Almost before the sound of gunshots finished echoing from the walls of a South Carolina church, President Obama said America suffers more mass shootings than other advanced nations. And almost before President Obama finished his statement, gun rights supporters accused him of being wrong.

“This kind of violence doesn’t happen in the rest of the world,” President Obama allegedly said, to much scoffing and derisive laughter.

I’m extremely interested in this case, for many reasons. I’m a passionate 2nd Amendment advocate who understands why the founding fathers believed an armed citizenry is crucial to freedom. I’m a longtime police officer who trained on the mechanics of responding to mass shooting attacks, studied the dynamics of mass shootings, and spent years helping train other officers on active shooter response. As a combat veteran, I’ve faced private citizens armed with rifles who successfully resisted a large, organized military force. As a political independent who’s not a fan of President Obama’s policies, I’m always on watch for evidence he doesn’t understand the realities I’ve faced and trained for.

Like many other gun rights supporters, I read reports of President Obama’s “this doesn’t happen elsewhere” quote with a mixture of revulsion and amazement. But I was also skeptical; passionate conservatives are just as willing to lie and distort as passionate liberals, and before I believed someone else’s version of President Obama’s words I decided to look into it myself. So I read several articles, and watched video of his statement.

The conservative website The Federalist, which I have contributed an article to in the past, quoted him as saying, “Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. … We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” The Federalist then provided a laundry list of mass shootings in other countries, showing that of COURSE this kind of violence happens in the rest of the world. The Federalist‘s conclusion seemed to be that if President Obama said massacres don’t happen in other countries, he can’t be taken seriously.

The problem is, that’s not what he said. And it’s obvious that’s not what he said. Or, I should say, that’s not all he said.

Here’s the actual quote:

“Now is the time for mourning and healing, but let’s be clear. At some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this type of frequency.”

Watch the video to hear it for yourself. The relevant part begins at 3:10.

Now that we’ve heard the President’s actual words, and before we debate them, let’s set some foundations.

First: mature, intelligent, rational discussion requires us to respond to what our ideological opponents actually say, rather than what we want them to say, or expect them to say, or what a likeminded echo chamber tells us they said.

Second: we should judge the merits of our opponents’ (or allies’) arguments rather than their tone or our perception of their overall message.

Third: if we ignore crucial points in a statement (i.e. It doesn’t happen in other places with this type of frequency) and instead focus on a snippet of what was said because it suits our purposes (i.e. this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries), we’re not being honest.

Fourth: a dishonest argument is inherently weak.

Fair enough?

President Obama didn’t say mass shootings never happen in other advanced countries, he said they don’t happen with the same frequency as they do here. That’s the objective reality about his claim. The furor from my fellow gun rights supporters, sparked by narrow focus on a small part of the President’s statement – “This type of mass violence doesn’t happen in other advanced countries” – is unfair, dishonest and only manages to make our side look weak. Intentionally trying to mislead the public about the President’s claim doesn’t help further gun rights.

 This meme is a deliberate misrepresentation of the President's statement.

This meme is a deliberate misrepresentation of the President’s statement.

Unfortunately for my fellow gun rights supporters who are knee-jerk reactionaries, President Obama didn’t say what they claim he said. He did say we have more mass shootings than other countries. Is that true?

Yes, it is.

In response to the President’s statement, the website IJReview published an article about mass killings in the US compared to other countries. They cited a chart from another, no longer functioning site listing mass shootings which occurred between 2009 and 2013 in several advanced nations.


The chart clearly shows America in the lead on mass shootings, with 38 during the reporting period. No other nation on the chart had more than two. This certainly suggests the US experiences more mass shootings than the other countries listed. IJReview, however, reached a different conclusion.

“The bottom line: The United States falls from number one due to its frequency of 38 mass shootings from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2013 (which would be number one without correcting for population) to number seven.” IJR seems to be referring to per capita mass shootings deaths rather than total incidents. While our per-capita mass shooting deaths may be lower, President Obama didn’t claim we had the highest number of mass shooting deaths. He said we had more mass shootings.

Of course the next objection is “You can’t compare a country with a huge population like America against countries with tiny populations like Slovakia.” Fair enough. So let’s add all the other countries’ populations together, and compare the total to the US population.

Population of Norway, Finland, Slovakia, Israel, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Canada and France combined: approximately 304 million.

Population of America: 314 million.

Since those populations are so close in number, they should have a similar number of mass shootings, right?

Total number of mass shootings in Norway, Finland, Slovakia, Israel, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Canada and France combined between 2009 and 2013: 17.

Total number of mass shootings in America 2009-2013: 38.

With a roughly 4% population difference between America and all eleven other countries combined, we had more than 50% more mass shootings.

No, not all our massacres have been as horrible as their massacres. The nine dead in South Carolina “aren’t as bad” as the 77 murdered during Norway’s Utoya Island massacre and the associated bombing in Oslo. But again, President Obama didn’t claim we had the worst massacres. He didn’t claim the mass shooting results are worse here than elsewhere. He simply – and clearly – stated “this type of violence” occurs more frequently here than in other advanced nations. And he was right.

Now, what does that mean?

President Obama made a reference to the availability of guns and the difficulty of enacting gun control legislation: “The politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now…At some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.” His belief, expressed verbally and through his attempts to pass new gun control measures, is that restricting access to guns will help stop mass shootings.

President Obama is wrong.

