Friday, September 16, 2022

Ungunned but not Unarmed


Ungunned but not Unarmed

by Art Joslin, J.D., D.M.A.

Joslin AThis month, I'd like to discuss a topic I have given lectures on for several years. What do you carry for self-protection? What do you do if you can't take a gun in a specific situation? I've heard many times, especially from students, that they carry a weapon and are sure they will be ready when they need it. That is very optimistic. What if you can't get to your gun when you need it? What if you must enter a building unarmed (church, school, etc.) for just a few moments? Do you ever run up to the ATM for just a few minutes and leave your gun in your vehicle's center console? If you do have it on you, what if you turn around and suddenly are pinned against the cash machine by a knife-wielding thug? Your gun is pinned, too, and can't be accessed anytime soon. How do you fight your attacker? 

We usually train with firearms in an environment of a square range, three to seven yards from the target, on even ground, and in excellent, sunny weather. Three yards can be close quarters, but that gap can close quickly, bringing an attacker into extremely close quarters. Rarely do we train where the attacker is twelve inches from us or even more immediately. So, what other weapons can you possibly use instead of a gun in close quarters or where you're prohibited from carrying a gun? I've listed a few options below in no particular order. Indeed, there may be other options, but these are at the top of my list of alternatives to firearms.

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is a highly effective irritant from capsaicinoids in sure hot peppers. Oleoresin capsicum (OC) is the active ingredient that gives pepper spray its heat. Heat is measured by an index called Scoville heat units (SHU). For example, Tabasco® sauce has a SHU rating of 2,500 - 5,000. Pepper spray has a rating of 2 million - 3 million…quite a difference!

Pepper spray is considered an inflammatory agent and causes eye watering and burning, resulting in temporary loss of vision, coughing, runny nose and difficulty breathing. Where it contacts skin, a burning sensation occurs. Inhaled into the respiratory system causes throat irritation and burning with every breath.Spray

Pepper spray can be problematic when deployed improperly. The blowback to the user and over-spray can contaminate you or innocent bystanders. I've been over-sprayed with pepper spray simply because I was standing in the wrong place. One slight whiff can set the pain in motion, and the effects can last up to 30 minutes or longer. 

Pepper spray is a close-quarters weapon but can be used effectively up to about fifteen feet. Imagine you're not carrying a gun (for whatever reason) and wrestling on the ground with the perpetrator. A free hand could reach your pepper spray and discharge it effectively into the attacker's face. The drawback, as I mentioned, is the back spray you might experience, in only slightly less intensity than your attacker experiences. This is a good argument for pulling pepper spray as early in the fight as possible when you're still on your feet and can still move dynamically away from the area where you discharge it.

Depending on the delivery method, pepper spray can be a multi-distance tool, delivering the pain to 12 to 15 feet. Most manufacturers make different patterns of spray such as stream, cone-shaped fog or mist, foam, or gel, each of which has advantages and disadvantages depending on whether you are outdoors, inside or crowded into close proximity to others. Stream delivery gives a directed stream best used to cover a greater distance. Foam is good at close quarters and can be directed into an attacker's mouth, eyes and nasal passages, with less likelihood that innocents will be affected. In addition to limiting the risk of cross-contamination, a unique ability of gel is that it sticks to any surface like the face, causing the attacker to rub their eyes, mouth and nose, inadvertently spreading the gel across other areas for increased exposure. The cone-shaped fog or mist delivery method covers a broader area with a fine mist and can spray out to about 6 feet, including soaking door entrances and exits. Pepper spray in a fog or mist is also more likely to affect people wearing glasses, brimmed caps, or other facial protection.

One final caveat: just like a gun, your container of pepper spray must be readily accessible. Most females I know carry pepper spray in their purses, buried deep into the nexus, where it usually takes days to find.


An electro-muscular-disruption device, most commonly exemplified by a TASER®, has two barbed prongs that, when fired, transmit a high-voltage, low-amperage signal through thin wires, into the prongs and into the assailant's body causing temporary muscle contraction. The idea behind the civilian TASER® is to pull the trigger, hit the intended target, set the device on the ground and run to safety during the 30-second jolt. Police TASER®s are compliance tools. They give a 5-second jolt to help police bring a fighting suspect into compliance, while the civilian model is meant to provide you with time to run and seek help. 

For a TASER® to be effective, both prongs must make contact with the assailant. Therein lies one major issue; the prongs must make complete contact to be effective. A single prong making contact has zero effect on the assailant, so a missed shot would require a reload, but there is a minimal chance the supply will be fast enough. The TASER® cartridge is not reusable, but it is replaceable. Recently, TASER® introduced two-shot models that mirror law enforcement models' 5-second incapacitation cycle. TASER®s can be carried 12 to 15 feet on the right or left side in a unique holster and drawn like a gun.


Introduced in the late 1960s, the Kubotan, developed by Grand Master Takayuki Kubota, attaches to the keyring and can be used on pressure points, joint locks, or as a small impact weapon. Attached to key rings, it allows the keys to be used as a flail for self-defence when swung circularly. Some states consider a Kubotan an offensive weapon, which may be illegal to carry or possess, a vital distinction determined by your jurisdiction.

Early on, the Kubotan was popularized when female officers of LAPD were trained to use it to restrain unruly suspects. Monadnock Lifetime Products, a police and security equipment company, licensed a version called the Persuader™ and made it part of their defensive tactics training. Several knockoffs have evolved, some changing the original grooved 5 1/2 by 5/8-inch hard plastic flat-ended design; these are often called self-defence keychains or mini batons.

