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TTAG previously reposted Mr. John S. Farnam’s article, posted on the Defense Training Institute’s web site, titled “Police Use of Force.”  In that article, Mr. Farnam writes “The problem is not that we’re shooting too many people. The problem is that we’re not shooting nearly enough!” There were some great, well though out comments to that post here. I wanted to reply myself, but I thought I would read some other material written by Mr. Farnam, and think about it a bit before replying.  After that research and reflection . . .

I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Farnam’s service, as well as his instruction and training. I especially appreciate that he returns again and again to the notion that an individual must decide prior to an incident as to what level of violence they are willing to engage in.

But somewhere, somehow, Mr. Farnam has gone off the rails. As much as I have tried to find some other meaning, it seems clear that he is advocating that if a police officer believes there is a legal justification to kill someone, they should do so. This advice should not only be ignored, but also be vocally rejected by members of law enforcement at every level.

The reason for such a rejection is simple. Mr. Farnam’s advice will get a lot of people killed. Both people who should die and people who shouldn’t. And the number one group that Mr. Farnam’s advice will get killed is cops.

Since Mr. Farnam quoted from a wartime memo, I’ll give you two experiences that happened to me while I was deployed with an Embedded Training Team and a Police Mentor Team in Afghanistan, examples of how shooting when you legally can can be bad, and the reverse as well. The first happened when I had every legal right to shoot.

We had set up a hasty Traffic Control Point, and my job was to kill or detain anyone who made as far as my position, and not let anyone pass me. To get to me, you had to have already gotten through another checkpoint. As it was just me and an Afghan interpreter at that location, it was explained pretty clearly that it would be unlikely that I would be able to effectively detain a determined adversary at my position. So just shoot them.

The next thing I know, I am telling a man in his 20s on a motorcycle to stop as he approaches. I try Dari first, then Pashto. He doesn’t stop. Now I am waving my hands, clenching my fist and screaming in Dari and Pashto. He is looking right at me, but he doesn’t stop. He is about 30 meters away from me.

On my radio I hear “Eight (that’s me), what the hell, shoot him shoot him shoot him!” I am still yelling at him, the terp is walking away, still yelling at the man. All I can think is “Please stop, please stop, please just stop….” I am still screaming when I kneel down, sit on my back foot and take aim.

The man is 20 yards away and I can see his brow furrow through my scope. The little red dot is on his upper lip. I put it there knowing that, at this range, that will put the bullet right through his brain stem on its way out. I am not a bad shot and at this range, there is no way I can miss. I am still begging for him to stop when I quit yelling, hold my breath, switch the rifle from safe to semi, and start to take up the slack on the trigger.

And he stops. He stops, stands up, pulls the headphones out of his ears and puts both of his hands out as if to say, “What?”  He was just rocking out, oblivious to the world, riding on his motorcycle. And I was about 2 lbs. of trigger weight from killing him for that. When he realized I was there, and why, he stood there, right where he was.  Eventually, he would be berated by the interpreter, the Afghan police chief, and a series of local old men. I was told he was “just a very stupid man.”

The use of force was within my rules of engagement (ROE), and my own non-commissioned officer in charge was screaming in my radio, telling me to fire. I didn’t fire. I didn’t fire because he didn’t look dangerous. He looked oblivious. I would not have let him pass me. I was prepared to kill him before he did. But if I had, I would have certainly killed a man for not paying attention.

On another occasion, a small Special Operations (SO) team was operating in our area of responsibility.  They hadn’t told us where they were operating, and they didn’t share that with local military or law enforcement either. There are many good reasons for that level of operational security.

However, a local Afghan National Police outpost saw a group of men, obviously armed, not clearly in US military uniforms, moving at night, some distance away. As they were trained to do, they opened fire. They didn’t positively identify their target, but their ROE was very clear, and they followed it, engaging the target with the .51 caliber DsHK. The SO team chose not to return fire. Instead, they hunkered down and called in an AC130 which loitered over the police station. The plane pummeled them, killing every single police office within the outpost. They didn’t positively identify their target either, but were also well within their ROE.

Those were the policemen that my team helped recruit and train. The outpost was right off HWY1, and the policemen’s bodies were literally splattered across the walls. Every single Afghan who drove by saw their police, the people that were supposed to protect them, torn to bits by US forces. Although it was a different unit, a different branch of the military, and we didn’t know about it until after it happened, the local Afghans blamed us for it.

What were the effects of those two scenarios? For the first one, where I held fire because I was unsure of the threat, it garnered us some good will. Because of a series of events like that, and because we responded with a great deal of violence when we actually were threatened, a truce was called directly around our tiny FOB, for a while. As we were only nine men, 60 km away from the nearest US force, it bought us some breathing room.

But the second example, as well as some other serious strategic mistakes, ended all of that. We faced increasing levels of violence that took a long time to turn around. For us, those two events had a great impact on our safety and our ability to fulfill our mission.

I bring those two examples up because I have been on the receiving end of what Mr. Farnam would have called the wrong action, and saw it contribute to the safety of me and my team. I have also seen how what he would have called the right action put my team in harm’s way.

