Less Lethal = Less Survivable

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The Michael Brown shooting has, once again, provoked rampant and uninformed speculation about “less than lethal” alternatives to stopping attackers. “Why didn’t the officer use a Taser?” “Why didn’t they shoot him with beanbags or rubber bullets?” Some have even suggested that chemical sprays of various kinds are a viable alternative to deadly force. I’ve recently covered the fallacy of “shooting to wound.” It may be useful to expose the fallacy of these other “options” . . .

All police officers know the decisions they are forced to make in seconds will be minutely parsed over months by people debating their actions from comfortable chairs in climate-controlled environs. They know too that the media, advocates for criminals, and anti-gun crusaders will demonize them regardless of the law and the facts.

Anyone carrying a concealed weapon or forced to use deadly force to save their lives or the lives of others should understand they’ll be scrutinized no less, and no more fairly, than any police officer.

To better understand the issues of the Brown case and of the use of force in general, consider this publication about the law enforcement use-of-force continuum from the National Institute of Justice.  Keep in mind that the exact wording of this example is not universally used by police agencies, but it generally represents police thinking and practice.

“Officer Presence — No force is used. Considered the bestway to resolve a situation.

The mere presence of a law enforcement officer works to deter crime or diffuse a situation.

Officers’ attitudes are professional and nonthreatening.

Verbalization — Force is not-physical.

Officers issue calm, nonthreatening commands, such as “Let me see your identification and registration.”

Officers may increase their volume and shorten commands in an attempt to gain compliance. Short commands might include “Stop,” or “Don’t move.”

Empty-Hand Control — Officers use bodily force to gain control of a situation.

Soft technique. Officers use grabs, holds and joint locks to restrain an individual.

Hard technique. Officers use punches and kicks to restrain an individual.

Less-Lethal Methods — Officers use less-lethal technologies to gain control of a situation.

Blunt impact. Officers may use a baton or projectile to immobilize a combative person.

Officers may use chemical sprays or projectiles embedded with chemicals to restrain an individual (e.g., pepper spray).

Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs). Officers may use CEDs to immobilize an individual. CEDs discharge a high-voltage, low-amperage jolt of electricity at a distance.

Lethal Force — Officers use lethal weapons to gain control of a situation. Should only be used if a suspect poses a serious threat to the officer or another individual.

Officers use deadly weapons such as firearms to stop an individual’s actions.”

In any situation, an officer may find it necessary to jump from the lowest to the highest rung–or anywhere in between–in an instant. What many critics of police use of force, and of armed citizen’s use of force, don’t understand or choose to ignore is that all of these options are not always available–or rational–and particularly not for armed citizens.

It’s the rare citizen who carries a concealed handgun, as well as a baton, chemical spray and a Taser. Armed citizens are not obligated to wade into situations that might require the subtle application of the use-of-force continuum and the many potential techniques and weapons. A slight woman may well be unable to apply any kind of empty-hand technique against a larger male attacker, and not a few men are similarly at a disadvantage.

Even a police officer, when alone, faced with a drug-affected, 300 pound, 6’4” attacker that opens the altercation with stunning and damaging blows to the officer’s face, may find their options escalating to the top of the continuum in seconds. The best available information suggests that was the case for Officer Darren Wilson.

Another vital factor is what I’ve come to call the SPOIT rule. The “Sober Police Officer In Training” rule. The SPOIT rule states that any striking or restraining technique, or the application of virtually any less lethal device will tend to work splendidly on sober police officers undergoing training in clean, dry, well-lit gymnasiums or dojos.

However, the same techniques or technologies are highly likely to unexpectedly and spectacularly fail in the real world when applied against people that are drunk, drugged, enraged, desperate to escape, don’t care how much pain they have to take, or are just so mean, stupid or stubborn they’ll endure just about anything to get to whomever they’ve decided they want to hurt.

The same rule applies to armed citizens facing the same kinds of threats.

Here, briefly, is why “less lethal” means were probably unavailable to Officer Darren Wilson, why they would probably have been ineffective, and why they are so often unavailable and/or ineffective to the armed citizen.

