Well…that was interesting & weird.

I got done with my client & dropped his check off at the front office when I hear this faint “beeeeeeeeeeeep” and I say “Damn that’s annoying. it’s not a car alarm…it sounds more like(I look up & see smoke pouring out of one of the apartments) a FIRE Alarm!” I look behind me & one of the managers is coming up behind me dressed as a cat & I yell “call 911 you got a fire!” and take off over there. The front door is open & I run in yelling hello & it turns out to be some Old man who left eggs on his stove & they exploded. :/ so as the smoke is clearing & the manager is chewing his ass I leave & think “Hmmm…this is the second small episode I’ve been involved in within like a week” usually these things start happening to me & then something BIG happens I need to help out in. I wonder what is coming?

Man-Tracking for Search and Rescue Operations

At the time I’m writing this, it is Fall in the Adirondacks, an area that is mountainous, and covered in endless miles of forests, rivers, and lakes. Thousands of hunters, hikers, photographers, and even locals just going for a stroll, leave the roads and pathways to make their way into the Great Outdoors. Some of these folks, both experienced and inexperienced, sometimes get lost or injured, and need to be rescued. This is what most people think of when they think of Man-Tracking, but this subject encompasses much more than that. Man-Tracking is about the location missing or hiding people for either rescue, or fugitive recovery, even in urban settings.
posted by Silver Sentinel @ 6:13 AM
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Somebody just very politely (from the UK of course) asked me:
“Excuse me sir, can you explain why it’s better not to wear a mask?”
Oh sure thing Brother.
I’ve never been a big one for Secret Identities anyway…it’s just too easy to find out who somebody is nowadays anyway. They would just run my tag if they really wanted it 🙂
aside form the secret ID thing Masks (Cowls especially according to Adam West) just aren’t as practical in reality as people thing they are, this time of year they’re unbearably hot, limit your vision, and God forbid you get into a confrontation & somebody cranks it…you’re blind as a bat & in big trouble. I know they’re a Superhero staple…but I just don’t think they work to well in reality.

Night Vision and the Seven Sisters

By The Rook
Moving about “in the shadows” often, though admittedly not always, means moving about in the dark.  While simply utilizing a flashlight or other light source usually makes a great deal of sense when mucking about in the dark, it generally attracts unwanted attention to one who is trying to remain unseen. Night vision glasses are a marvelous tool, but not always accessible when needed, so it behooves the seeker to learn how best to make one’s way in the dark.
Many years ago, I was employed in a situation where I was expected to “close up shop” in a relatively large, dark network of rooms.  Naturally, I was provided a flashlight but I must admit that I was not always diligent in using it. It was frequently either misplaced or stored in some inconvenient location. I was, at the time, taking classes in the local university which covered aspects of vision that enabled me to learn to maximize by ability to safely work my way through this network.
In order to explain this, I’ll begin with an example. You may be aware of the constellation Pleiades, also called the Seven Sisters. This is a fascinating star group that is visible in the Winter in the Northern Hemisphere (well, almost). The Pleaides have the marvelous distinction of being marginally visible to the naked eye. This “sort-of-kind-of” visibility manifests in an interesting manner. If you were to check online to see when and where the Pleaides were visible in your area, then went outside to look in the precise spot where they were predicted to be, you will probably not be able to see them. However, if you shifted your vision slightly to the side of the location where the Pleaides are located, you will actually see this constellation as a blurry form in your peripheral vision.  It’s nearly irresistible at first to immediately stare directly at this blur to get a better look. Sure enough the Sisters vanish as soon as you do! It seems that this constellation is only visible to the naked eye if you catch it in your peripheral vision. One immediately wonders how this is so, and what on earth it has to do with a one’s ability to move around in the dark.
There are many kinds of cells in the retina.  The two of primary concern to us, however, are the rods and cones, the two major receptive cells.  These cells are responsible for transducing the information light carries into our eyes.  In essence, the more of these receptors get stimulated, the more information our eyes receive.
Still with me?  Hang in there, we’re almost to the practical stuff. Most of the information we get from light is collected by our cones.  These are rather large receptors that are very good at collecting color information.  The trade off for color sensitivity, however, is that cones aren’t terribly light sensitive.  These receptors do not get stimulated very well when the light is low (which partially explains why it’s harder to see color in the dark).   Since color provides us great information and since humans are largely diurnal creatures, this is usually a fair trade.  Our retinas have evolved so that most of the light information focuses right in a small divot in the back of our eyes called the fovea, which is precisely where the vast majority of the cones are found.  In short, the precise place where our vision usually focuses when we look at something directly has great color acuity and poor light sensitivity.
This means that our direct line of sight is probably the worst way to try to see in the dark.
Conversely, the rods are very light sensitive, but aren’t sensitive to color.  As a result, these receptors typically collect in the areas around the fovea, or in the periphery.  As such, our greatest light sensitivity (and best night vision) can be found in our peripheral vision.  This is why the Pleaides are visible only in the peripheral vision (where the light-sensitive rods are) and not in the direct line of sight (where we use our cones).
By using our eyes in such a fashion where we optimize the use of the rods, we find that we significantly increase our ability to make out objects in the dark.  Be warned, however.  While rods are quite light sensitive, the way the rods are wired to other cells in the retina results in fairly low resolution when compared to our cones.  We’ll be able to make out objects, but they’ll be somewhat fuzzy–much like the way we see the Pleaides.
We can do this by “scanning” our eyes back and forth rather rapidly back and forth across the area in which we are moving.  This allows for more light to be collected on the periphery and results in greater stimulation of the rods.   This requires a bit of practice, as some find this experience to be somewhat dizzying at first, and it takes a bit of time to build up trust in what you see in the periphery.  Remember, there is a loss of acuity, so things may look somewhat blurry and unfamiliar at first.  This relatively simple technique certainly does not allow someone to “see in the dark,” but rather takes advantage of low-light conditions.  Given practice and time, you’ll likely be surprised by the results!
Note: This is a brief article I wrote some time ago for the Ninja Information Database. Since I retain all rights to my writings, I also reserve the right to repost it on my own blog.

