Or...Things you don't do when you've been shot.
Finally, a new TAC TUESDAY to report on. Airsoft training was on the table as we went through a couple of scenarios. Yours truly, of course, was on the receiving end of a couple of rounds. I did vent my frustration afterwards, but you should see the blood on my shirt!
Anywho, on with the lesson. Instructor Greg and Scary Larry dreamed up a couple of scenarios that we had to work through. The first had to do with multiple CHL shooters and multiple assailants. Let me tell you, it was a goat cheese cluster FOXTROT if there ever was one. First of all, realism was lacking again. We thought it best, given the area we used, to use the bank lobby as our scene. With the large group of shooters this time, and the fact that many were first time Fore-on-Force participants, realism again suffered as everyone was eager to get on the trigger.
FIRST SCENARIO: Instructor Greg and Eclipse decided to be the bank robbers. Two of the "lobby patrons" were to be the armed citizens. The object of this lesson was not made entirely clear; determine what is the correct 'shoot/no-shoot' situation.
The stage is set for a bank robbery. A couple of people act as tellers, a couple more act as loan officers, and the rest are the bank customers. I was minding my business in the lending area waiting for the robbery to go down. Lemme tell ya, it does come as a surprise. Greg and Eclipse performed an armed robbery immediately had us all on the ground. One by one they started selecting people to go into the 'vault area' in the back room. They picked the two concealed carry customers right away. One was by chance, and the other was wearing a 'kill me' vest (you know, the ubiquitous vest that many wear when carrying a gun). Everyone had their heads down, and Instructor Greg reinforced his demands for us to keep kissing dirt.
Unbeknownst to most of us, we had a third shooter. He kept distracting Greg by surreptitiously reaching for his gun. At one point, as others recounted, he made a move, Greg focused on him, and Eclipse was coming out for another victim for the back room when all attention was turned away from the guy in the back vault. He immediately came around and shot Eclipse. Mr. Shoot Me Vest, who was being escorted to the back, immediately drew and went after Greg. Greg was still focused on the third shooter when it went down. Third shooter tried to draw and Greg plugged him with two to the chest.
A couple of bystanders did receive hits, and the only CHL customer to escape unharmed was the guy first escorted to the vault. Everyone else kept their head down and did not move during the exchange. Probably best since there was not much cover to use.
AAR: By far, this was the best robbery attempt of the three. The bad guys kept the crowd controlled and everyone remained calm. It was probably the only situation where deadly force should have been used. The timing of the distraction and the fact that there were two robbers to control a whole lobby added to that shoot decision.
SECOND SCENARIO: I decided to hole up in the back room. I was also given a gun to use. This was a bad tactical decision on my part. Two robbers again, but they came in and were pretty ramped up. I think that there was not enough time to get everyone involved to calm down from the first scenario. Since I was in the back, hiding, I could not see how the tactical situation played out. I was much better off playing as a witness instead of trying to shoot it out with the robbers.
One of the guys was forced into the corner by the lending area and the other stepped back out of the front entrance for cover. When I came out of cover, I only saw the guy in the doorway. I made the biggest mistake of extending my hands and face from around cover and leaving them exposed. The guy in the lending area dropped me with a shot to the chin. That chin music left a nasty welt and bruise, by the way.
AAR: This was the worst situation I was in, by far. Not only was I blind, I killed myself by breaking cover. As a bank lobby employee, I am told to "Comply, Comply, Comply!" with a robber. I am also trained to be a good witness. I had the best advantage to report on the events as they happened. That is what I should have done. Pandemonium insued in that lobby, and I am at least glad that I was out of the way for most of it.
SCENARIO THREE: My Turn!!! I got to be a robber with two others. One of our guys was a sleeper inside the lobby. I wanted total control of the lobby from the get go, and I wanted people to know I was serious, too. The drill for us was to walk in, one right after the other, and take up our positions. BG#1 went to the far corner of the lending area and turned to the first person he saw and asked to open a bank account. That was my cue to initiate the robbery. I stood with my back to the exit and controlled the teller area.
