In my civilian Terrorism Survival course there is one-hour
of instructions on how to survive a sniper attack, and I enjoy sharing my
sniper training with my students. But, on Tuesday, February 15th I
had the opportunity to teach police and military personnel Sniper/Countersniper
Introduction Course (a course RESTRICTED to law enforcement, corrections and
the U.S. military only) at the Burro Canyon Shooting Park in Los Angeles,
California. It had been a few years since I taught a live-fire sniper course
and be back behind the Remington 700 police sniper rifle. Organizations
represented were: the United States Secret Service, United States Army Reserve,
California State Military Reserve, and Irvine Police Department. My original
course was taught through Delta Bravo Group, Inc. and the CEO of the company,
Dennis Barberic, was also the Range Safety Officer for this event.
The purpose of this course was to educate police and
military personnel, who are not snipers for their organizations, to appreciate
just how dangerous a criminal or terrorist sniper can be. To be able to find a
sniper one has to think like a sniper, and that was what the course was all
about – to get a basic education in snipercraft: equipment selection,
camouflage, ballistics, sniper organization, movement, all of the shooting
positions, and sniper tactics.
Students were allowed to bring either iron sights or scope
rifles. For those who brought only iron sights I let them put a few rounds
through my scope rifle just for the experience.
After going through the equipment that a sniper needs I did
a shooting demonstration. I had a Reality-Based Impact Head (ballistic version
for $65.95 or 100 EUR) set up on the ground at 100 meters away half way behind
stacked cardboard boxes to simulate a police officer looking around the corner
to “look for a reported sniper.”
I had a red balloon filled with water and stage blood
inserted in the back of the head and had a hat and a pair of sunglasses placed
on it. I put a match grade 168 grain .308 round right through the upper lip and
the bullet ripped through the balloon sending red liquid in a fan behind the
The U.S. Secret Service boys were very pleased with the
course and one of them said to me, “Our guys needed to learn this, especially
for dignitary protection. Some of them are new to the team and they just don’t
realize how far a sniper can be to take them out and the principle.” This agent
had received sniper training from the United States Marine Corps.
One of the local police officers who took my course is also
a certified Terrorism Liaison Officer and he told me that the information I
taught him ties directly into his job. He is very much aware of how Al Qaeda
has trained many terrorists in snipercraft and he wanted to have hands-on
Now my students have a better idea of how an enemy sniper
thinks, and by getting into the mind of the sniper the good guys can better
protect themselves and located the Final Firing Position faster.
Egyptian Government Falls
I have not only been following the Egyptian protests of the
last few weeks, now called “The Egyptian Revolution of 2011” that began January
25th, but events that lead up to it with the New Year’s church
bombing that killed 21 and wounded 100 Coptic Christian worshippers at a
church. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack. Immediately following
the killings Christians staged demonstrations in three cities to protest what
they felt was the government’s failure to protect their communities. Riot
police were called out, but the Christians were bold in their protest. It was
this defiance that brought out other groups to protest the Mubarak government,
but of course the news media did not link the two events.
Through a few Egyptian associates I was told that many of
the Coptic Christians believe that the Mubarak government was actually the ones
attacked the church in order to distract the people from growing political tensions.
The government didn’t want to look too obvious, so other groups were targeted
as well. The only problem was that it backfired in their face.
In 1989 I visited Egypt and saw the corruption of the
Egyptian police first hand. In fact, many of the protesters were attacking the
police for that very reason, and clashes between protesters and the police were
fierce. The police were so hated by the people that the military had to step in
and take control of the streets. When I was in Cairo, walking alone, a
uniformed Egyptian police officer came up to me demanding, “Basheesh!” (Arabic
for money). I told him in English, “I don’t have basheesh!” He then chambered a
round in his AK-47 pointed it at me and said with a hard look in his eyes,
“Basheesh.” I gave him some Egyptian pounds.