His statement about America having more mass shootings than other advanced nations is correct. His conclusion that further restricting guns is the solution isn’t. As we’ve seen over and over for decades, banning guns from private hands doesn’t actually remove them from private hands. Legislation doesn’t change the laws of physics, or human nature. Legislation isn’t a physical barrier that prevents criminals or the criminally insane from obtaining guns, and it’s not a physical barrier to the bullets they fire at innocent people. Legislation without a means of enforcement is simply a wish; if a law alone was enough to stop crime, murders would never happen to begin with. To actually stop mass shootings, a law would have to 1) physically stop criminals from obtaining weapons, and 2) physically stop them once they try to murder innocent people.

The United States has a culture of private gun ownership that’s centuries old, with an estimated 310 million privately-owned weapons throughout the country in 2009 ( Without question, that number rose significantly during the post-Sandy Hook gun-buying craze; I highly doubt the hundreds of thousands who rushed to buy AR-15s in anticipation of a ban wanted to be the first in line to turn them back in. Those hundreds of millions of weapons are out there, and even if police confiscated a million guns a year, a total confiscation plan would take centuries to implement.

Police in Boston, a major city, confiscated only 500 illegal or illegally possessed guns in 2012 ( Even if an aggressive campaign were launched to remove all guns, even if Boston managed to find 50,000 illegal guns a year, even if police nationwide managed to find an astounding and unbelievable five million guns per year, total confiscation would still take over sixty years. And it still wouldn’t work, because we’d never find them all, and we’d never stop new ones coming in to replace confiscated ones.

I’ve been a cop for over twenty years, and military for longer than that. One thing I’m sure of: there’s no way, ever, that police could find and confiscate all the guns in America. Most cops I know wouldn’t even try it. My point 1 above, that a gun law would have to physically stop criminals from obtaining guns, isn’t possible in this country.

And all gun laws become useless and ineffective once someone reaches the point of committing a mass murder. When a dedicated murderer pulls his pistol in a church and aims in on innocent people, all that matters is who and what can physically stop him from pulling the trigger. Police, even police a block away, won’t stop him from shooting. “Gun Free Zone” signs are pathetically worthless; if they had any effect at all, we’d simply place “No Mass Murder” signs at all public venues. And someone who wants to slaughter innocent people and die or go to prison afterward won’t worry too much about breaking a relatively minor gun law.

On point 2 above, even Vice President Joe Biden agrees: new laws won’t stop mass shootings.

The ONLY way to stop mass shootings is to give the intended victims the means to effectively resist. In South Carolina a 21 year old coward was able to murder defenseless people at will, but not because he was such a highly-trained gunfighter. He wasn’t a fighter at all. Like almost every mass shooter, he was great at murdering unarmed people but had no desire to face anyone who could actually fight back. His “bravery” was limited to shooting defenseless people (mostly women). Just one armed person, trained and willing to resist, would likely have ended the South Carolina church massacre long before it became a massacre. That one armed person likely couldn’t have saved everyone, but he could have saved most.

Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but I would have preferred for police officers to arrive at the church and find one or two dead innocent victims, and a brave armed parishioner standing with a smoking weapon over a dead racist coward. Instead we had allowed, once again, a pathetic, pitiful loser to take complete control of a killing field he chose, to mow down human beings far more valuable than he, with total impunity. How many more times will we let this happen before we finally realize that only armed citizens – not police and not empty, unenforceable laws – will stop violent cowards from murdering the defenseless?

President Obama didn’t claim mass shootings never happen in other countries, he claimed they happen more often in America. He was right. As gun owners and 2nd Amendment supporters, we should argue facts and logic rather than appealing to untruths and hysteria. President Obama thinks new gun laws will stop mass shootings. He’s wrong. Facts and logic tell us new gun laws do nothing but harm those who willingly follow those laws.

Please, fellow gun owners. Don’t twist the President’s words to make him look worse and us look better. Deliberate distortions work against us. Just tell the truth. It really is on our side.

RIP to the victims in South Carolina, strength to their loved ones, and swift retribution to the murderer.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

This was published last week on Breach Bang Clear.



I confess. I’m an out-of-control, criminal cop. I once did something so horrible, I belong in prison. I want to lay my soul bare and beg for forgiveness. Here’s the story of my terrible crime. Brace yourself.

Late one night several years back, my partner and I were on patrol in a high-crime area. We wanted a drink, so we pulled into a gas station across the street from one of the worst apartment complexes in the city. We were distracted by a conversation about some inane topic, but I noticed a young black male walking away from the door of the gas station. That wasn’t unusual. The gas station had a steady flow of customers all night every night, so I didn’t pay much attention.

Then the man saw us.

He immediately sprinted across the street toward the apartment complex. We were in a high-crime area, the man immediately fled when we pulled in, and my first thought was that he had robbed the gas station. In an instant, I decided we had Reasonable Suspicion. My partner and I “switched on”; we quit jabbering, locked in on the runner and sped out of the parking lot. Our car bounced over the curb and reached the apartment gate just as the man ran through it. We bailed out and charged after him, yelling commands to stop.

The man kept going. I was a pretty good sprinter and my partner was a former college athlete, but our suspect, not burdened with fifteen pounds of gear like we were, was getting away from us. He was well ahead when he cut between two apartment buildings, and my partner split from me to head him off. It worked; the suspect saw my partner at the next corner and turned back, then ran into me. I caught him.

The first thing he did was try to flip me. I managed to stay on my feet and tackled him against a car bumper. As we struggled, my partner showed up and immediately nailed me in the forearm with his flashlight (he still denies that). After another minute or so of struggling, we got the suspect cuffed. His initial arrest was for evading detention. When we searched him incident to arrest we found an ice pick, a crack pipe with cocaine residue, plus a baggie of fake crack. The warrant system was down that night, so we couldn’t check him for warrants. We just charged him with the cocaine residue.


