Sur­vival­ist Spot­light

Daniel Lom­bard

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By John Schwartze Pho­tos by Dob­son En­ter­tain­ment, Inc.

There’s a say­ing of­ten at­trib­uted to John Stu­art Mill that the sub­ject of this is­sue’s Sur­vival­ist Spot­light is quite fond of: “The only thing nec­es­sary for the tri­umph of evil is for good men to do noth­ing.” While we feel that’s a pretty self-ex­plana­tory state­ment, some may ask what makes a man good. Daniel Lom­bard has quite a body of ex­pe­ri­ence to an­swer that ques­tion. His ded­i­ca­tion to pro­tect­ing oth­ers is truly lim­it­less.

Lom­bard is a po­lice­man in one of the tough­est cities in the coun­try — Chicago. He founded DAVAD De­fense, a firearms train­ing com­pany that not only pro­vides in­struc­tion to Chicago PD’s var­i­ous units, but teaches the av­er­age ci­ti­zen how to de­fend them­selves. When Daniel has earned enough re­spect to be se­lected as an ad­junct in­struc­tor by the likes of Kris “Tanto” Paronto of Beng­hazi fame, you know there’s some­thing to be said for his in­tegrity.

If that weren’t enough, as a na­tive of South Africa, he also took it upon him­self to train lo­cal game rangers and as­sist in an on­go­ing strug­gle that has no end in sight — bat­tling poach­ers. Even as rhino pop­u­la­tions dwin­dle and poach­ing syn­di­cates be­come bet­ter equipped than the na­tive game war­dens tasked with pro­tect­ing them, that doesn’t dis­cour­age Daniel from tak­ing an ac­tive role in the con­ser­va­tion ef­fort. We’re pretty sure that the world’s evil wouldn’t stand a chance with more peo­ple like Daniel Lom­bard in it. We sat down with him to get the in­side scoop on the anatomy of the poach­ing un­der­world, what it takes to sur­vive in the Africa bush and streets of Chicago, as well as the chal­lenges he faces in his po­lice work.

RE­COIL OFFGRID: Where were you born?

Daniel Lom­bard: I was born in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa, but pretty much right af­ter that my par­ents moved to Dur­ban on the coast. I ended up mov­ing down to the ocean there when I was about a year old.

What did you want to do when you grew up?

DL: When I was in school I ended up go­ing to the univer­sity to study law. I was the first per­son in my fam­ily to go to a univer­sity. My dad ex­pected me to be a lawyer, but law school didn’t quite pan out. I ma­jored in his­tory as well as con­sti­tu­tional law, so once I had my bach­e­lor’s de­gree I de­cided not to pur­sue law. I think I got tired of be­ing a stu­dent at that point.

And you’re now a Chicago po­lice of­fi­cer, is that cor­rect? DL: Yes, in fact I just got done cel­e­brat­ing my 17th year on the job. Kinda strange, you’d think I would’ve gone to a warmer place [ laughs].

What made you want to be­come a Chicago po­lice­man? DL: Be­cause of my weapons back­ground, I met a few guys who im­me­di­ately told me I needed to get onto the po­lice de­part­ment. At the time you didn’t need to be a U.S. ci­ti­zen, so that was for­tu­nate. I thought, for lack of a bet­ter plan, I’d send the ap­pli­ca­tion and see how it went, and here we are.

What’s been your tough­est ex­pe­ri­ence so far as a po­lice­man?

DL: The rules of en­gage­ment con­tinue to change. Even if you’re per­fectly right, pub­lic opin­ion seems to mat­ter more than any­thing else.

Have you been in a sit­u­a­tion where your life’s been threat­ened?

DL: Oh yes, I spent 12 years on the gang unit, so we’ve had some is­sues. I’ve never been in­volved in a shoot­ing where I had to fire my weapon, but on our team I’ve cer­tainly been in the line of fire.

With all the gun laws that’ve been passed there, what do you rec­om­mend cit­i­zens do to stay safe in a big metropo­lis with such strict leg­is­la­tion?

