How Do You Approach a Lunatic?

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

This week’s batch of reader mail addresses several threats that are currently top of mind in our country, from mass shootings to panicked crowds.

In addition, you’ll discover several potent plants that provide home security, how to get your tactical pen through TSA and the best way to get all my lifesaving advice.

Here we go…

I’m a second-degree black belt from Korean commando training, but how do you stop a man who is shooting randomly at people? Lately a killer opens a door, walks in and then commences firing with an automatic weapon. How do you approach a lunatic? Let’s say he is about 10 feet away.

— Robert Z.

Sadly, we have seen too many instances lately where this very thing occurs.

In my opinion, the only way these types of incidents will stop is if we educate the public and change our society’s way of thinking. In this situation, the best course of action is to swarm the attacker and take them down (a punch in the throat works well — or this devastating self-defense technique).

The problem is this type of thinking is not a normal human reaction — especially for Americans. In other countries that constantly live under the threat of terrorist attacks, you hear stories of citizens swarming the attacker(s) to try to stop them. Israel is a great example.

Of course, the downside to this bold action is that you are likely to get shot… However, you’re probably going to get shot anyway, so why not try to stop the maniac and keep them from killing more people?

If the crowd squeezes in around you and is moving, cross your arms and use your feet like a spring to stay upright. Falling down means you get trampled. You must keep your feet under you. Here is a crowd panic story. AC-130 aircraft has a full load of passengers. The plane makes a mild crash landing. They opened the paratroop door before the crash landing. The passengers were in such a panic to get out of the aircraft that none of them could get through the doors. They jammed up at the doorway. People on the ground would forcefully pull one out at a time. One guy they pulled out ran 50 yards on a broken leg. Panic is scary.

— James H.

You are absolutely right, James, that the most critical thing you can do to avoid being trampled is to stay on your feet. Take a boxer’s stance to maintain your balance. It also helps if you keep your hands up by your chest to give yourself room to breathe.

And if you do fall down, do whatever you need to do to get back up immediately. Never freeze, curl up in a ball on the ground and simply try to protect your head and neck — you will be crushed to death.

Just got my new tactical pen today. Portland International Airport confiscated it. Not your fault, just wanted you to know you can’t travel on a domestic flight out of PDX with the “fly anywhere” pen. And no, I didn’t check with local authorities to see if it was allowed. It hurts. Thanks for allowing me to “cry a river.”

— Mark L.

TSA agents often take items that shouldn’t necessarily be confiscated, because they’re the ones calling the shots. When you’ve got a plane to catch, you’re not in the best position to negotiate with them.

Most TSA agents will err on the side of caution, so if they see your pen, they will take it. They figure it doesn’t hurt to be overly careful and they don’t want to let anything slip by them. But if you keep the cap on the business end (so the writing end is exposed) and keep your pen in a pocket of your carry-on with other writing implements, chances are TSA won’t even notice it.

That being said, I’ve had some TSA personnel comment on how awesome my pen is and then hand it right back to me as I proceed to my gate. I have traveled all over the United States (and the world) and have never had an issue with my pen.

Still, it’s a shame yours was taken. Like I said before, every security screening checkpoint has discretion as to what is allowed — so it looks like it just wasn’t your lucky day.

What are the hedges in the photo?

Privacy barrier

They look like the perfect privacy barrier for my backyard.

— Lewis C.

I’ll be honest, Lewis, that photograph is actually a stock image. It’s meant to demonstrate how effective plants can be for promoting privacy and enhancing security on your property.

But check out this article from our friends over at 4Patriots that we republished in July. It runs down seven vicious plants to add to your home security, including Pyracantha, which grows almost as wide as it does tall (10 feet) and features plenty of needle-sharp spikes, and Rubus, which is like a rose on steroids — it grows very quickly and can reach 5 feet high.

Hi, Jason. I really like your materials. I do not, however, have the website to log into. Can you give it to me, please?

— Tom K.

Sure thing, Tom. All Black Bag Confidential articles are archived on the Spy Briefing website here.

I also recommend joining Spy & Survival Briefing. As a subscriber to this service, you also gain access to…

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Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

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