That’s right. I confess to chasing a criminal, catching him, fighting him and putting him in jail. I did it. I did it all.

Some of you might say, “I don’t get it. You’re a cop. You’re supposed to chase and arrest criminals.” And sure, that sounds reasonable. But I must have committed a crime. I mean, I did almost exactly what three cops in Baltimore did, and they just got indicted.

The Baltimore PD officers who arrested Freddie Gray are facing a combination of Assault, Reckless Endangerment, Manslaughter and Misconduct in Office charges (they were initially charged with slightly different crimes, including false imprisonment, but the charges were amended). They were on patrol in a high-crime area, Gray saw them and ran. The officers chased him, arrested him for possession of a switchblade knife and called for a paddy wagon to transport him. Something happened during transport, Gray was fatally injured and died a week later.


The officers who arrested Gray didn’t injure him. Nobody is claiming they beat or abused Gray. The arresting officers don’t appear to have done anything wrong. But according to the Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, the knife Gray had didn’t fit the legal definition of a switchblade. Ergo, the officers had no reason to stop or Probable Cause to arrest Gray, so they committed a crime by arresting him. Makes sense, right?

Hell no it doesn’t.

Remember, we’re not talking about the officers who transported Gray. Obviously, something bad happened in the back of the paddy wagon. It may have been malicious and intentional, like a deliberate assault on Gray while he was handcuffed. Or it could have been simply negligent, like failure to put Gray in a seat belt which led to him falling and hitting the back of his head on a bolt. I don’t know, you probably don’t know either, and the best thing to do is wait for more evidence.

For the sake of argument, let’s say the transporting officers should be charged. But why charge the arresting officers?

First, let’s talk about Probable Cause to Arrest, Reasonable Suspicion to Stop, and what exactly those terms mean.

Many people who commented on Gray’s arrest pointed out that “just running when you see police doesn’t create Probable Cause to arrest”. And they’re right. But cops don’t need PC to stop a suspect. We need PC to actually make a custodial arrest, but to stop someone and investigate we just need Reasonable Suspicion (RS) that a suspect committed or is about to commit a crime.

Here’s an example of RS: one hot summer night I was patrolling through a strip center in an extremely high-crime area. As my partner and I passed several parked cars we saw a man in the parking lot. That’s not illegal. He was dressed in dark clothing. That’s not illegal. He was kneeling between two cars. That’s suspicious as hell, but not illegal. And one final, minor, also not illegal detail: he was pulling a ski mask down over his face.

Even though he wasn’t doing anything illegal, we had RS to stop because the man appeared to be either committing a crime or preparing to. We didn’t have PC to arrest. If I had detained him and discovered there was some innocent reason he was kneeling between cars in dark clothing while putting on a ski mask late at night, like maybe he was pulling a prank on a friend, no arrest. But we had every right and reason to stop and investigate him.

So did the Baltimore officers have RS to stop Freddie Gray for simply being in a high-crime area and running from police?


Read the rest at

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (


So this Waco thing has caught my interest, mostly because of all the dumb things being said about it. I’m no expert and have no direct connection to the Waco Biker shootout, nor do I have access to anything more than media reports. However, based on my experience as a patrolman, assistant active shooter instructor and soldier I’ve made a few observations and educated guesses about what happened.

1) I predict we’ll soon learn most or all of the dead bikers were shot by police officers

I base this on a couple things, but the biggest one is a comment the Waco PD spokesman included in the official statement: “Our officers treated it as an active shooter scene.” An active shooter’s goal is to kill as many people as possible rather than steal money, take hostages or escape. A police officer who encounters an active shooter has one mission: stop the killing. The best way to stop that killing is by quickly engaging the active shooter with accurate gunfire. The Waco shooting took place in a crowded restaurant within a crowded shopping center with several businesses and restaurants full of innocent civilians. Police officers outside Twin Peaks could be expected to treat bikers firing shots in the parking lot as active shooters.

The affiliations of the bikers would obviously play a part in how the officers perceived the threat they presented. At least some of the bikers involved in the Waco shootout were “1%ers” or “outlaw bikers”. That’s what they call themselves, not just what police call them. Many wear 1% patches on their vests, in reference to the “99% of motorcycle riders are law-abiding citizens” comment made after the first riotous motorcycle rally in 1947; a 1% patch means they’re not law abiders. It’s a public proclamation of their dedication to a criminal lifestyle.

Outlaw biker gangs have a long history of violence, and more importantly, are known to engage in gang warfare around uninvolved civilians. In 2002, Hell’s Angels and Mongols had a gunfight inside a Laughlin casino that killed three bikers and wounded many more. Hell’s Angels and Vagos were involved in a shootout inside a Nevada casino in 2011 that left one biker dead and two wounded. In November 2013 a Bandido allegedly stabbed two Cossack bike gang members in Abilene. Waco’s shooting is thought to be directly related to that incident.

The Waco shooting was reportedly sparked by a Cossack gang member wearing a Texas patch on his vest. This deserves a little more attention. Bandidos are a big Texas motorcycle gang, Cossacks are also Texan but aren’t as big as the Bandidos. The three patches worn by Bandidos are a “Bandidos” banner, the gang logo, and a Texas banner. The Bandidos banned the Cossacks from wearing a Texas banner (because it meant Cossacks were trying to take over Bandido territory), but apparently Cossacks dared to not follow this edict. So Bandidos just had to attack the Cossacks. Because honor and respect. Or something.