DL: The funny thing is that you think Chicago has such strict laws. Chicago makes a lot of laws, but no one ever fol­lows them and no one ever gets pros­e­cuted. The is­sue we have is con­tin­ual shoot­ings, gang vi­o­lence, etc., but all the peo­ple do­ing the shoot­ings are a small mi­nor­ity that are ba­si­cally re­peat of­fend­ers usu­ally on pa­role for gun crimes that end up do­ing an­other gun crime. Cook County is no­to­ri­ous for hav­ing a high bar to pros­e­cu­tion for any­thing.

As you know, I run a civil­ian firearms train­ing com­pany where we do con­cealed carry train­ing. We of­fer train­ing af­ter that as well, be­cause just do­ing the state-man­dated le­gal stuff isn’t re­ally good enough. If you’re in a big city like Chicago, ob­vi­ously com­mon sense, where you go, and what time of night is im­por­tant, but if you’re pro­fi­cient, ca­pa­ble, and le­gal it’s prob­a­bly not a bad idea to carry a firearm. Last year in Chicago, there were more shoot­ings in­volv­ing con­cealed-carry hold­ers than those in­volv­ing the po­lice de­part­ment. We only got con­cealed carry four-and-a-half years ago; we were the last state to get it. Be pro­fi­cient, be safe, and be law­ful. Un­der the cur­rent cli­mate in Chicago, you’re kind of on your own.

Tell me about your com­pany DAVAD Civil­ian De­fense. DL: I’ve al­ways had a back­ground in train­ing and trained po­lice of fi­cers in South Africa. I was also a com­pet­i­tive shooter. Hav­ing been a con­sul­tant with DS Arms and work­ing with a few train­ing com­pa­nies here, I’ve trained the guys on my gang team, be­cause I had a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence from South Africa. When con­cealed-carry came about, it was a new mar­ket and I saw an op­por­tu­nity to not nec­es­sar­ily make money, but of­fer pre­mier train­ing for civil­ians. So if you de­cide you want to carry a firearm and go get your con­cealed carry per­mit, that in no way, shape, or form pre­pares you for any­thing. My idea was to pro­vide the next level of train­ing, sim­i­lar to the stuf f like Jeff Cooper and all these top train­ers of­fer where you could truly be pro­fi­cient and get the same if not bet­ter train­ing than a po­lice of fi­cer. And, of course, I fo­cus on train­ing po­lice of fi­cers to a higher level too.

I train of fi­cers to ba­si­cally be bet­ter at what they do when they come out of the acad­emy, and I pre­pare them to try out for spe­cial units like SWAT. I will hone their shoot­ing skills so that they can make their se­lec­tion. I try and align my­self with cred­i­ble, real-world train­ers, not just your In­sta­gram war­riors. I hosted Kris Paronto and Dave Ben­ton, the guys from Beng­hazi. Kris is ac­tu­ally go­ing to take me on as an ad­junct in­struc­tor help­ing him out with

stuff. We met when I was do­ing a video; a com­pany out of New York saw a video I did on long-range pis­tol shoot­ing. Be­ing law en­force­ment, I went and did a video with Rudy Reyes, my­self, Kris, Geoff Reeves, who is a Navy SEAL, and Ron Holmes, a for­mer Re­con Ma­rine. So there were the five of us and we did this video for this shoot­ing sys­tem, which was ac­tu­ally pretty good and so I was lucky enough to be put in that group of peo­ple and once I was there I kept in touch with all those guys.

What are some of the big­gest mis­con­cep­tions peo­ple en­ter your train­ing with?

DL: They get caught up in buy­ing stuff. They buy a gun or all this gear and they start think­ing that if you spend money it will solve the prob­lem, es­pe­cially peo­ple who’ve been shoot­ing be­fore, but have never taken a class.

Give me the new shooter who has never han­dled a gun be­fore, and within a few hours I’ll have them out­shoot­ing the guy who thinks he knows ev­ery­thing be­cause you don’t know what you don’t know.

Tell me about this show Zulu Land’s Rhino War­riors you’ve been work­ing on.

