Wednesday, November 28, 2012

License to kill

Castle Doctrine

A Castle Doctrine (also known as a Castle Law or a Defense of Habitation Law) is an American legal doctrine that designates a person's abode (or, in some states, any place legally occupied, such as a car or place of work) as a place in which the person has certain protections and immunities and may in certain circumstances use force, up to and including deadly force, to defend against an intruder without becoming liable to prosecution. Typically deadly force is considered justified, and a defense of justifiable homicide applicable, in cases "when the actor reasonably fears imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm to himself or another".The doctrine is not a defined law that can be invoked, but a set of principles which is incorporated in some form in the law of most states.

The term derives from the historic English common law dictum that "an Englishman's home is his castle". This concept was established as English law by 17th century jurist Sir Edward Coke, in his The Institutes of the Laws of England, 1628. The dictum was carried by colonists to the New World, who later removed "English" from the phrase, making it "a man's home is his castle", which thereby became simply the Castle Doctrine. The term has been used in England to imply a person's absolute right to exclude anyone from their home, although this has always had restrictions, and since the late twentieth century bailiffs have also had increasing powers of entry.

The Castle Doctrine is not a license to kill

Minnesota man who killed teens in break-in charged with murder
By NBC News staff and wire services

A 64-year-old Minnesota man was charged Monday with murder for killing two teenagers who he said broke into his Little Falls home, shooting them in the head, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Byron David Smith was arrested after he told police he shot and killed two teenagers who he said were breaking into his home on Thanksgiving Day.

"If you're trying to shoot somebody and they laugh at you, you go again," Byron David Smith of Little Falls told investigators, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.

Smith was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Haile Kifer, 18, and her cousin, Nicholas Brady, 17, both of Little Falls. The teens were shot on Thanksgiving Day, but their deaths weren't reported until Friday.

Brady has also used the name Schaeffel, which is his mother’s maiden name, at times for family reasons, according to the sheriff's office.

In the criminal complaint, Smith said he was in the basement of his remote home about 10 miles southwest of Little Falls when he heard a window breaking upstairs, followed by footsteps that eventually approached the basement stairwell. Fearful after several break-ins, according to the complaint, Smith said he fired when Brady came into view from the waist down.

After the teen fell down the stairs, Smith said he shot him in the face as he lay on the floor.
"I want him dead," the complaint quoted Smith telling an investigator.

Smith said he dragged Brady's body into his basement workshop, then sat back down on his chair, and after a few minutes Kifer began coming down the stairs. He said he shot her as soon as her hips appeared, and she fell down the steps.
Smith said he tried to shoot her again with his Mini 14 rifle, but that the gun jammed and Kifer laughed at him.

"Smith stated that it was not a very long laugh because she was already hurting," according to the complaint.
Smith said he then shot Kifer in the chest several times with a .22-caliber revolver, dragged her next to Brady, and with her still gasping for air, fired a shot under her chin "up into the cranium."
"Smith described it as 'a good clean finishing shot,'" according to the compliant, but also that he acknowledged he had fired "more shots than (he) needed to."

The following day he asked a neighbor to recommend a good lawyer, according to the complaint. He later asked his neighbor to call the police.

A prosecutor called Smith's reaction "appalling."
"Mr. Smith intentionally killed two teenagers in his home in a matter that goes well beyond self-defense," Morrison County Attorney Brian Middendorf said after Smith appeared at Morrison County District Court on Monday morning. Bail was set at $2 million.
Minnesota law allows a homeowner to use deadly force on an intruder if a reasonable person would fear they're in danger of harm. Smith told investigators he was afraid the intruders might have a weapon.

Smith's actions "sound like an execution" rather than legitimate self-defense, said David Pecchia, executive director of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association. Pecchia said his statements to investigators suggest he had eliminated any threat to his safety by wounding the cousins.

Smith's brother, Bruce Smith, told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis that the incident was the eighth burglary at Byron Smith's home in recent years.

The only report the Morrison County sheriff's office has for a break-in at the home was for one on Oct. 27. It shows Byron Smith reported losing cash and gold coins worth $9,200, plus two guns worth $200 each, photo equipment worth more than $3,000 and a ring worth $300.

