Damsel in Distress

2-Mar-15 – 15:55 by ToddG

About a month ago on pistol-forum.com I described a scenario I’ve run in Force on Force scenarios many times:

I used to run a pretty straightforward FOF scenario in which the student was standing around minding his own business when a couple walked around the corner. First the guy started calling his gf/wife/whatever a whore and yelling at her about the way she dressed, wore too much make up, etc. Then he’d grab her by the shoulders and shake her a bit and yell more loudly. If the student still did nothing, he’d hit her and knock her to the ground.

At any point, if the student intervened the guy would draw a gun. When the student drew his own, the GF would then draw her pistol from a position off to the side of the student and burn him down. Then the police arrived on scene and both the abuser and GF said the student tried to mug them. The number of students who couldn’t wrap their heads around that (very realistic) turn of events was close to 100%.

ll2Limatunes (aka Melody Lauer) posted her experience from a very similar FOF scenario (NSFW, printed language) being run by Craig “Southnarc” Douglas at this year’s Rangemaster Tactical Conference. Melody goes through every moment and every thought throughout the entire challenging situation.

If you have ever thought about saving the “damsel in distress” then you really need to read Melody’s post and consider how these things tend to end in the real world.

Thanks for taking the time to share all of that with us, Melody.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 15 Responses to “Damsel in Distress”

  2. Todd: And sometimes tactical ‘scenarios” are designed to ensure there is no right answer.

    The truth is that very occasionally (and only very occasionally for most non cops) life can get crazier than can be rationally dealt with. There are no guarantees. So you try to stay away from crazy, do your best if it happens, and don’t worry about it otherwise.

    By SteveJ on Mar 2, 2015

  3. Thank you for sharing. I’m pretty sure (okay, I’m HOPING) that your tactical training scenario wasn’t actually as creepy/freaky/sucky/scary as your short description suggested.

    Several decades ago, I actually tried to interfere in a male/female street argument which seemed doomed to degenerate into a physical confrontation (beyond the hair-pulling and shoving contest I had witnessed).

    To my surprise, both the man and the woman turned on me and and suggested in the strongest possible language that I should get the fuck out of their life and quit interfering with their business.

    (Did I ‘do good’ by finding a common ground for them? I think not. They went right back to their very physical fight before I re-crossed the street!)

    So the suggestion that Steve3 made, that one should “… try to stay away from crazy …” seems to be the best and most substantial contribution that your readership might find worthwhile.

    By Jerry the Geek on Mar 2, 2015

  4. PS: After posting my original comment, I actually went to the original article to find out what was going on … which is what I should have done FIRST.

    Surprise, Surprise Surprise! That was the point of the exercise! (Silly ol’ me, after 70 years I STILL haven’t learned to check the facts before I pooped out of my face.)

    Yes, the exercise is confrontational and no, I now understand that it did not involve a live-fire exercise, and yes, my face is red. Well … pinkish.

    Well done on the exercise, less kudos on the secondary depiction there-of; and I’m not sure whether I would have criticized it (in retrospect) ESPECIALLY because I learned that lesson “The Hard Way” 50 years ago.

    By Jerry the Geek on Mar 2, 2015

  5. Oh lord now the term “full iso baby” is likely stuck in my mind forever…

    Thanks Todd 😀

    By John on Mar 2, 2015

  6. Hopefully once they seen me thrust aside my tactical CCW shooters vest and reveal my open carry weapon system (Taurus public defender) sitting pretty next to my CCW shield which rides high and proud on my 5.11 tactical belt they’d respect the authority my presence demands and conduct themselves accordingly.

    I’d slowly draw a bead on the ho/wench in question and neutralize her then proceed to the next threat level and assess the force to force ratio and after a few quick algebra equations I’d deliver the appropriate scale of justice and drop him with a surgical pop to the knee caps before taking out his trigger finger thereby rendering him peaceable.

    Then I’d calmly inform the civilians that everything is kosher because I graduated BUD/S class 254 in 2004 with SQT thereafter and slowly brush aside the other side of my vest to reveal my Special Warfare Badge HOOYAH.

    By David on Mar 3, 2015

  7. If it is not my circus, then those are not my monkeys.

    By Mitchell, Esq. on Mar 3, 2015

  8. Since I didn’t attend the Tac Conference I do not know for sure, but my guess is that either the scenario was tweaked a bit for Melody’s specific “weakness” (an EMT faced with a baby in distress) or at the very least it simply resonated more strongly with her than the people who’ve never actually had to respond to such a thing in real life.

