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Friday, May 30, 2014

Starter List: Essential Items To Keep In Your Car

Whether you’re a newly minted car-owner, or need some help brushing up on the basics, knowing what to keep in your car in case of an emergency is infinitely useful. Here are a few useful items that every car-owner should have at hand:

Spare Tire and Related Tools

Keeping a spare tire in your trunk is absolutely essential. Make sure that you’re checking it periodically to make sure that it’s in good, working condition. If you don’t know how to change a tire, now is the perfect time to learn. Here’s a handy resource to get you started. A tire jack and lug (or spider) wrench will complete your kit, allowing you to change your own spare, if the occasion should arise.

Emergency Kit

Start with an Auto Emergency Kit such as this one from Interamer and work your way outward, expanding it with other ICE (In Case of Emergency) items. This kit includes emergency blankets and ponchos, along with a first aid kit. A great feature of this kit is the fact that it comes with jumper cables, an absolute necessity for any car.

Additional items you might want to consider keeping in a more easily accessible place, like your glove compartment would include a glass and seatbelt cutter, both of which would be useless if tucked away in your trunk. A smaller first aid kit with the basics and a second flashlight might be good to keep on hand up front too.

Phone Charger

Smart Phone batteries are notorious for their short life spans, so having a spare battery source readily available is always a good idea. Chargers that connect and charge through the lighter will do in a pinch, but a better one to have would be something like this one by Juicebar, via Tiger Direct. Holding a charge for up to 30 days, this charger charges by USB port, giving your phone a full-battery’s worth of juice. Set a reminder to check on this charger about once a month to ensure that you’re not caught with a non-functioning spare battery when an emergency hits.

Weather Related Tools

The aforementioned Auto Emergency Kit contains a three-day food bar, which would come in very handy should you get stranded. Depending on your location, some seasonal materials are necessities in your trunk. For areas hit particularly hard by snow, sleet and hail in the winter months, make sure that snow brushes, ice scrapers and shovels are in the trunk from about mid-October to mid-May. Sand and/or tire chains are also very useful in the winter months.

Useful in all seasons, but especially in areas hit by excessive heat and humidity, would be bottles of water. Bottled water does have an expiration date, so if they’ve been rolling around in your trunk for 12+ months, it’s time to replace them. 5-Year Shelf Life purified waters like Aqua Blox might be your better bet here, though another option would be a bottle of germicidal tablets to clean suspicious water. Ponchos, plastic bags and umbrellas come in handy year-round, but especially in the rainy months.

The Extras

These are likely items that are already in your car in some capacity, but they bear reminding: extra tissues, baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, pens and a pad of paper are all useful items that should be at arm’s reach in your car.

For some this may seem like an excessive number of things to keep in your car, but you’ll be happy to have them in a pinch. For those who feel like we missed out on something essential, be sure to let us know in the comments what else you’ve included in your car’s emergency kit.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Post Disaster Potable Water

The city sewage treatment plant goes off line due to a terrorist attack.

A natural disaster - such as Katrina - devastates and floods large geographic areas, making all water unsafe to consume.

An earthquake strikes or wildfire races through your area, knocking out power for your entire region.

A train derails and dumps thousands of gallons of toxic sludge into your city's primary water supply, making it unusable for consumption or sanitation.

Bottom line:  You are forced to evacuate, and must look elsewhere for water to consume.

Your plan is to rush down to the local super market and grab all the water off the shelves and hit the road. 

The problem is, everyone else had that same plan, and they got there before you.

 Most people that study and practice prepping know about The Rule of 3's:
You can live 3 minutes without air
You can live 3 hours without shelter
You can live 3 days without water
You can live 3 weeks without food
Water, though, has some rules.  You can't just drink any water - you've got to drink potable water.  Potable simply means, "safe to drink".

Drink contaminated water, and you may be accelerating your death, not preventing it.

