Corey D. Roberts is the founder of Tactical Insights L.L.C. in Monticello, Iowa, which provides “Christ-Centered Emergency Response Training” for churches and faith based organizations as well as tactical training for law enforcement and private citizens.
Roberts is currently a full-time patrol police officer with the Monticello P.D. and also serves on the multi-jurisdictional Jones County Emergency Response Team as Tactical Commander. He also serves in the Iowa Army National Guard (having served as an enlisted man, NCO and officer) and has been deployed several times.
Officer Roberts agreed to answer a few questions for me about guns, crime and freedom. The views expressed are those of Roberts and not necessarily those of any organization he may be affiliated with.
1. What is Tactical Insights L.L.C. and what inspired you to start it?
In 2010, I was deployed to Afghanistan and I tell you that to tell you this; the one thing war movies never show adequately is the sheer, mind-numbing boredom that accompanies service in a war zone. While we love to talk about the firefights and explosions, the hours of boredom seldom are mentioned. During a soldier’s “down time” there is very little to do. Running down to the store or going out with your friends is not an option, so soldiers find other ways to keep themselves occupied. While deployed, there was a lot going on at home that we were able to catch glimpses of on Armed Forces Network television. One of the things that was big news was the Union fights going on in Wisconsin.
Since several of the other soldiers I was deployed with were fellow Police Officers, this of course became a topic of conversation. During our conversations, we discussed what we viewed as some of the problems with Law Enforcement today based on the issues that we were seeing in Wisconsin. I had been writing some articles for a website called PoliceCrunch.com and chose to write an article on police leadership titled The Pack Mentality and the Leadership Lessons of Ike. I found that this writing became my escape and my simple article became my first book. When I finished the first book I began another titled Be a Man, for God’s Sake which is still unpublished.
While writing this second book I was writing a chapter called, “Be a Man at Church” and was working on a section called “A real man knows how to serve others”. The Bible verse that I chose to use was:
1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:.
I was waxing eloquent about our duty as men to serve others using the gifts that God has given us. The focus I used was that God has not called all of us to feed the poor in India, or to be the pastor of a mega-church, instead, what He has called us to do is use the gifts that He has given each of us. If a man is a great electrician, use it for Him. If a man is a great speaker, use it for Him.
As I was feeling pretty good about myself I began to search my own heart and the question came to me, “What am I doing with my gifts?” Of course I told myself that I was a soldier and a police officer so I was doing pretty well, but that answer was not enough. I shared this with my wife on one of our Skype conversations and we began to pray for direction for our lives.
It would seem to be an easy task to find one’s gifts and simply apply them to His kingdom, but what does one do when his gifts are a Tactical Mind, and the ability to hurt other people?
At this time, I had been a member of our church for close to 10 years and had been on our church’s security team for several of those years. During that time, I spoke to and trained the security team on requested topics in which I had knowledge, including Active Shooter Response. Through prayer, I felt the calling of God very strongly to use this acquired knowledge and to offer this type of training to other churches and ministries as well.
Tactical Insights L.L.C. was built out of a desire to follow His leading and we currently offer a complete training seminar to churches and ministries at no cost. We feel that our responsibility is to ensure that the local church is prepared to respond to emergency situations ranging from natural disasters to threats from man. Our churches should be a haven of hope to a hurting world and must be a place of safety for our communities.
We have grown quickly as we have found other avenues in which my skill set can be used, such as Firearms training and self-defense training, but our primary focus remains on the security of our churches and ministries.
2. As a police officer, what do you believe is the biggest criminal threat to the safety of Iowans today?
I struggled with this question as I could think of crime after crime that impacts our lives, even if we don’t see the direct effects. I believe that the biggest criminal threats to the safety of Iowans are not the crimes themselves but the root of them.
1. Apathy. One of Webster’s definitions of apathy is indifference, lack of feeling of emotion or lack of interest. Our society has become so involved in their own interests that the only thing that will pry them away from the television for 2 minute is a tragedy. And even when a tragedy occurs, we really only care if it impacts us directly. We see images of murder, rape, assaults, drug use, child abuse and all the evil that man can do to one another and we shrug our shoulders and change the channel. When a tragedy finally impacts us and we miss the finale of American Idol because someone stole our television, we demand that something be done immediately. When it is the neighbor’s house, we shrug our shoulders.