Beanbags or Rubber Bullets: Rubber bullets are essentially 12 gauge slugs made of various densities of rubber or polymer. They are designed to be fired by a 12-gauge shotgun.

Rubber bullets have significant problems in police use. They are commonly used only for crowd control, but even so, the optics of police firing shotguns directly at crowds are terrible. Precise targeting is absolutely vital to avoid seriously wounding or killing people, but such projectiles have limited range and mediocre accuracy at best.

Beanbag rounds are small fabric bags filled with a medium that will hopefully transfer impact force to the body without excessive damage. They are also commonly fired from a 12-gauge shotgun.

Beanbag rounds have even greater range and accuracy limitations than rubber bullets. As the range increases, any effect on the target greatly decreases, but shooting too closely can actually kill people. However, neither type of projectile is a reliable man-stopper.

No police officer can afford to have a shotgun loaded with “less-lethal” ammunition. When engaged in a hot situation, there is no time to unload the live ammunition to make a switch with “less-lethal” rounds. Smart police officers employ these munitions with the backup of other officers armed with firearms in case the less-lethal methods fail and things escalate.

Perhaps the best example of the lack of effectiveness of such things is a 1997 standoff between Seattle Police and a man armed with a Katana. The standoff lasted ten hours, and the man was hit multiple times by less-lethal rounds, many of which appeared to hurt him, but never did they disarm him or force him to surrender. He was finally stopped by police overwhelming him with fire hoses and pinning him with an extension ladder and poles. At all times, he was covered by officers with firearms.

Obviously, these options aren’t available to the armed citizen.

Chemical Sprays: Pepper sprays, even the stronger varieties available to the police, are iffy performers. They tend to work well under SPOIT conditions, but otherwise, not so much. Police officers know that all too often they leave everyone–officer and bad guy alike–eye-watering, sniffling and sneezing, but otherwise still in the fight. They are seriously range limited, their stream may be diverted by nothing fancier than a hand–I’ve seen just that–and some people are virtually immune to the effects.

These sprays are often marketed as an effective alternative to firearms. Anyone buying that spin is actually betting lives, including theirs, on the manufacturer’s good intentions. Imagine how well pepper spray would have worked on an enraged, charging Michael Brown, desperate to escape after committing a strong-armed robbery. Imagine how well it would work on a rapist determined to have his way.

TASERs: TASERs certainly have their applications, but as with beanbags, officers tend to employ Tasers in situations where backup officers with firearms are available in case the Taser doesn’t work. Tasers impart a high-voltage, low-amperage electric shock by means of two barbs connected to wires. A charge fires the barbs, and unless both barbs embed solidly in the skin, there will be no charge imparted.

TASERs are seriously range-limited, and are best fired only at close, stationary targets with exposed skin or only light clothing. Thick clothing can easily defeat taser barbs. TASERs also have an unenviable record of killing people. A Google search will reveal many cases of Tasers having little or no effect. Even in SPOIT conditions, some police officers are minimally affected.

A charging, drug-affected 6’4” 300 pound attacker would present a poor target for a TASER, and a miss, a lack of complete barb penetration or conduction, or a lack of immediate effect, would leave an officer with insufficient time to employ their firearm in a way that could possibly stop the attacker before they could get their hands on the officer.

Even if an armed citizen were carrying a TASER, it’s unlikely they’d be carrying it where it could be immediately employed in the face of an aggressive charge, and if a TASER were their only weapon, and it failed, the results would be tragic when the attacker processed the failed taser attempt.

“Less-than-lethal” weapons have their place, but that place is limited in many ways. If the probable circumstances in the Michael Brown case are proved true, Officer Wilson, having been attacked and injured by Brown was, from that moment, trying to arrest a man that just committed a violent felony by attacking a police officer, even if Wilson was unaware of Brown’s robbery. The moment Brown charged Wilson, any obligation to use less-lethal force vanished and Wilson had no choice.

The same would be true for any similarly-attacked citizen.

comments

  1. avatar brentondadams says:

    I knew the sword wielding attacker in Seattle. I mean like you ‘know’ the various bums that hang around. I called him ‘old two shoes’ cause he had one basketball shoe and like a mens dress loafer on all the time. I used to ride the bus up pine street and Id see him taking running karate kicks at the light poles down by Westlake. Trying to spar with the pigeons. Very entertaining. Seattle was a different town back then.