The two biggest enemies here in the US are Cryptosporidium and Giardia.  Nasty stuff, both of them.

Both of these protozoa can give you severe gastrointestinal distress.  That's a nice way of saying diarrhea. 

Both are capable of causing you to lose more fluids than you are able to retain, and you slowly die from dehydration. 

If you are able to get to a medical facility, recovery can take upwards of 6 weeks for severe cases. If you can't get to facilities, your options are severely limited. 

The long and the short of it is:  Don't ingest these protozoa!

As we age, this is even more critical.  In general, we are faster to get ill - when compared to a typical 20-something - and are slower to regain our health.  A bad case of, "The Revenge" can take your life if you don't have immediate access to medical care.

Far and away, the most effective way to make your water potable, is to boil it. 

Many (if not most) survival and prepper sites will tell you to boil your water for 5 minutes.  In my opinion, that is a waste of precious resources (fuel and evaporated water) and time.  

Water is pasteurized (all bad stuff killed by heat) when it reaches 191F for 1 second.  You'll notice that this temperature is below boiling temperature of 212F. 

Most people don't carry a thermometer with them, so they can't tell when they've hit 191F.  For me, I wait until I see my first big boil bubble in the pot.  

By that time, I have already blown through 191F and have reached 212F.  I know with certainty - even at higher elevations up to 11,000 feet - that the water has been pasteurized and is safe to consume. 

Also, it's very important that the turbidity of the water be removed.  What does that mean?  It means you want the water to look clear.  Particulates floating in the water can house the protozoa, bacteria and other harmful bugs, and prevent the boiling from being fully effective.  

If you don't have some sort of a filter, let the water sit undisturbed for a half hour, and pour off the clear water on top. 

Lastly, stay away from water with a chemical or solvent smell.  There are ways to remove these contaminants, but you are ill-equipped to employ them during an emergency situation.

This first video shows how to make a survival filter.  Perhaps more valuable, she shows how to make an Egyptian Well - using natural sediments near the body of water to pre-filter the bad stuff -


 Sometimes you're fortunate enough to have some gear with you.  In this case a Life Straw.

This inventive teacher mixes up a batch of Cow Poo Tea.... and then drinks it with the Life Straw.  A pretty good addition to any Bug Out Bag, car emergency bag, or camping gear backpack -


 This creative fellow fills his canteen... from a tree!  Very easy to do with just a knife and a canteen.

 And a tree, of course!


 Dave Canterbury - formerly of the Discovery Channel show, "Dual Survival" shows us how to treat water in a number of ways.


Lastly, this video show how to make a solar still - producing pure, distilled water.

 As the video highlights, a LOT of work goes into solar stills, and you typically get very little water in return for the effort.  Use this technique in conjunction with other, more productive techniques.


 Learn about the water in your area.  Where are the treatment plants?  Where are naturally occurring bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, ponds and the like?  Are they up- or down-stream of potential contamination sources?

Where are man-made sources of water, such as swimming pools, storage tanks and cisterns?  Toilet tanks and water heaters?  Having this information before you need it can be a life-saver.

Do you have the ability to make a fire to boil your water - any time, any where?  Pots or other containers to hold it?  Chemicals to disinfect it?  Filters - or the skills to make one - to clarify it?

The skills and tools needed to make your water potable are readily available.  It's your job to make sure YOU have them.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Futility and Genius of Prohibition

Prohibition laws rock.  If you're a criminal or the government, that is.  Huge money-makers.  Mind boggling money.

They suck if you're a consumer of the prohibited items, as the overhead for delivering the goods is steep.  And leads to crime.  Like violence, since the smugglers and producers can't call the cops when they get robbed.

So they protect themselves.  Brutally.

People have made billions of dollars on prohibited acts and consumables.  Prohibition made Al Capone a very rich and powerful man.  Ditto Joseph Kennedy.  Pablo Escobar (and those who replaced him).  The Sinaloa Cartel.  The FBI, the DEA, the BATFE and all of the state and local agencies.  The bloated prison industry exists in large part due to the prohibition industry.