2. Sense of Entitlement. If we combine the apathy of our society with an ingrained sense of entitlement, we have the recipe for disaster. Our children are taught that everyone wins, everyone gets a trophy and anyone who has more than you is evil. We have raised a generation who believe that all of their needs have become rights and those “rights” must be met. We see examples of this all around us. From the Occupy Wall Street movement who demanded that they get more free stuff, to those who steal from businesses and justify their actions because the business is “the man” and an “evil corporation”. When we begin to define our “needs” as “rights”, we should not be surprised that a certain segment of our population will be willing to break the laws to ensure that they get what they believe they deserve. This leads to my last point:
3. No defined right or wrong. The first thing I hear is; “But Corey, we do have defined right and wrong in our society”. But, do we? We have developed a set of laws that govern how we live in our society. We have hired people to “enforce” these laws. Every citizen of this state violates some “law” almost every day. Our law books have become so large and complex that it would be impossible for anyone to even understand all the laws, let alone ensure that they don’t break one. So our response is that we as citizens pick and choose which laws WE believe are relevant. “I only smoke pot, it’s not like I’m killing people,” and “I only drive 5 mph over the limit.”
So, why do we need so many laws? We have thrown away our common moral compass and traded it for what makes us “feel good.” The only way that a free society can operate is with a common moral understanding of right and wrong. If we cannot live under this common moral compass, the society will need to be controlled by laws, enforced by men and women with the power to force compliance. Welcome to America today.
Our nation was founded on Biblical principles of right and wrong which were understood by all, whether religious or not. God’s laws were very simple and easily understood. We as a society decided that God’s laws were old fashioned and irrelevant and replaced them with what made us feel good. For example: homosexuality is not “wrong”, it’s a lifestyle choice. Abortion is not “wrong”, it’s a choice. Pedophilia is not “wrong”, it’s a sexual orientation. Looting is not “wrong”, it’s people showing frustration. Adultery is not “wrong”, it’s a natural choice.
So why are we surprised when a crazy person enters an elementary school and shoots children? We Christians have been told that we are not allowed to “judge” anyone for any reason. How about now? Can we say he was wrong, or was this just his “choice” and we need to respect his decisions?
3. Since that monster committed the atrocity at Sandy Hook Elementary, school security has been in the forefront of many Americans minds (especially those of us with children in school). You are a member of the tactical response team that would be called into a school shooting in your county. You recently attended an Active Shooter Response Instructor Course. Based on your knowledge of active shooter scenarios, what are our schools doing wrong and what are they doing right to keep our kids safe?
As a member of a Tactical Team, I can first tell you that the cops aren’t coming. I know that this statement raises eyebrows and it certainly is not what people want to hear, but it is the truth. Law Enforcement will respond and they will do the best they can, but it will not be enough. The average active shooter scenario lasts 8 ½ minutes. The most recent numbers for the national average response time to a 911 call is 8.7 minutes. I cannot verify this number and I am still working to verify the data, but I can say from experience that it is fairly accurate. The shooter at Virginia Tech was able to kill 30 people and wound 17. What most people don’t know is that there was a SWAT team ready to deploy, 800 meters away from the building when the shooting started in the classrooms. From 800 meters away, the SWAT team was unable to stop the shooting in time. What about your school? How far away is your local SWAT team and how long will it take them to get ready to respond? It took the SWAT team at Virginia Tech over 15 minutes to get into the building from 800 meters away and in that time the shooter killed 30 and wounded 17.
This takes us back to personal responsibility. I recently wrote an article titled “We are killing our own kids” and I think the information must be shared with parents, school administrators and students alike.
The schools are really considering 3 things when they look at the issues of active shooters and develop safety plans: Survivability, Accountability, and Liability. But which of these are we putting first?
Liability is always looking to avoid being sued…guess what, you are going to get sued. Sandy Hook elementary already has a $100 Million lawsuit. Deal with that now.
Accountability is really there to address liability. “If we don’t know where the kids are then we increase our liability.” But is this really true?
Survivability is here to keep our kids and staff alive.
So which of these 3 are our schools and businesses putting first? Which of these is most important to you??? In ANY situation that we MANDATE a single response to a critical incident WE INCREASE LIABILITY and DECREASE SURVIVABILITY, all for the sake of accountability. If your child’s school was on fire and your child was in the classroom but his or her planned escape route went directly through the fire…would you agree that they MUST follow the MANDATED response? What if the mandated response was that they hide under their desks?
Our kids will have one of 3 natural responses to fear: FIGHT-FLIGHT-or FREEZE. Which of these three responses is almost guaranteed to get them killed in an active school shooter response? Which one of these 3 are our schools and businesses MANDATING we do? If you haven’t figured it out…it’s FREEZE. If you ask MY kids today what they should do if a crazy person comes into their school they would tell you RUN-HIDE-FIGHT!!! They know to RUN if they can, out a window, out a door, and they even know where to go. I and my girls have driven to their Rally Points (a few blocks away at a safe location). Your schools are already MANDATED to have Rally Points…find out where they are and make sure your kids know them. If they can’t RUN, because the shooter is in the way or it’s too late, they know to HIDE. Now within hide is barricade the doors, etc. or in what I teach businesses and churches “disrupt”.
