All,

I just confirmed an appearance at the Barnes and Noble in The Woodlands, Texas on April 4th from 2-4 pm. I’ll be signing and selling copies of Line in the Valley. If you’re in the area please stop by and visit, even if you don’t buy anything.

Conspiracy theorists and open carriers, feel free to come out and confront me about being a government shill or anti-gun “butter”. :)

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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 BreachBangClear.com 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 chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7


This was published last week on BreachBangClear.com

—————————————————-

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We’re losing the fight against Stolen Valor. It seems like every week we hear a new military poser story, involving a range of people from homeless bums to senior politicians. Many veterans, myself included, have personal stories of poser encounters. Web sites like Guardian of Valor and This Ain’t Hell continually expose egregious Stolen Valor cases, and aren’t likely to run out of story subjects within my lifetime.

Here’s evidence of how bad the problem is: approximately 3,400,000 Americans served in Vietnam, off its coast or in the Vietnam Theater. But according to the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation, nearly fourteen million have lied about serving in Vietnam. “During [the year 2000] Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country is 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnam vets are not.” (http://www.nationalvietnamveteransfoundation.org/statistics.htm)

Stolen_Valor005

The scope of the Stolen Valor problem is enormous. I think there are two main reasons why. First, so few Americans today know anything about military service that tricking them with unbelievable war stories is ridiculously easy. And second, fewer and fewer Americans care at all about military honor or integrity.

Military lies are easy to pull off

Last year I met an old Army buddy, Dave, for dinner. We were friends before deploying and later served in the same company in Iraq. He did two notable things in Iraq: after his convoy was ambushed and stopped one night, he ran around in the open under fire trying to get it moving again. And he – literally – dug up an Improvised Explosive Device with his bare hands during a patrol.

The IED thing deserves explanation. While patrolling Dave saw wires leading to a pile of trash beside the road. He called it out and moved up to investigate, but wasn’t certain it was an IED.

“They always told us not to waste EOD’s time with false IED reports,” Dave said. “I figured I better make sure it really was one before I called it in.”

He dug into the trash and saw the wires going into the dirt. So he dug into the dirt until he found an artillery shell. But it wasn’t connected to the wires, so he kept going until he uncovered a second one. Wires were going into this one. He finally stood and announced, “It’s an IED!”

Dave told me about it a few days later. Long before he finished the story, I interrupted him with “WHAT THE FUCK COULD YOU HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN THINKING?” I was sure some frustrated insurgent had been screaming “Allah dammit!” while watching him and furiously touching a wire to a car battery.

So last year when I met Dave for dinner, an old high school friend joined us. My high school buddy was a Navy veteran who served in the 90s. When he sat down, I introduced them.

“Joe, meet Dave. We served in Iraq together. He’s all messed up because an IED went off in his helmet. He would have been okay, but a secondary went off on the other side.”

Dave burst out laughing. I joined him. But my high school friend flinched, waited for the laughter to die and quietly asked, “Are you doing alright now?”

My high school friend is no dummy. He’s an educated, intelligent professional, and is involved in organizations and activities that support veterans. He just didn’t get our Army humor, and because he never served in Iraq he didn’t know how ridiculous the IED-in-the-helmet joke was.

A Navy veteran was that easy to trick, if that had been our intent. How easy do you suppose it is to trick someone who knows nothing of the military?

Read the rest at http://www.breachbangclear.com/stolen-valor-is-no-big-fucking-deal/

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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 BreachBangClear.com 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 chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7


A certain strain exists within American society, a portion of our population who believes evil’s root causes are all white, male and Christian. This culminates in the amazing belief that Muslim terrorist organizations like ISIS, responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people over just the last several years, warrant no special attention. Adherents of this belief continually downplay the blatant and obvious international threat posed by ISIS and its ilk, while simultaneously bringing up long-ago atrocities in a desperate attempt to find moral equivalence between Islamic terrorism and American culture. This desire to find something, anything, comparable to ISIS evil led even our own President to talk about the Crusades during a recent prayer breakfast.