The versatility of the Kubotan is in its ease of carrying and use as a weapon anywhere a finger can go and the ability for a trained user to apply varying levels of force with it, as appropriate. Its non-threatening appearance is another benefit that makes it easy to carry in your hand, waistband or pocket where it is quickly accessible.

Hand to Hand

Hand-to-hand combat is something everyone should know. Whether you master a few simple techniques or make it a life-long study, empty-hand defence skills will serve you well. I'm not talking about martial arts. Martial arts take years to perfect, and most aren't the most effective against an attacker in close quarters. This is not to say that martial arts can't be practical (as well as give many other benefits), but I'd humbly submit that close-quarters fighting requires close-quarters techniques. Basic Krav Maga (Krav mah gah) will teach you street fighting because that's where you'll be fighting for your life.knife disarm

Krav Maga began in the early 1970s and was initially taught to Israeli special forces. It has developed over the years; it is used by U.S. armed forces and police worldwide. To get started, you don't need fighting experience; students of any size, strength, or physical condition can train. I teach it, and I've had students as young as 10 and as seasoned as 79 in my classes.

Krav is technique-based, not strength-based. Even though it doesn't require much strength, it requires a reasonably solid technique to be effective. It can be a very violent defence used to attack or "softer," where its methods can be used to hold a suspect until police arrive. I've had experiences when I was a bouncer where I had to use Krav to stop a fight or throw someone out of the bar who wanted to fight me. I've also used it to take a suspect into custody.

Hand-to-hand skill is such an invaluable tool in the toolbox.

Gunless but Not Unarmed

In closing, one can use many self-defence options without a gun present. However, let's not overlook some other standard tools you can use. Your belt can be used as a flail, a chair to block a knife attack, and a broken bottle can be used as an edged weapon. You may have to fight your way to your gun. If threatened by someone with a gun, I might use a gun disarming technique and take the suspect's gun if I can't get to my gun in time.

Make sure you have been trained before attempting any of these defences. Not only does effectiveness rely on proper technique, but a class by a certified instructor can also alert you to laws and restrictions of which you must be aware. If you travel, you will need to research the legality of self-defence tools where you intend to visit and the limits applicable to taking your defence tools onboard your mode of transportation. Many states and municipalities have laws regulating possession and use of TASER®s, pepper spray and mini batons.

Written in law in all 50 states are provisions allowing less-than-lethal self-defence methods to be used against non-lethal and lethal force. Even when using less than lethal force, one will be held to standards that parallel those governing the use of deadly force. For example, lawful use of either fatal party or less-than-lethal methods generally requires you to be in a place in which you have a legal right to be; generally, you cannot be committing a crime, and you need to have an honest and reasonable belief that deadly (or non-deadly) force is necessary. You may use proportional non-lethal force to stop someone using non-lethal force up through lethal force but not the other way around. Know the laws in effect where you are!

One final comment: I thank those who responded to my previous journal article, How to Spoil Your Self-Defense Case. There were great suggestions and comments, and I'll incorporate them in future articles.


About the author: The Network's Director of Legal Services, Art Joslin, J.D., D.M.A., has worked as a security and close protection specialist in the security and legal services industry. He is skilled in verbal judo, firearms, close protection, executive protection, and armed security work and has been a bar bouncer. His experience in crowd control, venue security, and working across the force continuum has nurtured a solid ability to rapidly de-escalate situations. He has provided executive protection, armed and unarmed, for high and medium-risk talent escorts and has been a high-risk armed escort and driver for the jewelry trade. He is a fourth-level black belt in Commando Krav Maga with 35 years of experience and training in Hapkido and Brazilian Jui Jitsu. He graduated from Force Science Institute, Massad Ayoob's Use of Deadly Force Instructor class. He is certified as a TASER® International instructor, and his firearms instructor and police certifications. He welcomes your questions and comments at

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Book Review-We’ll Be Back: The Fall and Rise of America


We'll Be Back:
The Fall and Rise of America

By Kurt Schlichter
Published by Regnery, July 2022
303 pages, hardbound $25.32; eBook $14.99
ISBN: 978-1-68451-330-7

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

With the primary elections stirring up all hate and discontent, I bought a book to help get me through the long, fractious months leading up to the general election. Will freedom-lovers regain a little clout in congress? What will happen at the state level? Will it make enough difference to save or recover some of our lost liberties? On a whim, I decided to buy. We'll Be Back, released in July by retired Army infantry colonel, Los Angeles trial lawyer, columnist and fiction author Kurt Schlichter. Although I follow his columns on Townhall (, I read neither dystopian nor action thriller fantasy, so I had not yet read any of his books. I was surprised to find some optimism in a book that mainly suggested pessimism.

As the title suggests, Schlichter explores the path to a return to national strength and prosperity. He does not promote armed revolt and emphasizes civil war's high, irretrievable costs. Instead, he suggests how our future could play out through possible scenarios and comparisons to the fallen Roman and Weimar republics. He observes that America's founding fathers were inspired by Rome's "Republic based on the notion that a polity was to be governed by citizens within a procedural framework that protected individual rights" and saw, perhaps, the evolution of Rome as a mirror image of "a nation of sturdy farmers, obsessed with honour, unbelievably stubborn and tough, creative but also willing to learn from others."

Unfortunately, he warns that Rome's success led to its disintegration, noting, "prosperity changed Rome forever…and within a few decades, the republican virtues that had sustained Rome's rise were being discarded with astonishing regularity." Whether the year is 300 A.D. or 2022, change is unavoidable, and Schlichter writes, "We need to understand that America will fall, in the sense that at some point—and it may not be in our lifetimes—it will morph into something different." He later adds, "It is cold comfort to observe that even as bad as things are, America has not yet hit bottom; the left is fully prepared to hit bottom and then keep digging."

