Tag Archive: guns

Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival eBooks & PDF for 06-13-18

Free Kindle Survival Homesteading Books

Free Homesteading, cooking, Survival, , and Prepping Kindle ebooks and PDF’s? Yes FREE Kindle ebooks and PDF’s!! Every now and then Amazon runs special offers on some of their Kindle ebooks and PDF’s, making them free for a limited time (usually just 24 hours).

I will check Amazon on regularly basis for their free Kindle ebooks in related subjects such as survival, homesteading and prepping etc. I will do all the leg-work for you so you don’t have to. You can just come back here regularly, so make sure to bookmark this blog.

These ebooks and PDF’s are only free for a limited time so if you are interested in one make sure you get it right away so you don’t lose out!

Remember you DON’T need a kindle to take advantage of these! There are FREE kindle apps for most major platforms!! iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. You can find those apps here!

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Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival eBooks & PDF for 05-25-18

Free Kindle Survival Homesteading Books

Free Homesteading, cooking, Survival, , and Prepping Kindle ebooks and PDF’s? Yes FREE Kindle ebooks and PDF’s!! Every now and then Amazon runs special offers on some of their Kindle ebooks and PDF’s, making them free for a limited time (usually just 24 hours).

I will check Amazon on regularly basis for their free Kindle ebooks in related subjects such as survival, homesteading and prepping etc. I will do all the leg-work for you so you don’t have to. You can just come back here regularly, so make sure to bookmark this blog.

These ebooks and PDF’s are only free for a limited time so if you are interested in one make sure you get it right away so you don’t lose out!

Remember you DON’T need a kindle to take advantage of these! There are FREE kindle apps for most major platforms!! iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. You can find those apps here!

Always check price before engaging, to make sure it hasn’t returned to full price.

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Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival eBooks & PDF for 05-17-18

Free Kindle Survival Homesteading Books

Free Homesteading, cooking, Survival, , and Prepping Kindle ebooks and PDF’s? Yes FREE Kindle ebooks and PDF’s!! Every now and then Amazon runs special offers on some of their Kindle ebooks and PDF’s, making them free for a limited time (usually just 24 hours).

I will check Amazon on regularly basis for their free Kindle ebooks in related subjects such as survival, homesteading and prepping etc. I will do all the leg-work for you so you don’t have to. You can just come back here regularly, so make sure to bookmark this blog.

These ebooks and PDF’s are only free for a limited time so if you are interested in one make sure you get it right away so you don’t lose out!

Remember you DON’T need a kindle to take advantage of these! There are FREE kindle apps for most major platforms!! iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. You can find those apps here!

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Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival eBooks & PDF for 05-11-18

Free Kindle Survival Homesteading Books

Free Homesteading, cooking, Survival, , and Prepping Kindle ebooks and PDF’s? Yes FREE Kindle ebooks and PDF’s!! Every now and then Amazon runs special offers on some of their Kindle ebooks and PDF’s, making them free for a limited time (usually just 24 hours).

I will check Amazon on regularly basis for their free Kindle ebooks in related subjects such as survival, homesteading and prepping etc. I will do all the leg-work for you so you don’t have to. You can just come back here regularly, so make sure to bookmark this blog.

These ebooks and PDF’s are only free for a limited time so if you are interested in one make sure you get it right away so you don’t lose out!

Remember you DON’T need a kindle to take advantage of these! There are FREE kindle apps for most major platforms!! iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. You can find those apps here!

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Incredible Anti-Gun Bill Introduced in MN

HF 3022 could make California seem “gun-friendly.”

If you live in Minnesota, be afraid. Be very afraid. Then get busy.

A nasty piece of gun control legislation called HF 3022 has been introduced, and it is hell on gun rights. Not only does it restrict just about everything related to firearms, it also makes gun owners’ information public, as in how many guns you own and of what type, and your home address.

A Facebook post by AccuTac Arms, which calls itself “the largest stocking dealer of NFA items in Minnesota,” sums it up like this:

For everyone in MN.