Consider that for a moment. An army of Muslim fanatics is killing thousands of people, invading an allied country, executing prisoners in unspeakable ways and even televising the brutal decapitations of American citizens. And for no reason I can think of, our President brings up events hundreds of years old. Maybe in an attempt to convince us, “We’re just as bad.”

A few days ago the Huffington Post, mouthpiece of the “we’re evil too” crowd, published something – and I know this is nearly impossible to believe – far more ridiculous than normal. This is the title of their article:

KKK Was Terrorizing America Decades Before Islamic State Appeared

“For David Pilgrim, the founder and director of the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University, the actions of ISIS and other extremist groups are familiar — no better, no worse than the historic stateside violence against African-Americans. ‘There’s nothing you’re going to see today that’s not going to have already occurred in the U.S.,’ he said. ‘If you think of these groups that behead now — first of all, beheading is barbaric but it’s no more or less barbaric than some of the lynchings that occurred in the U.S.’”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/27/kkk-terrorist-organization_n_6764866.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013

On its face it’s a ridiculous comparison. ISIS is a huge, well-funded and powerful organization full of fanatical zealots willing to carry out the most brutal crimes imaginable in order to bring about their prophesied Muslim apocalypse. In barely a year ISIS has invaded a country, captured cities and besieged others, massacred many thousands of innocents, taken at least hundreds of slaves, forced young girls to become “wives”, attempted genocide and is now destroying the historical treasures of the cradle of civilization.

Yes the Klan was, and is, a repulsive organization responsible for many horrible crimes. But how can it possibly be “no better or worse than ISIS”?

I’m a literal guy. As a writer, if I say “the car is red” I don’t mean “the red car represents the angst and polarization of humanity throughout millennia.” I mean the car is red. As a cop and combat soldier, I can’t indulge in hyperbole; I have to understand actual, literal realities. So when I read the HuffPo’s comparison between ISIS and the Klan, I had to check myself. “Maybe this isn’t as stupid as it seems,” I thought. “This has to be some non-literal point. If I look deeper, I’ll see the validity.”

So I looked at it with an open mind. And I concluded, “This is even stupider than I originally thought.”

Differences of scale

HuffPo’s article was, I think, trying to say the Klan and ISIS were no different in principle. Fair enough. But differences in scale matter too.

According to the HuffPo article, “[A] study [by Alabama’s Equal Justice Initiative] found almost 3,960 African-Americans were lynched from 1877 to 1950 — a number that supersedes previous estimates by at least 700.”

So for 73 years, the Klan lynched about 54 people per year. That’s horrible. The Klansmen who committed those murders deserved death. Those who assisted deserved to spend the rest of their lives in prison. But the Klan, when sheer numbers are compared, doesn’t come close to ISIS.

Two articles from the Daily Beast, hardly a conservative news source, highlight just how powerful and dangerous ISIS really is. The first article reports that “Iraq Body Count”, an organization that’s tracked Iraqi deaths almost since the beginning of the Iraq War, tallied 15,883 ISIS-caused Iraqi deaths from January 1st to November 30th, 2014.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/05/isis-fighters-are-killing-faster-than-statisticians-can-count.html

The second article cites a UN report detailing ISIS’ brutal treatment of Muslims. ISIS fighters have, among other crimes, executed women for refusing to care for wounded ISIS fighters, killed a female doctor for not covering her face while treating patients, executed Muslims for refusing to swear loyalty to ISIS, and destroyed mosques led by imams who wouldn’t swear loyalty to ISIS.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/07/isis-s-gruesome-muslim-death-toll.html

Oddly enough, this August 2014 article is from the Huffington Post. It cites several important numbers: soldiers from five nations have been directly engaged by ISIS fighters; 300 Yazidi women are known to have been taken as slaves by ISIS; and 1,922 Iraqi civilians, soldiers and police were killed by ISIS in June 2014 alone. Zero is listed as the number of openly practicing Christians left in Mosul since ISIS seized control.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/11/isis-iraq-numbers_n_5659239.html

Yet after all this, HuffPo writes that ISIS is no worse than the Klan.