Do not underestimate the hatred the left harbours for individual success, he later explains. "'If you are prosperous, the left cannot buy you, and if you are free, you will not choose subservience." The left thrives on misery because "through the struggle, it accumulates and exercises power," so it sees no upside to individual prosperity. Not that the leftist elite suffers; deprivation is for the masses. The result? A lot of normal people are furious about the lies and corruption, unavailability of basic supplies, job losses to overseas labour, and looting, burning and rioting that reveals the incompetence of "our ruling caste."

Don't read We'll Be Back expecting a screed against liberals and Democrats. Schlichter has plenty of harsh words for both political parties for mismanaging the war in the middle east, disastrous foreign policy decisions, economic incompetence, and intentionally inflaming hatred between people of differing beliefs. He defines the opposing ideologies: "Unlike the left, we do not seek to remake society into something new, but rather something old and proven by time. The Constitution, and all it entails, is the key."

Nonetheless, both parties have contributed to the massive administrative state that, Schlichter observes, runs on "a wink and a nod of support from the political branches that are happy to let faceless bureaucrats take the heat for the inevitable screw-ups of governing." Still, the left seeks more "power via the force of government" and subverts the Constitution's limits on government. If they prevail, he writes, we'll lose the Republic and end up ruled by "the new elite" bent on "crushing and looting internal dissenters."

He explores the various checks and balances implemented by the founding fathers, noting that a certain amount of injustice is just part of life, so the question must be not whether a single individual's rights were trampled but the scale of the injustice. Even the worst outrages in our past didn't "justify armed insurrection against the government of the United States," he writes. "The reason is that these violations of basic human rights could still be, and eventually were, addressed by the processes within the Constitution. You don't fight when you can fix it some other way."

He writes later that before the armed revolt, "there has to be a point when someone decides that he has nothing to lose...that your life as you knew it is essentially over the second you pull a trigger...if you pull the trigger at a fed and it does not turn into a successful revolution, you are done. Your life is over. You are going to jail forever; at best, you will be hunted forever. The second you take up arms, everything changes, and your life will never be the same," he writes, adding, "This is a good thing. We want to discourage this in all but the direst situations. It sets the bar for the shot heard 'round the country."

Having dismissed armed revolution as a fruitful option, Schlichter imagines how a negotiated separation into two nations might play out. An informal break is already underway with conservatives moving out of liberal states; why not get a divorce? He asks. Approach with caution, he continues, citing the Balkans as a caution. "Yugoslavia's breakup devolved into a massive civil war...If we wished to divorce, we should carefully review how they broke up Josip Tito's territory and then do the opposite."

He believes the Czech Republic and Slovakia's breakup in the early 1990s better illustrate "successful," meaning bloodless. I raised a skeptical eyebrow, wondering if the strategy scales up to so land-rich a nation as America. Schlichter further ponders how to divide the United States, acknowledging that our liberal bastions are not contiguous. Every "red" state has "blue" enclaves. Do you eject those of different political bent? We condemned "ethnic cleansing" in the Balkans, so "In all likelihood, a national divorce simply is not going to happen, unless the violence threshold has already been crossed, in which case all bets are off," he admits.

Is there a solution within our existing political structure? Schlichter discusses possible outcomes if the 2024 presidential election puts a truly conservative Republican in the White House. Expect the left to sponsor violent protests and riots to test the president's mettle to prove whether he, like Lincoln, standing firm during the dark times of the Civil War, will enforce the Constitution. A genuinely conservative president will tread the fine line between "playing hardball" without "willful rejection of the checks and balances that the Constitution envisions" as he struggles to get the nation back on track.

Schlichter outlines international troubles looming on America's horizon as military effectiveness declines, and we rack up ever more debt to China, to name only two significant dangers. While war with China would extract a high cost in lives lost, Schlichter believes we are more likely to borrow and spend America into obscurity. He suggests our nation could fade or crumble as apathy builds, we abjure aggression, risk-taking and sacrifice independence, church attendance drops, we view the national debt as something for later generations to deal with, and we burn through trillions with impunity. Still, we have little to no infrastructure improvement to show for it, and we keep paying people not to work. He warns, "The multiple trends that lead to slow decline—economic malaise, cultural exhaustion, and the infusion of outsiders—are not unusual or unprecedented. Rome finally fell—the big fall, with the subsequent Dark Ages—after these trends had gone on for hundreds of years."

What would it take to turn the nation around? "To recreate a vibrant civilization and snap out of decline, you would need a societal purpose. How would that get turned around? Perhaps it could be, but it would take a grassroots movement, like a Great Awakening, because it could certainly never be imposed from on high by the current elite." Schlichter continues a bit later, "We need a new kind of conservative Republican, one unafraid to exercise power, one not restrained by arbitrary conceptions of what a conservative Republican can do, but still aware that to rebuild America for the long term, we cannot succumb to the expedient of true authoritarianism in the short term."

The book's closing chapters read like a recruiting document to "hire" a new president who isn't afraid to destroy the old, worn-out institutions, is immune to the lies and mischaracterizations sure to be spouted and who comes into office with their own strong network, so the presidential appointments aren't just handed out to establishment favourites, a mistake Schlichter says plagued Donald Trump. That all depends on our willingness to address election fraud, a fight we failed despite ample evidence in 2020.

