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Book Review: Defensive Living, Second Edition, by Ed Lovette and Dave Spaulding



I have recently read the second edition of Defensive Living written by Ed Lovette and Dave Spaulding. This book was published in 2005. I would recommend this book. I did take a fair amount of new information and ideas from it. There was much stuff that was redundant that I have learned or heard from other sources. This is ok because others may have not come across this information yet in their readings or classes. Ed Lovette is a retired CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer. Also, a former Captain in the U.S. Army Special Forces and is also a ten-year law enforcement veteran. He served as a patrol officer, sheriff's deputy, and senior firearms instructor for the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy. Dave Spaulding retired as a Lieutenant after 28 years with Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in Ohio. He worked in communications, corrections, court security, patrol, evidence, investigations, undercover operations and SWAT.


A quote from early on in the book set the pace. Ed Lovette, "Sometimes the only way you can repay a debt of gratitude is by passing on that which has been given to you." He is referring to passing on his accumulated knowledge that he has learned and borrowed from other instructors and those around him. Lovette starts by having the reader assess their personal security risk. Questions such as: Do you unknowingly draw attention to yourself? Do you provide the opportunity for crimes of opportunity? For those going through the day and can't recall many of the details, this should be a sign to you. You may be giving off vulnerable signals that place you as a possible target of opportunity. Lovette describes a story of one particular individual that went shopping with a group of friends for strength in numbers. Even being surrounded by friends, she was pick pocketed without even noticing until later. Come to find out this is the second time this has happened to her. The other occurrence was overseas. This should be a sign that she is giving off some sort of vulnerable signals. Lovette covers Jeff Cooper's two techniques of working on condition yellow of his awareness chart. The first technique is the What if? game of placing yourself in situations from the newspaper or news and decide how you would have responded in a given situation. Second, is the X's and O's activity. This entails keeping a chart. Every time someone is able to approach you from behind without your knowledge, mark down an X. Every time you see anyone you know before they see you, mark down an O. A month of no X's establishes the formation of correct habits. Lovette considers 21 feet away and 360 degrees to be your immediate environment or safety zone. He goes on to describe danger signs to be aware of. He covers less lethal options and validates their need by saying less than deadly situations cannot be met with deadly measures such as the use of firearms. If one only has their verbal commands and their handgun, they only have the two extremes of the spectrum covered but none of the in-between measures. Most situations will not warrant deadly force. Best study of O.C. or pepper spray is the study, Pepper Spray Evaluation Project. This report was put out June of 1995. It was a nine month study with the International Association of Chief's of Police and the Baltimore County Police Department. There were 194 incidents that O.C. was used in. 174 of those were on personnel, the other 20 were on attacking dogs. A successful incident was defined as one in which he or she was sufficiently incapacitated after a single spray to be placed under arrest. The spray accomplished this 156 times of the total 174 incidents involving personnel and worked all 20 times against attacking dogs. Lovette and Spaulding cover the need to be psychologically prepared and have the willingness to fight and kill if needed without thinking. He covers an interesting example of a watch dealer in West Los Angeles that has been involved in four deadly shootings. They cover many other basic building blocks that are important such as legal advice and what to expect after a shooting. Although this subject is covered quite often it is great to hear their take on this subject and that these experts are placing quite a bit of emphasis on the legal consequences of being involved in a shooting so the victim will know what to expect and can better prepare themselves for the legal battle that is very taxing on the victims personal life and relationships. They do cover a subject that not many others do. The authors express a need for more evasive driving classes to be offered to the public. We tend to spend around a half hour each day in our vehicle on average. We are more likely to utilize evasive driving skills in our life than we are likely to call upon our firearms skills. They explain the need to know a few basic techniques and to make sure your vehicles fluids are topped off as well as always having at the minimum a half tank of fuel and good tires on your vehicle. They go over basic defensive driving fundamentals and techniques. They ended the book with talking about how to choose a handgun for carry. I liked their take on it. They broke things down into a couple easy tests to see how well the handgun fits the user's hand. They ended with cover shooting fundamentals such as stance, grip and the draw. I liked their quote from Dennis Tueller, "If you don't have time to aim, you certainly don't have time to miss." Like I said earlier there was a lot of redundant information but there was also plenty of new information or different ways to look at subjects that I very much enjoyed the read.

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