As bad as it was, the Klan was always a regional threat that lacked grand global aims. It didn’t launch mass assaults or capture hundreds of slaves, nor did it proudly televise mass executions. The Klan’s evil was nowhere near the scale of ISIS’ evil. And unless you believe a thousand murders are no worse than a single murder, scale is important.

If scale isn’t important, if “any bad” equals “the worst bad”, then we can make these Huffington Post-like comparisons:

Slavery by blacks in the United States was just as bad as slavery by whites.

In a very interesting and widely ignored article, the black website The Root reports that free blacks owned slaves “in each of the thirteen original states and later in every state that countenanced slavery,” and had owned slaves since at least since 1654… “Free blacks owned slaves in Boston by 1724 and in Connecticut by 1783; by 1790, 48 black people in Maryland owned 143 slaves.”

Some free black slave owners in Louisiana even requested, and were granted, permission to serve in the Confederate Army. Just before the Civil War’s outbreak the black slave owners wrote, “The free colored population [native] of Louisiana … own slaves, and they are dearly attached to their native land … and they are ready to shed their blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for abolitionism; no love for the North, but they have plenty for Louisiana … They will fight for her in 1861 as they fought [to defend New Orleans from the British] in 1814-1815.”

http://www.theroot.com/articles/history/2013/03/black_slave_owners_did_they_exist.html

And black Africans played a huge part in the slave trade. “Several nations such as the Ashanti of present-day Ghana and the Yoruba of present-day Nigeria were involved in slave-trading… Historians John Thornton and Linda Heywood have provided an estimate that Africans captured and then sold to Europeans around 90% of those who were shipped in the Atlantic slave trade. Henry Louis Gates, the Harvard Chair of African and African American Studies, has stated that ‘without complex business partnerships between African elites and European traders and commercial agents, the slave trade to the New World would have been impossible, at least on the scale it occurred.’” It’s also worth pointing out that the African nation of Mauritania just outlawed slavery in 2007, although about 20% of its population is still thought to be slaves.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_Africa

Since scale doesn’t matter, the HuffPo staff should agree that blacks are just as guilty of perpetuating slavery as whites. I’ll hold my breath waiting for them to publish an article decrying the “black privilege” legacy of black slaveowners.

Black racist organizations are just as bad as white racist organizations

In 1973 and 1974, a small group of black racists in San Francisco called the “Death Angels” murdered fourteen mostly white victims and wounded eight others. The attacks were usually random shootings of unsuspecting whites, but some were complex and horrific. One white couple was kidnapped and hacked with machetes after two of the killers fondled the wife (her husband survived). A homeless white man was kidnapped, bound and dismembered while still conscious. The killers were eventually arrested after a member of their group turned on them in exchange for immunity.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra_murders

And then there’s the New Black Panther Party, which even some original Black Panthers disavow as violent and racist. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the New Black Panther Party as “a virulently racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers.” One of their leaders, King Samir Shabazz, was quoted saying this in a 2009 National Geographic documentary: “I hate white people. All of them. Every last iota of a cracker, I hate it… You want freedom? You going to have to kill some crackers! You going to have to kill some of their babies!” Another leader, Malik Zulu Shabazz, in 2002 shouted outside a synagogue, “Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel! Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!”
http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/new-black-panther-party

The Death Angels and New Black Panthers accomplished nothing on the scale of the Klan’s reign of terror over southern blacks. They committed nowhere near 3,960 lynchings. But following HuffPo’s logic, they’re “no better, no worse”, than the KKK. Which makes black racist organizations no better, no worse, than ISIS. Since, you know, scale doesn’t matter.

I’m sure HuffPo’s next article will be headlined, “Black Racists were terrorizing America decades before Islamic State appeared.”