"Breaking the spell" of Bystander effect???

So follow me on this one… “Bystander effect” where something happens & people stand around and watch…or worse Video a drowning person for their youtube channel.
Sunday I was headed home up McMullen Booth when all the traffic in my lane slows to a dead crawl & gets all swervie up ahead…when I finally get up there there is a Damn BOX SPRING off a King or Queen size bead laying across the lane! No body is doing anything accept trying to get around it. I stop & dive out to grab it, and suddenly the guy behind me does the same thing. We grab it together, toss it in the grass, & take off.
So…did my stopping “Break the spell” of Bystander effect? This is not the first time this has happened to me, just the first time I’ve realized it fully that people act after I do. Has this happened to any of you? does this make what we do actually more important? Opinions? Thoughts?

I always find it odd…

I always find it odd…that the people who criticize me for carrying a firearm, are the people that are the REASON I carry a firearm. I was AGAINST carrying when I started doing this. Look way back and you’ll see I liked Non lethal weapons (ARMA 100 etc.) and Muscle. then the threats started rolling in, my Job, my loved ones, my life, the list goes on. YOU people changed my mind & now YOU people criticize me….bizarre.
I’m just glad I live in a country where I CAN protect myself & loved ones FROM you. The hypocrisy is so thick…you know the rest. And who you are.


During yesterday’s SUPERHERO ACADEMY (blog talk radio show) we discussed the possibility of organizing a mass gathering of HEART HEROES (the kids themselves) at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis as a way to bring attention the the cause of CDH (Congenital Disease of the Heart) which is the number one killer of children BTW.
If you don’t know about Heart Heroes, they are my favored charity, so let me tell you about them.
Heart Heroes is a charity that gives custom made superhero capes to children suffering from CDH.  These capes help the children to harness the power of their inner superhero to face the massive challenges they have just to live.  These children face incredible obstacles including multiple open heart surgeries and the capes give them the courage to face these challenges without fear.
Its so simple…and so powerful.
The capes cost $25 each.   The children are given a gift card and then they design and order their own cape online (from Powercapes).
You can learn more about them at the link below…and be sure to read some of the testimonials while you are there…but bring a box of kleenex because you will cry.
I would like to gather together a group of people willing to assist with the planning of this event and coordinate it with Kitty Burton of Heart Heroes and the people from Powercapes (who actually make the capes for them) and make this happen.
I would love to see hundreds of little Heart Heroes standing at the base of the Superman statue surrounded by adult cosplayers and RLSH’s on that Sunday afternoon for an awesome group picture.  That is my goal for 2012.
Anyone who is willing to help with this project, PLEASE let me know so we can get things started. My email is crossfire_[email protected].comThank you
Crossfire the Crusader.
PS:  Anyone who has been planning to donate to the ongoing HEART HEROES CAPE DRIVE ….NOW IS THE TIME.  An anonymous donor has agreed to donate one cape for every two cape donations given between now and Thanksgiving.  At this time last year they had a waiting list of over 200 children.  As of yesterday the waiting list was down to 60 and they average 12 requests per day for capes.  The cape drive and other fundraising events have helped to shorten the waiting list, and we are looking at the very real possibility of seeing that waiting list go away.  100% of the donations go to the kids, and for the next few days your donations are worth even more thanks to this mysterious benefactor.  Thank you for all the help you have and are continuing to give to this amazing charity.