    Maybe cops can all become karate masters, then they wouldn’t need guns….

    1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Or maybe a long time raving lunatic like that should have been confronted and addressed long before he turned violent, so that nobody had to make any decisions about how much force to apply and who is acceptable to kill?

      1. avatar brentondadams says:

        Maybe equip all police cars with fire hoses? Stop or we’ll get you really wet! I went through LE training in the military after 9/11 and I remember fire hoses were a first line defense for defending property from demonstrators or mobs. After that I think it was warning shots, then sniping agitators. All in the context of defending sensitive military equipment, a big patrol boat in this case, not being out on the street during a protest of course. We didn’t learn to much karate.

        1. avatar GenghisQuan says:

          Uh, given the racial dynamics involved, I don’t think fire hoses would go over particularly well. In fact, the only thing that would be worse is if you had German Shepherds being sicced as well.

          Now, confetti cannons and Shih Tzus on the other hand…

        2. avatar Yellow Devil says:

          Yeah as Genghis said, the racial dynamics of using a firehose is too much in this country. However, not so much in Europe and Asia. Also, even in such “enlightened” countries in Europe, the police have no problems beating the crap out of you, even if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. I knew a black soldier who was on leave in France one time, and he was in the vicinity of some angry protest/borderline riot with a heavy police response. He said the officers didn’t even blink or hesitate when he started beating on him, even broke a bone in his arm. He thought about filing a complaint, but was told the Paris (?) police wasn’t going to care.

      2. avatar Joseph says:

        My question is who get’s to decide weather or not someone is going to become violent? I mean without taking away that persons rights on the hunch or fear that one day that person may become violent or protect himself from an attack… “Slippery” slop do not even convey the smallest scratch that line of action is and how it will effect everyone in that society…

        1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          Those questions are already asked and there’s already a system in place for making those determinations.

          Nobody’s suggesting peering into a crystal ball to foretell the distant, hazy future. I’m talking about addressing people who already demonstrate very public breaks with reality right now. Such people are inherently dangerous, even if they have not yet injured themselves or someone else.

          But hey, keep your head in the sand and continue doing nothing about these obvious crazies among us. It’s just a matter of time before one picks up a gun and blows someone away. Then come the gungrabbers trying to take your and MY self-defense firearms, while people like you cry “blame the person, not the gun!”, yet who did nothing when we had the chance to deal with the crazy person before the gun even entered the picture.

        2. avatar Misnomer says:

          “I’m talking about addressing people who already demonstrate very public breaks with reality right now. ”

          Like Shannon Watts? I could get behind that.

        3. avatar The Other Luke says:

          Do you own a firearm? Yes
          Is it for defense? Yes
          Do you know anyone in your personal life who has been attacked or needed a firearm for defense? No
          Are you aware that gun violence is on the decline in America? Yes

          In that case, you are “demonstrating a very public break from reality right now” and we need to lock you up and take away your rights.

          This is what a slippery slope looks like.

        4. avatar Jus Bill says:

          EXACTLY! Depending on the vehemence of the answers, they could indicate paranoia. Or not. I’m not licensed to say either way, but others are and can.

  2. avatar Gregolas says:

    Well said, Michael. Thank you.

  3. avatar Jake says:

    It is my understanding that becoming unconscious = loss of weapon = death for a police officer. So they treat the threat of becoming unconscious as the threat of death.

    1. avatar GoodGuyWithAGun says:

      as should anyone..that’s why zimmerman pulled the trigger

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Correct. About 10% of police officers killed are killed by their own duty weapon under conditions like that.

  4. avatar john seagus says:

    I’m all for shooting someone that won’t stop an attack.
    I’m always concerned about what is perceived as an attack though.