Here it comes

HF 3022 is now in the Legislature

– Permit required to own a gun
– Permit required to buy a gun
– Permit required to sell a gun
– Local law enforcement gets to deny all types of
gun permits
– Local law enforcement gets to deny permits to carry
– Personal medical information must be shared with law enforcement
– All
firearm transfers must be reported
– All guns must be registered (fees set by local law enforcement)
– Registration must be renewed annually
– Local law enforcement may conduct warrantless “safety inspections” of
gun owner’s homes
– Local law enforcement sets “safe
storage” policies
– Five day waiting period for all transfers
– Transfers must be done through an FFL (even between private parties)
– Fees may be charged for transfers
– Local law enforcement may conduct background investigation on transfers
– Total ban on any gun which meets broad “assault weapon” definition – banned
gunsmust be destroyed or surrendered
– Ban thumbhole
stocks
– Ban adjustable stocks
– Ban pistol grip stocks
– Limit fixed magazine capacity to 7 rounds
– Ban any magazine capable of holding more than 7
rounds
– Suspension of gun rights based on complaints from anonymous parties
– Recriminalization of suppressors
– Bump
stock ban
– All ammunition sales will be registered
– Permit required to purchase ammunition

Almost forgot an important thing —

HF 3022 would also make gun owner private data public. This would include:

Number and type of guns you own
Your address

Anyone think that’s okay?

If you haven’t joined the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, please do.

Yikes!

If this becomes law, folks in California can at least bask in the knowledge that they’re no longer living in the most anti-gun state in the USA.

You can read the entire text of HF 3022 here.

It seems unlikely that it will pass, especially as is, but it is still a huge threat — and a clear example of anti-gunners’ end goal: The destruction of civilian gun ownership in the USA. One big hurdle is that it violates HIPPA privacy laws by requiring citizens to give their medical information to law enforcement entities before they can purchase a gun. It also opens the door (pun intended) to warrantless searches of citizens’ homes.

It also bans “assault weapons” and requires owners to surrender or destroy them without compensation.

MN residents need to mobilize and fight this at all costs. Check out the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus here.

The current status on March 1, 2018 according to this site is that it was introduced on February 26, 2018 and referred to “Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance.”

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

via:  alloutdoor


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Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival Kindle eBooks for 04-21-18

Free Kindle Survival Homesteading Books

Free Homesteading, cooking, Survival, , and Prepping Kindle ebooks and PDF’s? Yes FREE Kindle ebooks and PDF’s!! Every now and then Amazon runs special offers on some of their Kindle ebooks and PDF’s, making them free for a limited time (usually just 24 hours).

I will check Amazon on regularly basis for their free Kindle ebooks in related subjects such as survival, homesteading and prepping etc. I will do all the leg-work for you so you don’t have to. You can just come back here regularly, so make sure to bookmark this blog.

These ebooks and PDF’s are only free for a limited time so if you are interested in one make sure you get it right away so you don’t lose out!

Remember you DON’T need a kindle to take advantage of these! There are FREE kindle apps for most major platforms!! iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. You can find those apps here!

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Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival Kindle eBooks for 04-02-18

Free Kindle Survival Homesteading Books

Free Homesteading, cooking, Survival, , and Prepping Kindle ebooks? Yes FREE Kindle ebooks!! Every now and then Amazon runs special offers on some of their Kindle ebooks, making them free for a limited time (usually just 24 hours).

I will check Amazon on regularly basis for their free Kindle ebooks in related subjects such as survival, homesteading and prepping etc. I will do all the leg-work for you so you don’t have to. You can just come back here regularly, so make sure to bookmark this blog.

These ebooks are only free for a limited time so if you are interested in one make sure you get it right away so you don’t lose out!

Remember you DON’T need a kindle to take advantage of these! There are FREE kindle apps for most major platforms!! iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. You can find those apps here!

Always check price before engaging, to make sure it hasn’t returned to full price.

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WEEKLY THREAT ROUNDUP 2-4-18

From AlertsUSA

 

Scene from latest Islamic State video entitled. "Answer the Call." - ALLOW IMAGES

President Warns of Nuclear Threat from N. Korea

 

February 3, 2018

 

On Jan 30th the following related Flash SMS message
was sent to
AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

1/30 – President Trump in State of the Union Address: N. Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten the U.S. homeland.

What You Need To Know

On eight occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding safety and security matters. Most important for this report, on Tuesday, AlertsUSA subscribers were informed of a warning issued by President Trump during his State of the Union address within which he branded North Korea’s leadership as “depraved” and stated that Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear missiles could “very soon threaten our homeland.” The President vowed a continued campaign to prevent that from happening.

While most mainstream news coverage of N. Korea over the last few weeks has revolved around the hermit kingdom sending a limited number of athletes (along with hundreds of cheerleaders) to the upcoming Winter Olympics in S. Korea, behind the scenes, tensions are increasing as their nuclear and missile programs continue to advance.