DL: I met up with the owner of a com­pany called DS Arms. The rea­son why I knew them so well is be­cause my po­lice-is­sued ri­fle in South Africa was the same one that they now man­u­fac­ture in the USA. So ba­si­cally 93 coun­tries around the world adopted this FN FAL, and the owner, Dave Sel­vag­gio, ba­si­cally bought all the tool­ing from the Aus­trian gov­ern­ment af­ter the end of the Cold War and started mak­ing this iconic bat­tle ri­fle — “the right arm of the free world.”

Through time, he asked me to help him out and do some de­mos for some smaller po­lice depart­ments. When he de­cided to take his busi­ness over­seas, he asked me to come with him.

That grew and we started do­ing stuff in other South Amer­i­can coun­tries, and dur­ing this time friends of mine who were work­ing anti-poach­ing in South Africa kept ask­ing me for parts to keep their weapons go­ing. This par­tic­u­lar ri­fle is the one that all the anti-poach­ing units use in Africa be­cause it’s a .308. One thing led to the next, I flew to Nairobi, did a demo for the game rangers, and we sold a few hun­dred ri­fles to the Kenyan Wildlife Ser­vice. That’s what re­ally got me in­ter­ested in this. When I was there, they ba­si­cally had one game ranger and two un­armed rangers who would fol­low this guy with the ri­fle around be­cause there weren’t enough to go around. If he got shot, they’d just pick up his ri­fle, which was crazy. We got these ri­fles to them, and we started sup­ply­ing lo­gis­tics and sup­port to my friends in the South African po­lice who be­came game rangers.

I’d al­ways known about it when I was there, but on my trips back I met with some peo­ple and re­al­ized, holy sh*t, this is a big, big prob­lem. It’s way worse than I could’ve imag­ined, and the poach­ing had just spun out of con­trol out of nowhere. When friends of yours who you grew up with tell you that they’re los­ing this war, then you take no­tice. I talked to Dave at DS Arms, and asked if we could spon­sor some kind of equip­ment these guys needed like cloth­ing, uni­forms, hol­sters, slings, binoc­u­lars, and also train­ing. There’s all these ITAR reg­u­la­tions you have to be care­ful of so it doesn’t seem like you’re sup­ply­ing some army, so we de­cided to make a YouTube video on the poach­ing epi­demic.

We reached out to Rick Dob­son, who had gone with us to record a show in Peru and the con­cept was to pay for it our­selves, wing it, and we came up with the idea of do­ing a docu-se­ries. The con­cept was that we went down and showed how things re­ally were. I had the chance to go on pa­trol, in­ter­view a lot of peo­ple, and get a re­ally good grasp of the prob­lem. The peo­ple who saw the show loved it. It’s only been on the Sports­man’s Chan­nel so far, and the idea was to try and get the mes­sage out about what’s go­ing on and maybe get vol­un­teers. We went to five or six dif­fer­ent game re­serves, and they showed us some re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the rhino and got an idea how big the prob­lem is.

It’s lit­er­ally on the na­tional con­scious­ness there, and it’s ev­ery­where you turn. We self-funded it, went down on our own ex­pense, do­nated train­ing to the rangers, and got them some gear. We did some things to high­light the prob­lems lo­gis­ti­cally, and at the same time say, ‘Hey don’t just give money,’ be­cause there’s a lot of cor­rup­tion go­ing on. We couldn’t just give money to the gov­ern­ment. It’s a hard cause to raise aware­ness for, be­cause there’s so many other causes flood­ing the so­cial me­dia feed.

We showed what it’s like be­ing a game ranger, tracked with them, in­ter­viewed them, and showed what sur­viv­ing in the bush is all about. What do you do at night? What do you avoid? What types of snakes do you have to watch out for? What do you do if you’re charged by a hippo? Ba­si­cally it was just, let’s do some­thing. It’s also about show­ing how guns can be used for some­thing good and show the pos­i­tive im­pact of what a com­pany with a so­cial con­science can do.

What’s the ap­peal of the rhino horn all about?

DL: The tragedy of this is that it’s noth­ing; it’s just ker­atin like your fin­ger­nails. It’s not like gold or some­thing that can be used in in­dus­try, there’s noth­ing it can be used for. Its med­i­cal power is all a per­pet­u­ated myth. Try­ing to ed­u­cate peo­ple about this myth is tough. It’s got­ten so big, and there’s so much money in­volved now. One rhino horn could be worth a mil­lion dol­lars.

