Gun Free Zones

San Bernardino April 10, 2017: An estranged husband enters his separated wife’s school where she is a special needs teacher, goes to her classroom and immediately opens fire on her using a “large-caliber revolver*”. The wife was the intended target, sadly however, two young children were also injured, one of which later died at the hospital.

A few years back a town just down the road from where I live experienced a similar event. A woman who was in fear for her life from an abusive boyfriend ended the relationship. He went to her place of work ( a place he knew she would be) and shot her multiple times with a shotgun, her fears were justified. These events are truly tragic on multiple levels and yet, not that uncommon…

We are going to look at this from two angles. First from a avoiding a dangerous person angle, next a “how does this effect me” angle. It is hugely important that when dating and interacting with the What general populace that you are aware of some common and easily recognizable warning signs to a dangerous or potentially dangerous person. Disclaimer: Just because someone exhibits one or more of these behaviors, it does not mean that they are dangerous, they may just be nosy. Warning signs are just that, signs.  However, you can begin to see the image when you start putting puzzle pieces together.

One of the easiest and most recognizable signs is over inquisitiveness. If someone is asking too many questions, or out-of-place questions that should send red flags, especially if they are not offering any information themselves. For example: Where do you work, what time do you get off, do you carpool, do you live alone, etc. Those are obvious, but the smart ones are subtle in gathering this information. They may ask: What do you do? Oh, nice, a 9-5 Mon-Fri job huh? A subtle and innocuous way of gathering personal information they don’t need.

The other sign we are going to discuss is control. If someone is trying to control you in any way you need to pay close attention for other signs! While some control may be overt, this does not typically come until the relationship has some time on. Not letting you leave, controlling all of the money, controlling friends, etc are all overt. Some of the covert methods they use early on are harder to see, but there none the less. Try texting a friend in their presence ignore them, and laugh a lot. If they keep asking questions about who it is, what you are talking about, what’s so funny, or something along those lines, pay attention! All the more so if they seem serious or bothered at all by the test.

The second angle  is “how does this effect me?”. Well, read the opening story again. An 8-year-old that was not targeted was killed and another seriously wounded. Have you figured it out yet? Collateral damage… If you are in the area of a domestic event, you may be in danger. If a co-worker is separated from a potentially dangerous subject, take heed. The worst part is, you may not even know it. People all around us, including our coworkers and friends may not share those kinds of things with us. This is one reason I think you should take time to invest in your friends, but I digress.

This topic is two-fold and overlapping. Not only preventative but also reactionary. If you can recognize danger signs and avoid the threat, do it! Sometimes we find ourselves around those who did not see the warning signs, or walking through an area with a domestic event in progress. Either way we need to be prepared to protect ourselves in a proportionate way against the threat.



What can we learn?

  1. You do not have to be the target of an event to be a victim
  2. Domestic Overflow is real, and can be dangerous
  3. Work, recreation, public, etc are all venues that domestic overflow can happen
  4. Know what the warning signs are, and look for them, it is a passive process and simple
  5. What are you doing in the life of those around you to stay plugged in and help them
    • If you are taking care of a friend and “one-anothering” you will likely know something is going on and can help them through it, including help keep them safe.

Stay Sharp,




*Police One

Yeah… I said it! I’ll say it again too; Guns are not always the answer! Well, now that you are yelling at your screen let us take a quick walk through the park to cool off. We are walking through the park on a brisk evening, enjoying a display of lights just before Christmas. There are a lot of other people in the park all around us but, it is fairly secluded and peaceful in this section. Before you realize what is going on some punk jumps out from behind a well decorated pine tree.  He is not holding a weapon, you see both his hands and they are empty. He is making erroneous threats and saying he will beat you up and take your wallet if you don’t give it to him. He has not touched either us, he is about 6 feet away, and he is alone as far as far you can tell. There are two of us, we are both carrying guns, and there are a lot of people around including small children just on the other side of the bushes. What do you do!?

Hold up! Before you answer; think through the entirety of the scenario. Can you shoot him? We are both packing after all. What lethal threat has he presented to authorize you such action? If you see any, I missed it. Even if you are in a “stand your ground” state, justifying that shoot would be a stretch at best. If you are in a “duty to retreat” state, you must run away from the guy before you use lethal force, even if it is justified.

So, if I can’t shoot him, what can do? Now you are asking the right question. The answer: A lot! There are many options available to you that can be summarized in this phrase: Non-Lethal. Anything that is not likely to result in serious physical injury or death is on the table. Here is one I like: Pepper Spray. It is cheap, easy to obtain, effective, and easy enough to deploy a child can do it, and most importantly, it is not lethal.

This punk is a threat no doubt, he is threatening to beat us up and seems to be willing and capable of doing so, or at least trying. But he is not a lethal threat as described. That leaves us with a gun that we have trained with and a moment we have physically and mentally prepared for, and we can’t use the gun… The gun is not the answer here. Firearms are great for defense in the narrow field of lethal force. There are only a few triggers that allow for lethal force. In contrast however, there are a plethora of triggers for non lethal force.