According to the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) published late this week by the Department of Defense:

“North Korea has accelerated its provocative pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile capabilities, and expressed explicit threats to use nuclear weapons against the United States and its allies in the region. North Korean officials insist that they will not give up nuclear weapons. Given North Korea’s current and emerging nuclear capabilities; existing chemical, biological, and conventional capabilities; and extremely provocative rhetoric and actions, it has come to pose an urgent and unpredictable threat to the United States, allies, and partners. Consequently, the United States reaffirms that North Korea’s illicit nuclear program must be completely, verifiably, and irreversibly eliminated, resulting in a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

Note the head-on conflict between the two emboldened statements above. As consecutive N. Korean regimes have literally destroyed their country (and caused significant pain and hardship for their citizens) in the pursuit of a strategic weapons capability, it is inconceivable that they would, under any circumstances, voluntarily give up these weapons now that the baseline goal has been achieved. Similarly, S. Korea, the U.S., Japan and other nations repeatedly threatened by N. Korea are equally unlikely to tolerate a nuclear-armed N. Korea for much longer. The risk is perceived as much too great.

The NPR document goes on::

“Our deterrence strategy for North Korea makes clear that any North Korean nuclear attack against the United States or its allies and partners is unacceptable and will result in the end of that regime. There is no scenario in which the Kim (Jong-un) regime could employ nuclear weapons and survive.”

Proliferation Threat

Of equal importance is the threat of the proliferation of these weapons. The fact stands that N. Korea is financially in ruins and their situation is growing increasingly dire by the day. Their major benefactors are gone, numerous rounds of United Nations sanctions have reduced incoming revenue streams to a trickle, and the country is desperate for cold hard cash.

In this regard, the NPR also highlights the risk of North Korea selling its nuclear weapons and technology to other state and non-state actors, in turn increasing the pressure on still other nations to build their own nuclear arsenal in order to defend themselves from a nuclear attack.

One glaring example would be Iran, a very close ally of N. Korea. If Tehran were to acquire nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia (a historic enemy of Iran) would acquire their own, as would most other Gulf nations.

North Korea already has a troubling history of selling advanced military technology, including that used in nuclear weapons, to Asian and Middle Eastern countries. In the 1990s, North Korean scientists taught Pakistan how to make Krytrons (cold-cathode gas-filled tubes used in nuclear triggers), as well as provided them with low-enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) which was then transferred to Libya. It is widely believed that North Korea provided Iran with nuclear technology. Pyongyang also helped Syria build a nuclear reactor (which was destroyed by Israel in 2007).

Then there are the numerous terrorist organizations seeking access to the ultimate weapon of war, which could generate both a significant cash haul for North Korea, as well as help them strike the U.S., albeit indirectly.

In 1998, al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden declared in a religious edict that acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) was his “Islamic duty.” In 2008, current al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released a book titled Exoneration within which he uses key Quranic themes (as opposed to an outright religious edict) to justify the use of such weapons.

While N. Korea’s participation in the Olympics is a nice step in engagement, keep this situation in perspective as it has little bearing on a peaceful resolution to the overall crisis.



IMPORTANT RESOURCE

Nuclear Posture Review cover - ALLOW IMAGES

The 2018 Department of Defense Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is a sweeping analysis and reassessment of the U.S. nuclear weapons policy and doctrine. Thematically, the 2018 NPR shows a dramatic shift from that outlined in the 2010 version, including the loosening of the constraints on the use of nuclear weapons to cover significant non-nuclear strategic attacks. This includes, but is not limited to, attacks on the U.S., allied, or partner civilian populations or infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment capabilities.

Click here to visit the DoD Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) web page.

Click here to download the full Nuclear Posture Review (PDF).

Click here to download the Executive Summary (PDF).

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.

 


 

AlertsUSA.com

OTHER SMS ALERTS FROM THIS WEEK
NOT DETAILED IN THIS NEWSLETTER ISSUE

2/2 – Pro al-Qaeda and Islamic State social media chatter increasing w/ threats & calls for new attacks flwg POTUS action to keep Guantanamo Bay military prison open.

1/31 – Local authorities designate Amtrak crash site a HAZMAT scene based on contents of trash hauler involved in collision. Monitoring…

1/31 – At least one confirmed fatality and numerous injuries in Amtrak train crash. Check national media for latest info.

