About Me

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I'm the author of four books: Warrior SOS, The Work of Death, Together Forever, and Leaders Wanted. I'm in the doc film Please Remove Your Shoes. I've blogged for The Washington Times, and I write for Guns.com. I've worked for the high-profile U.S.-led Roadmap to Mideast Peace in Israel and Palestine. I've also worked as a SWAT team leader, a Federal Air Marshal and a sole-source training instructor on a classified contract with a U.S. government customer. My master's degree is in Military Studies and terrorism. I'm a former noncommissioned and commissioned Army officer, with service in Iraq. I've been Scuba diving and skydiving; I have trained with members of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, and I'm an FBI-trained crisis negotiator. My interests lie in helping others and in strengthening America through inspiring moral courage, government fiscal responsibility and accountability, and maintaining principles that have made--and will continue to make--the United States of America a blessed and prosperous country. I'm a father of six, a husband, and a police officer. I reside in Utah, and I'm a Mormon. See also https://jeffreydenning.wordpress.com.

March 15, 2014

Don't hesitate -- using deadly force

This video was taken from PoliceOne.com. This man stole a car which had a baby inside.  It turns from grand theft auto, kidnapping, to hostage taking.  The suspect was eventually was killed by police, justifiably I might add -- at least from all the footage I saw before the shooting occurred. Sadly, he could have killed the baby-hostage. It's difficult to Monday morning quarterback because I don't have all of the facts, but this video shows enough facts that it would have been totally warranted, and tactically necessary, to end the man's life far before he grabbed the baby out of the car seat. Just one move could have ended the baby's life.

Sometimes, in tactical scenarios, officers don't know how to act because they haven't trained for it tactically, or they haven't yet visited that moment in their minds. Thankfully, I've had a lot of SWAT and tactical training. I thought where I'd shoot him, and how. I carefully analyzed the background, too. A buddy and I watched this together -- he also has SWAT experience. Both of us were chomping on the bit: shoot him already!

Thankfully, the baby didn't get killed. And, thankfully, the baby won't remember this incident and suffer from PTSd for years to come.

PTS(d) and the brain

The book “Surviving Survival,” by Laurence Gonzales, was recommended to my by my good friend Colin Cameron, whom I recognized in the acknowledgements section of my last book, “Leaders Wanted.” I wish I’d had started it sooner. Here’s a few gems I gathered from the book today. I quote:

[The brain] always tells us, eventually, what it has learned [during traumatic survival situations], but it may do so when we are not looking. … [e.g. sweating, hyperventilation, inability to sleep or eat properly, for instance]…
[Injury] makes recovering the mind that much more difficult.  … injury produces stress which involves a host of changes in your muscles, your digestion, even your immune system.  Stress dumps special chemicals into your blood stream, and while those chemicals [are] necessary for the burst of energy…to survive the attack, if they continue to circulate over a long period of time, they could do real damage.  
One of the chemicals of stress is cortisol, a steroid.  A little bit of stress—a small rise in cortisol—makes you more alert and puts you in a better mode.  It improves your ability to concentrate and helps you form explicit, conscious memories.  A little bit of stress improves performance in sports and intellectual activities.  A little cortisol improves your appetite.  But that same chemical in large and prolonged doses, has the opposite effect.  It can disrupt the machinery of explicit memory. It can cause malfunctions in the frontal lobes so that you can’t think straight.  Making matters worse, too much cortisol stimulates the fight or flight reaction so it becomes a feedback loop.
Many kinds of memory are formed in the brain and body.  Explicit memory tells you such things as what you intend to buy at the grocery store.  Another kind of memory, called episodic, allows you to tell someone everything that happened at that awful party last Saturday night.  Implicit memory, includes things such as learning to tense your muscles when the dentist brings the shrieking drill before your mouth.  It’s an emotional memory, so you don’t have to think about it; it just happens. …
Automatic behaviors, such as your golf or tennis swing, are part of implicit memory.  The same cortisol that makes it difficult to create new and explicit memories makes implicit memories stronger and faster, strengthening your response, even when you can’t remember why you’re responding in the first place.  While too much cortisol interferes with the work of the hippocampus for making conscious memories, it improves the working of the amygdala for producing fear and unconscious memories.  When that steroid disrupts the formation of conscious memories while enhancing the formation of unconscious ones, you feel anxiety without ever knowing where it came from. …
When … wrote in her journal that she was miserable, never slept through the night, felt crazy and unable to get along with anyone, it was because she was experiencing the effects of those chemical changes. … What [she] needed was then, was to find someway to get at the cell assemblies in her brain that was setting off her alarms.  She needed a way to readjust the chemistry that was causing her such disruptive anxiety, and if [her] trouble was all in her mind, and her mind was a manifestation of her body, then it would be through her body that she would ultimately ease her mind. 
[She] had gone to college and earned a masters degree in psychology, so she knew the fancy name for what was troubling her: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or at least some of its symptoms.  But [her] response to trauma is not a disorder; it is, in fact, the inviolable command of memory.  Learn this to save your life: It is a perfectly reasonable response given the way our brains are organized. An injury leaves scars.  Lets call it post traumatic stress.  

from Surviving Survival, by Laurence Gonzales