My intent was to get everyone against the wall with their back to me, but in the heat of the moment, people did what they felt like and hit the floor. Since we were to have total control of the lobby, our rule was to shoot the first person who failed to comply with our demands. That allowed me the opportunity to shoot the guy in the "shoot me" vest. His hands weren't high enough and he was slow to comply. As I turned to the teller, I caught a quick flash from my left. One of the customers tried to be brave and draw down. He couldn't clear the gun fast enough from a Mexican style carry and I ventilated him. At that point, BG#3 announced his presence and informed me that there was a guy in a room behind me. I reacted quickly enough to block the door and prevent him from a sneak attack.
BG#3 grabbed the cash from the teller and we performed an organized retreat. All-in-all, it was a very good robbery on our part. Gawd bless, but I think I could pull one off. Perish the thought, though. No one in the lobby thought we would do anything like we did. Our intent was to dominate the lobby and put the fear in the customers. I thought it was a good idea to do that and see how they reacted.
AAR: Again, it was not to be expected. Both halves of the lobby were covered, and a sleeper was inside. If there was time, I would have coordinated with the sleeper better. Our intent was to force the lobby customers and employees to submit or face immediate consequences. It worked well, and we only saw one person attempt to draw.
REVIEW: A couple of points were repeated throughout the exercise. First, Comply, Comply, Comply!!! Nothing will make a robbery go away faster than just doing what the guys want and not making a fuss. Think back to the famous L.A. shootout, or to any number of extremely violent robberies in your area. What stands out the most? Is it the use of firepower? Are the guns big and scary? Is all the screaming and yelling and pistol-whipping making you wet your pants? Shock and awe, people, that's what it is. You will more than likely walk out of a bank that was violently robbed if you just do what they tell you.
Second, are you worried that you won't get your money? Remember, the bank is insured by the FDIC and your accounts are protected by the same. You will still be able to get your paycheck cashed and buy your groceries. Let the robber have the money in the teller's drawer.
The way I see it, I will only worry about that guy in the mask with the POS revolver when he comes after me or my own and poses an immediate threat to my well being. At that point, game on.
Remember that each situation is unique, and no one robbery will be thwarted by you packing heat. Use the grey matter between your ears and trust your instincts. If you have a bad gut feeling, listen to it. It could save your life. On the other hand, if you see the guy about to take out innocent customers, and you have a clear opportunity to shoot, do what you have to do.
In Texas, we are a "Duty to Retreat" state. We are also taught about conflict resolution and shoot/no shoot situations. The fear amongst firearms instructors and like-minded individuals is that someone licensed to carry may fancy himself/herself a Rambo type and ruin it for the rest of us. That is the primary focus of training during Tac Tuesday. We use this time to hone a skill that can and will deteriorate over time. Just like the military, we train as we fight and fight as we train. Not everyone does this, and the assumption is that there may be an encounter in which more lives are put in jeopardy because someone was packing without proper training.
Most people failed to see the learning aspect of Tac Tuesday this week. A lot of people, myself included, were quick to pull the trigger. We will work on better training and more defined roles next time so the class may be better able to learn and retain information.
I can tell you that no one will ever be car-jacked the same way twice. On top of that, the fluid and dynamic nature of a car-jacking will most certainly cause you to think before you act.
A couple of points learned during these exercises is that a car is a tool that can be utilized for your defense. Examine these points to see what I mean:
1. Don't leave your windows down while driving. Remember back to my Tac Recap on shooting cars? A window can actually deflect a bullet if the shot placement is just right. It will also deflect a bullet from its intended flight path. A rolled up window also limits the ability of a jacker from gaining access to the driver and limits options for his attack.
2. You have heard it a million times, I'm sure, but always leave enough space between you and the car in front to manuver around in case of attack. A good rule of thumb is to be able to see the back tires or bottom of the bumper in front of you.
3. Be aware of your surroundings. Head on a swivel and all that. Use the mirrors and know what environment you are in. Do you have the ability to hop the curb and cut across a lawn, or parking lot? Is that really a panhandler, or the boogeyman?
Also, try not to use drive-up ATMs or the McD's drive thru. These are potential bottlenecks and limit your options to fight and escape. Don't forget about cell phones and loud radios, too.
I know we can't or will not follow all of these suggestions, but it never hurts to be aware of them. Think of it as just another weapon in your arsenal.