1/31 – AlertsUSA monitoring crash of charter Amtrak train carrying GOP members of Congress in Crozet, VA. Collision with truck on tracks. Add’l alerts as warranted.

1/30 – Multi-casualty shooting, Concord Plaza Shopping Ctr, S. St. Louis Co., MO. Minimal info available. Police urge avoiding the area. Add’l alerts as warranted.

1/30 – Security increasing around Capital complex for tonight’s State of the Union address. Expect road closures & restricted access to some areas of downtown DC.

1/29 – Wave of bomb threats targeting 25 buildings in Moscow, incl Parliament and the stock exchange, results in mass evacuations and searches. AlertsUSA monitoring…

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* Threat Info Direct to Your Mobile Device
* Get Away Early, Give Your Family Extra Safety.
* In Wide Use By Gov, 1st Responders, Travelers.
* 24/7/365 Monitoring. No Hype. Just the Bad Stuff.
* Issued Hours and Days before the MSM.
* On your Cell Phone, Tablet or Email.
* We Give The Clear Truth, Unlike the MSM.
* 15 Years in Operation!

We are NOT part of the government.
In fact, they are our customers!

 

 


 

US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN - ALLOW IMAGES

Security Tight for Super Bowl LII

 

February 3, 2018

 

What You Need To Know

The quarterback calling the plays for Super Bowl LII at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN is the U.S. government, and in particular, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation. In addition, National Guard troops and law enforcement partners from across the country are patrolling festivities in the Twin Cities area until February 5th. Not so visible are the FBI hostage-rescue team, Tier 1 military counterterrorism assets, detection teams for nuclear, chemical, and biological hazards, as well as response and mitigation teams for those weapons of mass destruction.

Despite these assets, a cloud of concern covers the event, and most importantly, outside of the main security perimeter, given that Minneapolis-St. Paul, or “Little Mogadishu” as the locals call it, is home to the third highest number of terror prosecutions in the U.S. since 9/11.

Consider the following:

  • 12 area residents have been charged with providing support to the Islamic State.
  • 20 area residents have been arrested for alleged support of the Somali terror group al Shabab which pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2012.
  • Between 2011 – 2014, 13 area residents died fighting for the groups.
  • In September of 2016, Somali refugee Dahir Adan walked into a Minneapolis shopping mall and started stabbing shoppers — after asking if they were Muslim — and shouting “Allahu Akbar!”
  • In May of 2017, two local men were arrested after police searched their car and discovered a hand grenade, handgun, several assault rifles, a large quantity of ammunition, and devices capable of igniting bombs.

These are just a few of the ties between the Twin Cities area and Islamic terrorism.

Readers are reminded that as AlertsUSA has warned, almost weekly, over the past two years, the Islamic State and al Qaeda have repeatedly called for followers to carry out attacks in the U.S. and other Western nations using any means available.

Caution and vigilance are urged.

 

 


 

Marines provide simulated security during a dive mission in Key West, Fla., Jan. 24, 2018. The Marines, assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, were preparing for an upcoming deployment. Marines Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brennon A. Taylor. - ALLOW IMAGES

 

World News Roundup

 

February 3, 2018

 

Other Developments We Are Following

AMERICAS

Ranking America’s enemies
Sea Cables in a Thawing Arctic
Trump signs order to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open

Pentagon ‘can’t afford the sustainment costs‘ on F-35
The Air Force Turned Off GPS To Rehearse a War Without It
New Army Precision-Guided 155m Round Destroys Targets Without GPS
Mattis seeking to ban cell phones from Pentagon
Tillerson: Latin America should not rely on China
Top Democrat questions US meeting with Russian spy chiefs
CIA Director Pompeo defends meetings with Russian spy chiefs
Trump grants 6,900 Syrians permission to stay in US
DoD Fears Rapid Adv. of Chinese, Russian Anti-Satellite Weapons
Castro freezes Cuban private sector, throws future in doubt
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya added to US ‘terror list’

EUROPE

Russia: If U.S. Navy pilots can’t handle buzzing, stay out of the Black Sea
Su-27 Buzzing: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4
Russia: Halt spy plane flights near our borders or agree on rules
The Last 48 Hours Have Been Good for Putin
Is the Czech Republic moving closer to China and Russia?
U.S., Russia likely to meet nuclear treaty obligations by Feb. 5
Brexit: UK and EU on collision course over residency rights
Auditors say Britain can’t afford its 10-year defense equipment plan
U.S., U.K. to upgrade ballistic missile guidance system
Europe’s Migration Crisis is Anything but over