Overall, We'll be Back turned out to be optimistic but tempered by a strong dose of reality. Schlichter writes, "I believe America will rise again, albeit with scars. What has happened in the last three decades will leave a mark. All the shattered norms cannot be pieced back together again so easily. The rules we thought we had agreed upon about personal freedom, property rights, and government relation to citizens have been rewritten for short-term convenience. They will not go back to what they were."

Monday, August 22, 2022

Pivot Points: Creating a Culture of Preparedness and Resiliency in America


PivotPtsPivot Points:

Creating A Culture of Preparedness and Resiliency in America

By Paul T. Martin
ISBN-13: ‎978-1515310679
Copyrighted in 2015
174 pages, 6x9 paperback, $11.95

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

I read to learn. Biographies teach me about events and people, and as you know, if you read this column often, "how to" or instructional writings top my reading list. I am not a big consumer of inspirational or motivational books. This month, I inadvertently stumbled into an inspirational book when I picked up Pivot Points by Paul Martin and started reading.

I became intrigued with comparisons between the challenges facing the preparedness community and the prejudice with which armed citizens contend. Martin brainstorms how to overcome biases that inhibit the growth of the prepper community when the ignorant and misinformed equate preparedness to hoarding and bizarre doomsday fears.

The numbers of dependent Americans who couldn't survive a week-long emergency compare poorly against previous generations of Americans who enthusiastically embraced self-sufficiency. Martin writes, reminding readers of the Victory Gardens planted by many of our parents and grandparents during World War II, civil defence leagues, and even today, our rich heritage of volunteerism in emergency services. In the same way, he observes, being prepared for power outages or disruptions to sanitation or emergency services is elemental to good citizenship.

Martin promotes the idea that by encouraging preparedness, entire communities can avoid collapse if catastrophic flooding or deadly weather events are hit. Fewer victims mean less strain on fragile police, medical, or supportive services that provide food, sanitation, heat or cooling. Preparation prevents many from falling ill or being injured in the first place. "Look at it this way, he writes. "If ninety percent of those people in the Superdome hiding from Hurricane Katrina had a good plan, some supplies, and some know-how, would they have fared better? Probably so." He later exhorts, "Building a culture of preparedness means entire communities are part of the culture."

Martin's call for grassroots leadership echoes our Independence Day book review about the roots of the Republic. "Successful self-government requires that citizens willingly participate in public affairs, make sacrifices for the common good, curb their selfishness, and take responsibility for themselves and others. The central question for those concerned about maintaining the health of our Republic must be, 'how do individuals acquire the virtues necessary for self-government?' History provides only one answer: through the institutions of civil society, like the family, religious groups, and voluntary associations, which inculcate a sense of moral values in the young."

While citing gun ownership and shooting skills as part of the prepared lifestyle and stockpiling supplies, Martin also stresses good health and physical conditioning, connectedness within neighbourhoods, shouldering leadership responsibilities, and good citizenship as the foundation of getting through tough times.

Practice preparation daily, he recommends, suggesting that readers "Make an everyday carry (EDC) kit. You can take a small flashlight, a pocketknife, a section of paracord, and a cell phone almost anywhere ... Never leave the house without them. Have it nearby wherever you are. Most of us will never have to fight through the chaos spawned by a crazed gunman at the mall or live through a protracted economic collapse. The odds are that you will need to illuminate a darkened parking lot or cut a string length to tie something together. Good citizens prepare themselves to handle large and small emergencies."

Encourage preparation within your circle of influence, Martin urges. He suggests workplace lunch-time seminars and safety campaigns, inclement weather drills, fun neighbourhood "grid down" cookoffs, and even charity work, not to bail out those living in poverty but to prepare people in advance since the poor suffer the worst during disasters. He highlights the value of food banks that can help needy families with meals and recommends youth-focused educational efforts because lasting culture change begins with the young. He suggests training kids on life skills, first aid and emergency care, crisis leadership and "enabling them to help themselves and others."

In a thought-provoking chapter, Martin discusses the power of citizens speaking out for unpopular beliefs – in his case, prepping. He stresses that he is not critical of proponents using fake names or shielding where they live or work but adds, "I do think there is a place for some of us within the movement to use our real name, identify the city where we live, and make ourselves available to talk face-to-face with those who want to learn more about what we are doing." If we create a culture of preparedness in America, people need to see others setting an example of it. Right or wrong, it is the decision that I have made because I believe it is the best one for me."

As I admitted, I am not much for motivational books. I appreciated how Martin's book provided meaningful examples of similar experiences we already experience as armed citizens. His encouragement to be an exemplary citizen and encourage good behaviour in others resonated with me, too.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

NRA NEEDS YOU -COOPER is at it again ---- Latest Anti-Gun Veto


I'm sure you've repeatedly heard the old cliché: "This is the most important election ever." The reality is, in North Carolina, it is never a cliché. 

 Governor Cooper's Latest Anti-Gun Veto was applied to House Bill 49. a common sense bill that would have allowed law-abiding North Carolina residents with out-of-date carry permits to reapply without the hassle and expense of first-time applicants. This is the latest in a series of vetoes to Pro-Second Amendment legislation, including Repealing Permit to Purchase Legislation and Concealed Carry in Places of Worship.

Why is this election so essential North Carolinians can severely limit Governor Cooper's veto power at the ballot box this Election Day? We only need three seats in the State House and two in the State Senate to create a pro-gun supermajority in the General Assembly. The legislature can vote to override the Governor's vetoes and pass the pro-gun bills he has previously denied  NRA-ILA has full-time staff across the state working daily to achieve that end. Still, we need all the help we can get. There are several ways you can make a difference in protecting the Second Amendment starting now--volunteer with the NRA North Carolina Team today!