The fight escalated to clubs and knives, then spilled into the parking lot and escalated to gunfire. No police are reported to have been inside the restaurant, although of course conspiracy theorists are already suggesting undercover officers were inside acting as “agitators” (hint: it would be pretty damn stupid for cops to instigate a fight that would put them in the impact area of other cops’ rifle fire). But when the fight got outside, twenty-two cops in marked units already in the parking lot took action.

The officers would likely have seen dozens or hundreds of bikers flooding out of the restaurant swinging, stabbing and shooting. They would have seen the fight before receiving a call, because the incident unfolded too quickly for a caller to dial 911, explain the situation to a dispatcher, then have the information relayed by radio or computer. The officers probably took cover behind vehicles and searched for sources of gunfire. When they saw an armed suspect, they probably wouldn’t have been able to discern his target because of their distance and the general chaos. The officers would consider the shooters’ gang affiliation, consider the danger to uninvolved citizens, and make the decision whether or not to engage.

As of this writing, initial reports suggest at least four of the nine biker fatalities were killed by police. I’m willing to bet police killed more or even all of them. I’m already seeing online accusations that police fired indiscriminately into the crowd; I doubt that was the case (especially considering how many uninvolved civilians were present) and I expect to learn that the bikers killed by police were hit from a distance with one or two well-aimed rifle rounds.

A reasonable question has been raised: in the chaos, is it possible that a biker with a Concealed Handgun License legally drew his weapon to defend himself against a threat, legally shot at a criminal who was attacking him, and was then shot by a police officer who didn’t know the CHL holder was engaged in justifiable self-defense? The answer is, “of course it’s possible.” Hell, it may even be likely. If we find out that happened at least once, does that mean the officers committed murder and deserve to be prosecuted?

No. The law doesn’t require perfection from anyone, whether they’re a cop or private citizen. People just have to be reasonable.

Contrary to popular myth, cops don’t get a free pass for killing people and private citizens aren’t immediately charged with murder if they kill someone in self-defense even if they were wrong. In one Texas incident, late one night a woman killed a man she thought was kicking her door in; the man turned out to be her drunken firefighter neighbor who went to the wrong house after coming home from a bar. The woman wasn’t arrested or charged because police and the grand jury correctly decided the woman acted reasonably. She was home alone, it was late at night, someone tried to force open her door, she got a weapon and warned the person to leave, he kept trying to get in, so she fired through the door and killed him. She thought her life was in danger and even though she was objectively wrong, her perception was still reasonable. (

So if a police officer sees a person who appears to be a member of a biker gang shooting at an unknown person or people while engaged in a massive fight with other gang members, while numerous innocent civilians are present, is it reasonable for the officer to decide the biker is a threat and shoot him? I say yes. Biker gangs are gangs, no different than bloods or crips except in their mode of transportation. If a fight between bloods and crips breaks out at a movie theater and they start shooting at each other inside the theater while surrounded by innocent civilians, I can understand if a police officer sees any gang member firing a weapon as a threat to innocent people. Others will disagree. Whatever our personal opinions are, ultimately the law only requires that officers and armed citizens act reasonably, not that they’re perfect or even right.

And if we do learn all the dead were killed by cops, that doesn’t equal “This whole thing was the cops’ fault!” (as some are already claiming). It could mean officers used too much force in response to a minor fight. But it could also mean officers did exactly what they’re trained and expected to do: use appropriate force against criminals they reasonably judged to be an imminent threat to the public. It’s even possible some officers were totally justified in shooting and others weren’t. Time and evidence will tell.

2) We’ll soon learn that most of the wounded bikers were wounded by other bikers, not cops.

According to latest reports, 318 weapons were recovered from the Twin Peaks shooting scene. The weapons ranged from chains to an AK-47. I haven’t heard how many were pistols. Despite what one might see on Game of Thrones, chains, clubs and knives are dangerous but are actually hard to kill people with (when you stab someone in the stomach or cut their throat, shockingly enough they don’t immediately drop dead). Pistols, of course, can easily kill. However, as we see in almost every officer-involved shooting, under stress most people’s accuracy goes to crap. Shooters who hit ten out of ten bullseyes on a static range at ten yards hit one out of ten or worse on an entire human target in an actual gunfight. This is because in real gunfights the target is usually moving, at an unknown range, partially concealed behind cover or other people, and shooting back.

So I expect most of the bikers in the hospital were beaten, stabbed, or shot with pistols by other bikers who were distracted by hundreds of possible threats around them. In the melee, their effectiveness with any weapon would likely have been compromised. The police, however, weren’t in the middle of the fight, weren’t facing threats from 360 degrees and didn’t have nearly as many factors degrading their effectiveness.

So less serious injuries were inflicted by bikers, more serious by cops. Just my guess.

3) Most of the charges will be dropped

As far as I know, most of the bikers were charged with criminal conspiracy because they belonged to biker gangs. Absent evidence that each of them committed a specific crime, I don’t think that’s enough to make a charge stick. If they were convicted felons in possession of guns, they’re toast. If an officer can testify that specific bikers committed specific crimes, they’re toast. The bikers who were caught armed and coming from out of town to back up their gang after the fight are toast. But Joe Regular Guy who just bought a Harley in an over-forty fit and went to the outlaw biker gathering because he thinks Sons of Anarchy is cool will probably make it out without a conviction.

4) Two very different groups will blame the police for the shooting even though their arguments make no sense

The “hands up don’t shoot” crowd is already spreading really stupid memes like this:

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These memes prove – PROVE! – that cops treat black people worse than whites.