MIDDLE EAST

Iran says Jerusalem ‘unchangeable’ capital of Palestine
Abbas to address U.N. Security Council on Feb. 20 amid U.S. tensions.
US troops arrive for drill simulating massive missile attack on Israel
US officials say Syria’s Assad may be making new chemical weapons
Ankara uses Afrin campaign to showcase Turkish-made weapons
Kurds in Syria call on US support to rein in Turkish operations
Israel threatens Lebanon with ‘full strength’ invasion in case of conflict.
Israel, Lebanon clash over offshore energy, raising tensions
France’s Macron warns Turkey over Syrian operation

ASIA

Fears of US ‘bloody nose’ attack on North Korea on the rise
N. Korea would see blanket ban of oil supplies as declaration of war
China Wants New Nuclear Weapons to Keep Up With U.S. and Russia
Do the Americans know who they’re fighting in Afghanistan — or why?
Long Shadow of A.Q. Khan: How One Scientist Helped the World Go Nuclear
Australian Gov Secret ‘Cabinet Files’ Were Found In … An Old Cabinet
The Taliban is gaining strength and territory in Afghanistan
U.S. hails Olympics security plan; opposes North Korea military parade
Philippine guerrilla chief held after peace talks scrapped.
Duterte bent on rewriting Philippine constitution
Wanted: A Strategy to Limit China’s Plans for the S. China Sea

 


 

Travel Security

The U.S. Dept. of State Travel Website is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation well prior to departure.

Major USGOV Travel Notices

Europe Travel Alert
11/16/2017

Worldwide Caution

12/06/2017

The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides several resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector abroad. Additional information can be found on OSAC.gov

Mariners and U.S. citizens considering maritime travel should also review information at the websites of the National Geospatial Agency, the Maritime Security Communications with Industry Portal, and the U.S. Coast Guard for information related to maritime and port security globally.

Additional Sources of Travel Guidance

Canada Dept. of Foreign Affairs

Australia Dept. of Foreign Affairs

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

 


 

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F.B.I. moves on Militia: One Shot Dead, Others Wounded. Armed standoff underway.

The federal government has sealed off the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, after last night’s deadly confrontation with Ammon Bundy and other militia members. Late last night, the F.B.I. shot and killed one of the protesters and took seven others into custody.


Hours after Ammon Bundy was arrested in the deadly encounter with the federal government, additional protesters took control of the Oregon wildlife refuge at the center of a weeks-long standoff. This morning at a press conference the feds signaled that time may be running out.



Earlier this month Bundy told media that he and two of his brothers were among a group of dozens of militia occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Ammon Bundy said the group planned to stay at the refuge indefinitely. “We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely,” Ammon Bundy said. “This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.”

The Bundy Family came to Oregon to protest the arrest and attempted land seizure of an Oregon Ranching family that was being targeted by the federal government.

Why Would the Feds Attempt to Turn this into a Deadly Situation?

Think about it; was the F.B.I. called in to arrest or shoot the liberal Occupy Wall Street people who did much more than just assemble at a wildlife refuge? Did the F.B.I get sent in to arrest the armed criminals who burnt their own neighborhoods in Baltimore and Ferguson to the ground last summer?

No matter how you feel about the Bundy family, or the militia who is peacefully assembling at the wildlife refuge in Oregon, keep in mind that nothing they are doing is harming anyone. The Refuge is in the middle of nowhere, and the F.B.I. could have easily just waited them out. This after all is public land; land we pay for with our tax dollars. There was NO THREAT to public safety, and there was no reason to try to start a gun fight.

Earlier in the day, Jason Patrick, one of the leaders of the militia remaining at the outpost, said he could see an armored convoy and a number of law enforcement officers gathered from his perch in the compound.

“Sounds like the definition of peaceful resolution is either forcefully kidnapping me or death,” Patrick told USA Today. “A peaceful resolution is not dead people.”

“Right now, we’re doing fine,” Patrick said. “We’re just trying to figure out how a dead cowboy equals a peaceful resolution.” Patrick’s comments could have been aimed at Oregon Gov. Kate Brown who asked for “patience as officials continue pursuit of a swift and peaceful resolution.”

Patrick told The Oregonian: “We’re all standing here ready to defend our peaceful resolution.”

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: offgridsurvival


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In Iraq, I raided insurgents. In Virginia, the police raided me.