Moonshiners, pot growers, sex workers, meth cookers, gambling houses, cigarette runners, Oxy sellers.  It's the same deal.  They found an itch and scratched it.

All owe their existence and success to laws aimed at stopping personally destructive actions.

Alcohol prohibition laws - at the time - were the ONLY Constitutionally-sound prohibition laws our country has ever seen.  They actually followed the rules and added an amendment to the Constitution.

Why was it right to follow the rules for alcohol, and not for pot?  Or opium?  Or meth?  Or heroin?  Or oxy?  Or sex?  Or poker?

I can hear it now:  "Well, Chief, people are stupid.  They need laws to tell them not to do drugs and sleep with whores.  It'd be chaos without these laws.  THINK OF THE CHILDREN!"

Yes, some people are stupid.  So what?  If they want to engage in life-destroying activities, no law is going to stop them.

And I AM thinking of the children.  We've left them with a pile of crap legal system that grants individuals and agencies the ability to circumvent the Constitution.  We don't teach our kids lessons about choices and consequences, we compel them to comply.

The proof is in the history.  If prohibition laws actually worked, we'd have no drugs, no junkies, no whores, no illegal gambling houses.

Most of these laws are proposed and enacted by - for lack of a better term - fascists.  People that garner the power to tell you how to run your life.

Click to enlarge

Their "movements" are painted in red, white and blue, they parade victimized kids like 4-H farm animals at the county fair, and they shed the appropriate tear at the appropriate press conference.

And then they circumvent the Constitution.

I ask every anti-drug zealot I meet the same question:  If [drug being discussed] were decriminalized today, would you start using it?

Their answer is always, "No", and my reply is always, "Me neither."  I have no intent in engaging in personally destructive actions.  I'm smarter than that.

But there ARE people that DO want the drug, and they have absolutely no problem whatsoever in getting as much of it as they want right this minute.  If they or the providers of the "vice" are caught, we spend time and obscene amounts of money "punishing" these people.

We spend billions of dollars a year pretending to stop this "problem".  A problem that will never go away, because it's not actually a problem - it's human nature.

Government, obviously, LOVES every flavor of prohibition.  It pays the bills.  It grows the fleet.  It bolsters the ranks.  It buys the drones.

Most folks have heard that in 1933, it became illegal to own gold bullion in the United States.  You were ordered - under an executive order added to the Trading With The Enemy Act - to turn in all of your gold bullion to the government.

If you did not do so, you faced serious jail time, and a fine equivalent to around $650,000 ($10,000 in 1933, but remember:  a $20 gold piece was actually worth $20.  That same coin is now worth approximately $1300).

What most DON'T realize, is that it was still illegal to own bullion up until 1971.  Ol' Tricky Dick officially took us off the gold standard, and Americans could once again legally own gold bullion.

Hmm.  Judging from the large amounts of pre-1933 gold coins I buy and sell every day in my precious metals store, many, many people covertly disregarded the law.

We're seeing something similar in India right now.

In India, for all intents and purposes, they've made it illegal to import gold - at least the amount of gold the people of the country want to possess.

Enter the smugglers.
Interpol issued the notice was after officers seized 50kg of gold from his operatives in various consignments in the past six months. Going by the handwritten receipts and some papers recovered from Haneef 's house in Seven Wells in December 2013, investigators believe Haneef and his associates have smuggled at least 1,000kg of gold into the country.
So, this guy has smuggled the equivalent of at least 32,150 troy ounces of gold into India.  At current gold spot prices, that has a value of about $41.5 million.

And I guarantee you he is not selling the gold at spot prices.  Assuming he only charged an average of $100 premium per ounce, his profit is over $3.2 million.  I'd guess he's charging double or triple that amount - if not more.  Gold is king in India.