Little Falls is about 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
Brady's sister, Crystal Schaeffel, told the Star Tribune that Kifer had broken into her home before. Little Falls police records show Crystal Schaeffel reported a theft Aug. 28, but the department said the report was not public because that investigation was continuing and because it named juveniles.

Tessa Ruth, an aunt of Brady, attended Smith's hearing. She told the Star Tribune she wished the man had fired a warning shot or alerted the police instead of shooting the teens.
"It wasn't right for them to be there and, yes, he had a right to defend himself. But to execute them like that..."

I have written it on this blog many times before, but some things bare repeating, so let’s hit the basics again – IMOP

For the use force to defend yourself to be justified the threat must be immediate.
In order to be an immediate threat, an individual must display (and you must be able to clearly articulate how you  knew) three (sometimes four) things:
  • Intent
  • Means
  • Opportunity
  • Preclusion (civilians)

Intent is the desire to do something bad, e.g. harm you, or a third party; break a law; or refuse to comply with a lawful order.

From the information available it is clear the cousins were breaking a law, but clearly showed no intent to harm Smith.

It seems that the cousins didn't even know Smith was even in the house. 

Why would an unarmed 18 year old girl walk down stairs if she knew her cousin had been killed and the man who just killed him was still down there waiting for her?

Remember self defense is an affirmative defense.  Meaning you are stating yes, I did kill these people, but it isn’t murder because…

Because it is an affirmative defense the burden of proof is on you.  So in regards to intent prosecutors may ask, “Are you a mind reader?  How could you possibly know what was going on in the mind of the deceased?”

We are very good at reading intent but many of us are very poor at articulating intent.  (Another reason why it is so important to include articulation exercises into your training).

You can’t read anyone’s mind but their actions (even very subtle ones)  will display their intent.  (Not unlike a tell in poker).

Did the cousins’ actions display any intent to harm Smith?  Would a reasonable person in the same circumstance shoot someone the moment they saw the potential threat’s legs as they walked down the stairs? 
In a self defense situation you have to ask yourself – Do I need to engage?

If you have time to ask the question you most likely don’t.  If you don’t have time to ask the question you better already be engaging.

When Smith heard the window break he had plenty of time to employ a multitude of other self defense strategies besides the use of lethal force.

If those strategies failed, it would show a clear intent on the part of the cousins to harm Smith.
Don’t read that last sentence as me suggesting to attempt a lower level of force than justified.  Rather reinforcing the need for all to understand what level of force is necessary and the ability to articulate why not only that the force you used was just but also why lower level of force wouldn't have worked.

Generally the level of resistance dictates or greatly influences the level of force appropriate, mirroring the “commensurate harms doctrine”.

If nothing but your feelings can get hurt, you cannot escalate it to pain. 

If no injury is offered, but there is a duty to act (or you cannot escape) and lower levels will not work, ‘commensurate harms’ allows pain, but not injury. 

If injury is offered, injury, but not death, is the answer.

If death is threatened, death is on the table.

Contrary to popular belief someone breaking into your house does not automatically justify lethal force.

A kid that comes home from college, has a couple of drinks and stumbles into the wrong house because all the houses in his parent’s subdivision basically look all the same is a world apart from MS13 kicking in your door to commit atrocities against you and your family heinous enough that they send a message to the entire area.

You will know the difference, we are very good at reading intent but many of us are very poor at articulating intent. 

The threat must have the ability to carry out intent.
A person threatening to shoot you must have a gun to be an immediate threat, for instance.

An unarmed teen aged girl at the top of the steps does not have the means to harm an armed adult man all the way down in the basement.

The threat must be able to reach you with the means.

If an Internet tough guy in a different country doesn’t like this blog and threatens to punch me, he clearly has no opportunity to do so even if he has the intent (threatened to punch me) and the means (because he is so tough)

Again, in both cases an unarmed person at the top of the steps does not have the opportunity to harm Smith all the way down in the basement.

Preclusion generally means if you don’t have to be there get out of there.  Before you use force you have to show that you attempted to leave (remove opportunity).  If the threat prevents you from leaving it helps make your case that the use of force was justified. 

The castle doctrine recognizes that someone does not have to leave their own house and has a right to stand their ground and defend themselves there.  So preclusion does not apply in this case. 