Alex Horton, 30, poses in the hallway outside his apartment on Thursday July 16, 2015 in Alexandria, VA.

An Iraq War veteran, Horton was recently awoken by a police raid as he slept.

(Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post) (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

 

Alex Horton is a member of the Defense Council at the Truman National Security Project. He served as an infantryman in Iraq with the Army’s 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

I got home from the bar and fell into bed soon after Saturday night bled into Sunday morning. I didn’t wake up until three police officers barged into my apartment, barking their presence at my door. They sped down the hallway to my bedroom, their service pistols drawn and leveled at me.

It was just past 9 a.m., and I was still under the covers. The only visible target was my head.

In the shouting and commotion, I felt an instant familiarity. I’d been here before. This was a raid.

I had done this a few dozen times myself, 6,000 miles away from my Alexandria, Va., apartment. As an Army infantryman in Iraq, I’d always been on the trigger side of the weapon. Now that I was on the barrel side, I recalled basic training’s most important firearm rule: Aim only at something you intend to kill.

I had conducted the same kind of raid on suspected bombmakers and high-value insurgents. But the Fairfax County officers in my apartment were aiming their weapons at a target whose rap sheet consisted only of parking tickets and an overdue library book.

My situation was terrifying. Lying facedown in bed, I knew that any move I made could be viewed as a threat. Instinct told me to get up and protect myself. Training told me that if I did, these officers would shoot me dead.

In a panic, I asked the officers what was going on but got no immediate answer. Their tactics were similar to the ones I used to clear rooms during the height of guerilla warfare in Iraq. I could almost admire it — their fluid sweep from the bedroom doorway to the distant corner. They stayed clear of one another’s lines of fire in case they needed to empty their Sig Sauer .40-caliber pistols into me.

They were well-trained, their supervisor later told me. But I knew that means little when adrenaline governs an imminent-danger scenario, real or imagined. Triggers are pulled. Mistakes are made.

I spread my arms out to either side. An officer jumped onto my bed and locked handcuffs onto my wrists. The officers rolled me from side to side, searching my boxers for weapons, then yanked me up to sit on the edge of the bed.

At first, I was stunned. I searched my memory for any incident that would justify a police raid. Then it clicked.

Earlier in the week, the managers of my apartment complex moved me to a model unit while a crew repaired a leak in my dishwasher. But they hadn’t informed my temporary neighbors. So when one resident noticed the door slightly cracked open to what he presumed was an unoccupied apartment, he looked in, saw me sleeping and called the police to report a squatter.

Sitting on the edge of the bed dressed only in underwear, I laughed. The situation was ludicrous and embarrassing. My only mistake had been failing to make sure the apartment door was completely closed before I threw myself into bed the night before.

I told the officers to check my driver’s license, nodding toward my khaki pants on the floor. It showed my address at a unit in the same complex. As the fog of their chaotic entry lifted, the officers realized it had been an unfortunate error. They walked me into the living room and removed the cuffs, though two continued to stand over me as the third contacted management to confirm my story. Once they were satisfied, they left.

When I later visited the Fairfax County police station to gather details about what went wrong, I met the shift commander, Lt. Erik Rhoads. I asked why his officers hadn’t contacted management before they raided the apartment. Why did they classify the incident as a forced entry, when the information they had suggested something innocuous? Why not evaluate the situation before escalating it?

Rhoads defended the procedure, calling the officers’ actions “on point.” It’s not standard to conduct investigations beforehand because that delays the apprehension of suspects, he told me.

I noted that the officers could have sought information from the apartment complex’s security guard that would have resolved the matter without violence. But he played down the importance of such information: “It doesn’t matter whatsoever what was said or not said at the security booth.”

This is where Rhoads is wrong. We’ve seen this troubling approach to law enforcement nationwide, in militarized police responses to nonviolent protesters and in fatal police shootings of unarmed citizens. The culture that encourages police officers to engage their weapons before gathering information promotes the mind-set that nothing, including citizen safety, is more important than officers’ personal security. That approach has caused public trust in law enforcement to deteriorate.

It’s the same culture that characterized the early phases of the Iraq war, in which I served a 15-month tour in 2006 and 2007. Soldiers left their sprawling bases in armored vehicles, leveling buildings with missile strikes and shooting up entire blocks during gun battles with insurgents, only to return to their protected bases and do it all again hours later.

