A “Bad Guy” from the Charlie Hebdo Simulation Speaks

22Jan15

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 https://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.

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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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22 Responses to “A “Bad Guy” from the Charlie Hebdo Simulation Speaks”

  1. ORIGINAL TEXT FROM SONNY PUZIKAS:

    PLEASE share this (copy and paste THIS TEXT to your post)- not just the video of this character spewing COMPLETE lies, but the story that comes with it.

    First of all- video clip he uses in his “report” is NOT from the event he is talking about, and distorting and spinning of it’s results.

    Second- presence of armed individual DID make a difference at least in some way almost every time. At the very least- it slowed the advance down. Some times- significantly so. While 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. Few of the armed individuals continued engaging after being hit repeatedly- some more than 5, 10 or even 15 times in vital areas. Reasons are many- all participants, except “terrorists” wore full head protection (terrorists only had eye protection) and didn’t feel, thus didn’t acknowledged 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 a lot cases during force on force training and simulations. And I suspect that there were few cases of just pure panic shooting- pulling the trigger until it clicked regardless of anything.

    Next moment this clown is not accounting for is this- in real life it is possible that demise of 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- 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 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 the author may have certain bias…

    One of the “terrorists”

    Sonny

  2. Again, I reiterate:

    we’re talking about trained tactical weapons instructors against untrained CWP holders.

    This is not a reflection of real life. I doubt that the Charlie Hebdo guys were all that “trained”.

    Furthermore, I KNOW FOR A FACT that Adam Lanza, the Aurora guy, the guy that shot Gabby Giffords, the douchebags at Columbine, the SJS guy at Fort Hood…

    …NONE of them were “trained” any more than your typical CWP holder, and so I believe that this “simulation” was biased, big time.

    If you want a good simulation, throw a bunch of random CWP holders up against another group of random CWP holders (who aren’t expecting the first group to be there resisting them in the first place) and THEN post your results.

    My guess is you’re going to have a bunch more dead terrorists. And this is much more “real world”.

    • Goober,

      I agree that wasn’t a good representation of a typical active shooter attack. However, it is close enough to a terrorist attack to be worthwhile. While there obviously is no set standard for terrorists’ skills, it’s likely that a terrorist would be better trained and more dedicated to an attack than someone like Lanza (especially now that some jihadists are traveling abroad to fight, then returning). The exercise was far from perfect, but as a terrorist attack simulation rather than an active shooter simulation I believe it was very valuable.

    • Goober, once again you are advancing your assertion, that this is like an Adam Lanza scenario, which is wrong
      and injecting your assumptions about training levels of defenders – which are arguably wrong, again based on what we know –

      1. Per early media reports, two cops were with Charlie Hebdo staff 24/7. Chris cites additional info about one who had the background that infers a higher level of training than average civilian ccw, although we dont know for sure what happened to him, or the other (?).

      2. What special insight into the training of the Muslim attackers do you have, that we do not? To your assertion that “the Charlie Hebdo guys were not” . I dont know either, but the gunment seemed pretty calm shooting the cop outside, and during the escape, talking to passersby, car jacking a second vehicle, and evading police for some time. That suggests they retained at least a little of their earlier training in Yemen.

      3. And here we have one of the Mock attackers in the scenario, saying the civilian defenders did better than was first understood, at least in his experience.

      Goober, you seem to be personally invested in the conspiracy theory that TTAG “set this scenario up to fail.”

      I find it hard to believe that Patriot Training would buy into that.
      Or that the 26 volunteers would all agree to some conspiracy to prove anti-gunners talking points.

      My $.02, and YMMV…

      • What’s you’re insight into the training level of the CH shooters, if mine is so wrong?

        How do they compare to the training level of these professionals in the scenario?

        Why do you feel like putting a completely untrained CWP holder up against two trained professionals with rifles is a scenario that even needed to happen?

        Of course the untrained guy with a pistol is going to lose.

        Way to give the anti-gun lobby fodder to use in their “good guys will just get killed or make things worse!” argument. Because now they have a STUDY, that PROVES that the good guy will just get killed. Right?

        I’m not talking necessarily about terrorist attacks, but the fact is, even IF the CH shooters were highly trained jihadis, most of the mass-shooter terrorist types are not – Lanza, etc.

        If you’re going to do a scenario asking “would a CWP holder make a difference or just get killed?” why would you create a scenario that was so highly biased towards failure of th CCWP holder?

        This thing was horribly biased. It didn’t even need to be done. All you had to do was call me up and ask me “will one untrained guy with a pistol be able to fend off two trained guys with a rifle?” and I’d have said “no.”

        I don’t have an agenda. I’m just a guy who can clearly see with my own eyes what is either a bias, or at least a terrible premise to run this test on.

        If these guys are not anti-gun folks, then they are blindly giving the anti-gunners free fodder. It was stupid to even do it.

        I stand by that.