    I’ve seen videos where the person was on the ground and the police were still beating him with batons and kicking him. LOL Then the guy moves his arm to keep from getting hit in the head again, which is a normal reaction but the officer perceives it as a threat and resisting arrest and his life is in danger. LOL

    It’s funny to watch because all humans are guilty something and deserve it, in my opinion (black and white and red and yellow and other colors alike) , so if they die, no big deal. It’s like the bible commanding that the stoning of people to death for fornication and adultery. They probably committed that sin anyway, so let the policeman kill him. They should just be honorable and take it. The policemen are protected by God and anointed by God. Anyone that shoots them will go straight to hell. God put them there to have authority over our life and death. If God puts a racist cop over you, then you deserve to have him. If he calls you an animal, then you are one. Face it. Get a grip and accept your lot in life and quit whining about it.

    It’s hilarious to watch. And we all have guns on this site. If a policeman came and tried to do that to us, we would just be killed too. We deserve it though. We have all sinned and the punishment for sin is death. Nothing wrong with that.

    We are all going to die anyway, why not now.

    1. avatar foggy says:

      You go first.

      1. avatar Roscoe says:

        Laugh, agreed.
        Lead by example, John.

        1. avatar Chris75 says:

          Please don’t feed the trolls.

    2. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      But those cops at least know they were going home that night.

  5. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    I always think finding a laboratory experiment is worth the effort to understand a problem….BINGO…take a look at the following. Corrections officers and prison environments. Good guys have full range of devices and techniques available to them. They are always facing bad guys. On a daily basis. Ask how effective this stuff really is. They will tell you a big bad guy is one big problem. Need multiple officers to subdue him. Sprays, tasers, shields, batons can all be used but in the end it may be a multi-minute operation to cuff the guy. And there is no guarantee all will be left un- hurt. So just imagine a single average sized man (cop or civilian) dropped in the middle of street hell. Or a slightly built woman ! The situation will very quickly slide right off the scale.

  6. avatar MikeC says:

    Good article, but it incorrectly uses the term “less-than-lethal” instead of the correct “less-lethal”, even though it notes that rubber bullets and Tasers can kill.

  7. avatar dootdootbeep says:

    So basically what you are saying is cops are always justified in jumping to lethal because they can’t take a beating?

    1. avatar notalima says:

      I am usually the first to jump in on holding LEs to a higher standard. That said, LEs are not in the business of ‘taking a beating’. When a single punch ban be fatal, or cause disabling injuries, this notion of ‘taking it like a man’ is the highest level of macho BS. This is not boxing, dueling, or other “gentleman’s sports”, it is life and death. They are not, and should not, be required to ‘trade punches’ with a perp’s dumb ass. Macho ‘taking a beating’ crap has no place in it.

      Your comment sounds like MAIG’s Mark Glaze who said guns are not needed because “real men” should just fist fight. And that guy with an axe handle just wants to go a round of boxing, really…

      http://gunssavelives.net/blog/director-of-mayors-against-illegal-guns-dont-shoot-someone-attacking-you-with-axe-handle/

      1. avatar Another Robert says:

        Yeah, Mark, you fight off those guys with the axe handles with you bare hands. I’ll hold your coat…

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      If you are beating up a cop OR anyone else smart enough to carry a gun you risk getting shot. Deal.

    3. avatar Misnomer says:

      If you’re attacking someone you know is armed, then you should assume the fire arm is coming out and going to be used. When an officer knows that the perp knows he is armed and is attacking anyway, it “endgame” must be assumed to end with the officer’s death/incapacitation.

    4. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Yeah, they should just pull out a gun and shoot on every occasion. Works with dogs.

  8. avatar Johnnyishootstuff says:

    This might show you why less than leathal might not always work.

    https://youtu.be/5Vr3zoAEbVE

  9. avatar Roscoe says:

    Speaking from experience gives one a perspective that those who have little or no experience in law enforcement are clueless about, and resistant to, even when explained to them. The ‘civilian’ perspective of how cops and other law enforcement ‘professionals’ react to various scenarios is kinda like an anti-gunner who believes in submission to the good will of an attacker – until it actually happens to them and they see how single-mindedly vicious and visceral such a human can be.

    A very well thought out and presented article. You put all my own thoughts into words into a very cogent flow of thought and I appreciate your efforts to enlighten the unenlightened, as limited as such an effort might be. I personally don’t have that much patience.

    Thank you Mile McDaniel. Your efforts are much appreciated, particularly on this often hyper anti- cop forum that usually lacks ‘perspective”.