If police kill when they don’t have to, when they aren’t required to shoot in order to ensure the safety of themselves or others, they will, at best, lose public support. And that support is necessary to police survival. I discount stories of places in the US where “cops just won’t go.” But as an EMT I certainly saw places that cops wouldn’t go without a larger force than other locations. And much of that was because, in some places, the police were seen as an organization that couldn’t be trusted by the local populace.

In those locations, police shootings happened more frequently than in other places, and people were hesitant to call 911. They were also reluctant to testify in cases in which the police were killed. It creates a cycle of violence that requires a massive culture shift to turn around, if it can be done at all.

The logical conclusion is that police become seen as a threat to more and more people, including the law abiding population that previously supported them. And at that point cops get killed, and nobody cares.

What frightens me is that I see our nation trending in that direction. Now, when a police officer is killed, I see more and more people assuming it was the cop’s fault. That the cop was incompetent, dirty, or otherwise involved in illegal activity. I see less and less “demand his firing and sue the department” and more and more of “kill the pigs.” That’s not entirely without reason, but that attitude comes with dire consequences for both the police and the population they serve.

 

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67 Responses to A Veteran’s Response to John Farnam’s Post Encouraging Police to Shoot More People

  1. And you could be dead, yourself. These one-off situations are not justification to hold fire, all or most of the time. If shooting is justified, it is justified. Simply being lucky once or twice does not provide a ringing endorsement for giving the other guy the advantage. Yes, we are all glad your lucky moment (and any others you experienced) ended with no one hurt. But betting your life on a maybe will and does lead to the wrong person dying.

    I have only one rule about deciding what to do, if one of us must die….better the other guy, in every case.

    • He didn’t get lucky. He made a judgment call based on his experience in the first case. In the second, a unit’s appalling lack of situational awareness – position of red/green/blue/white units led to the needless killing of allies with very real consequences for accomplishing the mission.

      • Exactly.

        During my time in LE, I saw numerous cases (and heard of many more) where deadly force was legally justified, but broader judgment saved the day.

        It is very tricky business. We live in a world where the unthinking want “bright line rules” precisely so they won’t HAVE to think or make decisions. Sometimes, there’s no right or wrong answer…there just is.

        Hesitation can get one killed. But that alone does not mean killing someone else is always the right answer exactly because these things are rarely so simple.

        • Roughly seven or eight years ago, I was working a swing shift in July. A 17-year old committed a motor vehicle theft of his parent’s BMW SUV and was intoxicated at the time. A deputy located the vehicle parked in a nearby neighborhood, occupied by the high school senior. The deputy and a cover car attempted a felony stop, and the driver took off. The location was a dead-end cul-de-sac. The defendant drove to the end, turned around, and charged the deputy with the 4,000+ lb. weapon. The deputy at this point was in legitimate fear of SBI or death. This particular deputy, even though he had is gun drawn and was in complete legal justification to shoot the driver, chose to jump to the side and land in the ditch. The car drove off, and it was pursued. Due to the attempted assault, the pursuit was not going to be called off. We ended up hitting the car with the spike strip, conducting a felony stop, and took the driver into custody.

          Our Sgt. had a team debrief at end of watch. He asked the deputy why he chose to not shoot, and his response was, “I was able to step out of the way, and we would eventually catch him.” Our Sgt. (had a really good one that year) agreed that he had made the right decision. The question in the end: Was this kid a greater danger to society if he had not been stopped? In this case, no he wasn’t. If he had just shot five people, then the fleeing felon rule would also come into play, and it would have been more appropriate to have stopped him right then and there.

          I’m glad the kid is still alive today. He made some extremely wrong choices that almost cost him his life. I agree with both Taylor and JR on this. We are not in the business of just “shooting people dead.” We are responsible for stopping the threat, no more and no less. Law enforcement is a profession of doing the right thing, both morally and ethically. When an officer involved shooting occurs, nobody wins in the end. No matter how “good” of a shoot occurs, and whether the person survives and is convicted or dies, there WILL be a lawsuit, and it WILL last years (even when the person is sitting in Department of Corrections serving a 40+ year sentence). At the same time, this should not be your only motivation to doing the right thing. We just need to do the right thing.

          Our society has lost most of its morality. We live in an “everything goes” culture. I personally do believe that God has given each of us that conscience and is the reason we know “right from wrong.” We need good people in law enforcement making good decisions. The profession isn’t a “judge, jury, executioner” profession.

      • There was a case in Washington state this week, where three police officers shot up a homeless drug addict for throwing rocks. Check out the video on youtube and see if you think it was necessary. To me, that shooting definitely seems questionable.

      • Exactly! At one point, police used to be the shining example of citizenry. Now most are seen on par with the people their paid to lock up. The officers that I knew growing up as a kid are a thing of the past. And that was 80’s and early 90’s. When I graduated in 97, there were a few new younger guys (5-10 years older than us) on the force. Sporting almost sleeve tats and black gloves. Complete dicks. That was a turning point for me. One officer would treat you like the young dumb kid you are/were and the other is willing to pull his pistol on you because he felt threatened by a kid.

