January 28th, 2003


Defending the Homeland Begins at Home


By Chris Weinkopf

“LET ME TELL YOU, AS A COP, I’m not gonna be there,” Mark Granko told his students, who sat transfixed, listening to war stories from his 25 years as a police officer, including five on a SWAT team. “I don’t care if you call 911. By the time we get there, it’s over.”

That’s why the 15 men, mostly in their 20s and 30s, had trekked to the seedy Oakland suburb of Richmond for the weekend. We were there for one purpose alone: to learn how to kill an attacker instead of allowing him to kill us while we wait for the police to arrive.

This wasn’t a class on gun safety, although safety was the rule of the day. Nor was it a course on marksmanship, but we couldn’t let off a poor shot without getting an earful from Granko and his fellow instructors. After all, our targets were never more than seven feet away, just like real-life rapists, murderers, muggers—and possibly terrorists. As our coaches liked to remind us, a sloppy shot could make the difference between our own life and death.

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