I can only think of one possible defense for HuffPo’s article: “They just published it. That doesn’t mean they agree with it.” Which makes sense, and explains why HuffPo has published the following articles:

“Why George W. Bush was the best president in American history”

“The Iraq War: blueprint for perfection in all future wars”

“The Democratic party should abandon Hillary Clinton for lying about being under sniper fire”

“A friendly chat with the head of the Tea Party”

Wait…maybe HuffPo hasn’t published those articles, since they obviously don’t agree with them. All web sites publish articles the staff and readers agree with. It’s safe to assume HuffPo and its readers agree that ISIS is no worse than the Klan.

That opinion is ridiculous, and ultimately useless. If in a thousand years the “Christian State of America and Canada” is doing exactly what ISIS is doing today, what purpose would it serve to point out “but others have done bad things too”?

Nearly every culture that ever existed committed some type of atrocity against someone. That doesn’t mean we dismiss atrocities committed today, simply because someone want us to feel perpetually guilty about long-ago crimes. The proper response to ISIS’ evil isn’t self-loathing from moral weaklings riddled with White Guilt.

Sorry HuffPo, but White Guilt won’t win this war. You and your readers keep responding to ISIS by berating yourselves for crimes you never committed. The rest of us will be too busy fighting evil to worry about things we’re not responsible for.

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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 BreachBangClear.com 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 chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7


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Last week I attended an “ISIS in America” presentation. It was hosted by a local university for a law enforcement audience, but was open to the public. Making the event a free-for-all was a bad idea; a few people on personal crusades showed up just to pitch their causes. For example, at one point a woman stood up to tell the crowd, for no apparent reason, about her quest to change Texas textbooks.

The event organizer was a retired army officer turned college professor. Most of his talk was a litany of right-wing talking points, delivered to an extremely receptive audience. I found myself annoyed. I actually agreed with many of his comments, but like to think I have a deeper understanding of the reasoning behind them. His speech was more “We need to bomb ISIS!” followed by cheers, rather than in-depth explanations of how incredibly difficult this problem is to solve.

Then the first guest speaker arrived. He was an American Muslim who converted in the 1960s, now a professor of Muslim history. He gave a very interesting, insightful presentation about Islam’s history, and some of the factors that led to ISIS’s creation. He emphatically condemned ISIS, clearly stated the Muslim world needed to defeat ISIS, and joked “Islam would be perfect, except for Muslims.” He mentioned the recent execution of the Jordanian pilot and pointed out Islam does not condone burning prisoners.

isis

I was very impressed with his speech. So were the people I was with. The police officers in the room stayed quiet. But, of course, someone had to make a show of challenging the professor.

A tall older man in a suit, apparently not a cop, stood and walked to the professor with a book in hand. He asked in a loud, bombastic voice, “Professor, are you familiar with this book? This is a biography of the Prophet Mohammed, written hundreds of years ago!”

The professor said he had heard of the book. The man asked, again in a loud voice, “Would you agree, professor, that this is an accurate representation of Mohammed’s life?”

The professor said he hadn’t read it.

The man announced, “Allow me to point out this passage!” And he told a story of Mohammed setting a fire on a Jewish prisoner’s chest to make him reveal where he’d hidden valuables.

The professor calmly explained that not all Muslims accept the biography as true, and that it’s not a source of religious law. He said that even if the story was true, that didn’t mean Islam condoned burning prisoners. The professor badly stepped on his crank at one point – “If Mohammed did that, he didn’t do it often,” which drew laughter from the audience – but he clearly explained that despite the biography’s claim, Islam does have rules governing treatment of prisoners.

After the grandstanding man finally sat back down, an elderly woman confronted the professor about Islam’s treatment of women and non-Muslims. The professor, of course, defended Islam’s racial inclusiveness. But he also admitted it has problems. “Islam does have a room for improvement when it comes to equality.”

The woman made a comment about crimes committed by radical Muslims. Then she turned to the audience and sneered, “The ‘religion of peace.’”

When the host shut down questions, another man actually put an “infidel” t-shirt on, over his long-sleeve button-down collared shirt, and tried to approach the professor. He didn’t get a chance, because someone else was already there asking why “all the different sects like Sunni, Shiites and Kurds” – not understanding Kurds aren’t a sect – “are killing each other.”