North Carolina has the opportunity to say "enough is enough" and elect local, state, and federal candidates that care about our gun rights. This is no time to sit on the sidelines. Governor Cooper has Already Asked the General Assembly for an Assault Weapons Ban, and anti-gun progressives will spend millions trying to get him the votes he needs to pass it.

Please let me know if you want to get involved in the NRA-ILA's mission in North Carolina. Click the Volunteer button above or reach out to me at

If you cannot volunteer, please remind your family, friends and neighbours how much is at stake this election season.

In Freedom,

Skye RigglemanNRA-ILA North Carolina Grassroots Coordinator

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Supporting an Argument of Self Defense


The thoughts we'd like to share this month started as a discussion about the various factors we've observed in cases that make the news. The most evocative reports actually contain elements of self-defence. Still, the armed citizen in question has lost the claim that they were the innocent party in the incident. Some fundamentals were necessary to preserving your right to argue self-defence can be accounted almost like a Letterman Top Ten List. First, let's outline the underlying and basic requirements for a legitimate claim of self-defence.

How to Spoil Your Self-Defense Case

by Art Joslin, J.D., Director of Legal Services

Laws across all jurisdictions generally have three things in common when claiming self-defence after using any level of force.

  1. You can't be in the commission of a crime;
  2. You must be in a place you have a legal right to be; and
  3. You must have an honest and reasonable belief force is necessary to avoid being killed or crippled. Some states have worded these three elements differently, but the intent is the same.

So, how do people blow their self-defence case before they even start? Violating one of the above elements will do it for sure.

Several things need to be clarified in the aftermath of a justifiable shooting. I understand the advice of not talking to the police if you are so distraught, so emotionally out of control from adrenaline, that you can't make coherent statements. However, one of my mentors, Massad Ayoob, for many decades past, developed a five-point checklist of facts police need to be aware of that is widely regarded as sound advice, and I teach it to my students, as well.

  1. Establish the active dynamic. The active dynamic is what the assailant did to you, not what you did to him. In a pool of blood, the assailant will look like the victim, and you need to establish what he did to you that caused you to use force.
  2. Advise police you will sign the complaint. Don't say or do anything that makes the police think the roles of victim and assailant have reversed.
  3. Point out the evidence. You and the first responders just walked on stage and entered a chaotic scene. Evidence can get lost, transferred, destroyed, misplaced, and carried away. Early on, be sure you point out where that evidence has landed. This will bolster your credibility both in the moment and after the fact.
  4. Point out any witnesses. Before they leave the scene, point out any and all witnesses who saw what happened and those who may have heard what happened. Wouldn't it help your case if you could have police interview a witness who heard you declare multiple times, "I don't want to fight"? What about the witnesses who saw everything and can attest to you not being the initial aggressor? Wouldn't that be helpful, too?
  5. Decline to answer any further questions without counsel. Other than identifying yourself to the police, politely decline to answer any additional questions until counsel can be retained. Always cooperate with the police. Let them know they will have your full cooperation once you have sought legal counsel. You should never decline to identify yourself to the police.

Violate the five-point checklist, and you might undoubtedly ruin your claim of self-defence. A few other ways you can destroy your claim of self-defence is to fail to do any of the following:

  1. Cooperate with the police. I've experienced far too many people who turned out to be not guilty of the initial crime but received additional charges for fighting with police. If the officer says you're under arrest and are going to jail, don't fight or argue with them. Those words mean that you are going to jail no matter what you do or say. Don't be the one with added charges like resisting arrest or obstructing justice.
  2. Give the police your real name. Yes, it happens all too often. Trying to conceal your identity will always come back to bite you. If you genuinely believe you are justified in using force, why would you lie about your identity?
  3. Never lie to the police! Do I even have to bring this up? You will eventually get caught when witnesses are interviewed and evidence is presented. Here's the point: If you lie, the prosecution will use this against you at trial. "You lied then; why should we believe you are telling the truth now?" You've lost all credibility with the judge and especially with the jurors. Unless your defence attorney can legitimately show your "lie" was made under duress, this is not a good place to be.
  4. Never conceal evidence. Concealing evidence will make police immediately believe you are guilty because you attempt to hide evidence. You can undoubtedly photograph evidence on a cellphone. Evidence such as where shell casings landed, witnesses in the immediate area, etc., could be helpful to your case.
  5. Do not be the initial aggressor. Even if you must resort to legitimate self-defence, starting the fight can spoil most chances of winning your case. Being the initial aggressor (and some states have added the factor of "provocation") means you will be looked upon as the assailant. Most states allow you to regain your innocence by announcing in a loud, clear and concise manner that you do not want to fight, you're leaving the fight, and you are retreating from that place. If the other party chooses to continue the battle after your announcement, they have become the initial aggressor. This changes the dynamic of the encounter.
  6. Do not provoke violence. If you are not the initial aggressor, do not invite the other party to use force. This is very akin to being the initial aggressor. You may not have started the fight, but choosing to stay in the fray and provoke your opponent can have similar repercussions. If you can safely retreat, why wouldn't you?
  7. Do not use force too soon. Lawful firearm carriers often get into trouble because they go to the gun much too soon. Remember, deadly force can only be used against the threat of deadly force being used against you. That threat must be honest and reasonable. You cannot simply state you were in fear for your life without articulating what that threat was.
  8. Do not use force after the threat has passed. Deadly force can only be used against the threat of deadly force being used against you immediately and unavoidably. We've all read about situations where a person exited the immediate vicinity of the fight, went away, got a gun, returned, and got into a shooting. Likewise, if the aggressor withdraws and no longer poses a deadly threat, you may not use force to drive home your point, no matter how frightened or upset you may be.
  9. Don't discuss your case with anyone but your attorney. The urge to speak to family, friends, and others about what happened will be overwhelming. Do not make any statements to the media. Let your attorney do that if they choose. Even telling your closest friends what happened, simply to "get it off your chest," can prove disastrous. Remember, there is no lawful confidentiality accorded to statements you made to your best friend unless they happen to be your licensed counsellor or clergy. If you want to talk and get things out, do it with a professional.
  10. No bravado. The prosecution will be looking for photos and statements on social media to attempt to use against you. That t-shirt you wore on a fishing trip that reads, "Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out" will not benefit your case when you're at trial (or any other time). Remember, the government wants to portray you like a wild west, hair-trigger maniac who wants to go out and shoot up the town. Don't supply evidence that they might use against you.