I won’t waste much time on this, because it’s so friggin’ stupid, but I can offer this rebuttal: Hey dumbasses, cops shot a bunch of white bikers and may have killed nine of them. But cops didn’t shoot any rioters in Ferguson or Baltimore, even though rioters shot at cops in Ferguson. More white bikers were arrested in one afternoon in Waco than blacks were arrested in two days of rioting in Ferguson and a day of rioting in Baltimore. Judges put 1 million dollar bail on the bikers. Cops killing whites and throwing them in jail doesn’t prove that cops treat white people better than blacks. So shut up.

The second group accusing cops of murder is the “cops are evil jack-booted thugs” crowd. That crowd is sharing an article from a site called “aging rebel” about the “Waco Police Massacre”. According to Mr. Rebel, “The shove in the bathroom became a scuffle in the restaurant. When about 30 Bandidos, Cossacks, Scimitars and other bikers spilled into the parking between the Twin peaks and the Don Carlos Mexican restaurant next door, the police were waiting for them. The scuffle became a knife fight and several men were stabbed. When one of the combatants produced a gun the Swat team opened fire with automatic weapons. Multiple sources have told The Aging Rebel that all of the dead were killed by police.”

Right now, before any autopsy results are released, I don’t see how the hell anyone can possibly claim with certainty that all the dead were killed by police. I highly doubt any one person could have seen every single shooting and knows exactly who fired. But let’s set aside logic a moment. Assuming these multiple (anonymous) sources are telling the truth, well, their statement partially matches what police have said: a fistfight turned into a gang fight with knives and clubs which then turned into a shooting in the parking lot.

I guess that proves the police are evil, tyrannical, and at fault for the Waco shootout. I mean, this is America! You’re telling me armed bikers can’t even have a massive gang fight around hundreds of civilians without getting shot by cops? What happened to freedom?

You know who else tyrannically oppressed biker gangs? Hitler, that’s who!

5) Video and witness statements are going to come out, and will put some of the anti-cop claims to rest

I doubt any of the bikers involved in the fight pulled out cell phones and started videotaping, but plenty of uninvolved civilians did. I’ve seen brief snippets of video on TV, not full videos. But they’re out there, and eventually we’ll see them. If bikers had videos of cops spraying gunfire indiscriminately into the crowd we probably would have seen it already; any biker who had it and wasn’t arrested would have immediately put it on the internet to help his biker buddies out, and if the biker was detained or arrested he probably still would have had time to upload it or send it to a friend before he was cuffed and transported (see the picture above, where a detained biker was still able to use his phone). So although we’ll hear numerous lurid tales of out-of-control cops hell bent on massacring innocent bikers with full-auto fire, we won’t see evidence of it. But we will see video of cops taking cover behind cars and firing deliberate, aimed shots. That’s just my guess.

My gut feeling is that the incident unfolded exactly how we’ve heard it did: outlaw bikers were spoiling for a fight and started one over something stupid. The fight went lethal real quick. Cops who were there in case the outlaw bikers acted like outlaw bikers saw the fight and heard shooting. The cops engaged and killed any biker they thought was a threat to innocent civilians. The cops will be cleared of any wrongdoing because their actions were reasonable, most of the 170 bikers arrested will have charges dropped.

And the outlaw biker gangs involved will find somewhere else for their next fight.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

This was published yesterday on Breach Bang Clear.


Curses! Our sinister plot has been discovered!

Somehow Jade Helm, our “training exercise” [wink wink], has been revealed as a plan to wage war on Texas. We tried to trick the public into believing it was just training, but the sheeple didn’t buy it! Astute internet investigators, none of whom usually have a clue what they’re talking about, nailed this one!

Jade Helm is a ruse, a way for the military to invade Texas. Which sounds weird, since Texas is in America and already has tons of military bases full of military personnel. So, like, if the military wanted to invade and stuff, they could just book a vacation to Dallas or something. But nevermind all that! We were going to invade Texas!

And we would have gotten away with it too, if not for those meddling truthers!

Henceforth a tinfoil hat will be called "Jade Helmet".

Henceforth a tinfoil hat will be called “Jade Helmet”.

How could our plan have been leaked? Our operatives followed every top-secret, MK-Ultra protocol! They put a news release on the internet, notified local officials and private citizens in the “training” area, published a Jade Helm PowerPoint presentation, and held a public press conference. But despite all that secrecy, people somehow found out about it!

Alex Jones and his buddies must have seen through our charade. And we were so close! All our TFTDOF (Tools For The Destruction Of Freedom) were in place. We closed Wal-Marts and turned them into FEMA death camps, dug tunnels interconnecting them so we could move Texas patriots to the gas chambers without arousing suspicion, and prepared our Special Forces to confiscate everyone’s guns. It’s all true.


Anyone with a brain might wonder how we managed to dig all the tunnels connecting our closed Wal-Mart FEMA death camps without attracting attention. You’d think a gigantic tunneling project which would require hundreds of vehicles, thousands of workers and the movement of thousands of tons of dirt over a period of months, would have been noticed by someone. But nobody did. Know how we pulled that off? I have no idea! But we must have done it, or multiple morons wouldn’t believe it! Right?


Sure, reasonable people might think Jade Helm really is just training and therefore no big deal. They might believe it’s conceptually the same as the Special Forces Robin Sage exercise that’s been held on public land in North Carolina for decades. They might notice North Carolina somehow isn’t under martial law. They could also point out that our military conducts permissive environment training in public on a regular basis. People with at least two brain cells to rub together might look at these facts and conclude Jade Helm fear is hysterical stupidity.