Peo­ple risk their lives for it. We keep sell­ing ri­fles to the anti-poach­ing units be­cause they get in­volved in shoot­ings on ba­si­cally a monthly ba­sis, those weapons get taken for ev­i­dence, and that case could take two to three years to wrap up, so in the mean­time they have to re­place those guns on the street. So it’s weird that there’s this crazy war go­ing on over the rhino, which has no value what­so­ever other than what’s been made up by man.

We were try­ing to fo­cus on how ridicu­lous this whole thing is, but now it’s worse than ever. These are pri­vate game re­serves, one of which we’d go to as kids, where rhi­nos were poached in broad day­light. The poach­ing that goes on is that they’re ba­si­cally sneak­ing in, dart­ing these an­i­mals with tran­quil­iz­ers, and hack­ing off their horns while they’re still alive. It’s very elab­o­rate crime syn­di­cates that are do­ing this. They’re lit­er­ally poach­ing them in zoos now, so it’s com­pletely out of con­trol.

The de­mand mostly comes from the Far East. You’d have thought that myth would’ve dis­si­pated with Viagra, but then there are other myths about it be­ing a cure for can­cer. Viet­nam is one of the big­gest pur­chasers of rhino

horns, be­cause it’s a sta­tus sym­bol. It’s evolved from aphro­disiac to can­cer cure to where it’s seen as some­thing the rich­est of the rich have. There’s pri­vate fund­ing for ed­u­ca­tion that bring out a lot of chil­dren from Viet­nam, Laos, and places like that have them stay on the game re­serve for a week and try and teach them that these ru­mors just aren’t the case and rhino horn has no mys­ti­cal power.

What do the lo­cal pop­u­la­tions and gov­ern­ment do to com­bat poach­ing?

DL: Most of the anti-poach­ing in the gov­ern­ment game re­serves is funded by the gov­ern­ment; how­ever, there are lev­els of cor­rup­tion that run pretty deep, es­pe­cially in South Africa. It’s al­ways been known that there are gov­ern­ment of fi­cials in­volved in this, be­cause there’s so much money at stake. South Africa has the largest rhino pop­u­la­tion left in Africa, so there’s been po­lice in­volved, gov­ern­ment of fi­cials, etc. You think about some­one poach­ing one rhino, and they could be­come a mil­lion­aire. It’s the most valu­able sub­stance on the planet to­day. Per weight it’s more valu­able than gold and di­a­monds.

Be­cause of the mas­sive amount of money in­volved, Mus­lim ter­ror­ist groups have also been in­volved in rhino poach­ing. In Kenya, you’ve got the So­ma­lians just across the bor­der, and they would go in with mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties funded by Al-Qaeda, poach the rhino, and send it to Ye­men. The Yeme­nese also use the rhino horn for cer­e­mo­nial dag­gers for the very wealthy when their sons would have their com­ing-of-age party. That pipe­line was ba­si­cally fund­ing a lot of ter­ror­ism. That’s ba­si­cally sym­bolic, and again not some­thing that was used for any­thing other than its myth­i­cal power.

What hap­pens to a poacher who is cap­tured?

DL: It de­pends on where you’re talk­ing about. In Botswana they’re pretty much shot on sight. That’s why Botswa-

doesn’t have much of a prob­lem, al­though they do ex­pe­ri­ence some is­sues. In Kenya, it may also in­volve some sort of lethal force. Some of the rangers have been killed, and they have a court sys­tem. Not sure what their penalty is though.

In South Africa, the rules of en­gage­ment are pretty much if the poach­ers are armed it turns into a lethal con­fronta­tion. It also de­pends on if you’re on a pri­vate game re­serve or not. If it’s the gov­ern­ment that’s do­ing it, then they would make the ar­rest and charge them through the court sys­tem. Penal­ties are pretty se­vere. I know there’s eas­ily a 10 -year sen­tence for be­ing caught with rhino horn, but the prob­lem is just catch­ing the low-level play­ers, mean­ing the poach­ers them­selves. You’re not catch­ing any­one in the syn­di­cates and the next level up.