The short-sighted notion that we should always protect ourselves endangered us more in the long term. It was a flawed strategy that could often create more insurgents than it stopped and inspired some Iraqis to hate us rather than help us.

In one instance in Baghdad, a stray round landed in a compound that our unit was building. An overzealous officer decided that we were under attack and ordered machine guns and grenade launchers to shoot at distant rooftops. A row of buildings caught fire, and we left our compound on foot, seeking to capture any injured fighters by entering structures choked with flames.

Instead, we found a man frantically pulling his furniture out of his house. “Thank you for your security!” he yelled in perfect English. He pointed to the billowing smoke. “This is what you call security?”

We didn’t find any insurgents. There weren’t any. But it was easy to imagine that we forged some in that fire. Similarly, when U.S. police officers use excessive force to control nonviolent citizens or respond to minor incidents, they lose supporters and public trust.

That’s a problem, because law enforcement officers need the cooperation of the communities they patrol in order to do their jobs effectively. In the early stages of the war, the U.S. military overlooked that reality as well. Leaders defined success as increasing military hold on geographic terrain, while the human terrain was the real battle. For example, when our platoon entered Iraq’s volatile Diyala province in early 2007, children at a school plugged their ears just before an IED exploded beneath one of our vehicles. The kids knew what was coming, but they saw no reason to warn us. Instead, they watched us drive right into the ambush. One of our men died, and in the subsequent crossfire, several insurgents and children were killed. We saw Iraqis cheering and dancing at the blast crater as we left the area hours later.

With the U.S. effort in Iraq faltering, Gen. David Petraeus unveiled a new counterinsurgency strategy that year. He believed that showing more restraint during gunfights would help foster Iraqis’ trust in U.S. forces and that forming better relationships with civilians would improve our intelligence-gathering. We refined our warrior mentality — the one that directed us to protect ourselves above all else — with a community-building component.

My unit began to patrol on foot almost exclusively, which was exceptionally more dangerous than staying inside our armored vehicles. We relinquished much of our personal security by entering dimly lit homes in insurgent strongholds. We didn’t know if the hand we would shake at each door held a detonator to a suicide vest or a small glass of hot, sugary tea.

But as a result, we better understood our environment and earned the allegiance of some people in it. The benefits quickly became clear. One day during that bloody summer, insurgents loaded a car with hundreds of pounds of explosives and parked it by a school. They knew we searched every building for hidden weapons caches, and they waited for us to gather near the car. But as we turned the corner to head toward the school, several Iraqis told us about the danger. We evacuated civilians from the area and called in a helicopter gunship to fire at the vehicle.

The resulting explosion pulverized half the building and blasted the car’s engine block through two cement walls. Shrapnel dropped like jagged hail as far as a quarter-mile away.

If we had not risked our safety by patrolling the neighborhood on foot, trusting our sources and gathering intelligence, it would have been a massacre. But no one was hurt in the blast.

Domestic police forces would benefit from a similar change in strategy. Instead of relying on aggression, they should rely more on relationships. Rather than responding to a squatter call with guns raised, they should knock on the door and extend a hand. But unfortunately, my encounter with officers is just one in a stream of recent examples of police placing their own safety ahead of those they’re sworn to serve and protect.

Rhoads, the Fairfax County police lieutenant, was upfront about this mind-set. He explained that it was standard procedure to point guns at suspects in many cases to protect the lives of police officers. Their firearm rules were different from mine; they aimed not to kill but to intimidate. According toreporting by The Washington Post, those rules are established in police training, which often emphasizes a violent response over deescalation. Recruits spend an average of eight hours learning how to neutralize tense situations; they spend more than seven times as many hours at the weapons range.

Of course, officers’ safety is vital, and they’re entitled to defend themselves and the communities they serve. But they’re failing to see the connection between their aggressive postures and the hostility they’ve encountered in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and other communities. When you level assault rifles at protesters, you create animosity. When you kill an unarmed man on his own property while his hands are raised — as Fairfax County police did in 2013 — you sow distrust. And when you threaten to Taser a woman during a routine traffic stop (as happened to 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who died in a Texas jail this month), you cultivate a fear of police. This makes policing more dangerous for everyone.

I understood the risks of war when I enlisted as an infantryman. Police officers should understand the risks in their jobs when they enroll in the academy, as well. That means knowing that personal safety can’t always come first. That is why it’s service. That’s why it’s sacrifice.

Twitter: @AlexHortonTX

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: washingtonpost


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