This Little Guy…

This Little Guy…
He was in the check-in line when we arrived. He was on the other side of the Barrier and was with his mom & two little brothers. The infant brother was busy trying to stuff his foot in his mouth in his stroller & I was feeling a little better so I looked down at him & said “Hey brother, you gonna check that foot in or carry it on?” everyone laughed, I thought it was over. Suddenly this little guy in the picture tells his mom “That’s Superhero”. His mom says “No, he’s not Superman” & he says back “Not Superman, Superhero!” I couldn’t believe it so I climbed under the barrier & gave him a sticker & asked his mom “Did he just say I’m Superhero? Because he’s right! I AM Superhero…I’m the guy from HBO.” His mom had NO idea how he knew who I was either. I’m not exactly an “A List Celebrity” after all. So he was our little buddy in the terminal then on the plane I gave him the Superhero assignment of keeping his little brother happy & entertained for the flight. I guess we’ll never know how he knew who I was.

You Guys won't believe this one…

You guys won’t BELIEVE this one….
So I got done at the gym today & I’m headed up East bay in a hurry to make it to work on time and at the intersection at Keene there’s a BLIND lady with one of those red canes (How I knew she was blind) trying to cross the intersection with cars flying everywhere! I pull into the Firehouse sub parking lot & bail out with the engine running & try to cross the inter…section to get to her. I’ve got the crosswalk & the light (And I’m not blind so I know I do) and this big girl in a beat up Buick turning right decides to go anyway. Fortunately I’m still pretty spry and slam my hand down on the hood & use it to launch myself backwards out of her way while she slams on her brakes & sits there with her hands over her mouth…I got other things to do. I run around behind her (I’m not giving her a second chance) & finally make it to the blind lady. She hears me coming even thru the traffic & I say “I’ll help you across the street.” She calmly tells me “Oh it’s ok, I just wait until I hear the oncoming traffic and then walk in its direction across.” I’m like “Wow…well the timer just changed & you got about 30 seconds I’ll walk with you anyway.” About halfway across I stopped & just watched & couldn’t believe it. There were cars flying everywhere & this blind lady was just unstoppable. She stayed calm, like she did it everyday (Which she probably did) & I nearly got creamed trying to reach her. Really lets you know who the Superheroes are.

Concentric Circles of Influence for the RLSH

If you’ve never studied the concept of concentric circles of influence then you probably had to stop and scratch your head for a moment when you read the title of this blog.  This concept has been used to teach everything from door-to-door sales to church ministry to college planning.  And, aside from its overly extended name, its a pretty simple concept that we could all benefit from if we learned how to apply it.
Basically, the circles represent the areas in which we have influence, and place them in order based on the amount of influence we have in a given area.  Understanding these areas in our lives allows us to focus our efforts in the areas most likely to have the greatest impact.
Thats right…I said IMPACT! 
(I love that word)