I listened with growing disgust. Yes, I despise radical Islam. I’d personally napalm every ISIS fighter if I could. And I’m agnostic, no fan of religion in general. But I’ve lived and worked with Muslims in Kosovo. I’ve fought beside Muslim soldiers in Afghanistan. I’ve helped a Muslim friend write a novel. I’ve taken a Muslim friend from Libya to the shooting range. Two months ago I attended a murder mystery party hosted by a friend originally from Lebanon; my wife and I mingled with white, black and Arab guests all dressed in 1920’s flapper and gangster costumes (and at any party hosted by an Arab, the food is awesome).

With two Afghan Army officers in Kapisa province, 2009. The soldier in green coveralls was thirty-five then, and had been fighting continuously since age fifteen. I went on many mission with him.

With two Afghan Army officers in Kapisa province, 2009. The soldier in green coveralls was thirty-five then, and had been fighting continuously since age fifteen. I went on many mission with him.

The Muslims I’ve known and served with had nothing in common with ISIS, despite the fact that they share the same religion. Just like my Christian parents have nothing in common with the Westboro Baptist Church. I can hate the WBC without hating all Christians. And I can hate radical Islam without hating all Muslims.

ISIS is in fact Islamic, as The Atlantic explained in a fantastic recent article (http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/). So were the Afghan troops I served beside. So were my Albanian friends in Kosovo. So are many of my American friends. ISIS wants a return to the caliphate of Mohammed’s time, and believe in following every Islamic law to the letter. The Muslims I’ve known have been, to say the least, different.

Many Afghan soldiers really liked American girly magazines, and alcohol. An Albanian friend in Kosovo explained, “Yeah, I’m Muslim and all that. But if you follow all the Muslim rules you can’t drink, can’t smoke, can’t have sex, can’t do anything. I’m not going to live like that.” A Muslim fellow police officer in Texas echoed that sentiment. “You know Catholics who go to church twice a year, on Christmas and Easter? That’s how Muslim I am.” A former Afghan translator I served with in Afghanistan, who now lives in Texas, is so incensed by ISIS’ acts in the name of his religion he wants to join the Peshmerga and kill them. I know Muslims who are devout and observant, and still have nothing in common with ISIS.

I might also mention that the Kurds, who are heroically resisting ISIS, are Muslim. So are the Muslim Jordanians. I’d venture to say Jordan’s King Abdullah commands more respect among soldiers and marines than our own president.

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jordan-king

I can hate ISIS without hating all Muslims. I can acknowledge the blindingly obvious – ISIS is Islamic – without believing all Muslims are like them. While there is obviously something in Islam which convinces far too many of its followers they’re justified in committing the most inhuman acts imaginable, far larger numbers of Muslims reject ISIS’ actions.

We in the west often say the Muslim world needs to strongly condemn ISIS. Then we have Muslims who do condemn them, like the professor. And they’re willing to do so out loud, in public, to an audience of non-Muslims. They should be applauded for that. Instead, some are challenged and ridiculed by morons using their ignorance to prove a flawed point.

Plenty of Muslims are good guys. We’re fighting on the same side, against a common enemy. When Muslim good guys condemn Muslim bad guys, let them. Support them. Stand with them. Don’t insult and berate them, simply because you can’t tell the difference between good ones and bad ones.

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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 BreachBangClear.com 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 chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7


This was published last week on BreachBangClear.com

**********

Several months ago I heard of a new product called the Switchback, from a company called Thyrm. The Switchback is a pretty cool concept: it’s a tactical flashlight accessory that lets you transition from holding the flashlight in your off hand in search mode, to holding your weapon in an almost-two-handed grip with the light illuminating your target.

thyrm

I say “almost two handed” because your offhand thumb and forefinger are busy with the light, leaving only three fingers to assist with stability. Even without a full two-handed grip, it’s designed to be far more stable than any other method of firing with a flashlight (other than using a weapon-mounted light, of course).

To search, you hold it like this:

Costa-Ludus-AAR1

To shoot, you switch to this:

IMG_2352-884x1024

Simple, right? I thought so too. Then I tried it. I found out it is a great concept, but it’s not simple. There’s a formula to make it work right.