But as I stated earlier in this blog the castle doctrine is not a license to kill.

The use of force ends when the threat is no longer immediate.  The means and / or the opportunity no longer exist.

When Smith shot them and they fell down the stairs the cousins clearly no longer had the means to harm Smith.

Walking over to a threat laying on the ground, suffering from a gun shot wound.  Burying the muzzle of your gun under his jaw to deliver a “clean finishing shot”, “into the cranium” is not self defense.

"If you're trying to shoot somebody and they laugh at you, you go again,"  "Smith stated that it was not a very long laugh because she was already hurting," – That is not self defense.

 You also have an obligation to render aid.  You don’t have to start 1st aid yourself but you at least have to call the authorities so that help can be sent.

You sure as shit can’t just chill out for a day and a half with two corpses in you basement.

Obviously those kids shouldn’t have been in this guys house, but this whole incident could have been resolved so much easier.

It is a tragedy for all involved, and I am sorry for the families.

Castle doctrine is a sound principle.  I hope it’s misuse does not remove it’s protections from responsible citizens.

Knowledge of force laws will not cause you to freeze under pressure anymore than knowledge of traffic laws will cause you to freeze when you suddenly need to change lanes in traffic.

Make sure you know you local laws.

If you teach others to how use force you have an obligation to teach them when force is justified

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lambs and Lions

Lion and Lamb 3 LionLamb.jpg

Earlier this month we had the fire arms qualification, physical agility testing, and stress shoot portions of the of the SWAT test.  This week I sat on the panel for the interview portion of the test.  The reason I mention it is because an interesting discussion / debate occurred between the members on the interview panel that I felt would be educational / entertaining to the readers of the Budo Blog.

The panel had the combined (stress shoot and qualification) shooting score, the physical agility score, and the overall score (combined shooting and physical agility) for each candidate.

Our job on the interview panel was to assign a score based on their response to our questions, and to come up with an overall score.

This overall score would be used to rank the candidates and the top candidates from this list would be asked to join the team on a probationary basis.

The discussion / debate revolved around how weigh the test scores.

Should it be 33% shooting, 33% fitness, and 33% interview?

Should it be 50 / 50 between combined shooting / fitness and interview?

The opinion I gave to the panel is roughly as follows:

For me the physical agility and shooting portion is used to set a baseline and assure that candidates meet a certain level of proficiency.  Basically meaning they are skilled enough to work with.  That we don’t have to rebuild them from scratch.

Ideally these tests reflect the lifestyles and the habits of the candidate.

What I mean by this is that candidates that exercise regularly to maintain their fitness will score much better than someone who just started working out in order to pass the pt test.

I would rather work with someone for whom fitness is a regular part of their life and maybe picked it up a notch or switched a few things up in order to max the pt test as opposed to someone who is already a professional law enforcement officer but doesn’t take that job / responsibility seriously enough to maintain their fitness, and needed the possibility of joining an elite law enforcement unit to inspire them to start doing what I consider the bare requirements of their job.

The same applies to firearms skills.  Candidates that train regularly to maintain their shooting skills will score much better than someone who just started doing things on their own in order to pass the shooting portion of the SWAT test.

The test will also favor those smart enough to seek out help.  Shooting on your own time with your own money is a huge step up over most other law enforcement officers. 

However, as I’ve stated on this blog many times before – practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.

It doesn’t do you much good to go to the range on your own and practice missing.  Much better to seek out the help of someone you know is a good shot, and can help you become better.

[I was very fortunate to know Greg Sullivan through martial arts connections.  “Sully” as he is known is a fantastic firearms instructor.  Before I applied for the team back in the day, he helped me get rid of some bad habits I wouldn’t have been able to get rid of by just training on my own.

“Sully” if you ever read this, thank you.]

Again, I would rather work with someone for whom firearms skill is a regular part of their life.  Maybe they sought out someone to help them pick it up a notch or switched a few things up in order to max the shooting test, but maintaining their skills is something they did on their own as a part of their job.  As opposed to someone who is already a professional law enforcement officer but doesn’t take that   job / responsibility seriously enough to maintain their shooting skills.  They don’t do anything beyond their departments minimum training (which can be as little as 100 rounds per year), and needed the possibility of joining an elite law enforcement unit to inspire them to start doing what I consider the bare requirements of their job.