  10. avatar Shire-man says:

    Less than lethal and cops safely diffusing situations 100% of the time is a fantasy.
    The best way to avoid being killed by the police is to not involve them in the first place.
    I have to laugh at the escalation of force continuum. The mere presence of an officer calms and diffuses a situation? Yeah, right. I’ve never been pulled over or arrested and still the first thing I do when I see a cop is tense up and get defensive. They’re wildcard lunatics.

    Imagine a team of black uniformed crew cut wearing goons pointing guns at you and shouting incoherently over each other then asking you why you ran or resisted. Why would anyone run from a rabid pack of wolves? They’re here to help you.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      You paint with a broad brush. There are no doubt a few too many cops who are drunk on authority and too eager to insert themselves into a situation (overly aggressive) which of course gives rise to fear of all cops by many people, particularly those who know they sometimes skirt the rules which is most of us, particularly when it comes to traffic laws. Add to this stark ‘news at five’ video images of cops reacting, sometimes badly, out of the heat of the moment and the adrenalin rush of an incident only helps promote such fear, even though most members of the general public will never find themselves in a position requiring an aggressive police response.

      I think what most people actually fear is being ‘caught’, usually breaking some minor infraction, and it’s usually a cop who will catch them. Hence the inherent ‘fear’ of cops.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        You paint with a broad brush.

        Possibly, but then see every video of every SWAT raid or training. Or the recent video of the lineup in the street by St. Louis County. Or the video on here not too long ago of the RCMP team boarding the plane due to a suspected “person with a gun?” Can anyone understand what those cops are saying? At all?

        Stand on the other side of the Blue Line for a moment. See how different it is?

        1. avatar John in AK says:

          You do have a point with the incoherent, omnipresent top-of-the-register shouting. I remember telling officers I worked with to STFU! when they all started bellowing commands at once at some suspect, and teaching recruits and officer-safety classes that not only was it best for just one person to be giving commands (such as during felony stops) but that sometimes speaking relatively quietly was more likely to get comprehension and cooperation than mindless bellowing. I also had to explain to them that their shouting was not only making their adversaries more excited and fearful, it was doing the same to them. (It’s the same with sirens; If you want to arrive at a scene calm, cool, and focused, leave the siren OFF!)

          If the cop or cops are doing the mindless bellowing thing, they are probably very much pumped up, and are also probably dangerously fearful and thus not to be trusted. The one ‘in charge’ and in charge of himself/herself, giving loud but modulated, firm, calm commands is the one to depend upon.

          So many young cops seem to get all of their training in critical operations from TV and movies.

    2. avatar Gregolas says:

      “They’re wildcard lunatics.”
      REALLY?!? Cops have millions of encounters with the public each day. How many actually result in an illegal use of force?
      The police force I prosecuted for have an average 150 applicants for each academy. There are only 30 seats to fill. They shave that 150 down by physical, psychological, and all kinds of weeding out until they have the best candidates. Even then, they will only graduate 20-22 who last through the 18 weeks of physical and mental pressure and academic demands. Then those who get to the street are on probation for a year.
      Let’s not go overboard and paint all cops with a broad brush.

      1. avatar Shire-man says:

        Maybe you just can’t see your own reflection?
        Jobs psycopaths flock to: #2 Lawyer, #7 Cop
        http://time.com/32647/which-professions-have-the-most-psychopaths-the-fewest/

        1. avatar Gregolas says:

          Check what you’re citing. “Time” is reviewing a book who’s author says that HIS working definition of psychopathy “tends to make people more successful in the 21st century”.
          Your prejudice does not rise to a factual assertion.
          Chill.

      2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

        Last I checked, Austin, Texas, doesn’t even require a high-school diploma to be a cop. The extensive vetting you describe is only effective if it is supported by the city’s politicians. But local politicians are notorious for having hidden agendas, cronyism, patronage, affirmative-action and “diversity” interests which are in direct competition with the training and psychological testing designed to promote good officers. When the evaluation process is judged by the political class as not conforming to their narrow interests, the process gets changed. With entry requirements set at the lowest common denominator, you can just bet the mid-level managers who run Austin’s police academy are under serious pressure to produce the “diversity outcomes” their elected bosses want. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to guess what happens to officer-instructors who insist on high-standards when their most politically important students have trouble understanding all the big words.