Joslin AAll of the points above are not meant nor intended to be legal advice. However, each issue is practical advice I would include in any firearm training class. I highly recommend getting the advice of competent legal counsel in your jurisdiction on these enumerated points as soon as you can. Remember, in the aftermath of a defensive encounter, you will have so much more to think and worry about. In a justifiable shooting, don't be the one who accidentally or even purposely gives the other side ammunition to prosecute you with. Be safe and be well.


At Joslin, J.D, D.M.A. is the Network's new Director of Legal Services. Contact him with your questions and comments at


To read more of this month's journal, please click here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Our Supreme Court elections mean more than your think!


The murder of 62 million children since Roe v Wade leaves a mark on our Nation that, if not remedied, will cost the very soul of America dearly. If the US Supreme Court decides to reverse Roe v Wade this summer, do we want Trey Allen to decide on abortion law in the NC Supreme Court or a solid conservative like April Wood? Elections are important and have consequences far beyond the current issues, such as the Marxist infiltration of our house of representatives, the destruction of our southern culture in the name of equality, or who will pay the tax (the price) for the blatant invasion of our southern border. All of the above cultural issues will end in a court of law at some point in time or peacefully by-elections.
If not in court or elections, then other methods of social constructs and societies making changes are unthinkable. Still, if the people's will is continually stiff-armed, the result is returning the French mobs of the Jacobins and Sans-Culottes. Again, an unimaginable place to be in the modern world. I'm sure some who completely disagree are chuckling at the thought of American society going into chaos - So did the Sun King's son and his court lackeys after the tennis court oath. (1789) What tipped the Revolution was something as simple as the third estate(lower class) having to remove hats when the King entered the court. Why? Try thousand years under the whip of the aristocracy. After many generations of blood droplets, the droplets finally became a river of blood, purging the tyranny of the First and Second Estates. Our founding fathers agreed a court system needed to be a cold but objective machine - which all men, great and small, would have excess to the legal system and settle their differences. - not with street violence.
Can't happen here? Many social problems are coming to a head in the next few years. Including the stagnation of wages since the 1970s, mothers not having any baby formula, massive debt among our young people, supply chain down, an invasion from the south, nuclear war on the horizon, and finally, elected officials who do not love their country. After many decades of universities producing neo-Marxist who hate America first, we now have leaders who go to Raleigh or Washington only to show their values or adapt to the majority worldview as they never had the moral courage from the beginning. Facing all this, our vote for April Wood is critical moving forward. We must NOT vote for an attorney who is not only a product of a liberal Madrasas but stayed and taught in the Madrasas, which appears to be the summation of Trey Allen's career - April Wood's opponent and the system's darling.

Very few elections occur where the voting has the opportunity to right so many wrongs, and the candidacy of April Wood is one of these elections as the US Supreme Court continues to eliminate the Federal government's mandates and turn these critical decisions back to states. It wouldn't be a shame to see a creature of the liberal madrasas making these critical cultural decisions when NC voters had the opportunity to place a solid conservative constructivist in the high office of our State's supreme court and give the court a 4-3 conservative majority. VOTE APRIL WOOD!

The Forgotten American, some call it treason, some call it a poor man's fight.


 It is tempting to look at the Civil War through the eyes of the 21st century. But what was life like in 1850? Imagine yourself living in the 3 miles per hour world, where you lived and died within a 15 to 20-mile radius of where you were born. Conventional 19th-century wisdom held that a man on horseback could cover about 20 miles a day without harming his mount. Such was a typical life before the automobile, as noted by Henry Ford. A world such as this one has limited information sources. If you could read, newspapers and local institutions such as churches controlled much of your perspective. The wise old man of the village could offer some advice if passing something along to you could be justified by his social class (the planter class). West Point trained local Militia Officers. Again, the officers might release a nugget or two of information during weekend muster if it was their self-interest. Such was the world of the Southern States. Where filtered information was the norm. It remained this way from the end of the American Revolution until the Spanish-American War. Even longer in more insular communities such as Northeastern North Carolina. In simpler terms, you were a captive audience member in the Old South as far as new ideas and information were concerned.

