Soft Targets

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

One round started with Christina Grimmie. In the weeks that followed her murder in Orlando we saw several sensationalized murders. Thanks to the news media, and America’s sometimes disturbing infatuation with murder, murders are often sensationalized. If anyone famous is killed, commits suicide, some form of mass murder, and or critical incident occur, the media pours all resources and attention into the incident for days and weeks.

The compound danger of this sensationalization is when there is one publicized mass murder the likely hood of a secondary event goes through the roof! I told my wife that we can expect to see another incident very soon, just hours before the Pulse Orlando Shooting. Mass murder, assassinations, stalkers upping the ante, and so on all cause a ripple effect. It emboldens those planning a similar attack. It shows them that such attacks can be successful, that there are others out there doing the same thing, and that they will be “insta-famous”.

When people are looking at or planning an attack, they may be deterred by security, police, or threat of punishment. However, when one person carries out a successful attack it proves to the person that, up to this point has been hesitant to carry out any fantasies, it can be done after all. So, in an effort to ride the media frenzy started by the other person the next murder is ready to move forward.

In mass murder cases, these psychopaths are striving to break the previous body count record. They will be famous and everyone will know their name if they kill the most. Their names will go down in history as carrying out this act. Without digressing into another topic about the psychology of a mass murderer, suffice it to say, they need to be seen and heard, even if it is their last act on earth.

The same concept is applied with group mentality. A group is far more dangerous than an individual; because the individual in the group will do more that he/she would ever do on their own. All it takes is one person to start the train moving, then we have an explosion of incidents. Just a week after Christina Grimmie’s murder, we saw another Voice competitor killed.

The American people by in large have an extremely short attention span and can only focus on one thing at a time. So, when the media decides to dump all of its resources into sensationalizing a particular event, everybody will hear about it, in turn, the murder becomes famous and a house hold name. If I was willing to spread the names of those murders (which I will not do unless necessary) you would likely have heard all of their names before.

When one crazed man with a gun shoots up a mall the chance of other events, similar in nature increases. So, what does this mean for you and protection of yourself? A few things. You need to keep your eyes and ears open, look for pre-attack indicators, take threats seriously, and be prepared to run, hide, or fight. You have to have a plan for every place you go. When you go to a restaurant, know all of the exits, look for cover and concealment. When you go to the “game” be very aware of what is going on in common areas, report abandon bags and suspicious people. Above all, trust your gut. We are designed with this amazing thing called intuition, learn to trust it and embrace it.

What can we learn?

  • The media causes a lot of problems. They create problems that don’t even exist.
  • Mass murderers want to be famous, and stalkers want to “be with” their victims.
  • There is compounding danger in sensationalizing murders.
  • It only takes one killer to be successful to ignite an explosion of incidents.
  • Be engaged in your environment and pay attention.
  • Trust your gut, if something does not feel right or look right, trust yourself.

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,