My thought being if you don’t do what it takes to be the best law enforcement officer you can be at your current position, what makes you think you will be able to hack it at a higher level?

I want guys that are the best at what they do and want to be the there is period.  They are seeking out higher levels of performance to master. Not guys that slack at their current position but will pick it up a notch for something special.

So back to the question, how do you weigh the tests?

I figured 50 / 50.  As I stated the tests will favor the type of candidate I’m looking for.  Those that strive to be the best.

Having said that there are attributes that may or may not show up in the other tests that need to be identified in the interview process.

Not the least of which are:

Can I stand to be stuck in a van with you for hours?
Can we spend a week training together without tempting me to snap your neck?

In all seriousness though there are certain attributes that are needed as an operator.

I need to know you will show up when called, and when called you will do what is necessary to protect the people we are employed to protect.
I need to know you will cover your assignments with the skill necessary to asure we all go home safe.

The interviews should be used to identify those attributes or the lack there of.

I have three beautiful daughters.  If, God forbid any of them were taken hostage, I pray there is an Operator there skilled enough to end the threat and save my daughter from harm, even if that Operator has to trade his life for her’s. 
Because I expect that of someone else, I have to maintain the skills necessary to save someone else’s loved one from harm, even if necessary, at the expense of my own life.

Beyond skills and fitness, the willingness to put yourself in danger to save others, and the confidence – hell cockiness that allows you to go through that door knowing that it is dangerous but you are so much better than the bad guy that you and that innocent, or the hostage, or whatever, will come out of it just fine. Those are the qualities the interview needs to discover. 

As much as those qualities can be discovered through words anyway.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not suggesting using unsound tactics or being some sort of cowboy throwing your life away.  Do everything smart, but even then there may come a time when you need to trade your life to save the lives of others.
Because, it doesn’t do anyone any good to have the best trained and equipped Operators maintain a parameter and do nothing while innocents are being killed inside.
Unused / unusable skill is worthless.
Operators need to be able to get inside and stop the threat from killing.

I can train someone to be a better shooter.  I can train someone to be fit.
But, some things just can’t be taught

I can train you to be a highly skilled predator, but I can’t turn a lamb into a lion.


So the shooting and pt tests should determine who gets an interview

The interview should inditify necessary traights not necessarly idintifiable from the other tests.
The top candidates that display those traights should be given an oportunity for making the team


Train hard, Train smart, Be safe.


P.S.  On this Thanksgiving weekend I am thankful for all the Lions I am surrounded by that constantly push me to be better. 

And all of you out there that put your life at risk to protect others – Thank You




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What martial arts training has taught me as a Police Officer

Practical Budo Blog – writing about the application of martial arts for contemporary military and law enforcement.  So what has martial arts training taught me as a Police Officer?

Recently I have been working the deep end of the use of force continuum with a couple of different groups.  Up to and including justifiably ending (euphemism for taking the life of) the threat with empty hand skills.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not teaching civilians the gentle art of murder.  I’m not too dangerous to be allowed into the United Kingdom J.  However, there are times when the only way professionals can protect them selves or others from death or great bodily harm is to end the life of the threat.  Also, there may be instances like that where the only means the professional has to end the threat are their hands or what ever weapons they can improvise in time to stop the threat.

I enjoy this class because it re-enforces the werewolf I've discussed previously on this blog.  What I mean by that is smaller stature men, and petite female professionals who have said things to me like – I could never take you in a fight see that yes, that may be true so don’t fucking fight me hunt me and if necessary kill me.

It’s fun to see confidence rise because they could end someone with their hands fairly easily should they have to

It’s scary because even with my training and experience these relatively untrained people could end me with their hands fairly easily should they have to

So what has martial arts training taught me as a Police Officer?

Just how vulnerable I am, just how vulnerable we all are as human beings.

When you look into the abyss the abyss looks back into you.
When you learn how to hurt someone, you learn how easily you can be hurt

The opposite is also true.  If you don’t know how to hurt someone, you don’t realize how vulnerable you are.

Here is an example from a recent incident in Colorado.