Not bad work if you can get it.  And he can thank the Indian government for giving him - and thousands of others just like him - the opportunity to charge these exorbitant prices.

And it won't be stopping any time soon.  Look at this video (2m) where a "concerned politician" is discussing putting limitations on the amount of gold jewelry that can be possessed and worn in a wedding.


It also notes how on one flight from Dubai to India, every single person on the plane had at least a kilogram of gold with them!

If I were a gold smuggler, I'd be making campaign contributions to these politicians.  They are making sure the smugglers will continue making buckets-o-cash well into the future.


Accept The Challenge

OK, so we know via historical evidence that all governments will attempt to prohibit goods or actions.  Their actions will be cloaked in "social justice" or "economic equality" or "moral imperatives" of some sort.

You know it's all about control.  And means dollars.

In their eyes, you are too stupid to have your own moral compass.  You must follow the moral compass forced upon you by bureaucrats in DC, your state capital and city hall.

In my book, THAT'S immoral.  My moral compass says that any individual of legal age can do as they wish as long as they don't infringe on the rights of another while doing so.  (Minors, non-sentient [self-aware] beings and the mental ill are all protected and restricted, as none have the ability to make legally binding agreements).

So, what do you have in your life that you don't want to see go away?  Cash, rum, pot, porn?  All of the above?  Learn how to make your own.

Perhaps more importantly, see what others use and want, and learn how to make or supply THAT.  If you have moral qualms with, say alcohol, then don't make and sell it.  You ARE an of-age, mentally sound, sentient being, so act like one.

Live by your own moral compass!  Weigh the potential costs against the benefits, and make up your own mind.

The endgame and tactics employed, though, are pretty damned ominous.  If we look at the former Soviet Union, we see that, while they ruled with an iron fist, they were very liberal with dispensing the social drug - vodka.  People might be upset if they can't get a loaf of bread, but cut off the self-medication of choice, and you risk revolt.

When will EBT cards be openly accepted for the purchase of alcohol?  They already work at strip clubs and casinos, so can the corner liquor store be far behind?
Yes, Ms. Whiton was wrong since the rules in her state say it is okay to use EBT cards for the purchase of cigarettes and alcohol—but our question nationwide should be why is this even possible?  How can “free” alcohol and cigarettes help poor people?
Ooops.  I'm a bit behind the times.

Is there a correlation between Soviet practices, EBT booze cards and the recent loosening of marijuana laws in the US?  Add to that the increase in "mental disorders" that require medication to dumb-down our children - especially rebellious boys?

Take my land, take my assets, use both to feed the State - but keep me hammered so I comply and don't care.

Property ownership and freedom of action are the hallmarks of a free state.  We no longer have that, and what little is left is being sucked dry.

What are you going to do to protect your assets?  Your freedom of choice?  Your right to live as you see fit?

Hurry up, 'cause the Prohibition Police are a-knockin' at your door...

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Choosing The Right Weapon For YOU

Every person is different.  Some of us are strong.  Some of us... not so much.  Some have "hawk-eye vision"  while some of us suffer from various eye and sight ailments.  As we age, our dexterity, strength and agility can begin to wane.  Our physical "assets" must be taken into account when selecting a self-defense weapon.

Like it or not, we are responsible for our own safety.  In the most optimum case, the police are 5 minutes away - and that assumes we've been able to call 911.  Lots of bad things can happen in 5 minutes. In order for us to maintain our independence, we must know how to ensure our physical safety.

 Let's look at some defensive tools we can select, and the kind of training that's necessary to use them effectively.


There are a number of options, all of which are generally restricted in some form or another. It is of paramount importance for you to understand the state and local laws regarding any self-defense tool you purchase.

 For instance, in California, pepper spray is legal, but it has size limitations. In most states, expandable batons are legal, but they're illegal in California. Use one to save your life, and YOU will be going to jail.