When all else fails they know that they have to FIGHT. My girls know how to use distractions in order to provide themselves an opportunity to go back to RUN. They know to FIGHT until they can’t fight anymore. My kids will not “hide under a desk” and wait for the cops WHO WILL NEVER GET THERE IN TIME!!! My kids are taught to survive and lead others to safety. Start talking to your kids today!! RUN-HIDE-FIGHT!!!!!! Does this sound radical to you? Why? What do we teach our kids about Stranger Danger??? Do we tell them to turn off the lights and hide under the desk? I didn’t think so.
I have always been an advocate of ALLOWING teachers, administrators and staff to be armed in our schools. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun (or knife, or machete, or baseball bat) is for someone to stop them with force. Stopping a bad guy with a gun practically requires a good guy with a gun. That’s why we give guns to cops. A good example of this is one of my staff members who I will not name, but works fulltime in the schools. He is a shooter, well trained, highly skilled and tactically minded. He carries a firearm for self-defense at all times and I feel safer when he is around. He is not allowed by law to carry within the schools. Were there to be a shooter, he would be as defenseless as the rest. Why is he not allowed to be armed? I do not believe that we should REQUIRE teachers to be armed, but refusing to give our teachers the ability to defend themselves and our children is insanity at its core.
I do not advocate “a cop in every school”. It is impractical, expensive and again is an example of us placing the responsibility of our own security in the hands of the government. There are very few problems in our country that will be solved with more government. Columbine had a School Resource Officer at the school on the day of the shooting.
Gun free zones don’t work and anyone who believes they do is naïve at best. There is a reason that the crazed gunmen choose these areas.
4. While on duty have you had any problems with civilians with permits to carry weapons?
I am a supporter of the right to carry and as such I have had no issues. I conducted a traffic stop recently where a man had his legal firearm on the passenger seat of his vehicle. He was much more nervous than I. As I approached the vehicle, he had both of his hands on the steering wheel and informed me right away that he had a permit for the handgun and that he had taken it out of the holster because it was digging into his back. I told him I understood and just asked that he not reach for it. We concluded our business and I told him to drive safely. I believe that he was surprised by my reaction. I believe that the citizen who is carrying his or her firearm legally is more likely to be of help to me than a threat.
With that being said, there is a certain group who purposely carry firearms openly and entice Law Enforcement to approach them. This is done in an attempt to “catch” officers violating their rights. These individuals are trying to make a political point and fail to understand some very basic information. I will take a minute and hopefully help them. First, carrying your firearm openly is tactically the worst possible thing you can do. This is not high noon and you are not a quick draw artist. I recently stood behind a man in the Wal-Mart checkout line who was carrying a Glock 17 in an open carry holster. I know it was a Glock 17 because at one point I actually reached down and put my finger on the weapon and took a picture of my hand on his firearm. Had I chosen to I could have easily disarmed him and used his own weapon on him. I did not take that opportunity to embarrass him but I easily could have. He had absolutely no business carrying a firearm openly, legal or not, he did not have the situational awareness needed. The first time I want a bad guy to know I am armed is when everything goes black, period.
Second, the officers that you are trying to “catch” are more than likely on your side. The vast majority of police officers believe in your rights and have dedicated their lives to defending them. Yes, there are some who believe differently, but “picking a fight” with the police to prove a point is making the wrong point, unless the point you are trying to make is that you want your ten minutes of fame.
5. Some people say that citizens getting a PTC should have to pass a shooting test to the same standards as active duty police. Do you think this is necessary?
Active duty police officers are required to pass a formal qualification annually that is designed around the most likely police firefight scenarios. This qualification requires shooting from 25 yards to 7 yards and requires multiple magazine exchanges and several different positions. While I believe strongly that for a citizen who decides to carry a firearm for self-defense, it is vital that they have a certain level of competence with said firearm, I don’t believe that the standard is the same.
I teach the National Rifle Association Basic Pistol Shooting Course for individuals who wish to acquire a permit to carry weapons. In my course, the students are required to display the ability to handle their firearm and to hit what they are aiming at. My qualification standard is based on the most likely self-defense firefight scenario. The idea that a citizen will be taking a self-defense shot from 25 yards is impractical at best and legally problematic at worst. I encourage my students to shoot from those distances, but for a different reason. The basic shooting fundamentals do not change as distance increases, but the mistakes made in the fundamentals become more critical at further distances. Shooting a little high at 10 yards can cause some serious problems at 25 yards.
I believe that your self-defense is your personal responsibility and if you choose to carry a firearm, you should feel strongly about ensuring that you have the proper skills, confidence and attitude. I don’t believe that it would be practical or prudent to require citizens to meet the same requirements as active law enforcement. I do believe that those who choose to carry should work to ensure that they are adequately prepared to meet the challenges of self-defense. One of the ways I encourage this is to teach a Tactical Shooting for the Private Citizen course in which we teach students to move from target shooting to practical firearm use such as positional shooting, shooting on the move etc.