How big and well-fi­nanced are these poach­ers?

DL: Very. I can’t ver­ify this, but we know that they have state-of-the-art equip­ment, cell phone jam­mers, mil­i­tary­grade night vi­sion, and are funded at the high­est lev­els. They use big-game hunt­ing ri­fles and very high-sched­ule drugs for the dart­ing of these rhi­nos. They’re not shoot­ing them with a ri­fle with night vi­sion and a si­lencer; they’re hunt­ing them with a dart gun and a highly re­stricted drug, which can only be sourced through back­door channels in the ve­teri­nary cir­cles. So there’s even cor­rup­tion among vet­eri­nar­i­ans. What ef­fects do you think the dis­ap­pear­ance of rhi­nos would have on the global ecosys­tem?

DL: Ecosys­tems might not col­lapse, but what’s next? The ele­phant for its ivory, then the lions for more mythol­ogy

that their bones cure can­cer, so where does it end? It doesn’t. I’m an avid hunter. I have no is­sue with hunt­ing, but I don’t see the need to shoot an an­i­mal that you can’t eat or do any­thing with, so I’d be morally op­posed to peo­ple hunt­ing it for noth­ing. But if you see what peo­ple pay for hunt­ing, it might be the only op­tion to pay for some con­ser­va­tion. Ap­par­ently, so­cial me­dia isn’t gen­er­at­ing any money for the con­ser­va­tion ef­fort. The only peo­ple pay­ing to come to Africa to do any­thing are hun­ters.

So you can le­gally hunt rhino over there?

DL: Yes, but it’s very ex­pen­sive. It’d prob­a­bly cost you over a mil­lion dol­lars. That would be a per­mit is­sued by the gov­ern­ment that’d only be for an older rhino that couldn’t breed. Again, I think prob­a­bly not too many peo­ple would sign up to shoot a rhino un­der the cur­rent cli­mate, but I don’t know of any other way to raise money. What can the av­er­age ci­ti­zen do to sup­port an­tipoach­ing units?

DL: I wouldn’t rec­om­mend do­nat­ing money be­cause you don’t know where it’s go­ing. I think the best thing you can do is ed­u­cate oth­ers and shame them about pos­sess­ing the stuf f. Tell the truth that it’s just a sta­tus sym­bol and doesn’t have any medic­i­nal pur­poses. There’s causes like Sav­ing Pri­vate Rhino and Rave Rhino that will take vol­un­teers who come out and put them in the field.

It may be dif­fi­cult to arm them, but we lit­er­ally have vol­un­teers fol­low­ing around the rhi­nos 24/7 in the game re­serves. Maybe if peo­ple came out and did that they could come back and tell their story. A lot of these places will ac­cept do­nated equip­ment as well. If some­one wanted to get in­volved, get on a plane, and go down there. That’s the con­vic­tion it prob­a­bly takes.

So what does it take to sur­vive in the bush down there if some­one wanted to go do that?

DL: This is where it gets in­ter­est­ing. When it comes to work­ing around rhino, you have to be care­ful where you’re at in re­la­tion to the rhino. Their eye­sight is bad, but their hear­ing and sense of smell is re­ally good. If a rhino charges you, it’s an an­gry 2,000-pound an­i­mal that can over­turn a ve­hi­cle. You also have to be very care­ful of snakes. At least 70 per­cent of them are poi­sonous. You need to be able to iden­tify what kind it is since some carry neu­ro­tox­ins, oth­ers carry cy­to­tox­ins, and so forth.

The other thing is, at night, the most dan­ger­ous thing in the bush is the hippo. They’ve ac­tu­ally killed more

peo­ple in Africa than any other an­i­mal. Gen­er­ally your rhino and hippo con­gre­gate around the wa­ter holes, so they’re very large an­i­mals that can run very fast. Same thing with buf­falo. There are also an­i­mals like lions in those game re­serves, so you could eas­ily end up be­ing stalked by a lion. Ev­ery­thing wants to kill you down there [ laughs].