The first time I handled the Switchback, it seemed easy to use. Offhand trigger finger goes through the loop, offhand thumb presses against the projection at top of loop which presses power button against offhand middle finger and activates light. I practiced the grip many times at home, and it always worked fine.

So in June, I tried it out at a Graham Combat class. I was firing a Beretta Nano and had two sizes of Surefire lights, a Fury and a smaller Backup, with Switchback attachments. The power button on the Backup is momentary-only, meaning it can’t be left on, but the Fury can be operated in momentary or standard mode. I used both in momentary.

thyrm002

We were shooting at night, from behind vehicles. The positions were a little awkward, and the targets were about fifty meters away. That sounds far for a Beretta Nano, but it’s not. This sounds crazy, but earlier in the day Graham had walked us back from ten meters all the way to 130, and had us shoot steel silhouettes every ten meters. I made a first round hit with the Nano at 130 meters (and I sure as hell wasn’t going to tempt fate by firing a second shot). So I knew I could hit a target at 50 meters, no problem.

I lined up on the target with the Backup. The grip felt awkward as hell and I had trouble keeping the light oriented on the target, but I got the light in the right area, and squeezed the trigger.

I missed. And the light turned off. And the friggin’ thing hurt.

I kept trying. Same results, every time. I couldn’t keep the light on, couldn’t hit anything, and the damn thing hurt more with every shot. I switched to the Fury, tried different positions behind cover, and eventually tried just standing in the open to eliminate the unorthodox shooting stances. Nothing worked.

I was a little down, but figured I had the deck stacked against the Switchback that night. Fifty meters isn’t impossible but isn’t close, and it’s not very likely I’d use the Switchback or defensive pistol at that range. I was mostly shooting from unusual and uncomfortable positions behind cover, and the Nano has an unusual trigger guard slope, which may have affected my grip; on top of that I was tired from shooting all day and I was whiny, emotional and retaining water. Something must have gone wrong and messed up my Switchback experience; I mean, smart guys had designed it, and experienced guys were fans of it. So it had to be me.

I took it to a square range the next month to give it another try, this time with a Glock 27. I did my best, I swear. But I still couldn’t make it work.

Now I was depressed. I really liked the Switchback concept and wanted it to work, but it just wasn’t happening. I thought about writing a review then, but decided to hold off. Maybe something would change, the heavens would open and drop the secret to the Switchback on me.

As it turned out, the answer didn’t come from the heavens. It came from the almighty Glock.

Switchback with a Glock 42, recoiling after a shot. Note that the light is still on.

Switchback with a Glock 42, recoiling after a shot. Note that the light is still on.

Read the rest at http://www.breachbangclear.com/the-thyrm-switchback/

4452_1084593231917_5914735_n (2)
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 BreachBangClear.com 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 chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7


Poster

It is impossible to review American Sniper without addressing the two controversies surrounding it.

First, Chris Kyle has been criticized for calling Iraqis “savages” and expressing joy at killing them (he actually referred to the enemy, not all Iraqis, as savages). Michael Moore famously commented about snipers being cowards who shoot people in the back; as I write this, Moore continues to tweet derogatory comments about snipers. Writer Max Blumenthal tweeted that Kyle was a racist occupier and mass murderer comparable to the DC Sniper. Bill Maher called Kyle a “psychopath patriot”. Rolling Stone published a long diatribe about how American Sniper is emblematic of everything wrong with the American war in Iraq and proclaimed it “almost too dumb to criticize”.

I admit to being severely biased on this issue. I’m a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. I was never a sniper, but was a Squad Designated Marksman and know something of the dedication, discipline and courage required to be a sniper. Due to an odd circumstance I was on several missions with French Marine snipers in Afghanistan. On two occasions when I wasn’t embedded with them, French snipers possibly saved my life. And at least two Marine friends of mine shared battlefields with Chris Kyle. One is extremely protective of Kyle’s memory, since Kyle literally may be the reason he’s alive today.