        1. avatar Gregolas says:

          Your points are well-taken. Standards from place to place do differ, and political considerations can lower the efficiency and professionalism of police.
          Yet, my statement still stands: with millions of official interactions between cops and the public each day, the number that result illegal uses of force is so extremely small as to justify most Americans expectations that the encounter will be uneventful.

      3. avatar Indiana Tom says:

        A lot of cops and deputies are hired more for political reasons than capability.

      4. avatar Mark says:

        Um.. just about every “encounter” that “requires” force involves too much force. For around thirty years “Cops” has been on TV, and the public has seen tens of thousands of people arrested by officers in every major city in the US.

        Invariably, ten officers jump on one confused person, administer their little “pain holds” , and shout disparate commands interspersed with “stop resisting”. The “perp” is eventually lifted up, usually bleeding, covered in road-rash & bruises & then they cut to a commercial.

        The fact that you believe *no* encounters are excessive proves how blind you are.

        How many officers are on the “brady” list in your county? If potential jurors knew such a list even existed & how many officers were on it, conviction rates would tumble dramatically & ham-sandwich indictments would as well.

    3. avatar CarlosT says:

      Yes, sometimes the presence of a cop will break up a situation. An altercation may be escalating, but then people see the cop roll up and they decide finishing the dispute isn’t worth the consequences. Step 1 on the continuum did the job.

      1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

        Not always with domestic disputes.

  11. avatar Roll says:

    One of the more moronic ones I’ve heard was: “Why dont the police just shoot the gun out of his hand?”

    This is the stupidity we are dealing with here….

    1. avatar notalima says:

      TV, movies, and a few real-life video examples go a long way here toward making the masses believe superhero fantasy is possible.

      And suppressors go ‘pffft’. 😉

  12. avatar former water walker says:

    Preaching to the choir. We understand pepper spray won’t stop a 300pound charging (gentle giant 🙂 ) I think there are few cops who deliberately murder THESE DAYS. I do understand why a lot of black folks don’t trust the POlice.

  13. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Thank you Mr. McDaniel for a nice article.

    Basically, the sensible time to use less lethal force is when the situation is fairly static and you have another person backing you up with lethal force.

  14. avatar Michael B. says:

    The level of restraint and ingenuity showed by the cops in 1997 Seattle is impressive. I don’t think we’d see that today. They could’ve shot Mr. Samurai Sword and gotten away with it when he looked like he was going to lunge at them but they didn’t. Hell, I probably would’ve shot him.

    Nevertheless, the Brown incident points out two things to me:

    1. If we expect officers to go hand to hand with giants like Brown then PDs need to start hiring more big guys.

    2. Having a partner in the car with Wilson would’ve probably led to Brown not trying to beat Wilson senseless to begin with. And if he did attack him, backup would instantly be there to counterattack Brown.

    I know those are old school ideas but if people are actually concerned about police shooting unarmed people then this would be one way to deal with it. Of course, it’ll cost the public more. Just depends on what they’re willing to pay to keep the innocent babychild angels like Brown alive.

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Police have radios.

  15. avatar Layne says:

    In the St. Louis shooting where the videographer shouts over and over “they coulda tazed that man!” you’ll see they started shooting at about 15ft, which seems excessive if you’ve never heard the 21ft rule or given it any thought, but basically lands on one officer’s shoes. His back is against the squad car, so if he had deployed a failed tazer defense, he could have easily been stabbed.

    1. avatar H says:

      The video show the man walking towards them hands at his sides. The official police account says he held the knife overhead. The police were in danger when he got so close. Why the lie, though?

      1. avatar Layne says:

        Not sure… but a stab can come from either direction, so I can’t see any benefit to lying about that. You can’t really see a knife in the video, but even a bystander says “drop the knife, man” so there must have been one.

  16. avatar Michael B. says:

    Speaking of cops, a guy playing a videogame was SWATted recently and it was caught on tape.