Then a couple of days later, again I was alone, in
Alexandria on the Mediterranean Sea, a Egyptian police sergeant came up to me
asking nicely, “Basheesh, basheesh.” I could see a patrol officer behind him
blocking the exit I was heading to with his hand on the pistol grip of his
pistol that was in the holster. I already knew from the first experience that I
had to pay, and so I gave him some pounds. However, he wanted it all. With hand
signals I pleaded with him that I needed to eat. What I needed it for was to
get back to Cairo. After a few attempts to communicate he had mercy on me and
waved his hand for me to go.
The police generally would leave tourists alone, provided
they were in groups. But, if you were on your own, like I was, you were fair
Despite being robbed twice by the police I like the Egyptian
people, and most are very hospitable. Yet, because I travelled throughout the
country I saw the desperate poverty of that country, and that was over 20 years
The big concern now for Western countries is the Egypt may
turn into a radical Islamic State like Iran. Just today the new Egyptian
government has authorized two Iranian warships to pass through the Suez Canal
to eventually dock in Syria where there are two Russian military seaports. For
the first time ever the Russians and the Iranians are in the Mediterranean Sea.
When Egyptians are crying for “freedom,” it is not the same
freedom George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or Benjamin Franklin called for
before the American Revolution. Nor is it the same freedom gained during the
French Revolution. This new “freedom” may breed trouble for the West. I hope
not, because Egypt has been a good ally of the United States for the past three
decades. When I was in the United States Army in 1981 as an 18-year-old private
I received my pay right along with two Egyptian officers, and ever since then
I’ve seen the close ties between our two militaries.
Right now troubles are brewing in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya,
Iran, Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen. There is a lot of unrest and many terrorist
groups are stoking the flames. If you have not been paying very close attention
to this part of the world, you should. It will eventually effect you directly;
mark my words.
Reality-Based Supporters Pass Away
On December 11, 2010 Faye Swanepoel went to be with the
Lord. Faye is the mother of Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of South
Africa Morne Swanepoel.
When I went to South Africa to teach my system Faye, along
with Morne’s father Swanie, made me feel very welcomed in Johannesburg. They
gave me my own lapa (a traditional African hut) that was on their large
property. It sounds primitive, but it actually had all the creature comforts of
a modern house. The only difference was that it was round with a grass roof. It
was very comfortable. We also had great barbequed food each night as the sun
was setting talking politics about both of our countries, and about Morne’s and
my plans on teaching self-defense in South Africa. Faye was a fantastic cook.
Faye loved animals and a couple of times I went out to keep
her company as she fed some of the animals on the property. Her heart was big,
and her faith in God even bigger.
Right now as you read this, please put up a prayer for Morne
and his father Swanie to get through this difficult time.
On January 13th another Reality-Based Personal
Protection supporter passed away and went to be home with the Lord, and that
was my 81 year old friend Sam Jurich.
Sam and I became friends just over a year and a half ago,
and he was fascinated with my job of teaching people self-defense around the
world. I would send him a post card when I was in various countries teaching.
Sam was a warrior himself having served in Orldong, Korea in
1947 just before the Korean War. After World War II the American forces
occupied Korea after the defeat of the Japanese. Technical Jurich (today that
rank is Specialist) installed communications lines just outside of Soul.
At Christmas, just before his death, Sam gave me some cash
as a Christmas gift. It was not much, but it was a very nice gesture.I took some of the money and bought a
new laptop computer for my business. I went over to Sam’s house and showed him
the computer and told him, “See Sam, whenever I use this computer I will think
of you and your contribution to the Reality-Based Personal Protection system.”
Immediately I started typing articles for this website and World Wide Dojo.
This is also the same computer I use when traveling.
After Sam’s death Sam’s brother-in-law handed me Sam’s dog
tags. They are interesting because they are from an era before the Social
Security number was used as a soldier’s identification number.
What’s interesting about Sam’s life was that he was an
engineer and helped make the first computers for the space program. He worked
for Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) in 1960 and finished out his career with
Rockwell International. Some of the systems he worked on became the foundation
for the Global Positioning System (GPS) we take for granted today.
I was planning on watching the HBO movie series The Pacific
with Sam, but he never got well enough.
Copyright Jim Wagner 2003 - 2021 All rights reserved.