Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Marine stabbed in the back on Black Friday


Shoplifting suspect stabs Marine, police say

A Marine collecting Toys for Tots donations at Augusta's Best Buy was stabbed in the back Friday while helping to subdue a shoplifting suspect.
    Tracey Attaway  Richmond County Jail Photo
Cpl. Phillip Duggan tried to stop a fleeing suspect at Best Buy.

Fellow Marines identified the injured man as Cpl. Phillip Duggan, 24, who spent part of Black Friday recuperating at Eisenhower Army Medical Center with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Tracey Attaway, 39, of Waynesboro, Ga., was jailed and charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a knife in the commission of a crime.

Orvin Smith, a sales manager at Best Buy, said the incident occurred about 1:15 p.m. when a man was seen on surveillance videos placing a laptop under his jacket. Store staff asked Attaway to return the merchandise, and the situation began to escalate.

"He was really irate. A whole lot of energy. ... he finally let go of the laptop, ran out the front door, knocked one of my employees down and pulled out a knife so he could make sure he could get out the front door," Smith said.

Outside the door were four Marines and seven volunteers collecting donations for Toys for Tots.
"(Duggan) clotheslined him, and after that he kind up got up and started swinging a knife around," Smith said.
Gunnery Sgt. Robert Richie said Attaway "came over the top and got (Duggan) in the back."
Attaway ran again but didn't get far before Richie, several other Marines and members of the store's loss-prevention team tackled him in the parking lot and held him until deputies arrived.
Gunnery Sgt. Sherry Barrera, who also serves as the Toys for Tots coordinator, opted to close operations for the day.
"When a Marine gets injured, we just shut it down, go to the hospital, make sure he's OK and make sure he gets proper treatment," she said.
Barrera said Duggan joined the unit about three months ago. Although she has had the opportunity to drill with Duggan only a few times, she said she had heard wonderful things about him.
"My boss, who has served with him before, did say he was an outstanding Marine," Barrera said.
According to Richmond County authorities, Attaway also tried to steal two digital cameras, an Xbox game, a PS3 game and a PS3 game controller with a combined value of $1,365.

A couple lessons we can learn from this story.  Again before I start, as I have writen in other blogs I'm not second guessing or critizing the Marine.  I'm just using this story to illistarte some basic principles we can all benifit from (So our Marine's stitches won't be for nothing)

This scenario sounds like every brown belts wet dream.  In the right place at the right time with Righteous Indignation you pull your best spinning round kick.  Knock the knife out of the criminal's hand see his eyes widen in terror of your supreme skills.  Kiss the girl and ride off into the sunset.  Sadly that only happens in Hollywood and in the imagination of the uninformed or inexperienced.

Here are some ways you can stop a violent criminal in the real world and not get stabbed
Call 911 get professionals (see also carry guns) involved as quickly as possible
Be a good witness

If you feel you must do more
Follow at a safe distance
    Direction of travel
    License Plate

Get all this information to the professionals as soon as possible.  Stay on line with dispatch.  You just became a great source of real time intelligence (you are a recon scout Yo Joe!!!!)  Recon does not directly engage the enemy.  They call in the artillary to blow the hell out of the enemy.

Edged weapons defense
Ok severel topics to study here

Awareness - Threat assesment scanning
According to the article Attaway brandished the knife and was threatening employees inside the store before our Marine ever saw him.
  Hands - is he holding a weapon should part of every threat assesment scan.  Very helpful for tatical decision making.

If you do see the knife is it worth your life to stop this guy?  Even a short pocket knife to the kidney can bleed you out in seconds.

If you haven't followed the previous advice and you engage a fleeing criminal armed with a knife
Use a tool you're not an ape - (Thanks Marc)
Folding chair
Any improvised weapon that provides distance amd can absorb damage from the blade.  Keep him at bay, delay him until professionals with guns can show up.

If your still not listening to me and your intent on your brown belt wet dream of disarming a knife weilding criminal with your bare hands, end violence quickly - IT HAS TO BE OVER IN 3 MOTIONS OR LESS- if you don't have the skills, competence, and confidence to do that.  Then don't do it
You have do disable the attacker not the knife.  Something along the lines of;
Motion 1 - Get off line
Motion 2 - Destroy balance
if you are really good, mation 1 and 2 happen in just one motion
Motion 3 Smash to ground or otherwise disable attacker

It much easier to take a knife away from a broken arm or an unconsous criminal.

Now you may be asking your self why a trained Marine didn't follow my advice, which leads me to my Brazilian JuJitsu (BJJ) taught to the Military rant.

Let me start by saying that I like BJJ.  It is a fantastic sport.  I also enjoy wrestling.  The difference is no wrestling coach ever advertised wrestling as the be all end all answer to every self defense situation.  You see examples of BJJ instructors teaching women rape prevention by throwing themselves on their back and putting their legs in the air.  Now I've never raped anyone but it would seem to me that getting a woman on her back with her legs in the air is the goal of the rapist rather than a deteriant.

As examples of the all purpose efficacy of BJJ these instructors use the UFC, and more recently that BJJ is being taught to the US military.  What they refuse to see (or admit even if they do see) is that 90% of BJJ will get you killed in close quarters combat.  So why is BJJ being taught to our troops?

1) A generation of fat soft spoiled kids who have never been in a contact sport let alone a fight.  BJJ like high school wrestling is a fantastic way to get into shape and to help develop character

2) Social violence ritual combat is genetically designed NOT to be life threatening.  You have 100’s of late teen early 20 something males all in close proximity to each other pumping with hormones and the vigor of youth.  On top of that powder keg are you going to throw the match of effective close quarter combatives ( see also maiming and killing the enemy in 3 motions or less)?  BJJ allows these young men to play dominance games and establish a pecking order with out injuringing each other.

Effective close quarter combatives look nothing like BJJ.  If you are interested in CQB check out the writing of W. E. Fairbairn, and Rex Applegate.  Guess what their 2nd rule of close quarter combat  is

Granted if you find yourself on the ground you better know what to do.  BJJ can be fantastic for that.  Just remember in the world there are no rules or time limits.  You don't have time to lesiuerly set up a joint lock or choke.  If you find yourself on the ground get up as quickly as possible.

So, God bless the Marines.  God bless a man willing to stand up and do what he believed was right.  Lets be inspired by his example.  And lets learn from this incident in case we ever find ourselves in the right place at the right time.

Train hard - Train real - Stay safe 


  1. Awesome post!!! More people need to hear practical common sense things like this that will prevent major injuries or death.
    Kudos and thanks!!!!
    Keep it coming

  2. good job, but what about kissing the guy at sunset :)

  3. Excellent advice and a good analysis of the event. Too many people suffer from the "it works on TV/MMA" syndrome -- including a few cops I know! One point I'd add is that the Marine ignored the most basic thing they teach Marines: YOU AREN'T ALONE! He had several others with him, and if they'd worked together to take him down, they would probably have gotten him down without injury. While I'd almost always suggest that being a good witness is the best choice -- if you feel you must act, and you've got friends, use them. Especially if you're trained to work together.

    (That's also one of my biggest gripes about a lot of DT practice. We don't practice coordinating with each other unless we're in a special unit like SWAT/TAC.)