  17. avatar pod says:

    This is a case where the Hollywood trope is true. Some people aren’t affected or deterred by TASERs, chemical sprays, batons, beanbags, and H2H fighting. They might be drugged or just plain “really pissed off”. The body has a funny way of ignoring debilitating injuries in certain situations.

    Not to say less-than-lethal techniques don’t have their place, but often, they don’t. And, like Mike pointed out, usually when those techniques are employed, the officer has backup that has their lethal weapons ready.

    Now, as a citizen and not an LEO, we don’t have the option of “backup” available. If I’m subject to a home invasion, I don’t have backup. My S/O isn’t trained up (yet) so it’s up to me. I’m going with the only option I know will end the situation, and that’s a gun. I’d rather live and fight it out in court, than use a glorified paella seasoning and end up as a victim.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Actually, you DO have backup. The police. But they’ll be there in a few minutes…

      1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

        half an hour.

  18. avatar N8thecowboy says:

    This was a good read. I’m always amazed at the LEO hate on these pages. I was that way many years ago. Now I’m somewhere in the middle. Yeah there’s some bad ones, but there’s some good ones too. Kind of like, you know, the rest of us.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      What you’re reading is not LEO hate so much as it is hatred for a system that makes bad cops unaccountable for their actions, that creates a “blue wall” of silence and that exonerates cops when they are in the wrong by claiming the the officer “followed department procedure.”

      And then we get the video and find out that we’ve been lied to. Who wouldn’t hate that?

      1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

        +1000

  19. avatar bontai Joe says:

    Can’t we all just learn the Vulcan nerve pinch? (LOL)

    1. avatar Gyufygy says:

      Set phasers to stun.

  20. avatar VB says:

    Never fails. Someone always mentions haircuts!!!

  21. avatar Bill says:

    This is pretty much a bullshit argument. This was not a private citizen defending himself. This was a civilian police officer shooting an unarmed suspect six times. Neither a taser nor pepper spray was used, so we cannot argue that those weapons would not have been effective. If cops can’t handle a situation themselves, and if there is no immediate threat to others, then they should call backup. There was no immediate threat until the cop confronted Brown.

    1. avatar John in AK says:

      By your logic, no police officer would ever get hurt, or have to use force, or shoot someone, if only they didn’t confront people. Ever. Wouldn’t THAT work out well!

      To further exercise your logic, if police officers never did anything without backup, always anticipating that something is going to go terribly wrong when they are alone, or if the magical influence of a second officer was present at all times, nothing WOULD ever go wrong.

      To continue, by your logic, an officer should always be able to predict the future, to know when a suspect is going to do something awful; Further, the officer must only act when there is a threat to OTHERS, and not to himself alone. He must, apparently, either stand there and take it, or run away, or come up with some miraculous superpower that no one else possesses because HE is a police officer.

      I can see a few flaws, there.

      The final bit of logic you use is that the officer shot the unarmed suspect six times, which is either wrong because he was unarmed or wrong because of the number of shots. If the unarmed suspect had already fractured the officer’s eye socket, unarmed, and was coming back to see what else he could do, unarmed, and was fully capable at his size and strength to literally beat the officer to death, is there something wrong with shooting him to stop said beating? Or to prevent him continuing to beat the officer, take his gun, and then shoot him with it? Does it really matter how many shots? Do you have any idea just how LONG it takes to fire six shots? Do know how fast a running person can cover 15ft? 21ft? Do you know how long it takes a human to feel sufficient hypovolemia from blood loss through a direct heart shot to cause him to become unconscious? Do you know how many people survive a head shot from a handgun that doesn’t penetrate the brain? Do you know how many shots officers are trained to fire at a lethal-threat suspect?

      The answers, if you are math-deficient: Less than a second. One second. One and a half seconds. Three minutes. Nearly all of them. All of them, or until the suspect is on the ground and no longer a threat; There isn’t time to count–effect is what matters.

      I will ask you one final logical question: Have YOU ever fought a man much larger and stronger than you, who had already severely injured you, and who just kept coming back to give you some more of the same, and you could not run away? Did you have a gun that apparently didn’t matter? Did you forebear to shoot, because he was unarmed?

      Obviously, no. You would be dead.