 Expandable Batons - a great tool that is easily concealed.  Causes great pain to the assailant when they are struck on the boney portions of their bodies - knees, wrists, elbows, head.  Generally considered to be non-lethal, but will break bones when used on wrists and arms.  Since direct contact is necessary with the assailant, it should only be considered as a last-line of defense.


 Pepper Spray - an excellent all-around defensive tool. Causes involuntary closing of the assailant's eyes and makes breathing difficult. Easily carried and concealed, and relatively inexpensive to purchase. Able to stop multiple attackers, allowing you to escape. Spray must hit the face of the attacker to be effective.  Generally considered to be non-lethal.

 Stun Guns - very effective tools, but require direct contact with the assailant. They disable the attacker with an electrical charge (up to 10 million volts) that causes involuntary muscle seizures. Easily carried and concealed, inexpensive, but only able to stop one attacker at a time. Generally considered to be non-lethal.  Should only be considered as a last-line of defense.

 Tasers - like stun guns, the attacker is disabled by an electrical charge. The civilian models fire electrical probes up to 15 feet. Both of the probes must make contact with the attacker to be effective. In the event the probes miss their mark, the Taser can be quickly converted into a stun gun. Expensive compared to stun guns or pepper spray. Generally considered to be non-lethal.

Handguns - fires a projectile (the bullet) at a high rate of speed into the attacker, causing trauma to their internal organs. Concealed possession in public is highly restricted in most states, unless state-sponsored training is completed. Very effective if used properly. Able to stop multiple attackers. Considered to be a lethal weapon.  The single most effective tool for ensuring your physical safety when proper training has been taken.

Shotguns - the favored home-defense weapon by most experts. Home defense models can be purchased for less than most handguns, and they are allowed in virtually all states. Contrary to popular belief, shotguns must be aimed like any other weapon to be effective, but when "shot" is used (as opposed to slugs), the defender has a greater margin for error to ensure they stop the attacker. Effective against multiple attackers. Considered to be a lethal weapon.

Rifles - generally not recommended for in-home defense, as the risk of "over penetration" (the bullet hitting the attacker and still passing through walls behind him) is too great. Like shotguns, they are generally allowed in virtually all states. Effective against multiple attackers (less so for bolt-action rifles). Considered to be a lethal weapon.  


Once you have decided on the self-defense tools you wish to use, and which are legal in your jurisdiction, proper training is very important. Simply owning a defensive tool is not enough - you need to know how to use it to its highest effectiveness.

Let me stress something:  Your objective is to escape harm.  You're not a police officer looking to incapacitate a suspect prior to arrest.  Your plan is to incapacitate the assailant, and then get the hell out!

 Non-lethal weapons - there is very little training available for non-law enforcement individuals. This pepper spray video offers some great tips - with a couple of caveats:  I teach my students to only buy the stream style of spray.  It allows you to be the furthest away from your attacker, as well as reducing (but not eliminating) the chance of "blow back" should the wind be blowing in your direction.  Additionally, I suggest a "Z" pattern for the spray towards the face.  In this way, you have the greatest opportunity to hit the eyes, nose and mouth of your attacker.


 As this next video demonstrates, stun guns are very effective in keeping an assailant away from you, but it is more difficult to disable them.  To disable the assailant, you must maintain contact for 3 to 5 seconds. Personally, I keep a stun gun in my car as a means of stunning an attacker that is attempting to enter my vehicle, or for removing them form the vehicle.


 This video on expandable batons - though a bit melodramatic - is a good demonstration of how to use it effectively.  Strike at the weapons and the arms/wrists holding them, then disable the attacker and escape.


 Lethal weapons - there is a great deal more hands-on training available for handguns, shotguns and rifles. For handguns, I strongly encourage new and prospective gun owners to first take the NRA FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation class.  It's a 3+ hour class where you'll learn the basics of gun safety, usage, ammo selection, cleaning and storage.