Socially, if you were a yeoman farmer, your farm typically had no slaves, just family, a few labourers and a lot of hard work from sun up to sunset. Such people had little time to reflect on the more significant issues of the day as life was hard scrabbling in the swamps of Northeastern North Carolina. Travelling to town was a big event each month. Attending church 3 times a week and making muster with the local Militia were significant social and cultural events in the South. These institutions fed a person a 72-year inter-generational diet of God, Country, and State rights. The founding of the nation was still fresh on everyone's mind. People understood that the government was founded on secession from England, and the Declaration of Independence was the document that outlined their separation from England. The institutions taught Citizens that the new federal government was the glue that held the states together and that state secession was the ultimate check to keep the federal government from tyranny.
After 72 years or longer, North Carolina was confronted with secession and "state's rights" after an incubation period. North Carolina was reluctant to leave the Union and, at best, lukewarm to the idea of joining the Confederacy. Many of its citizens were yeoman farmers and middle-class craftsmen, all of whom paid a living wage to labourers living on their property. Labourers were free to come and go as they pleased and free to leave and obtain a higher salary if there was one available. Do not dismiss the Quaker influence in North Carolina, specifically in Northeastern North Carolina. We should be proud that this area was a stronghold for the Underground Railroad, which couldn't have happened without cooperation from many of its people. These "opposing tensions"- loyalty to the State of North Carolina and making a cooperative independent living- shaped the 1861 decision to leave the Union. South Carolina was first to secede, and then Virginia. North Carolina was in the middle. However, once Governor Ellis and our legislature decided to leave the Union, the rank and file men of the local Militias mustered for service without question as they had been "classically conditioned" to do. Many of their ancestors had mistakenly fought on the bogs of Culloden for the "pretender" to the Scottish throne, Bonnie Prince Charles. Loyalty and fidelity are just in the "DNA" of some cultures.
We must conclude these yeoman farmers and craftsmen thoroughly inculcated the idea of States Rights based on even the slightest glance at this period of history. Yes, State's Rights. Some dare call the political philosophy treason from the manufactured synthetic-pop-culture morality of today. If this theory is treason, why were West Point Cadets taught State's Rights in Constitutional History before 1861? West Point, a federally owned educational institution, was funded by the United States Government. Adding further evidence, the United States recognized State Rights as a legitimate right of governance. Why would the government train the military otherwise? If the philosophy of State's rights was or is treason, then evidence indicates it was State-sponsored before 1860. For the purpose of this article, I will not touch on the Magna Carta, which turned 800 years old in 2015. Nor the Scottish Enlightenment nor the Glorious English Revolution of 1688 gave the Englishman their bill of rights and set the social and political course of the American Civil War. I will not include a discussion of the Mayflower Compact or the American Bill of Rights, which included (or implied) state Rights political theory of Nullification. Daniel Webster or each colony considered itself separate and independent at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And finally, I will not touch on the Morrill Act, which taxed 20% of the South's wealth and paid the fee directly to Northern manufacturers who created regional mass inflation to purchase finished products for the Southern. Southern's paid 12 times more for finished goods than their Northern friends. The lower Southern States exercised State's rights and forged a free trade zone in response to the Morrill Act. Think about it in a modern context, how would such a  gross economic disparity go over while drinking morning coffee if your wife in Charleston paid 12 times more for a pair of shoes than her counterpart in Boston?

No, I only want to reference the rank and file soldiers whose wives, children, and grandchildren wanted to honour these men's service and memory with a simple monument on the public square. How important was it for the post-war Southern Culture to recognize the rank and file soldiers of the Confederate Army? Many families could only give their hometown monument committee 15 cents per year or less. These nominal amounts of money represented an entire year's worth of disposable income in most cases because the South was living under the military occupation and economic despotism of reconstruction. The Elizabeth City monument was erected in 1911, the memories still fresh of the war and the occupation in many a person's minds.
This article has attempted to create a synopsis of the many conversations I overheard as a child of these Confederate Veterans' children and grandchildren. I wanted their voices to be heard and, in some small way, enter the current social conversation modern America is having over the Confederacy. It's hard for a modern reader to understand North Carolina's reluctance. And how an intermediate state could have given so many soldiers and lost 40,275 lives to a cause from which most wouldn't benefit from its outcome either way.

Most Confederate Veterans who were lucky enough to survive and rebuild had one lesson to pass on to their children and families: "It was a rich man's war and poor man's fight." These monuments all over the South represent the memories and honour of that "Poor Man's fight."

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Frank McWhorter: An American Dreamer



Frank, and only "Frank" for many years, was born into slavery during the American Revolution on a plantation in South Carolina. In 1795 his owner, George McWhorter, moved to Kentucky, taking Frank with him. A few years later, Frank married Lucy, a slave on a neighbouring plantation. It was not unusual for owners to hire skilled slaves and split the proceeds. Sharing the profits was not benevolence but good business. A capable slave who earned nothing would have no incentive to produce quality products. Therefore, potential customers for the slave's work would have no incentive to rent the slave. The owner would lose this opportunity to earn additional income from his valuable "asset." These assets were expensive. Aside from the high purchase cost, asset maintenance required that the owner provide slaves with food, clothing, medical care, and strict supervision for their entire lives. There were other costs, like the occasional services of pricey slave catchers. So, to recover costs on the rental market, the owner needed slaves with a reputation for good service, which the owner transacted by giving the slave a cut of the earnings. Frank was a valuable asset, though his skill was not typical. Frank, instead, had management and business skills. He often managed George McWhorter's plantations and started and ran several small businesses.