But they’d be wrong! Unlike Robin Sage, Jade Helm isn’t in North Carolina! The Posse Comitatus Act clearly states, “Any military training held off post that’s not in North Carolina constitutes an illegal invasion of America.” At least, that’s what I think it says. I’ve never actually, you know, read it or anything. But I’m sure Jade Helm violates Posse Comitatus!

If Jade Helm wasn’t really a secret plot to invade Texas – and IT IS – one might say it’s pretty damn stupid for so-called “patriots”, like the ones at the Jade Helm public meeting near Bastrop, Texas, to accuse our military of preparing to commit treason. Especially since that military has been fighting, bleeding and dying to defend America for the last fourteen years. But they’d be wrong again! The brave patriots in Bastrop were absolutely right to cheer a Special Forces spokesman’s military service while simultaneously accusing the military of plotting to invade Texas.


Read the rest at

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (



There has to be a reasonable explanation. Please let there be a reasonable explanation.

This weekend Texas Governor Greg Abbott – MY governor, the governor I voted for – mobilized Texas State Guard members for a state emergency. What’s the emergency? American Special Operations troops are training. In Texas. Which is part of America. American troops training in America is scary. So Governor Abbott is sending State Guard troops to “monitor” the training.

I wish I was kidding.

Maybe you’ve heard media reports about the upcoming “training exercise” called Operation Jade Helm. It’s actually a massive government conspiracy to overthrow the Constitution, confiscate guns, and impose martial law on Texas. Sure, you might think that’s conspiracy theory lunacy. But it must be true; if not, surely Governor Abbott wouldn’t mobilize Texas militia to monitor Jade Helm. Right?

I first heard about the State Guard mobilization when I saw this article on Facebook: At first I assumed it was a joke. To my horror, I discovered it wasn’t. But I still hoped the story wasn’t true; even if it wasn’t a joke, maybe NPR just got it wrong.

NPR photo

NPR photo

NPR’s reporting turned out to be slightly incorrect. They originally reported Texas National Guard members were being mobilized to monitor Operation Jade Helm. In reality, the troops were from the Texas State Guard, which is our official state militia. Unlike the Air and Army National Guard, State Guard troops don’t carry weapons and aren’t paid for monthly drills (although they are paid when mobilized on state active duty orders). They wear military uniforms almost the same as the regular Army and are addressed by rank. But SG members don’t need any actual military experience and don’t have age, height/weight or physical fitness standards. They tend to be decent, honest, older men and women with successful careers and skills critically important during state emergencies. I’ve met many of them, interacted with some on a regular basis, competed against some at military competitions, and attended a couple of State Guard drills when I was in high school.

Yes, I admire and respect these State Guardsmen. No, they shouldn’t “monitor” Special Operations troops conducting important training.

So State Guard and National Guard troops aren’t the same thing. That ultimately doesn’t matter. Our governor actually ordered American troops to ensure other American troops aren’t trying to wage war against Texas. He doesn’t trust my military brothers and sisters. Or he’s caving to the lunatics who don’t trust us. Which is it?

I’ve seen the moronic, nonsensical hysteria about Jade Helm from near-clinically insane conspiracy theorists. I’ve heard completely irrational concerns about Jade Helm from otherwise normal people. I watched the recent press conference near Bastrop, Texas, where an exasperated Public Affairs Colonel had to answer repeated, ridiculous questions from people who seemed to desperately want Jade Helm to be a sinister conspiracy (“Why can’t they just train on post? What about the closed Wal-Mart, is it a FEMA camp? WHAT WILL YOU DO IF YOU’RE ORDERED TO CONFISCATE OUR GUNS?”). But despite the ranting of the conspiracy crowd, Jade Helm is nothing to worry about.

About 74 seconds of research on Google will show anyone – including Governor Abbott – that Special Operations and regular troops have been training off post in civilian areas for decades. Army Special Forces trainees attend an exercise called Robin Sage as their final test; Robin Sage takes place in rural North Carolina six to eight times a year, on civilian land, with civilian volunteers. The exercise has been going on for over fifty years ( Last I heard, North Carolina isn’t under martial law.

Many other military exercises take place off post, among the civilian population. I’ve participated in some myself. No, they’re not practice for martial law. They’re off post because the real world is a far more challenging environment than the sterile, control-freak atmosphere of a military training area. A soldier on a base full of soldiers doesn’t have to try too hard to not get noticed. A soldier among vigilant civilians faces a far greater challenge, which makes off-post training for certain skills very desirable. And last I heard, we actually want our troops to be trained. Especially our Special Operations troops, who often have to carry out critically important covert missions among civilian populations overseas.

I have one piece of advice for Jade Helm conspiracy theorists: the day after the exercise ends, open your gun safe. If your guns are still there (and they will be), SHUT UP. If you’re not in a Wal-Mart FEMA camp (and you won’t be), SHUT UP. Stop desperately hoping your conspiracy fantasies are real. They’re not.

As a Marine and Soldier who’s served for over twenty-five years, I have to ask: does Governor Abbott consider me a threat? Does he worry that I’m plotting to wage war against my own country? When I was training for my wartime mission, did he think the State Guard should have monitored me? Am I suspected to have evil intentions because I sometimes trained off post?

Whatever someone thinks about the federal government – and I personally have huge criticisms and concerns – how does a reasonable person accuse the Special Operations troops participating in Jade Helm of treason? Even if the federal government intends to confiscate all our guns and put us under UN control (it doesn’t, but some people believe that) why do people think regular Joe Soldier is willing to murder American citizens, stick traumatized survivors in Wal-Marts-turned-FEMA-camps, take everyone’s guns and impose martial law?

Our troops come from this society. Our cities are their cities. Our families are their families.