After practice and when you've become proficient, consider joining an IDPA Practical Shooting Organization.  These will teach you how to shoot in realistic defensive situations, while also placing you under some of the stress that comes with real self-defense.

Many local shooting clubs have basic trap and skeet shooting courses for individuals to be able to learn how to properly use a shotgun. Most of these skills are transferable to defensive situations. The NRA also offers a number of shotgun courses around the country. One note, though: Home defense shotguns generally have a shorter barrel - 18 1/2 inches or so. Be sure to get some practice to be able to see how your shot pattern changes with the shorter barrel.

As noted above, a rifle is not a great choice for a in-home self-defense weapon, but the skills you learn can be transferred to pistol and shotgun shooting. Rifle training is offered by the NRA, but I believe the best rifle training is offered by the Appleseed Project. It is two days of practical training that is geared towards males and females of all ages and abilities.

 I truly cannot recommend this training highly enough.

 Put together a plan. The first choice is always avoidance. The best place to be when disaster strikes is somewhere else.

Sadly, our world doesn't always allow us to avoid danger. Obtaining the proper tools and training will go a long way in keeping you and your loved ones safe.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Getting That New Business Off The Ground

I was hunting around the old Interwebs looking for information on carving out a niche for a business. Branding is the word used. This Buddhist Waiter understands.
What a Buddhist Waiter in the Florida Keys Can Teach You About Your Brand By Kimberly Ward Manning 
I've heard this from too many women: I've taken umpteen seminars, poured everything I've got into building this business and I'm still not landing clients. What gives? 
You spent beaucoup bucks on the online business school course designed to help you create the business you love. Signed up for Pinterest, Facebook, Google+ trainings so you can master the art of social media. 
You hired a web designer to craft a website that will shine like a beacon, drawing clients to you like stargazers at a meteor shower. And what happened? 
Chirp chirp.
So many people, when starting a business, just follow a template they like but forget a key ingredient: Doing something different from the rest of the crowd. The only way you're going to know how to zig when everyone else is zagging, is to know your customers.
You had every intention of creating a sustainable flow of great clients, which is why you invested so much of yourself and your resources in your business. 
And when client attraction and retention isn't happening, it feels... sucky. Like you did something wrong. Or didn't do something. You think, "Maybe my clients don't like me/my products and services/my website." 
If this feels familiar, you don't have a client attraction problem - you have a branding problem. 
Enter the Buddhist business coach 
After a wonderful day of snorkeling in the Florida Keys, I stopped for dinner at a marina restaurant with an incredible sunset view of that gorgeous orange orb melting into the Atlantic. Dinner was delivered to our table by a nice waiter with lots of tattoos. 
What really struck me was the wooden mala he wore around his wrist. A mala is a Buddhist bracelet, a meditation aid, and his was one of the most unusual I had seen. Large wooden beads in an interesting shade of green. I asked about it. 
Turns out the dude is a recovering addict. Turned to Buddhism as a tool to get his life back in order and the mala, blessed by his teacher, was something he wears every day to remind him of his journey. Said he used to get pissed off by people, his reactions sending him down a destructive path. Now he sees everyone as his teacher. Nice people, difficult people, all kinds of people showing up with their stuff. They all have something to teach him. 
Every customer at the restaurant is his teacher.
Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! If you're not listening to your customers, not learning what they're teaching you about what products they want, what level of service they demand, what kind of perks they expect - you're going to be just another "also ran" business.