Man who nearly severed Auraria cop's finger with samurai sword identified

The Denver Post

Police investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting involving a sword-wielding man on the Auraria Campus in Denver, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. (Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post)

A man who was fatally shot by an Auraria Campus police officer, after allegedly attacking the cop with a samurai-style sword near the Tivoli Student Center, has been identified.

Jeffrey Albert Musick, 38, died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner.

Musick was taken to a local hospital on Saturday after being shot near Ninth and Walnut streets on the Auraria Campus. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, the coroner's office said.

The officer confronted Musick, who was wielding a sword in a crosswalk near the Tivoli building, Denver police said.

According to police reports, Musick swung his sword at the police officer, nearly lopping off one of the cop's fingers and the officer opened fire. The officer, who still has not been identified, was released from a local hospital on Sunday.

Musick has an arrest record in the state, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, including a 1999 unlawful carry concealed weapon charge in which he pleaded guilty. In the 1999 case, out of Littleton, Musick was carrying nunchaku, another traditional Asian fighting weapon.

In 2011, Musick was convicted of obstruction of a peace officer in Lakewood and he was sentenced to 59 days in jail. Also in 2011, Musick was arrested in on suspicion of felony assault and menacing with a deadly weapon. The disposition of the 2011 assault case was not readily available.

Kieran Nicholson: 303-954-1822, or

Follow this link for a news clip

A suspect carrying a Samurai sword on the campus of Metropolitan State University of Denver was shot and killed after allegedly attacking a police officer. KUSA's Raquel Villanueva reports.

By NBC News staff
A man wielding a Samurai sword at a college campus in Colorado was shot and killed after allegedly attacking a police officer over the weekend, authorities said.

Both the suspect and police officer, who have not been identified, were rushed to the hospital Saturday following the confrontation on the Auraria campus of Metropolitan State University, Denver Police Spokesperson Raquel Lopez told the Denver Post.

The suspect was pronounced dead, and the officer was critically injured.
“His finger was almost severed,” Lopez said.

Auraria police were called to the campus near the Tivoli Student Center at 5:54 a.m. Saturday, Denver Fire Department Spokesman Lt. Phil Champagne told the Post.

Lopez said a caller phoned the police station and said, "'Hey, there’s a guy out there with a sword.’ Anytime you see someone walking around with a sword and swinging it around, you want to take precautions.”

The campus police officer confronted the sword-wielding man in a crosswalk near the front of the student center, Lopez said. The man did not obey orders and swung the sword, nearly lopping the officer’s finger off. The officer then shot the man, Lopez said.
It was not yet known whether the man was a student at the university.
Denver Police are still investigating the shooting, Lopez said.

Insert my standard disclaimer here.  I was not there.  My only source of information is from the news media which I have learned to take with a large grain of salt.  I do not second guess officers in the field from the comfort of my keyboard days later and thousands of miles away from danger.

Having said all of that, the reason I posted the story is not to judge, but so that we can learn from it.

So as I have mentioned, recently I have been working the deep end of the use of force continuum.  Any time you train people to use force you have an obligation to inform them when the use of force is justified (and when it is not).

To do that I like to use the acronym IMOP

I - Intent

M - Means

O - Opportunity

P – Preclusion (For those with out a duty to act)

I – Intent
n      Intent is the desire to do something bad, e.g. harm the officer, self or a third party; break a law; or refuse to comply with a lawful order.
n      We are very good at reading intent but many officers are very poor at articulating intent. 

I have walked through college campuses with a Katana (Samurai Sword).  It was in a nice nondescript bag and I was on my way to Kenjutsu class.  I had no intent to hurt anyone.  Jeffrey Albert Musick wasn’t on his way to Kenjutsu class.  He was waiving his sword around and acting in such a way that students were afraid and called the police.  Musick was showing intent.

M – Means
n      The threat must have the ability to carry out intent.
n       A person threatening to shoot you must have a gun to be an immediate threat, for instance.
n       A two-year old in a tantrum has pure intent but is not big or strong enough to have the means.

Clearly the sword provided Musick the means.

O – Opportunity
  • The threat must be able to reach you with the means.