Quick side note: Don’t hear me saying that you should stop thinking about your gun and training with it. Even though it may be a narrow field, lethal force is extremely serious and you should be proficient and ready to meet this force with your handgun. What I am saying is you need to prepare and be prepared for those encounters where the gun cannot help you. Additionally, the threat as described above could become lethal in an instant. Just because you don’t see a knife or gun does not mean he does not have one, but I digress.

I want to get you out of this single track mindset of get to my gun. Do you need to be prepared and well-trained with your gun, you betcha! However, there are countless scenarios in which you need to defend yourself and your loved one(s) with non-lethal force. Please, promise me one thing: If you decide to start carrying pepper spray with you, do not leave it buried in your purse, pocket, or glove box… Like your gun, you need to be able to get to it in an emergency and quickly. Whatever non lethal tool(s) and/or systems you wish to employ train in them and with them. Train hard, and fight like your life depends on it, it just might.

What can we learn?

  • Guns are not always the answer
  • I love guns, I mean I really really enjoy guns; that said, guns are still not always the answer
  • Guns are a last resort, you would be amazed at how much you can do for your personal safety before you ever get to the solution that is a gun. These are a small part of a big picture, albeit a critical one
  • There are countless situations in which you need a non lethal solution, get some non lethal tools, train with them, carry them, and be prepared to deploy them
  • Understand the laws in your state. Be very clear on what the law allows for lethal force, learn it so well that you don’t have to think about it in the moment, you can just react appropriately

Stay Sharp,


This past week we saw a horrific tragedy in Paris. Numerous innocent civilians were killed and many more injured with explosives and rifles. Paris is a strictly no gun zone, we have discussed this topic previously and you can read more about them here. This week we are looking at how we can defend ourselves without adequate tools.

When an unprovoked attack befalls us we have two options, and those two options are ingrained in our very DNA, Fight or Flight. We can either stay and fight the opponent, or we can run from them, there is a time for both. If we observe nature for guidance, we can learn a great deal. Most animals respond the same way, fight or flight. However, the vast majority of creatures opt for flight before fight, they only fight when they feel there are no other options.

Choosing to fight requires courage, training, determination, and a willingness to die for your efforts. Fleeing on the other hand requires no such commitment and anyone can do it. In the case of Paris, even a well trained citizen with a handgun would be out gunned. This is when you flee, using your handgun if necessary, to safety.

There is no shame in retreat when a loss is inevitable. The movies have portrayed one or two heavily outgunned and matched individuals taking on a well equipped and trained army, successfully. This is simply not reality and should be disregarded.

When, for whatever reason, you find yourself unarmed or under equipped, it is important to know how to defend yourself. Next week we will take a more detailed look at steps you can take to protect yourself and others in such an event.

What can we learn?

We are designed to have two responses to a threat, fight or flight

Knowing when to run and when to fight is critical for survival. I am reminded of the Kenny Rogers song: ” You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em; know when to walk away and know when to run”

There is no shame in fleeing from a fight you cannot win.

Gun free zones get innocent people killed.


Stay Sharp,


Tragedy was again in the news today as a mass murder killed 10, and injured 7 more. Our prayers are with those who have been affected by this heinous act. I will not give the murders name, as I refuse to propagate his desire for fame. At this time, motive is unknown. The shooting took place on 2 Oct 2015 at Umpqua Community College.

This shooting happened in a gun free zone. A quick study of mass murders, when firearms are used, will reveal this is the rule not the exception. These psychopaths are intelligent enough to know where the odds are in their favor, where law abiding citizens cannot take a proper defense tool. Learn and know the laws in your area! In Kentucky, those with a CCDW permit can carry practically anywhere, including some “gun free” zones! In short, if the facility is privately owned: you can probably carry, if it is a government facility: there may be legal ramifications. Do your homework and know the laws! By definition, criminals do not care about rules and laws, these will not protect you.

Soft targets is an industry term, used by security and law enforcement. This simply means a target has little to no defense. On the other end of the spectrum, we have “hard target”, this is just the opposite. A hard target is a target that is capable of, and presents, a rigid defense. As an individual, we determine our own level of defense. Horrifically, this school, as do most, prevented those on site from being capable of defending themselves effectively, making them all soft targets. Becoming a hard target is a straightforward process as an individual. Keep reading The Sharpening Stone and we will help you with this process.

What can we learn from this?

Gun free zones don’t work, gun free zones keep people from defending themselves effectively, soft targets can get people killed, and gun free zones are all around terrible… There are times that you cannot carry a firearm, are you prepared to make anything a weapon? Our defense is entirely up to us. Men and women of law enforcement, and even security, do their best, but they can’t be everywhere all the time. A great response time for law enforcement is a couple of minutes, just the time most mass shooters are finishing up…

Stay sharp,