What's the old saying? "You have two ears, two eyes and one mouth. Use them in those proportions."
What that Buddhist waiter knows about your business 
Every client (and prospective client) is your teacher. They will tell you everything you need to know in order to find them, engage them and attract them to your work. 
Your prospective client will share what fires them up. And what keeps them up at night. 
You can learn where they hang out. The language they speak, the dance steps they like to do. 
You can't engage and attract someone unless you're engaging and attractive. 
Seems so simple, but so many business owners miss this critical point. 
Good branding is [client] attractive 
When you take the time to understand your prospective client, you can craft your business brand in a way that resonates with your target market. You'll find your work attracts more attention, your programs and services will see increased enrollment and that bank account that was stressed building your business can now enjoy deposits. 
Kimberly Ward Manning, MA, CLC, is an award-winning marketing mind and coach who helps visionary women create successful businesses and lives that integrate with the authentic expression of their voice and energy. Kim helps women entrepreneurs with their marketing, branding and business building -- so that their business attracts clients, produces a generous income AND aligns with who they are. Learn more at 
Article Source:  What a Buddhist Waiter in the Florida Keys Can Teach You About Your Brand
When we were discussing opening up our precious metals store, my partners and I usually got the same response - "Ewwww, you're opening up a pawn shop?!"

Huh? Not even close. But the perception of most people towards businesses that buy and sell gold and silver bullion and jewelry, is one of suspicion. They may have never been to a pawn shop or second hand dealer (which is our legal designation}, but they have a negative perception.

So, when we opened the store, we installed a nice lobby area with new couches, a coffee table with books and magazines, an air spritzer to keep the joint smelling fresh.

Everyone that walks in the door gets offered a cup of coffee, a bottle of water and a lollipop. Our belief was that this would make women, in particular, feel more at ease.

For most guys, it doesn't matter. They love the extensive security systems we've got, that are apparent, but not intrusive.

Most importantly, we actually make our customers feel like we want them there. Virtually all of our competitors have the, "I'll get to you when I get to you" attitude.

How's this strategy worked? We've gotten the "Best Of" award from the largest newspaper in our county every year we've been in business.  Over 70% of our business is repeat or referral customers.  It costs a lot of money to bring in new customers, so once we've got them, we never let go!

Treat people right, listen to what they want and need, and fill that need as best as you can.

The money will follow. 

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Use Of Deadly Force Exceptions

Every gun owner I know or have had contact with understands that deadly force is only used when your life, or the life of another, is in mortal danger.  The gun grabbers would have the general population believe that we gun owners have, "itchy trigger fingers" just looking to pop a cap in the ass of some bad guy.

They'll point to the handful of incidents a year where some idiot goes off half-cocked and crosses a line.  In the eyes of the gun grabbers, all 100 million of us gun owners are represented by those nut jobs.

We "good guys" understand the heavy burden involved in owning and using a gun.  We willingly accept that burden.  The very last thing we want to do is to use our guns for self-defense, but the "bad guys" don't always give us much choice.  If we believe you are a threat to our life or the life of another, we will shoot you in self-defense.

Most of us have gone through training on how to ensure we only have to shoot the fewest number of shots to stop the threat.  THIS is a key concept we all understand:  We MUST stop shooting once the threat has stopped.  Otherwise, in the eyes of the law, we've become the aggressor.

A great example:  I was teaching one of my introductory pistol classes on a Saturday.  My classroom is way in the back of the gun range/shop.  All of what follows happened without any of us in the classroom being aware it was going on.

All of my students had shown up early, so my door was closed by 10:45, and class had begun.  Out in the shop, the manager was alone.  The other employee was delayed.

Around 11am, a guy walked into the shop, and was asking questions about the pepper spray.  He wanted to buy one for his girlfriend.  The locked display case for the pepper spray was on a wall out in the store.

The manager grabbed his keys, and was pulling out a spray when his head got slammed into the edge of the case.  The "customer" grabbed for the manager's sidearm.  Thankfully, it was in a Serpa retention holster, and the guy couldn't get it out.

The manager shook off the stun of having his head slammed and threw an elbow backwards into the face of the bad guy.  The manager cleared his head, drew his weapon.... and cursed.

The bad guy was running out the door towards a get-away car.  The manager had ample opportunity (and skill) to drop the guy as he ran, but his training stopped him.

He had gone through similar scenarios in his head enough times to know NOT to shoot.  The manager would have been hauled off to jail for murder/attempted murder.