Some conspiracy theorists are (unfortunately) veterans, or are closely related to veterans. They, of course, would never want to destroy American freedoms. Yet they suspect our best, most dedicated and bravest troops of preparing to do just that. That’s ridiculous, irrational and hypocritical. Some others argue that Governor Abbott was correct to mobilize State Guardsmen because his constituents have concerns. Whether those concerns are valid or not, Abbott has a responsibility to address them.

My response is “whatever”. Irrational concerns deserve nothing other than “That’s stupid and we’re not worried about it. Next question.” If you disagree, then do you think Governor Abbott should mobilize the State Guard to watch the sky for chemtrails? Or search for MK-Ultra sleeper agents? What about monitoring the border for UN troops being secretly brought across? Should we task the State Guard to stop the US government from spreading Ebola?

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Conspiracy theorists operate under the non-logic of “We don’t have proof it isn’t true, so let’s believe it!” Does that stupidity deserve to be addressed? How many ridiculous, dumbass conspiracy theories does Governor Abbott have to respond to? And why did he respond to this one?

As a combat veteran, I have at times felt ignored or disrespected by our federal government. But I always felt – ALWAYS – that Texas and its government were a bastion of common sense, old-school values and respect for service and sacrifice. I’ve never had a single reason to believe my state government viewed me as a problem because of my military service.

Now I do. It sucks. And I didn’t expect that from this state, or this governor.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (


So here’s an interesting development. Tim McGraw is putting on a concert to support an organization called Sandy Hook Promise. Sandy Hook Promise supports laws and efforts to protect children from gun violence (I realize this concert is somewhat controversial, but that’s not the point of this essay.) McGraw is doing this partly because his longtime fiddle player, Dean Brown, has a close friend named Mark Barden. Barden is also a musician, and lost a child in the Sandy Hook Massacre.


1) Mark Barden lost a child at Sandy Hook;
2) Mark Barden is a musician and good friend of Dean Brown;
3) Dean Brown is Tim McGraw’s fiddle player and has been for 22 years; so
4) Tim McGraw will perform at a concert to support a Sandy Hook-affiliated organization.

Why is this interesting? Because the Sandy Hook Massacre never happened! It was faked by the government! The school was closed years before the fake massacre! No children were killed! The “parents” were all actors! [Insert whatever other ridiculously moronic claim you feel is appropriate].

The inescapable conclusion is that Tim McGraw is part of the Sandy Hook conspiracy. Honest!

A fellow writer, Maya Bonhoff, pointed something out in a comment on another post yesterday: if there was no massacre and no children were killed, Dean Brown either doesn’t know his longtime friend Mark Barden is a government shill or Brown is part of the conspiracy. Likewise, McGraw either doesn’t know his fiddle player of two decades is a government shill, or McGraw is part of the conspiracy.

Maya explains this better than I can:

“How do the CHFF (Conspiracy/Hoax/False Flag) advocates propose that this connection has not resulted in the whole deal being blown? Does Dean Brown not realize that Mark Barden is 1) a crisis actor paid to pretend to have had a son, 2) a citizen of Newtown who never had a son, but has been hired by the government to pretend he did, 3) has a son who is still alive but in hiding somewhere, 4) had a son who was killed by the government, but is accepting money to pretend that Adam Lanza really did the deed?

If he does know one of these things, why has he not come forward? He’s just the sort of person CHFF advocates posit is in a position to blow the whistle on a CHFF of whatever nature.

Take your pick of the above or advance a new theory, then please respond. How does a conspiracy in an open environment (not hidden somewhere and where traffic from outside is not limited) account for all such connections of people to the world?

My point is that this connection between a Sandy Hook parent and a high profile friend, who is frequently in the limelight and who travels extensively, is just one out of thousands that would have to have been carefully researched and accounted for in the plan with contingency plans for every one of them.”

Maya is an accomplished author, and discusses the logical and logistical problems inherent to conspiracy theories from a writer’s perspective in this post:

Maya very politely asks Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists to address this connection between Tim McGraw and a [fake] Sandy Hook parent. I’d also like them to address it, but my request is far less polite.

Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists are a bunch of brain-dead morons. The kindest thing I can say about them is maybe they’re mentally ill or suffering from Alzheimer’s, rather than simply being window-licking stupid. Please, conspiracy theorists, explain why Tim McGraw is putting on this concert. Does McGraw know the massacre never happened? Is he part of the conspiracy? Is he innocent and being manipulated by his evil fiddle player Dean Brown, who actually is part of the conspiracy? Or are both McGraw and Brown being tricked by Mark Barden, who conned his longtime friend Brown into believing his son was murdered?

Please come up with some plausible explanation. I’ll hang out here until you do. In over two years you haven’t come up with even one actual piece of evidence to support your stupid “theory”, so I won’t hold my breath waiting for you to actually say something logical.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

This was published yesterday on Breach Bang Clear. I don’t know that I’ve ever enjoyed a training class as much as this one.


So there I was, finger on the trigger, stock in my shoulder, left hand on the monopod adjustment, staring through a scope at a thousand yard target. And our instructor, that bastard, didn’t just want me to hit the target. He wanted me to hit its head. Everyone knows thousand-yard head shots only happen in bad novels and action movies.

This was on day two of 1MOA Solutions’ ( Precision Rifle Course, held at Red Stag Tactical’s range in Eagle Lake, Texas. When I heard about the class I got all excited at the prospect of making long-distance shots like I had in Afghanistan. The problem was, I don’t own a good long-distance rifle. So my options were borrow whatever I could get, or take my WWII Enfield to the course.