    I get the “not my monkeys” thing, I do. But if you *weren’t* in a Sim scenario where you *knew* things would eventually become confrontational, how many of us would just say, “sucks to be you!” to the mother whose infant was struggling to breathe?

    By ToddG on Mar 3, 2015

  9. “But if you *weren’t* in a Sim scenario where you *knew* things would eventually become confrontational…”

    This, right here, is the thing that always has me wondering.

    People know the scenario is coming. They may not know the particulars, but they know that something is coming.

    We go see a movie about zombies, and we *know* it is a movie about zombies, so every sound, every little thing makes us-the audience-anticipate an attack by zombies. We see someone going into a dark hallway, alone and unarmed, reaching for a door handle and our brains are screaming, “No. Because zombies.”

    If a movie was marketed as a love story, the audience reaction to certain mundane events and tasks (like opening a door in a dark hallway) would be totally different. Imagine then marketing a movie as a love story, and adding zombies all of a sudden. The unexpected twist would throw people for a loop.

    With Sim scenarios, everyone *knows* that there is something coming (even though they may not know what, or if it is a lose/lose situation) and so they are focused on “when will the zombie attack come.”

    There may not be a way around that.

    How many people would sign up for a course wherein there was at least one or two scenarios that required nothing more than saying “Hi” to a random stranger and going about your business? But that is the majority of real life, if we’re honest about it. I don’t even have to consider drawing down on the bag boy at Kroger’s because he asked if I wanted my milk in a bag, or if I need assistance getting groceries into my car. A simple yes or no, and I move on.

    In real life, I don’t *know* if an attack/confrontation is coming. I do my best to pay attention and be prepared in case something does happen, but the reality is most of my life is boring and safe which is just fine by me, thank you very much. I don’t know if there’s a way to translate *that* to the Sim scenarios. There probably is not. And it may even be counterproductive to do so.

    By Shrimp on Mar 4, 2015

  10. I don’t see why there has to be an answer where the baby is saved, if you cannot save the baby without getting killed then you simply cannot save the baby.

    You can only do that which you can do, you can want to do more and you can try to do more but in the end you can only do what you can do. The answer may be that the baby dies, just because an answer sucks it doesn’t mean it’s not a valid answer.

    By David on Mar 4, 2015

  11. Shrimp — I agree 100%. It’s just not possible to create a 100% surprise, 100% realistic Sim scenario. I used to run a series of scenarios with multiple students over the course of hours so they would never know when the REAL bad thing was about to happen, but even then they spent those hours knowing they were walking around with Sim gear on and that every stranger who walked up to them was more likely to be a threat than the average guy on the street.

    It’s even harder when you have limited space/environments to work with. In the Tac Conference case, I wonder how many people would have simply walked the woman and baby back into the Wal-Mart if:

    (a) they didn’t “know” they were probably about to be in a confrontation Because: Simunition, and

    (b) there was actually a big brightly lit Wal-Mart in front of them that looked nice and inviting.

    But it’s pretty hard to find a Wal-Mart that will let folks do Sim scenarios in the parking lot during business hours.

    By ToddG on Mar 4, 2015

  12. So what was the point of setting a student up in a no win scenario?

    Besides showing “how much smarter you were”?

    By Bryan M on Mar 4, 2015

  13. Bryan — Which scenario (the one in my quote or the one in the linked description) did you think was a no-win?

    Mine was easily “winnable,” you just had to avoid getting in the middle of the domestic situation (the damsel in distress). Beyond that, it was a realistic lesson of what happens if you do decide to be the White Knight when you don’t really know what you’re doing.

    I won’t comment on Craig’s scenario in terms of specifics because I didn’t go through it. But I know Craig well enough that it most certainly wasn’t done as a “how much smarter” thing. And from Melody’s account I’d say she felt she got some valuable experience from participating.

    Sometimes a scenario only seems like a no-win because someone hasn’t considered doing the proper thing…

    By ToddG on Mar 4, 2015

  14. Tom Givens has an answer for this scenario…..

    By leebotx on Mar 6, 2015

  15. It’s realistic. Seen couples get into it physically. Create distance and call 911 worked both times.

    By JHC on Mar 8, 2015

  16. I think being an EMT your first thoughts will be the choking baby. When a stressful situation happens, you will go into your training, which Melody did. But as crap went down hill she had someone call 911 and she saved her own life. That’s a win in my book. There was just no way to work on that baby with all the crap happening so fast. Chances are when the baby passed out the object came lose and it continued to breath just as Melody did. There is just no way to know what you personally would do until it happens to you.
    As long as you walk away from this type of training with new knowledge that is what counts in my opinion. Learn and live!

    By Rupe on Mar 29, 2015

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