        This biased “study” falls under the same category as the Open Carry advocates that are doing so much to “help” the rest of us pro-gun folks. Just giving them more ammunition to “prove” that I’m wrong…

        …that gun people aren’t sane, and rational, and instead will tactical carry ssault weapons into state capitol buildings…

        …that a CWP holder WON’T do any good when TSHTF, just like the antis claim…

  3. 7 SPEMack

    Also, what always agitates me about these simulations is the guys going as the active shooters are expecting a CCWer to resist them. \

    Those goat fucking bastards that shot up the newspaper offices certainly weren’t expecting a cartoonist to pull out his Glock 26 and start engaging them.

    • 8 TimUFR

      No they were expecting a fully trained member of the French equivalent of the US Secret Service. One was assigned to protect the editor in chief at all times.
      It’s not clear what happened inside, he apparently drew his weapon but was shot before he could do much of anything

    • Mack,

      I have to second Tim’s comment, based on the reports I’ve seen so far there was a police officer assigned as bodyguard to a Hebdo editor, and I believe that was common knowledge. So the attackers probably did expect some resistance.

  4. Simulations let us quantify things. “When we ran this simulation, with these parameters, we got these results.” That can be valuable, especially when we change parameters just a little, run the simulation again (and again, and again…) and compare results. All that said, there is one thing simulations can’t really quantify. That thing is human dignity. While some people overdo the talk about human dignity, it is real. It has value and meaning, even though it’s difficult if not impossible to quantify. We need to be honest with ourselves. If a group of terrorists attack the place most of us work or live, some (many or most?) of us are likely to die. Even if I can’t escape or change that final outcome, I’d far rather die on my feet while trying to take as many of the bastards with me as possible, rather than on my knees pleading for my life.

    • 12 RandyGC

      +1 As I said in a comment on another page, I seriously doubt that bullets in the chest hurt any more than bullets in the back.

  5. 13 Spanky

    Perhaps the Truth About Guns people should run more simulations. Instead of 12 why not run100 simulations? Although it may not be highly probable, it is certainly possible that one armed citizen with a firearm can kill or wound both attackers.

    I’d also like to see the parameters of the simulation changed to allow for more than one armed citizen. What happens if two or more of the 26 citizens have a firearm? This is actually a very good question. Just how many armed citizens would it take to have a twenty-five or fifty percent chance of killing both attackers? If the Truth About Guns people ran multiple scenarios with multiple armed citizen, I’m relatively sure they’d make a case for the concealed carry group.

    I also know that if I was ever caught in a Charlie Hebdo type of situation, I would rather have a gun than not. I’d rather defend myself than cower underneath a desk hoping that the attackers would somehow miss me.

    I have two firearms. One is a 22 rifle and the other is a 12 gauge shotgun. I’ve never fired the shotgun and I’ve only fired the 22 once (two years ago.) So, I’m definitely not a gun enthusiast. But I am considering getting a concealed gun permit.

    • 14 mightypeon

      If I would be a concealed carry guy in a situation like this, I would propably worry quite a bit about being shot by a police sniper btw.
      This would actually be a good question, if you are a heroic good guy with a gun, what to do to not get shot by the police who would have a pretty strong inclination to shoot/snipe you?

      • 15 Roy in Nipomo

        Your worry is like having a severe bleeding wound, but worrying about the sterility of the compress you have to use to stop yourself from bleeding out. It is a valid worry, but there are priorities (assured immediate death vs a death possibility later).

        A police sniper is less worry than just the first responder. A sniper is usually on-scene after the situation has solidified and has a little time to observe actions. The first responder frequently arrives with limited, incomplete and/or incorrect info.

        I remember a training film of an off-duty cop (Black & in civvies) who successfully thwarted a bank robbery by shooting the (Black) suspect. On the surveillance video, you could see that as he heard the sirens approach, he set his pistol on the floor with his badge beside it, got on his knees and put his hands on top of his head. He knew mistakes can happen and wanted to lessen the chances.

        If you really think you are more likely to be shot by the police for carrying a pistol than a bad guy for not doing so, then by all means don’t carry one. You assess the odds and bet your life where you feel the odds are in your favor. Not everyone will agree with you, but they don’t pay the price as directly for a wrong guess.

      • 16 RandyGC

        +1 to what Roy said, LE snipers are not a worry as they would get there after everything is over, unless it’s a hostage situation in which case they will be observing and recording the actions of everyone in sight and will develop an idea of who the targets are as opposed to the folks that are just trying to survive. First beat cops that arrive on scene however…

        Blue on Blue has always, and will always, be a reality in any armed engagement, military, LE, CCW, etc. It’s just a part of reality you have to deal with and prepare for. Including being prepared for instant compliance when LE arrives on the scene. They’ll sort out who is who after the shooting is over.

        I know that concerns have been raised on how a cop is supposed to differentiate between an active shooter and a CCW on scene. The flippant (albeit correct IMHO) answer is that they should concentrate on the a**hole shooting unarmed innocents, not the guy laying down suppressive fire on another armed individual while trying to get out of the kill zone. But the inherent chaos in such a situation means “stuff” will happen even with the best intentions of all responding.

