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Craig Sawyer – Cutting through the marrow of Dark Trades’ bones

Way back in 1867, British Philosopher John Stuart Mill dropped 50 tons of truth by suggesting, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” 

For Craig “Sawman” Sawyer doing nothing was never an option. Early in life he enlisted in the U.S. Marines with aspirations of joining the ranks of his Force Recon brethren. While this particular avenue did not open, another did. Sawyer shifted gears into the Marine Corps’ mothership, the U.S. Navy in 1986 for one reason only, BUDS training. He committed himself to becoming a Navy SEAL graduating in BUDS Class 149 in 1988.

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From Tactical Insider to combatting child sex trafficking, Sawman and company stay on the move.

As a SEAL, Sawyer climbed quickly and found himself shoulder to shoulder with his extreme-elite DEVGRU brothers (SEAL Team SIX). Unfortunately for us, his SEAL Team SIX missions remain classified, but I did get to ask about his proudest military accomplishment.

“Serving on SEAL Team Six (they were called Jedi) and earning the respect of my teammates at that Tier-1 level where every man is an overachiever and has to outperform all the other SEALs is my proudest military accomplishment. Just to become a SEAL was an honor. All I ever wanted to do was make my contribution to the fight. Then, to operate with the best on earth and share them as my friends and teammates was just something I’ll never forget. Some of those guys are my closest friends to this day.”

While he certainly lived and breathed his fair share of hard-hitting, high-speed, low-drag, high-value combat missions, he still felt as though he could make more of a positive impact on our world by combatting evil in other ways. Sawyer was discharged in 1999 and became one of just 33 pre-9/11 air marshals flying our occasionally not-so-friendly skies. After rising to the government employee rank of GS-14, he became a contractor in combat zones providing protection for dignitaries… but again, he wanted to make a greater, more positive difference in the lives of Americans at home.

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Sawman left the SEALS hopinh to make more of a difference at home – one trafficker down, 70 more children protected.

With his make-the-world-a-better-place gut-check in full tilt, he has since dedicated his life, with no less conviction, to equipping vulnerable citizens and fighting for the lives of our nation’s children. The results are Tactical Insider and Vets for Child Rescue.

Tactical Insider

“Tactical Insider is a company I founded to offer tactical training and consulting, as well as technical advice for the film industry, training actors for their tactical action roles. I also train law enforcement, military troops, and civilians on a wide range of tactical and security skillsets and serve as an expert witness on capital murder cases.”
With respect to civilians, preservation of life is the foundation of Tactical Insider training. Tactical training principled in one’s right to breathe encompasses a survivor skill set inclusive of situational awareness, defensive tactics, and ending threats—in a nutshell, cornerstones of Sawyer’s operational life—issues that hit closer to home for him than most people realize. I found out just how important his Tactical Insider work really is when I asked him about struggling and shaping his future:

KR: What event would you call an impactful struggle you overcame? How did you overcome it? How did that shape your character and action for the future? 

CSS: I’ve been through triumph and tragedy of many types in my life’s long, adventurous journey. But the most impactful struggle was probably the armed abduction and rape of our daughter, just after her 18th birthday. Hearing her scream through the phone after she escaped was a sound I wouldn’t wish on anyone. These are things that just aren’t supposed to happen. Law enforcement asked me to give them 72 hours to find the predator. Waiting during that time was admittedly difficult because I’m wired for action, to achieve positive outcomes in bad situations, no matter the adversity. Our daughter’s attacker was ultimately sentenced to 68 years in prison for what he did to our baby girl. Holding myself back was a supreme challenge. I think I proved beyond any doubt that while I’m one of the most skilled men on earth at deadly violence, I’m also one of the most peaceful. My heart is to make peace, until a predator just won’t give peace a chance.

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A man on a mission… “We’ve got to protect these kids.”

As an elite warfighter, he’s also humble and kind, a loving father, and a life-of-service Christian. The combination makes him a good friend to many, enemy to some, invaluable instructor to all, and the perfect voice of advice on how to improve personal security:

  • Learn to deliberately scan with your eyes, left and right, every time you enter any new space and regularly, within practical reason, while stationary for enhanced situational awareness.
  • An arterial bleed can kill you in 60 seconds. Learning to use a simple tourniquet and keeping them on hand wherever you may be injured can be an easy way to save a life, including your own.
  • Ask yourself why those loitering around your home are there and why they are doing what they’re doing. Productive people don’t just hang out wasting time. If you’re asking yourself if their presence and activity makes sense, you will be ahead of the game.
  • Take a high-speed driving course where vehicle dynamics are covered. Understanding how to recover and maintain control of your vehicle will likely save your life even more than a firearm, which I also recommend.
  • Light your yard up at night and turn your blinds downward toward the outside to make it more difficult for predators outside to see into your home at night. This gives you the visual advantage. Remote cameras, sensors, fencing, trimmed bushes, security signs, bars on the windows, deadbolt locks and a smart dog can increase your home’s security.

Vets for Child Rescue

Military service and Tactical Insider aside, Craig has also dedicated his life to the front-line fight against child sex-trafficking where, with three years of gritty work under the Sawman’s own Vets for Child Rescue 501(c)(3) non-profit organization where he and his team, running joint operations with federal and local law enforcement, netted 23 arrests with 100-percent conviction rate. Several years ago, Sawyer allowed a documentary film crew to follow his Vets for Child Rescue team as they pursued child sex traffickers. The result is the gritty documentary film Contraland that aims to bring attention to the insidious child sex trafficking industry in America. Contraland is now available for free viewing at ContralandTheMovie.com.

Sadly, Sawyer reports that child sex-trafficking is “a $38- to $50-billion-dollar-per-year trade and, on average, each monster in the organization is responsible for ruining the lives of 70 minors. “As a warfighter, patriot, veteran, and father, I can’t stand idly by and let the people I love, and the people I fought to defend, be hunted and preyed upon. I’m trying to create a non-permissive environment for that kind of abuse and am wholly devoted to maintaining a hostile environment for the traffickers so that our children can be protected.”

Learn more about Vets for Child Rescue at Vets4ChildRescue.org.

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