. ‘Cause hey, cover is for pansies right? Dressing up in your kit and looking like billy badbutt is what matters.

    That in mind one of the things I’d like to see for civvies is a vetted list of tactical instructors and tactical medical instructors as well. Preferably people with actual combat experience who can teach people something about what’s really going to happen.

    It’s one thing to train to apply a tourniquet to someones leg in a classroom. It’s another to do it in complete chaos while the patient is screaming, others are screaming and crying, there’s blood, smoke and broken glass everywhere, the whole area smells like the 4th circle of Hell and you’re trying to get this person to the point they’re not going to die before the ambulance gets here so you can move on to triage the next person.

    We need to spend more time on the medicine aspect of this. Getting members of the public trained so that they can keep people alive long enough to get those to a hospital WILL save lives.

  4. Steve

    I preach the message of carrying everyday everywhere and most of the time it goes on deaf ears. A lot of friends of mine that are veterans are the worst. I guess they think they survived wherever they were and they will do the same at home. I ask them all the time, Are you going to call time out and run to your truck and get your gun when something happens? I try and remind them that they will not choose when and where something bad goes down the bad guy will do that for them.

  5. Nighteyes

    I am old and have hunted what goes bump in the night as it was my job. If you do nothing you lose and I will not bow down as I took my oath in 1957

  6. TatendaZim

    If you are unfamiliar with the the layout of the venue you are visiting, you might consider giving everyone in your party a copy of the venue’s layout with all exits highlighted and the location of where you parked your vehicle as well as the location of any alternative rally points.

  7. Grump

    “Active” shooter response bag. Gun, mags, armor plate, flashlight, gloves, trauma kit, etc. Carry when you travel, in addition to your EDC gun, flashlight, knife, multitool, etc.

    • Frank Karl

      I haven’t reread these articles enough to formulate a armed civilian response, but I doubt (unless you a “24-hour” TV character) you will be able to leave the area, retrieve your response bag and then return. Nor will you be able to carry all that stuff in to a potential location.If you’re LEO, hell yes, carry all that stuff and a rifle too. But these articles seem to suggest more preparation and less shooting across the street to stop a threat

      • Grump

        Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon bag: Kel-Tec PLR-16, Level III 10” X 12” plate in simplified carrier, AR and Glock mags, ear plugs, flashlight, Flex cuffs, gloves, fixed blade knife, water bottle, energy bar, trauma Kit: nitrile gloves, antiseptic wipes, trauma sheers, tourniquet, permanent marker, hemostatic gauze, cotton gauze, pressure bandage, stretch wrap, duct tape. Guess I’m a TV character. To each his own.

        • Bob

          You are the first to be shot then sticking out like that.

  8. John

    Thoughts offered by Greg Ellifritz really spoke to me as being especially useful in our current state. One of my specific gripes are all these “hardened operators” who don’t even EDC. The gun lying on your dresser will not do spit when you’re attacked at the football game, right? His reference to interdiction opportunities was an attention getter, too. The lack of situational awareness in today’s society is kinda mind boggling.

    • dave craddock

      question, do you have knowledge regarding whether said terrorist is trained in pain suppression technique? i am a veteran in good standing, 67-70 though old and not combat experienced, medic united states army.

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