I borrowed an AR-10 clone from an Army buddy. It had a badass new Trijicon scope on top; unfortunately, it was a badass Trijicon scope with a hunting reticle, no mil or MOA lines. And I only had 75 match rounds instead of the required 200, the rest was whatever craptastic ammo I could find at Academy. So while I expected to learn a lot at the course, my personal performance expectations were low. I figured I’d be able to hit out to 600 or so, and would watch other shooters hit at a thousand. I was just there to have a good time.

Day one, zeroing

Day one, zeroing

The other students were all civilians with no military background. I was the only one who had been downrange, been shot at, and shot at people. That DID NOT mean I was the most skilled or well-trained shooter. I went through Marine boot camp, picked up a secondary MOS of range coach (8531) and fired expert six times during my enlistment. In the Army I was lucky enough to attend the Squad Designated Marksman course and fire to 600 yards with M16A4s using optics and irons. In Afghanistan I was able to hit at 900 meters with my M14 and at 980 meters with a French .50 once. So yeah, I had some experience.

Firing a PGM .50 French sniper rifle in Afghanistan, with a French Marine sniper talking me on

Firing a PGM .50 French sniper rifle in Afghanistan, with a French Marine sniper talking me on

But I didn’t have a good grasp on the science behind long-distance accuracy. I had never used a Kestrel or other small arms ballistic computer (although I was familiar with the basics from my time as an Abrams tank gunner). As far as rifles went, I had pretty much been spoon fed whatever the Corps or Army wanted me to know, which wasn’t much more than the basics. In Afghanistan I was able to make long distance hits on static targets, always under ideal conditions, usually with French snipers talking me on.

But in this class I was going to have to get way in depth on accuracy. On that first day Adam sat at a table with us, passed Kestrels around and talked us through ballistic calculations. Two students were engineers, had really studied ballistics and had a level of knowledge way over my head. They and Adam had an intense, hard-to-follow discussion about mil versus MOA adjustments, G1 versus G7 scales and the ballistic coefficient of a laden swallow; my contribution to the discussion was something to the effect of “I like tacos.” If I had any illusions about my mastery of shooting, I lost them at that table.

So I went into the class with an open mind and tried to stay humble. And I learned a LOT. And shot far better than I expected. This two-day class consisted of a short period of classroom instruction on ballistic calculations, zeroing at 100 yards, a few accuracy drills at 100 yards, range estimation class, unknown distance engagements on steel targets, known distance engagements on steel to 1000 yards, unconventional position training, and a short discussion on useful accessories.

We had one slight problem: rain. No offense to the townsfolk, but Eagle Lake only has that name because “Buzzard Swamp” was taken. Heavy rain drenched the area for weeks before the class and the first day was a partial washout. Because we lost valuable range time we had to give up the planned range estimation class. The rain also flooded roads, prevented placement of some targets, got trucks stuck and created a pool deep enough to trap a tractor and nearly drown Adam Wilson (from the tower several hundred yards away we saw him standing on the tractor bumper singing “The heart will go on” while the driver yelled “I’ll never let go!”). That all sucked, but 1MOA and Red Stag are making up for the lost instruction time at a later date.

The instruction we did receive, however, was friggin’ fantastic. Here’s what I learned: The right gear makes a huge difference. Prior to this class I thought my Afghanistan M14EBR was the One True Rifle. I expected my borrowed AR-10 to be decent, nowhere near as good as a 14.

Then Adam Wilson looked through my AR-10 scope and said, “This isn’t going to work. Use one of my rifles.” And he handed me his Ashbury Precision Ordnance Tactical Competition Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor with a Surgeon action and Leupold Mk 8 3.5 – 25 x 56mm scope. It was kind of like telling a high school boy, “Your prom date is just so-so. Here’s Sasha Grey, take her instead.” I’ve never handled a rifle that accurate, and my eyes have been opened. A 7.62 anything just isn’t as accurate as a good 6.5; we had one 7.62 shooter, and as predicted he just couldn’t make the same shots a 6.5 shooter could (although he did hit at a thousand).

Shooting a precision rifle is a lot different than firing a carbine. Duh, right? Don’t get me wrong, the principles are the same. But little things make a huge difference. For example, during CQB-type carbine training we’re death-gripping our weapons. At SDM school I’m pretty sure I did the same thing. But in this course we learned to not strangle the pistol grip. In fact, Adam had us lightly hold the grip with just three fingers, without even wrapping our thumb around it. One student barely even touched the pistol grip; just about the only part of his strong hand touching the weapon was his trigger finger. And he was accurate to a thousand yards.

To be a good distance shooter, you might have to shotgun breach a tree. WTF do I mean by that? Well, when we were on the known distance range we fired at 300, 500, 700 and 1000 yards. Everyone hit at 300 and 500 with no problem. Then one student was nowhere near the target at 700. Adam couldn’t spot his trace or see a splash, so he had the next shooter try it. That shooter hit. Then I tried 700, and again, Adam couldn’t tell where the hell I was hitting. We went back to the first shooter. I was watching through my scope when he fired; I heard his rifle go boom, a small branch fluttered down and his round splashed into the mud far short and far right of the target.

I hadn’t paid much attention, but a few branches were hanging over the range. I thought they were too high to make a difference, and I had that tanker mentality about brush anyway: “Brush? Who cares? Just shoot through that shit!” Well, you can’t just shoot through that shit. Even light brush can totally jack your mojo. I wound up riding in a tractor bucket onto the range and blowing the branches down with a shotgun. Maybe someone thought that would remind me of my glory days on a tank. No, they didn’t make me do the gardening because my last name is Hernandez. I swear.

Read the rest at

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (


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