The officer’s severed finger can attest to the fact that Musick was able to reach the officer with the means

P – Preclusion (For those with out a duty to act)
  • Do I need to engage?
  • Is it safe to just leave?

Preclusion means if you don’t have to be there get the fuck out of there.  Run to safety! 

However, just like the girl in the news clip said “someone has to do it”.  Shit happens, and who ya gonna call?  Officers can’t run to safety.  They provide that safety for others.  They have to run to the danger.  They have a duty to act so preclusion does not apply.

When force is justified - use force and end the confrontation quickly.

How many cops need to get maimed to learn this lesson?

Did the Officer get close enough to lose a finger to a katana because swords are a joke?

I’m sorry this Officer was injured.  But anyone who has ever practiced tameshigeri knows just how lucky that officer is to still be alive.

When you learn how to hurt someone, you learn how easily you can be hurt
The opposite is also true.  If you don’t know how to hurt someone, you don’t realize how vulnerable you are.

I also feel that too many cops being praised for bad, up to suicidal tactics if they are lucky enough that the subject is eventually talked down.
The flip side is too many cops being crucified for good tactics if the subject has to be controlled by other means.

Training in martial arts, hell even a gun, badge, and armor doesn’t give you magical protection you are just as vulnerable as any other mammal on the planet.  Even more so because you run towards the danger the smart people run away from.


Hisako Ichiki is a teenage mutant from Japan that studied at the Xavier Institute before becoming an X-Man. Her mutant power allows her to create psionic "armor", giving her enhanced strength and durability. She is currently enrolled at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.

As “bad ass” as your training might make you feel you don’t have psionic armor
Nor can you turn your skin into organic Steele


So what has martial arts training taught me as a Police Officer?

Just how vulnerable we all are as human beings

Know that, own that, use that knowledge to better articulate why you used force that you did, and  not only why lower levels of force wouldn't have worked, but how they would have put you and others at risk.

When force is justified - use force and end the confrontation quickly.

Lastly I’ll leave you with this quote from Josey Wales

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Catch up blog

Friends of the Budo Blog I hear your cries.  Kasey, where have you been?  What are you up to?  Why are there no new blogs?  Who is going to write stupid jokes and post pop culture and comic book references?  I hear you and I understand.  The Budo Blog is awesome, and it is hard enough to have to wait a week until the next one.  Almost unbearable to wait longer if the blog is delayed.  So fear not the Budo Blog is back with the tales of where I’ve been and if I do my job right what you can learn from those adventures.

I posted the last blog October 9th

On October 10th we had a high risk felony search warrant.  The following day I had Sniper Training.  Then that weekend I left for Socorro New Mexico.

Why Socorro you ask?  I had the opportunity to attend the prevention of and response to suicide bombing incidents class.  New Mexico Tech hosts the EMRTC (energetic materials research and testing center) 

Check out the videos on this link

I figured I would be able to post a blog about working out in your hotel room, body weight training, making the best of what you have, etc…

However, the folks at New Mexico tech were nice enough to let us use their athletic facilities.

I talked a buddy into training with me.  We decided to do strength training Monday and Wednesday and running Tuesday and Thursday.  We flew out on Friday

Working out with a friend and trying to use the free time we had for training in the most efficient way we decided to work the military training pyramid.

1 Pull Up
2 Push Ups
3 Sit Ups
4 Sumo Squats

What can you learn from that adventure?
Well first that work out is a fast and efficient way to get good strength training in quickly.  Also because there is no rest between exercises or sets it gets your heart rate into the cardiovascular training zone for around 20-30 minutes too.

Another thing you can learn from this adventure is a point I’ve made on several other posts.
Surround yourself with good people.
1) People that will actually work out with you
2) People that not only work out with you but push you past where you are comfortable and get you to work harder.

My training buddy liked the pyramid workout we did on Monday.  So for Wednesday he decided that we needed to do a 7 step pyramid.  That is only two extra sets, but those two sets kicked my ass.

My training buddy is also a much better / faster runner than I am.  Trying to keep up with him, chasing him through the desert so I didn't get lost and eaten up by coyotes forced me to run faster than I am comfortable with.

Something I learned for this adventure – altitude training
I asked one of the instructors if there was somewhere cool (sight seeing wise) to go for a run.  He said we should check out the Kelly mine.  He didn't mention the Kelly mine is on a mountain.