I see nothing wrong with sniping enemy (or dropping artillery on them, or hitting them with airstrikes, or running them over with a tank while they’re asleep). Despite what much of the left seems to believe, being willing or even eager to kill worthy enemy doesn’t make us sociopathic. It means we soldiers understand some problems can only be solved with violence, and have a duty to apply it. Moore, Blumenthal et al seem to demand we feel bad when we do our duty. They apply their “war is always bad and nobody should fight even if America is under attack” mentality to us, and are shocked when we reject it.

As long as I follow the laws of war, it doesn’t matter if I think the enemy are savages. There’s a gigantic difference between hating the enemy and hating every living being in a nation. I didn’t hate the enemy, but I understood those who did.

Bradley Cooper and me at my firebase in Afghanistan during a USO visit. He's about a foot taller than me, but ducked down for the picture.

Bradley Cooper and me at my firebase in Afghanistan during a USO visit. He’s about a foot taller than me, but ducked down for the picture.

It’s vitally important that we Americans don’t rape, murder and pillage; to emphasize that importance, I wrote a long series on American soldiers who committed a horrible rape and multiple murders in Iraq. But Maher and his buddies who think we should never happily kill enemy just don’t understand us. They’d handicap us by having us dread the fight, when we should leave the wire eager for combat. Soldiers who hope to avoid contact are at an automatic disadvantage when a contact starts, but soldiers who want combat come alive when the first shot is fired. I’d much rather have troops who embrace war, like Kyle, covering my back than “soldiers” who dread it. Or brave Twitter warriors like Michael Moore who I believe would shed his uniform, drop his rifle and abandon his countrymen at the first hint of danger.

On one hand, I should respect the opinions of Moore and his ilk. After all, civilian oversight of the military is crucial to democracy.

On the other hand, screw them.

I could give a damn if some latent coward who has never and would never serve looks down his nose at me. My biggest regret in Afghanistan was having enemy in my sights but not being allowed to kill them; my biggest hope is that the one time I might have killed an enemy, I actually did. One of my happiest memories is of watching Kiowas and Apaches pounding hidden, trapped Taliban, and later learning five were killed. I would never feel happiness at the deaths of civilians, but I was ecstatic at the deaths of our enemies.

That makes me what it makes me. Don’t like it? I don’t care. Unless you’re willing to dodge IEDs, bullets and rockets beside me, your opinion means less than nothing.

So the first controversy is functionally irrelevant to me. The second, however, does matter.

Kyle has been accused of telling unbelievably untrue “sea stories” after his discharge from the Navy. A preponderance of evidence suggests he did just that. Three whoppers have been identified: the bar fight where he supposedly punched Jesse Ventura, his alleged killing of two carjackers at a gas station, and his claimed time atop New Orleans’ Superdome sniping dozens of armed looters after Hurricane Katrina. Journalistic inquiries determined those claims at best unverifiable, at worst outright lies.

Read the rest at http://www.breachbangclear.com/american-sniper-minion-review-1/

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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 BreachBangClear.com 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 chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7


Last week, the pro-gun web site TheTruthAboutGuns.com hosted a Charlie Hebdo massacre simulation, but added volunteers acting as armed citizens to see if they could make a difference.

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The simulation was conducted with guns firing marker rounds similar to small paintballs. Numerous iterations of the simulation were conducted; in most, the armed citizens “died” without being able to stop the terrorists from killing everyone. But initial reports said in two of the iterations the armed citizen managed to kill one terrorist, while in another iteration the armed citizen provided cover fire that helped others escape.

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Of course, anti-gun web sites immediately concluded “armed citizens are helpless against terrorists”, and treated the simulation as proof that carrying a gun is pointless. In response, Friday I published http://chrishernandezauthor.com/2015/01/16/addicting-infos-nonsensical-analysis-of-an-active-shooter-simulation/, a refutation of an especially moronic article about the simulation on AddictingInfo.com.