SecondCall Defense recently ran an article on some other scenarios where you may not be justified in using lethal force:
Initial Aggressor – Once again, laws vary from state to state. However, in most cases, if you are the one who initiates violence, you risk losing the ability to argue self defense. If you throw the first punch, then later start losing the fight and pull a gun to defend yourself, you may be considered the bad guy.
True enough.  Good reason to walk away from a fight especially if you're carrying concealed.  The law will likely side with the other person.  Opening statement from the DA in court:  "Mr. Smith - who was carrying a gun during the altercation - clearly felt omnipotent when he assaulted Mr. Jones."  Lose/lose situation.
Escalation – Anything you do that causes a bad situation to get worse can be held against you. For example, if someone is verbally threatening you and you respond with counter threats, you are escalating the situation. Escalation means you are playing a part in creating a deadly force encounter.
The key here is, "verbally threatening" you.  Remember the old, "sticks and stones" rhyme from your childhood.  Words cannot be considered by you to be a mortal threat.  Use your head, and don't taunt the aggressor.
Committing Felony or Unlawful Act – If you are robbing a gas station, physically assaulting someone, or otherwise committing a crime, and in the process you are faced with a deadly threat, you will have a very difficult time arguing self defense. It depends on the facts of the case, but in general the law is not designed to protect criminals.
Break the law while using a gun, means you're going down.  As you should.
Reengagements and Pursuit – Given the premise that justifiable use of deadly force must be something that is thrust upon you and not something you cause or seek out willingly, you can hurt your self defense argument if your attacker runs away and you then chase him in order to continue the conflict.
The example of the manager above is the perfect illustration of this principle.  Drill this into your head:  Once the threat has stopped, YOU must stop your self-defense.

States like California throw in additional exceptions.

If the aggressor would not be considered a physical threat by a reasonable person, deadly force is not justified.

For instance, I'm a physically big guy.  If a little old lady starts coming after me with a baseball bat, I'm likely not in fear for my life.  I can likely take the bat from the little old lady, and the incident is over.  But, if I were also a little old lady, and the aggressor was coming after me, I WOULD be justified in using deadly force, as the two actors in the incident are of equal physical stature.

There must be a reasonable expectation that you'd be severely harmed before you can use deadly force.

I guarantee you, though, that a "reasonable" person is very different in San Francisco than they are in Dallas.  In San Francisco, the gun grabbers only consider armed self-defense to be reasonable when they literally have a gun pointed to THEIR heads.  Otherwise, you're expected to chit-chat and delve into the psyche of the assailant to uncover why he's been forced to point a gun at someone else's head.

Accept The Challenge

Using deadly force is not for the timid, or the easily taunted.  I've mentioned before that if you use your gun for self-defense in any circumstances, you should expect to be arrested.  Get that in your head - right now - so that if you are arrested, you don't make the situation worse by resisting arrest.

Membership in organizations such as SecondCall Defense educate you on how/when it's justified to use a firearm in self-defense, and then provide legal and financial support once the incident is over.

Of equal importance is for gun owners to train on an ongoing basis.  Walk your own home to understand the various strengths and weaknesses for cover and concealment you can use.  Gain the, "home field advantage" by having insider knowledge about which walls, structures and appliances will provide you with cover from bullet penetration.

Understand your "fields of fire" in your home.  If you shoot in that direction and miss, what's on the other side?  A window?  An easily penetrated plaster board wall?  A bedroom?  In my precious metals store, taking a few steps in one direction makes a missed shot go into a wall... or into a busy parking lot.

Go through scenarios in your head.  If someone is walking towards you with a knife, when do they become a real threat?  What are you going to say and do as they approach?  What if they have a pepper spray or stun gun?  At what distance are you really threatened?

Are you defending a life or property?  This is a crime - or not - depending upon your state and your location (home versus a business).

Understand and train for different situations before you're in them for real.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.