The game ranger has to have good bushcraft and be able to stay out there overnight. He’s got to know his cam­ou­flage, he has to know the wind, keep an eye out for lights com­ing. The av­er­age game ranger al­most has to have gun-han­dling skills above the av­er­age sol­dier or po­lice of­fi­cer, and com­bine that with all the field­craft. He has to know where the an­i­mals tend to lay down. It’s a litany of 101 things com­bined. It’s like a sol­dier com­bined with a po­lice of­fi­cer com­bined with some­one who does coun­terin­sur­gency track­ing. Plus, you have to have pa­tience, sit­ting in one place for five or six hours with­out mov­ing and look­ing over a vast ter­rain. If the rhino move, you have to be able to shadow them with­out spook­ing them and not fall afoul of the other wildlife. Not ev­ery­one’s cut out for it.

You have to be able to carry enough wa­ter with you.

You can’t drink out of the wa­ter­ing holes like they do in the movies. You also have to know where to shade your­self. In­sect re­pel­lent is huge. Some of these ar­eas there are malar­ial. Rangers are gen­er­ally equipped with a .308-cal­iber-or-above ri­fle and a knife. You’d also need a tourni­quet, first-aid kit, and snake anti-venom. If you’re dart­ing an­i­mals you’d need an an­ti­dote for the opi­oid in case you prick your­self with the dart. It can get com­pli­cated.

If you’re not run­ning white light if you’re out at night, you’d need some sort of night vi­sion. Al­ways carry ex­tra rope with you for dart­ing a rhino. You’d use this for sneak­ing up be­hind them and slip­ping that rope over the back of their leg. That’s what will fi­nally trip them, oth­er­wise they walk around like zom­bies for­ever. They don’t drop that eas­ily, and you want to be able to dic­tate where they fall be­cause you don’t want them to aim­lessly wan­der into a gully or fall into a river.

Has your life ever been in dan­ger while work­ing in Africa?

DL: Sure, when I was in the coun­try for the African air de­fense in Pre­to­ria. Af­ter din­ner, not far from the ho­tel, I went to a lo­cal bar with the guys. As we were walk­ing out I was struck with a me­tal bar above my left eye and grabbed by a num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als who con­tin­ued to hit me in the head with the ob­ject. Hands went in my pock­ets, and they grabbed my phone.

I had a Cold Steel Tanto Voy­ager in my right pocket, but strug­gled to get it out and open as I was be­ing held by guys be­hind me. I be­lieve they were search­ing for my pis­tol. I even­tu­ally got it open and cut my thumb in the process, I was still be­ing held, and I man­aged to get the blade into the crook of the arm of the guy hold­ing me from be­hind and pushed in hard and out, slash­ing his ten­dons. At that point he screamed they all let go and ran away.

I re­ceived 18 stitches and the blood washed out my left con­tact lens. I lost a lot of blood and had two black eyes and se­vere ver­tigo for a few months. Next day, we found a mas­sive blood trail and wit­nesses stated about six street peo­ple had at­tacked us. I got lucky, should never have hap­pened as I shouldn’t have been ar­ro­gant enough to walk the streets that late and af­ter a bar. Should never have sep­a­rated from my group.

What do you think the rhino pop­u­la­tions will look like in 30 years with­out in­ter­ven­tion?

DL: I don’t think they’ll make it that long. I think we’ve got five at best if the cur­rent poach­ing rate con­tin­ues.

Daniel seen here in rooftop train­ing ex­er­cise with fel­low Chicago PD.

Daniel teach­inga con­cealed carry course.

Top: In­ter­view­ing a vet­eri­nar­ian at the Tala GameRe­serve.

Above: At Aquila Game Re­serve in Cape Town, South Africa.

Learn­ing track­ing tech­niques with lo­cal game ranger.

Train­ing a game ranger at Aquila Game Re­serve.

Top: Rest­ing af­ter a pa­trol at Aquila Game Re­serve. Right: White rhino at Tala Game Re­serve.

Above: AtTala Game Re­serve with rhino re­ceiv­ing ve­teri­nary treat­ment for a wound.

Daniel’s EDC Glock 23Cuda Bob Terzuola CQB2

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