The Young Turks also published their take on the simulation, and in line with other liberal web sites concluded carrying a gun is either pointless or makes things worse. Young Turks host Cenk Uygur even mentioned that the Hebdo terrorists in Paris spared some people they could have killed, but if one of the victims had shot back, the terrorists might have killed everybody. In other words, “Thank god none of the victims had a gun. That would have turned this massacre into a real tragedy.”

Shortly after I published my essay, I was contacted by the head of BreachBangClear.com, a web site I write for. Unbeknownst to me, one of the “bad guy” role players in the Charlie Hebdo simulation was Sonny Puzikas, a man I don’t know but who is acquainted with others on the Breach Bang Clear team. Puzikas had shared his opinion on the simulation with Breach Bang Clear, and asked us to share it as well.

According to his bio, Sonny grew up in Lithuania and served in the Soviet Army. He then emigrated to America where he became an actor, trainer and personal security specialist. While he appears to be a controversial figure in the firearms community, he is a very skilled shooter and trainer.

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The text below is from Sonny Puzikas. He wrote it specifically in response to the anti-gun story about the shooting simulation on The Young Turks. Since Puzikas’ first language isn’t English and his message was awkwardly worded and punctuated, I’ve edited it for clarity. No facts, figures or opinions have been changed. I’ll add the original text in a comment.

First of all- the video clip he [Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks] uses in his “report” is NOT from the event he is talking about, and he distorted and spun the simulation’s results.

Second- the presence of an armed individual DID make a difference at least in some way, almost every time. At the very least, it slowed the terrorists’ advance down. Sometimes significantly so.

TTAG in their “preliminary” report says that one of the “terrorists” was killed 7 times- I will say that the number is lower. Not by much, but lower. Here is why.

A few of the armed citizens continued engaging after being hit repeatedly- some more than 5, 10 or even 15 times in vital areas. The reasons are many; all participants except the “terrorists” wore full head protection (terrorists only had eye protection). Some of the armed citizens didn’t feel and thus didn’t acknowledge some of the hits to the head. Some allowed their competitive nature to take over and continued engaging after being hit repeatedly. That is normal and a serious drawback in many cases during force on force training and simulations. And I suspect there were a few cases of just pure panic shooting- pulling the trigger until it clicked regardless of anything.

The next thing this clown [Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks] is not accounting for is this: in real life it is possible that killing one of the bad guys would have some sort of impact on the ability, desire, and method of the remaining bad guy to continue doing what he was doing.

I will write more detailed account of my impressions from this event, but let me finish with this. I know for a fact I was “killed” twice; in one instance I knew immediately and have marks to prove it, as it was 2 rounds hitting my face. The second one I didn’t feel, but after removing my gear discovered 2 paint marker hits on my chest rig. In one additional instance I was hit in the forearm of my support hand, which at the very least would have affected my ability to continue using my rifle, and one additional hit in my upper leg, which at the very least could have affected my mobility. There were a few additional hits resulting from armed person continuing shooting after he was hit repeatedly.

Again- PLEASE share this post, not just the video- as the video does NOT tell the truth. I am guessing [Cenk Uygur] may have a certain bias…

One of the “terrorists”
Sonny

Not surprisingly, the anti-gun side views the simulation results as proof that carrying a gun is at best ineffective, at worst makes the situation worse. I have yet to understand how someone can say it’s preferable to let a murderer kill as many people as he can than to shoot back. But that’s what many people honestly believe.

However, Sonny Puzikas has a different opinion. As a terrorist role player, and despite the fact that he has far more experience than any armed citizens in the simulation, he was taken out twice and at least wounded twice more. As an experienced shooter and trainer, Puzikas believes an armed citizen can make a difference even when facing multiple well-armed and trained attackers.

Call me crazy, but I’ll take Sonny’s advice over the anti-gun side’s illogical opinions.

4452_1084593231917_5914735_n (2)
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 BreachBangClear.com 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 chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

http://www.amazon.com/Line-Valley-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00HW1MA2G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=09XSSHABSWPC3FM8K6P4
http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Our-Resolve-Chris-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B0099XMR1E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0S6AGHBTJZ6JH99D56X7



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