  22. avatar TK says:

    The concept of “Force Continuum” has been proven to be impractical. That’s why it has overwhelmingly been discarded as a matter of policy. When I completed basic law enforcement training for peace officer certification in my state earlier this year, it was presented and explained, but only to show why it is ineffective and no longer recognized as a viable practice.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      You wouldn’t happen to be in a New Mexico LE organization, would you?

  23. avatar J Star says:

    It’s one of the inherent flaws in our society: People are ignorant. The people calling for new policies and laws are ignorant about the subject, and the people making the laws are ignorant as well.

    As gun owners, we should all know this. The people calling for gun bans most often have zero experience or exposure to guns. The people making the laws most often have zero experience or exposure. (Shoulder thing that goes up?)

    We have to remember that it applies to all areas of life. People always ask in these type of situations why the officer didn’t shoot to wound, or why they didn’t use pepper spray, or blah blah blah. These people have never been exposed to the type of physical violence that they are yammering about. They have no idea about the real world, and most of their perceptions of violence come from fantasy sources like movies, TV, and video games.

    In the movies the macho men have a fight scene where they trade blows and blocks for minutes at a time. They shrug off kicks to the head, blows to the throat, and broken limbs like they were nothing.

    In real life, everyone is different. Some people really can take a massive blow to the skull and keep fighting. Some people crumple to the ground with one punch. You can be sent to the hospital or morgue in less than 10 seconds, however. Do we really expect that anybody with a lick of sense will willingly take a beating, hoping it doesn’t seriously injure or kill them, just to avoid shooting an “unarmed” person?

    1. avatar John in AK says:

      Somewhere on the InterWebs is a study by a forensic pathologist on the movie ‘Die Hard’ that analyzes just how long John McClane would have lived after each different injury; As I recall, he didn’t live past the first few scenes, having died from severe exsanguination, blast injury, shock, blunt trauma, concussion, internal bleeding, and all kinds of other causes.

      In real life, people die from falling on pencils, or off bicycles, or tripping over rugs, or choking on hot dogs. Or from one good punch in the head. And definitely from leaping off of a building using a fire-hose reel and smashing at about 100fps through an armored plate-glass window. With no shirt or shoes.

  24. avatar Sgt Frank says:

    This cops eye socket was smashed….so he was in pain his eyes were watering so he could barley see and he had to believe this guy was coming back to finish him off……tell me what would Al Sharpton done in this cops place? I’ll tell you what he would have done he would have emptied the gun then put in a second mag and kept shooting. I think this cop should get a medal for keeping his cool and not injuring anyone else considering his physical condition.

  25. avatar Southern Cross says:

    What is often not realized by the media is that “rubber bullets” have a MINIMUM distance for engagement, inside of which they can be considered lethal. This is more-so for the “less-than-lethal” polymer bullets fired from assault rifles, and seen beinh used by Israeli and Indonesian troops in quelling riots. These projectiles have a minimum safe distance of about 100 metres (or yards), but were often seen being used at much closer distances than that.

    Also it doesn’t do any good for troops or police to be seen firing assault rifles at protesters on the evening news, even with less-than-lethal munitions.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      What is often not realized by the media: REALITY.

  26. avatar JAS says:

    I’ve done a considerable amount of research on the Ferguson shoot on my own, including analysis of pictures and pinning locations on Google Earth.

    It seems to me that when Brown attacked the officer in his car the gloves came off. More importantly, using all the images and video available and correlating them in Google Earth, I have been able to determine that the distance between Wilson’s SUV and Brown’s body is somewhere around 50 yards. I am very certain of this.

    Furthermore, the chief of police is on video stating that the “whole crime scene” encompassed 35 feet. Here’s that video – jump to the :50 mark:

    What I take from this video is that it might mean that brass was found 35 feet from the SUV. That is a huge discrepancy distance wise, which would imply that Wilson was making lethal head shots at 30~40 yards. It doesn’t add up. Something is not Kosher here.

    My best guess is that the chief made a mistake. Wait and see is all there is.

  27. In Missouri Wilson was well within the bounds of his training and I doubt that he will be indicted, let alone convicted. Did he absolutely have to shoot? The only way to know for sure was to be officer Wilson.f

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