I am from Minnesota, so I’ve never trained at altitude before.  We have lakes not mountains.  Holy shit that is hard.  We got out of the van and found the trail which basically goes straight up.  I ran for about a whopping 10 yards and started to wonder who poured needles into my lungs.  I’m proud I finished the run but it wasn't pretty.

When I got home I didn’t blog because I wanted to spend time with my daughters that I hadn’t seen in a week.  So the wife and I took them to the Mall of America.  They had gift cards from their birthdays to spend at the American Girl Doll Store.

Counter Terror training, hell even running up mountains, is much more fun than shopping for dolls at the Mall of America

My first day back to work was a training day for the WMD tactical team.  That training day included the annual PT (physical training) test

The requirement for the mile run is 8:30.  I have never run a mile under 9 minutes in my life, so to be honest I was a little worried about it.  But I wasn't going to fail.  I figured if I had to puke and collapse so be it, bring it to me.  Luckily for me my training buddy in Socorro is also on the WMD team.  So just like the desert I just tried to keep up with him.  The team kind of naturally broke into three groups as the run went on.  The fast guys (guys who have been training for marathons), the middle of the pack, and the slow guys.  I couldn't quite keep up with my buddy (fast group), but there was no way I was going to be one of the slow guys.  I am happy to report I ended up at the tail end of the middle group with a 8:15 mile.  Not record setting by any means, but the fastest mile I ever ran.  I guess all that altitude training paid off.

The next day was SWAT training and we had our new applicant testing.  Firearms skills, physical agility, and a stress shoot.  Long day!, I acted as a range officer so I had to come early to set up the range and stay late to clean it up

What can you learn from this?
You are what you routinely do.

You can’t cram for tests like that.  Chance favors the prepared mind.  To be successful you have to work on those skills and attributes everyday.  Dry fire drills every day for a year will make you a better shooter than going out to the range a week before a qualification.  Maintaining physical fitness serves you better than killing yourself trying to get into shape for a PT test or peaking for one event.  If you have to change your life style for a test than you are already behind the 8 ball.

The flip side of that is, if you need a test or challenge to inspire you to train certain skills and attributes on a regular basis then seek out those challenges.

Competition breeds excellence, even if you are just competing against yourself.  Sing up for a warrior dash, or mud run.  Test yourself, if you don’t belong to an organization that routinely tests your skills / fitness steal a test from the Military

This website is awesome, here is an article on military / law enforcement fitness testing preparation

Run yourself through the test a couple times a year, see how you improve.

Now you may be asking ok Kasey, why didn’t you drop these nuggets of wisdom on us after the SWAT test.

Because we had another high risk felony search warrant the next day.  We have been very busy this year

Even my weekends have been busy with the addition of the Sunday classes I mentioned in previous blogs.  But it is worth it, the classes have been going very well, and I am working out the logistical kinks of pulling off this type of training.

Along those lines I have also been dong personal training / one on one instruction as well.  It is a new and interesting challenge, but it is rewarding to see the progress you are helping to achieve.

So after all that, time to blog?  Nope, guess what - another high risk felony search warrant.  Did I mention we have been busy?

So then it was time to be a good dad and take the kids trick or treating, check out our awesome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Costumes

By now you must saying, Kasey – surely after all this you would take a day off and find some time to devote to your readers.

Nope the next day I taught Control Tactics to my department.

Then, a weekend of Dojo classes and personal training.

But now, finally I am all caught up.  I can get back to blogging and writing the book.

However, there are big things on the horizon.  Too soon to go into detail, but just now if I disappear again in the non too distant future it’s because I’m doing awesome stuff I’ll fill you in on as details become available.

So bottom line, what can you take away from today’s blog?
  • I am very busy
  • I don’t make excuses but on occasion I offer explanations
  • Surround yourself with good people.
  • You are what you routinely do.  To be successful you have to work on fundamental skills and attributes everyday.
  • Seek out challenges
  • Test yourself regularly
  • Lastly I am the coolest dad ever

Thank you for taking the time to read these blogs and to check in to see when a new one comes out. 

See you next Tuesday.

Until then  - Train hard, Train smart, Be safe