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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Spain vs. France: The First Ladies' Match


Nothing new but a worthy re-post. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (blue dress) and Princess Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano (I don't know what color that dress is!)

Another Vintage (circa 1950's) Arnis Video

Je regrette que mon fran├žais est un peu terribles mes amis!

Thankfully though, it was translated with the appropriate subtitles. An old French documentary showing an idyllic, rural town in the province of Tarlac in Central Luzon featuring truly "old school" arnis de mano and their senior practitioners

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Norway Incident: Familiar Realities Revisited

Anders Behring Breivik in full-on macho fantasy mode.

Once in a while, certain events happen that shakes us out of our complacency. Of all places, Norway? As of last count, the casualty has been pegged at upwards of 85 people killed.

Terrorism literally is everywhere and can come even from within.It can also wear a familiar face, which to the Norwegians this time meant a blond, blue-eyed, Nordic-type, not a dark-skinned Middle-Eastern man from a far-off land with a culture they couldn't relate with.

If this fact still hasn't sunk in yet in our delicate everyday sensibilities, hopefully this latest incident will.  Norway is one of the most vibrant economies in the world today located in Northern Europe which, despite it's Viking heritage, has enjoyed relative peace and prosperity since recent history, boasting of a populace that ranks as one of the most educated (100% literacy and free education) and frequently included in the "World's Happiest People" index.  

If it could strike there, where else is safe? The "safety" of security is nothing but an illusion and all dependent on how much we're willing to make it real.  


So far, the details currently reveal that that Breivik acted alone, fuelled by his resentment for the apparent Islamization, immigration and multiculturalism of Europe via the influx of immigrants. Here is where we zero-in on the subject's profile: 32-year old, single Anders Behring Breivik. More and more, the trend for a particular lone-actor's act of terrorism is emerging. Consider that rather than being influenced externally by fundamentalist, extremist groups because of their lack of education or insight, on the contrary, they tend to be intelligent or intellectually-inclined at best, unremarkable in their stature or bearing making them "blend-in" more, yet passionate in their beliefs or ideals, and known to be self-absorbed or loners. It was reported that he immersed himself a lot on online games and fantasy, finding solace in his hobby than the reality he has distanced himself from. It is a sense of being unattached and unwillingness to go along with the mainstream or existing way of things. They have a feeling of resentment or being disgruntled, often with government/authorities or anything resembling foreign to them (which could delve into further xenophobia) and often a resistance to the new or latest trends. In fact they tend to go against the grain, as if longing to go back how things were "much more simple or uncomplicated". 

These are the more dangerous kind of terrorists as they're more likely to act alone and can't be clearly or readily identified a large group. It was learned also that the accused was inspired by previous "actors" of terrorism, particularly Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber in the US. 

Frankly it is more than just the familiar ideological and religious motivations of similar incidents. The irony is that as the world becomes much more smaller and connected via the world-wide web and international migration, being confronted by these unfamiliar peoples and cultures may be a trigger for those already suffering psychologically to act out their anarchic and violent tendencies. For our species, change can be threatening indeed.     


As it has already been established, the individual/s who undertake these acts are often meticulous and careful in planning. Setting-up these attacks requires time and resources, even the locations of their hideout and targets.  Like those before him too, he kept a low profile, blending-in, maintaining an air of normalcy to maintain the secrecy of their plans.

Coordinated attacks and the use of secondary explosions is nothing new though. Included in security protocols is to maintain being on heightened alert even after a bombing has just occurred since there might be a secondary device which could go off or be triggered remotely. This method is employed to distract or misdirect attention or even "bait" first-responding/intervening groups, making them targets to add to the damage.  

Reports have it that we have a double-whammy here employing two distinct methods; a bomb attack, in the capital Oslo, and an active shooter scenario at the second target location, an island where a youth camp was being held.  He couldn't have picked a more vulnerable area; an isolated piece of land surrounded by water targeting the young and defenseless. Furthermore, he even impersonated a police officer by wearing a uniform and lured the children to come to him first before starting the killing spree. At least half an hour passed before responding forces arrived. 

Readiness and Intervention

Thankfully, we haven't really had similar occurrence/s here in the Philippines yet, although we've had plenty of cases since long ago of men running amok outdoors with a blade weapon hacking everything in it's path.