        My personal decision is that I will take my chances with the cops and hope that it doesn’t suck to be me that particular day.

        FWIW I’ve had some conversations on this with LE I work with as a part of my job, and one stated (when discussing “truck gun” selection) that in an active shooter situation, if he saw an unknown individual with an AR type rifle (which is what all LE around here use as a patrol/SWAT rifle), and there was time to do so, he _probably_ would take time to order them to surrender. If they were carrying an AK or SKS, he probably would not take a chance.

        Not saying it’s right or wrong, just one data point locally, but something to consider in weapon choice.

    • 17 Spanky

      I decided to reply to my previous entry.

      The Truth About Guns simulation resulted in one of the aggressors being shot (or wounded) twice out of twelve scenarios. We can use this metric (2/12 = 0.16666) to estimate the probability of an armed citizen successfully killing or mortally wounding any given terrorist in a massacre situation.
      So, having successfully killed one of the attackers, is the probability of taking out the second gunman greater or less than 0.1666? A good argument can be made for both cases. Obviously, the answer to that question depends on a considerable number of factors. For instance, are both attackers in the same room? Another parameter that impacts the outcome is the amount of ammunition the armed civilian has after killing the first terrorist.
      Assuming, for the moment, that the probability of taking out the second gunman remains the same (0.1666), then mortally wounding or killing both gunmen occurs about 3% of the time (0 .1666 * 0.1666 = 0.0277). Admittedly, this is a small number. Nevertheless, given the alternative (almost certain death), a small chance of survival is considerably better than no chance at all.
      Something else to consider is a scenario where there are two armed citizens instead of one. Given this situation, the probability of either armed citizen mortally wounding or killing one of the terrorist should be double to approximately 0.32. Now, the probability of both attackers are taken out of action occurs about 10 percent of the time. Although this is still a small number, it is much better than having no armed citizens at all. By the way, this last scenario supports the argument, that the more armed citizens there is in a Charlie Hebdo-like situation, the greater the chances of surviving an attempted massacre.
      Everything I’ve presented are back of the envelope “what if” calculations.

      • 18 prcek

        I think you (and many others including antigun movement) cannot for trees see forest. The goal is not to kill all attackers. The goal is to save innocent people lives (or ccw person itself). For me is the best scenario described in some former article when ccw covered others retreat. Killing attacker(s) is just one way how to reach main goal.

        • 19 Spanky

          You must admit that killing all attackers is one way to save lives. It may not save all lives or it may save every last one of them. My back of the envelope assessment given the available data is merely that. Nothing more and nothing less. My premise (given the information provided by the 12 scenarios) is that it definitely possible for one armed citizen to kill two determined terrorists. It is even more likely that two or three armed citizens can take the same terrorists out. How many lives they save during the encounter is unknown and can’t be modeled given the meager data available.

          • 20 prcek

            We aren’t in opposition too much. I definitely agree with you that kill all attackers can be the way how to save lives.
            I just wanted to point out that some people had put equations mark between main goal and kill all terrorist and deduced conclusions from it. It is oversimplification.
            I think in this situation is not necessary to defeat attackers – it can be done later by police. But again I agree with you that kill all terrorists can be a way, but close them in some hallway/room can work too (but it is problematic in era of drywall/plasterboard – sorry I do not know which word is used for walls made from paper and gypsum). It just depends on situation and it will not be good anyway.
            Good (old) news is that Interpol supports ccw a bit
            http://10news.dk/interpol-allowing-citizens-to-carry-guns-in-public-is-most-effective-way-to-prevent-terror-attacks/

  6. A comment about the Young Turk video. Its pretty clear Ungyar is reading from something shoved under his nose without much preparation, and its just talking points from the Raw Story take on TTAGs article. So there’s a built in slant by Raw Story, that you can see Ungyar is trying hard to counter by giving props to TTAG for being honest. I guess being honest is so rare there at Young Turks, and the Raw Story echo chamber, that it needs to be pointed out, twice…

    But he cant help himself and either subconsciously or deliberately misses the point about the “advance on shooter” lesson learned opinion, by one volunteer, and conflates it with the misleading conclusion from Raw Story.

    The flip dismissal of assassination as “not a good selling point” doesnt exactly make him an authority on telling others what to do in a crisis, either.

    Not a young turk…more like a burnt out leftist, who is tired of phoning it in…
    as he is mugged by reality…

  7. 22 Richard

    One thing that simulations can’t mimic is the “determined adversary”. Think of the FBI shootout in Miami. Both sides there had a determined adversary. One of the bad guys took a fatal hit early in the encounter. One of the good guys took a disabling hit early in the encounter. In neither case, did their bodies get the message and both kept fighting. The good guy eventually prevailed but the bad guy caused massive damage to the FBI team. This is impossible to predict but it happens.


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