As Massad Ayoob is fond of reminding us, the only thing that they are going to fear is a competent, armed person who is obviously willing and capable of using force in their own defense. These criminals may not have any empathy or compassion, they may not be averse to using violence, but they are averse to getting hurt. An armed citizen mentally capable, willing and ready to defend himself is what will fend off one of these criminals.

So, we need to remove doubt and hesitation through education on the law, and we need to appreciate that there are people out there who will not hesitate to hurt you to achieve their goals, and the only way you can stop them is by being willing to use aggressive violence in self defense.

eJournal: It’s clear you have put considerable study into this problem. What are your favorite sources for information about the face of the enemy?

Wood: I think immediately of one of Massad Ayoob’s early books, The Truth About Self-Protection. In the opening chapter is a character study on violent criminals titled The Face of The Enemy. In it, he writes about a felon that he interviewed, his mental and physical preparation to go out and commit crimes and how powerful of a threat this guy was. It is mandatory reading for the armed citizen and was one of the first references when I started to study self defense that tuned me into the idea that we need to think about these people in very, very different terms.

I quoted Rory Miller throughout the Newhall book, because in my opinion, he has done more than any other author to help us understand the world of violence. His books Meditations on Violence and Facing Violence should be mandatory reading for the armed citizen. You can find Rory at

I would also recommend Michael Bane’s podcasts

They’re wide-ranging and you never know what you’re going to get from week to week, but when he starts talking about the dynamics of confrontations with criminals, you need to pay attention. It is excellent stuff. He also blogs at

I have a good friend that is a corrections officer and many good friends who are police officers. We spend a lot of time talking about their “clients.” If you know a police officer, a social worker, a probation officer or someone that works at an emergency room in a hospital, these people all have frequent interaction with the types of people that we are discussing. There is no better source of information than the people that work with these folks day after day. You will hear some very enlightening things. Talking with people who deal with this every day is a valuable education!

eJournal: You wrote that the Newhall felons fought from a location where they had plenty of room to move around but the CHP officers were tightly constrained in a driveway. What parallel lessons apply to the armed citizen?

Wood: During the Newhall attack the felons were highly mobile, constantly maneuvering around. When they didn’t have a good shot, they maneuvered to a space where they could get a good shot. They were very good about using available cover as well as concealment. Twining moved out of the gas station and restaurant lights into the shadows on the fringe edges of the parking lot so that he could flank and maneuver without being seen. These guys were very good at using cover and concealment to press the attack on the officers and they extracted a punishing toll.

Now, if we look at the officers, all of their shooting was essentially done from fixed positions. They might maneuver to a position, but when it was time to start pulling the trigger they did it from a fixed position, whereas the felons were shooting on the move and it made them especially difficult to deal with.