Canada Toughens Up

There was an incident in 2006 that made an impression.

Two fugitives were wanted for a murder in California, and they heading for the border with Canada.  A sharp eyed sheriff’s deputy spotted them driving past, and the chase was on!  Gunshots were exchanged, cars were crashed, and a foot chase ended mere yards from the border.  One suspect was shot but survived, the other suffered nothing more than bruises.  Just another day in American law enforcement, with a big win for the good guys.

But it isn’t the bravery the US law enforcement officers displayed that made such a big impression.  Instead it was the actions by the Canadian border patrol officers, all of whom abandoned their posts when informed that dangerous criminals were headed their way.

terrified man

Shocking though it might be that the people tasked with providing the first line of defense for their country walked off the job when notified of the possibility of danger, what I found almost incomprehensible was the fact that the Canadian border guards were not even armed!

ironic gun free zone sign

Lucky things the Conservatives had won a few elections at the time.  The government of Canada vowed to make this right, and has been working diligently to train and arm their border guards ever since.

I was reminded of this shameful time in the history of Canadian law enforcement while watching this very short video, which shows the police sweep down a corridor inside their Parliament building during the recent terrorist attack.  The officers in view acted decisively, professionally, and with a great deal of professionalism and courage.  Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers is reported to have been the one who shot and killed the suspect, using a handgun he kept in his desk drawer.  I’d say it is a good job all around.

The elected officials at work that day didn’t stand idly by.  The Conservative caucus was meeting, and they fashioned spears from flagpoles found in the room.  They then positioned themselves to attack any violent criminal who tried t force their way inside.

“These guys were up there holding these spears ready to impale anyone who came in,” the source said.

I have no idea what a group of Liberal MP’s would have dine if threatened, but I can pretty much guess.

(Thanks to Glenn for the link about the spears.)


Stacking The Odds In Your Favor

This happened some time ago, right outside of my apartment complex.  Since I am sure the news article will rot off after a time, I will mention some details.

An idling car was approached by two men, who shot the driver four times with what sounded to me like a 9mm auto.  The now driverless vehicle ended up a few dozen yards from the killing spot, stalling out after destroying a large utility box.

utility box

This took place right across the street from where I live, and the suspects ran through my apartment complex in order to evade the police.  It seems that they passed within feet of my front door.

Not that this had anything to do with me.  I was just climbing from the shower at the time when I heard the shots, and I paused for a few seconds with my hand on my gun to see if anyone would try to break through my locked front door.

man in shower

It was probably best for all concerned that they were just passing though.

I’m sure most of you, gentle readers, are wondering if I have become seriously unhinged.  Am I so paranoid that I carry defensive firearms into the bathroom in case of violent criminal attack while indisposed?

gun in bathroom

While true that I am armed in the most private of places within the home, I must confess that it is a habit I picked up during a time when I received a number of death threats from criminals who were trying to warn me off from training people who were going to testify against them.  That was more than two decades in the past, but I don’t think it is a bad habit to have.

There are a number of products available which are designed to secure a firearm in the shower, keeping it snug and dry while still close at hand.  I can’t recommend the best, as I have never tried any.  I merely place my defensive handgun next to the sink and cover it with a clean, dry towel while bathing so the steam from the shower won’t cause it to rust.

Is this post a suggestion that you, dear reader, ought to consider going armed to the toilet?  Not necessarily.  It all depends on your own unique circumstance.

One of my students was not only the victim of a particularly brutal home invasion, but she was also confined to a wheelchair.


As criminals had already attacked her inside of her house, and she also suffered from reduced mobility, the bathroom was a place of extreme anxiety for her.  What if they came back, but this time she was out of her chair and in the bathtub?

I eased her anxiety by replacing the bathroom door, a flimsy interior type, with a sturdy metal exterior design.  I reinforced the hinges, reinforced the striker plate next to the doorknob, and installed a deadbolt on the inside.  I wasn’t too happy about the frame which supported the door, but wasn’t equipped to tear apart the walls in order to replace the framing studs.  Even so, by the time I was done the bathroom door was only slightly less formidable a barrier than the front door to her house.  Since she was going to make sure to take her own defensive handgun into the bathroom, along with a cell phone to summon the police if need be, I figured it was a pretty good job.

So why do I take my defensive arm in to the bathroom with me, since I do not use a wheelchair and the days of death threats are half my life in the past?  The only thing I can say in my defense is that you wouldn’t be asking that question if you happened to live in my neighborhood!

To Overpenetrate, Or Not To Overpenetrate? That Is The Question!

How do firearms force a violent criminal to break off their attack?  They do so in a variety of ways, both physical and mental, but the physical side mostly comes down to disrupting the vital internal organs of the bad guy.  To do this, the bullet must tunnel deep enough into a human body in order to reach those organs.

digging machine from the movie at the earths core

The FBI recommends that the bullet punches through at least twelve inches of ballistic gelatin in order to reach the vitals.  Most of the popular defensive calibers certainly have adequate velocity to perform this job.

popular defensive calibers ballistic gel comparision

So 12 inches are the low end, but the FBI also doesn’t like rounds which exceed 18 inches when fired into ballistic gelatin.  More than a foot-and-a-half and there is a danger of the bullet going all the way through the criminal, and striking someone on the other side.

Is this a big problem?  Is there a considerable chance of fatally wounding an innocent person with the same bullet you just used to shoot a raging violent madman?

The answer is that there really isn’t a problem when one sticks to the popular defensive calibers.   The vast majority of handguns just don’t have the power to be lethal if they first have to plow their way through the torso of a full grown human being.  Just as soon as the bullet should hit something heavy and wet, such as the chest of a violent criminal, it will start to slow down very quickly.  Not only that but the bullet will also start to come apart, deform, and tumble around some.  It won’t be very aerodynamic after doing its main job of perforating the bad guy’s gizzard.

expanded hollowpoint bullets

Note that this is true of handguns, which are puny and weak compared to most rifle calibers.  But are there handguns out there which have enough energy to perform like rifles?

Well, there are a few.  One can even find a few specialty handguns using small calibers which have extreme penetration.  I don’t consider them to be a good choice for armed self defense against human attackers, though.

So the bottom line is that one should stick to the popular standards, and practice so they have a greater chance of hitting the target.