The most profitable was saltpetre works he built during the War of 1812 when saltpetre was in great demand as a component of gunpowder. It was not unusual for such enterprising slaves to save their money and buy their freedom. From the owner's point of view, selling slaves, and their freedom was sometimes a good business decision, especially when cash was short. A good slave could quickly bring in $800, a large sum in those days. Selling also relieved the owner of maintenance costs. For the slave, of course, buying freedom was far more than a mere business transaction, and the very need to buy freedom was far worse than appalling. Nevertheless, one tiny saving grace of the vicious system was that this possibility existed.
Frank took advantage of it. In 1817 Frank bought his wife Lucy's freedom; two years later, he bought his own, after which Frank became "Free" Frank. Frank Jr., the eldest son of Free Frank and Lucy, had escaped slavery to Canada, undoubtedly, a fascinating story if we could only learn more if it. Frank Jr. could not safely return to the United States so long as he was a fugitive, so, in 1829, Free Frank bought Frank Jr.'s freedom in exchange for his saltpetre works. Frank Jr. could safely return to his family. The following year, with Frank Jr. and three freeborn children, Free Frank and Lucy left Kentucky for Illinois, where they bought a farm. Up to this point, the story is remarkable on many levels, though not particularly unusual. The story became uncommon in 1836. For starters, Free Frank had been able to buy a farm and settle his family in southern Illinois, a virulently racist state where free blacks had almost no rights except the right of transit. They could enter for a while and then leave. There was little else they were allowed in that or most states of what we now call the Midwest. Then, it would seem that Frank had unique personal qualities that allowed him to skirt certain legal niceties. Next, Frank prevailed on the Illinois legislature to pass a law that would grant him limited citizenship. He took McWhorter as his official last name, legally married Lucy, and founded a town he named, meaningfully, New Philadelphia. Over the next several decades, Frank McWhorter worked his farm, started other businesses, promoted the city, served as mayor, and bought the freedom of at least 16 more family members. Blacks and whites both settled in New Philadelphia, building what was then an extreme rarity in Illinois or anywhere else in the North: an integrated society. Integration was the norm right down the school. Frank McWhorter died in 1854 at the age of seventy-seven. However, the town continued under the leadership of his son Solomon for several more decades.
Until the citizens of New Philadelphia learned the meaning of government intervention and central economic planning, that is why New Philadelphia, Illinois, though only a tiny part of the American story. The American story contains millions of such remote regions. We need to know at least some features to see the whole. The Hannibal and Naples Railroad was financed through bond sales by Pike County. It ignored surveyor recommendations and made an expensive detour around New Philadelphia. There is no record of why it chose to do so. However, there is every reason to believe that a private line, with its own money at risk, would neither have ignored the cheaper route nor ignored the commercial potential of New Philadelphia. Since the line's backing through public support, public prejudices overruled private interests.
New Philadelphia's vibrant, integrated community, founded and led by free blacks, was cut off from the new railroad-based economy. It disappeared from Illinois and almost from history. History does not repeat itself but certainly, rhymes. New Philadelphia is more a story of how public finance enabled public prejudice to move when the government once again took on building transportation infrastructure. America's national freeway project would bear many similarities to its national rail project of the nineteenth century. The direct phrase was used, building white roads through black businesses. As New Philadelphia in the nineteenth century, so Nashville in the twentieth. Nashville's relatively vibrant and safe black business district for a freeway. For New Philadelphia, the government avoided the best route to cut off the city. In the case of Nashville, it accomplished the same by doing the opposite. Central planners ran through instead of around the historically-black business zone. It added an extraneous jog to the freeway to go right through and destroy the black business district of Nashville. Black business people challenged the government in court. The court found it in their favour but said it was too late to do anything. Similar construction patterns occur in every American city. Building the new government freeways, leaving crime and drug-ridden minority neighbourhoods in their wake, would become no-opportunity zones for the people born there during the next half-century.
Grant it, and no one can do enough research to know exactly the motivations of anyone at any time. However, we can review legislation of a particular period and at least get a feeling about the will of the voting majority. For example, a quick sampling of the Black Codes from the great State of Illinois can give us a clue about the voting public's attitude when Frank created New Philadelphia.
SUMMARY OF THE ILLINOIS BLACK CODES, 1818–65 The State of Illinois observed the Illinois Black Codes from 1818 until the passage of Amendment XVII in 1867. After 1853, Illinois prohibited all African Americans from entering the state. A summary of the Illinois Black Codes: • The right to vote was denied to all African Americans. • No African American was permitted to reside in Illinois without a Certificate of Freedom. • Any African American without the necessary certificate was deemed a runaway slave and was subject to be sent back into slavery or sold to the highest bidder. • All African Americans entering the state were required to post a $1,000 bond. • If any slave or indentured servant was found more than ten miles from the home of their master without a pass, they were subject to be taken before a justice of the peace and "punished with stripes [lashes], not exceeding thirty-five, at his discretion." • All contracts created between a master and his indentured servants during the servant's time of service were void. • African Americans could be jailed and beaten if they gathered in groups of three or more. • African Americans and Native Americans were not permitted to testify against a white person in court. • African Americans were not permitted to serve in the militia. • Any person that harboured an African American without a bond or a Certificate of Freedom was subject to a fine of $500. • Slaveholders could not bring slaves into Illinois in order to free them. • African Americans from other states could not remain in Illinois for more than ten days. They could be arrested, jailed, fined, or removed from the state if they did. • The Illinois Constitution permitted limited slavery at the salt mines in Massac County and allowed slavery introduced by the French to continue; however, the children of these slaves were free when they reached adulthood.
The State of Illinois, the same state Lincoln migrated to and held political power for many decades before becoming President, legalized these codes. Lincoln never once made proposals for changing the codes.- Similar codes were in many Northwestern and New England states, even Massachusetts. And if racism satisfies as an answer, then accept it turn out the lights and sleep well.
However, if the reader wonders how Frank overcame all the above obstacles and created a heaven on Earth, a need exam the root cause of his success will be more satisfying: lack of central economic planning. Frank's economic imagination created a nineteenth-century opportunity zone before the window was closed by the financial planners. Today, a warning for all of us bowing to the altar of public-private partnerships.