I first learned of this when I was an insurance agent.  We studied something called “target marketing” and the concentric circles was used to show how we could TARGET our marketing better.
Notice how it looks like a target? 
Well, the idea – just like shooting a target – is to get as close to center as possible.  The closer you are to center, the higher your score or the greater your impact will be.
As an RLSH, our concentric circles are not that different than anyone else.  We may dress weird, do things that others consider crazy, and live in a world one step from complete fantasy, but we still seek to impact the world around.  It doesnt matter if you choose to be a charity hero or a crimefighter, this is a way you can focus your efforts in the areas they will do the most good.
So lets talk about the circles.
In the bullseye of our target is a mirror.  The center of the concentric circles is always ME.  Not me, as in Crossfire, but ME as in the person you see in the mirror everyday.
The one area you will have the most ability to affect is yourself…and thats one area you should never neglect.  Before you can impact the world around you, you have to be sure that YOU are well taken care of. 
You can’t feed the homeless if you are unable to feed yourself.
You can’t fight crime if you are unable to protect yourself.
You cant be effective at anything if you let your own self fall to pieces.
In other words…charity starts at home.
This is one of the things I’ve personally had to face recently and one of the reasons for the current happenings in THE DROP ZONE.  The ONE YEAR FITNESS CHALLENGE is one step in my own effort to IMPACT the center circle of my concentric circles. 
You need to consider your physical fitness and health before you begin looking for ways to serve others.  Make sure you are eating enough…Exercise daily…Get plenty of rest…take time to relax also…An hour or two every week devoted to a hobby can help you more than you will ever know.
And aside from just doing the things necessary to maintain your good health, you need to do things to improve yourself…read a book…take a college course…take martial arts classes…Invest some time in making YOU more prepared for the world around you.
It is very important to make sure YOU are taken care of…because if you neglect yourself, then eventually you will be unable to help anyone else.
And don’t put your RLSH activities ahead of your job or career.  You need that career to support your activities and your life.  You don’t have to set at your desk and ignore a crime going on outside your window – you aren’t Bob Parr and this isn’t The Incredibles – but you don’t want to walk away from a good job just to patrol. 
Remember – you can’t help anyone else if you can’t help yourself.
The next thing you need to consider in the center circle is being prepared.
Make sure you have the proper equipment for what you are planning to do when you step into that next circle.  If you are going to be doing something dangerous, then have the appropriate body armor or equipment.  Make sure your vehicle is running.  Make sure your equipment is maintained properly.
And part of being prepared is planning things out. 
If you are going into an area to patrol at night, walk that area in the daylight first.  Ask yourself where criminals might hide to ambush their victims.  Look for ways to escape if things get out of control.  Make note of terrain features that might cause problems at night.
When you return that night, you will find it much easier to patrol if you know the area already.
Let me give an example of WHY this is a good idea.
Several years ago I was working security at a hospital.  One of the posts I worked was a building that was under construction.  The building had no lights and I would have to navigate through a maze of tools, supplies, and half finished projects every night using just my mini mag light to make sure the building was secure. 
One night I was making my rounds with the flashlight on the ground watcing for trip hazards when I walked into a piece of duct work that was hanging low in the center of the room.  The workers left it dangling about 5 feet off the ground at the end of the day which put it right at face level for me.  I was moving at a pretty good pace when I smashed into this duct with my face.  My feet kept going and my back met the hard concrete floor before I realized what had happened. 
After regaining my senses, I finished my rounds and went back to the security office.  My partner then informed me that I had blood on my face.  They checked me out and found no major injury, just a minor scrape that bled a little.  I did a report about the accident/injury and wrote it in the pass-down log. 
Later that night my partner was making rounds in the same building and almost ran into the same duct.  The only reason he missed was because he KNEW to watch for it.  He knew what had happened to me and still almost ran into it. 
Had I known to watch for it, I might not have crashed into it that night.
Now imagine if you were trying to run away from or after someone in the dark and you didnt know about a particular obstacle…You don’t want to run face first into a low hanging duct during a life or death situation.
Research crime rates in the areas you are partolling.  Know the bar schedules.  Keep a list of emergency numbers in your cell phone.
And most of all…let someone know where you are.  If something bad happens then someone needs to know where to start looking for you.
The next circle is your FAMILY.  This includes people you are related to by blood and those friends who are close enough to be blood.  These are the people who if they were any closer you would have to share the same skin.  Not all relatives are found in the second circle, nor are all friends. 
These are the people who know all your deepest secrets.
When you are trying to save the world, these are the people you think of first:  Your parents, your spouse, your children, your siblings, & your closest friends
The decision between helping your second circle and someone else should be simple.  This might mean cancelling a patrol because your child is sick.  It might mean taking a few weeks off from RLSh activities because a parent is in the hospital.  I might mean postponing something for an hour so you can go help your best friend when his junky old car leaves him stranded somewhere.
When you put these people first in your priorities, they will return the favor…And that helps YOU to be better able to do what it is that you do.
The third circle is two parts:  1) – your extended freinds and family & 2) Your neighborhood
These are people you have a bond with in some way.  Distant relative, old friends, acquantances, former co-workers, and neighbors are people with whom you have a mild familiarity if not a strong relationship.  However, this minor connection gives you an opening to be helpful to them. 
Imagine an elderly person falls down in front of you.  You rush to their aid, but they refuse and possibly become combattive because they don’t know you.  I’ve had it happen to me.
Now imagine that same person falls, but someone else rushes up to them and offers to help…only this time its someone they know.  “You’re Bob’s son?”  The elderly person says as they are helped back to their feet.
The connection here allows you a little more freedom than a complete stranger.
The neighborhood is included in this because the connection between you and where you live is just as important.  You live there and as a result you become familiar with things there.  You know which cars belong and which ones do not.  You know the people who live there.  Its the easiest area to learn because you are always there.
It was this familiarity that led to my stopping a murder attempt last year…Hows that for IMPACT.
The fourth circle would be the city and county in which you live.  This is where you reach random people, but still have a familiarity with the area.
The fifth circle would be the counties surrounding you.  These are areas you are less familiar with, but still close enough to make a difference occasionally
The sixth circle is your state…or a states sized area around where you reside.  For example – a RLSH in Texarkana Arkansas  would count parts of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma in his sixth circle.  When you start spreading out into these areas you are going to be in areas that are sometimes familiar but often times not.  This is an area where you will face more problems and have less ability to make a difference.
the seventh circle would be your nation – You still have some freedom to operate in your own country…Your influence here is probably not that great…and your efforts here are not going to gather results nearly as fast. 
And the final circle – is the rest of the world.  Extending yourself beyond the borders of your nation will stretch you to amazing lengths.  Your impact on these areas will most likely not be very great.  It will take a great deal of difficulty to make a difference at this level.
And there you have it…my thoughts on the Concentric Circles of Influence for an RLSH