Would you know what do? As we've previously tackled the subject of bombing incidents HERE, let's try to address what to do in an active shooter scenario:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings, events and people. Trust your gut if you feel that something is wrong. Preventing something from escalating by letting the authorities know beforehand is always a better alternative than trying to mount a proportionate or heightened response afterwards.   
  • If an attack occurs indoors, evacuate outside immediately! Know and get to your EXITS and leave your belongings behind. No use in being locked-up with someone intent on killing everyone he comes across with. 
  • Keep your hands up so that if the police do arrive in time to respond, they'll be able to pick-out the shooter better from the rest of the crowd. Follow their instructions and try not to incite further fear or panic.
  • If there are already casualties, try to remember where they are exactly and notify the police/first responders. Don't try to move them yourself. Try to help instead by clearing everyone from the hallways since they might be a hindrance to the police/first responders' movements when they do arrive.
  • If you can't escape immediately, seek cover! Run to a secure location like a room with a single door that locks from the inside, reinforce by barricading yourself and your companions. The more distance and strong shielding you have between the shooter's bullets and yourself, the better.
  • Call for help immediately. Don't assume someone already did. Give as much detail and information about the shooter as you possibly can. Details like is he alone or with a group? What weapon/s is he/they using? How many were shot? Does he/they seem to be targeting or hunting down a specific person or group?    
  • Check yourself and your companions if you have any injuries and treat them as best as you can. Prioritize on stopping bleeding wounds and breathing accordingly. Try to be calm and reassure everyone.
  • More than likely, the attacker is already in a "point of no return" state-of-mind having undertaken this desperate action. It wouldn't be wise to try to plead or negotiate with him. It's best just to keep still, hidden and quiet.  
  • During a situation, maximize your hearing for the times when the attacker is reloading or possibly having a weapon/firearm malfunction. Non-stop clicking and then is being fidgeted or tinkered with, coupled with words of frustration/cursing might also indicate this. This might be an opportunity to escape or respond, although for civilians, the former is definitely preferred than the latter.    
  • If you do attempt to respond or intervene, buddy-up. Two is better than one in any ratio of force. Act violently in trying to subdue him. Restrain him and confine to quarters, under guard until the police or authorities arrive.
  • Remember: if you are caught in such a scenario, try to hold-out as best as you can. This is a specific scenario unlike a hostage-taking.  Historically, active shooting incidents have the elements of only one, usually male shooter, engaged in randomly killing unarmed people inside a building. The attacker is a familiar face to the occupants, which is why he knows the structure and location and can gain free entry/access to it. The attack itself is basically a suicidal run until the shooter ceases the attack for any reason like an impediment, a malfunction of his weapon, runs out of ammunition, or is stopped/killed. All of this point to a short period of time for the event to end, roughly less than an hour by some estimates.   

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Storm-Proof Blunt Umbrellas

So it's currently raining outside like, um, cats and dogs? Or so goes the expression. . .

As we're right in the middle of the monsoon season, getting wet necessitates having a rain coat or an umbrella along when going outside. Personally, I prefer a water-repelling coat or jacket as it allows you   freer movement, then folds-up and carries well stowed inside a bag. I've had my share of losing (i.e. - forgetting) a LOT of umbrellas too for many years, much to the dismay of loved ones.

There are of course certain advantages too for carrying an umbrella. The archetypal Englishman walking along London's busy and perpetually rained-on streets has one as a walking cane. In a tight spot, you can whack a threat with it, regardless of how many legs it has. Large enough, there's also the chance you could share it to aide a damsel in "wet" distress if you're lucky.

Sadly, there aren't that many out there durable enough to "weather the storm". A gale-force wind could simple turn it inside-out and render it useless. Umbrella-repair technicians aren't all that common either for anything so cheap and cheaply-made.

Then comes the Blunt umbrella from New Zealand. VERY cool design! Tough enough to take-on a typhoon (almost)! From the name itself too, the tips that we've come to dread when being in a crowd are virtually gone and blunted. 

Here's a good review - 

How tough is it? Wind tunnel tests!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Dalai Lama On Facing Adversity

His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, the spiritual and inspirational leader of Tibetan Buddhism sharing his insights along with a bit of his humor. What he says beginning 2:03 is so simple, it's profound.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

19th Defense and Sporting Arms Show

July 14 - 18, 2011
SM Megamall, Bldg. B
Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong
Metro Manila

Click the Facebook  page for more info.