        But is this what Farnam wants? Cause I see a serious problem with this…

    • I think someone read the title of the Farnham article but not the article itself. He isn’t advocating that police shoot everyone they can get away with. He’s saying they should focus on the facts of the situation.
      His example is demonstrating that not focusing on the actual situation and having the distraction of worrying about how it might play in the 6 o’clock news is a bad mix in life and death situations. The example he used is nothing like the guy throwing rocks. His guy was fully armed had killed the family pets, waving and pointing guns at the officers while clearly telling them he would shoot. In his case the cops let thoughts about potential bad publicity play into their decision making process over the evidence at hand. The fact that they got lucky shouldn’t make them think a bad decision was a good decision.

    • Then don’t be a cop. It is a wonderful occupation to not be a cop. There are many good citizens right now, doing a lot of good in their communities by not being cops. That attitude of “I don’t care who I have to kill as long as I get home at the end of my shift” is one of the reasons I don’t trust cops.

  2. Sam, I can promise you that “justification” does not make you feel any better about killing someone you didn’t need to, regardless of the ambiguity of the moment (at least not if you’re a decent human being).

  3. What the “shoot first” crowd fails to realize is that blood calls for blood. If you kill a man who you did not have to, legally justified or not, you’re just pouring more gas on the fire. The second example you gave had failures all up and down the line. While SF should not necessarily have identified their operations and intentions, the gunship should have been able to ID the building as an Afghan Police operations center. I’m a bit disturbed that the gunship just lit up a building in what was nominally friendly territory without confirming their target.

  4. As responsible armed citizens it is critical that we use good judgment and that means sometimes accepting a little risk to ourselves. When I was deployed this was called, “courageous restraint.” If I’m alone and the only one at risk, them I might show more restraint. If my family is involved, then much less so.

  5. My question is. Would anyone actually think it’s wise to tune out the world in a active war torn area. Yet I see it on the streets in the States. Criminals pick up on that real fast.

    • There are people all over the world milling about without an iota of situational awareness. Darwinism used to kill them off. Now, we have lawyers.

      • You show a shocking lack of comprehension for Darwinian process. If Darwin had killed them then they wouldn’t exist in the current gene pool. That such a trait exists consistently across the entire species and across all the time we have documented then there must either be a useful result of said trait or it is a latent trait that suffers no significant disadvantage and thus persists. On a more human note I imagine that a life lived in a perpetual war zone would lead to some natural if unwise behavioral changes. In fact due to the human capacity to adapt it is entirely possible to view a very dire situation as something very normal, at that point having an armed man yelling at you might not impact some any more than having someone with a hand full of fliers yelling at you about great deals in a peaceful district of the U.S.

  6. I’ll admit that I don’t know what to this issue. I’m not a veteran, nor an I an LEO, and I’m never likely to be either. So I don’t have a dog in this fight.
    The first story he tells actually disturbs me a little; had I been in his shoes, I would have had my rifle in-hand whilst trying to stop the man. I don’t know at what point I would have opened fire; I don’t know if I would have taken the risk of waiting as long as he did.
    The other story is one of those casualties of war, to me. Failure to identify a target is, I’m told, a common reason for friendly fire incidents, but in a war zone it’s hard to say that you always need to positively identify your target when the cost of doing so might be that you die from the hesitation.

    So while I certainly understand the arguments on both sides, I’m going to leave this to others to argue about.

    • You actually do have a dog in this fight, because you could very well find yourself on the wrong end of a cop’s gun some day.

  7. Well written piece. We are either being served and protected or we’re being occupied. Every Peace Officer has too decide were they stand, the decision made will determine the nature of the relationship be it protector or occupier. The citizenry will respond accordingly.

  8. Good article, and very reminiscent of my time in SEA over forty years ago, too. Then again after that with some years as a street cop. Agreed that the police are basically doing themselves in nowadays, with their training and their attitudes. People out here are kinda split, though; half support “law enforcement” no matter what, and if mass civil unrest and disorder get going in this country like it was back in the Glorious Sixties, they’ll scream for more order and shooting of perps and alleged perps. The other half is sick of police violence and mistaken bad calls and innocents being blasted to Kingdom Come over the slightest provocations.

    mdc makes a good point, too; WTF is a guy doing swanning around out there on his motorbike with ear buds on and approaching what must obviously be some kind of military checkpoint? Ditto, what are derps back here thinking when they are clearly oblivious to their six all the time and in Condition White??

  9. The story of the man on the scooter …..the man could have just been stupid or he was sent just to see how soft your area was maintained. If you don’t want to kill someone then put your first bullet in the front tire after your first warning. Well placed none killing shots show that you will shoot, but the enemy does not know if your shot was placed. The obama administration prosecuted a military man after he ordered the shooting of a man on a motorcycle who failed to stop at a check point. They had been told of attacks of this type were coming and then when he did what any normal person would have done he is serving 20 yrs in prison….this man is forgotten. In Nam I told my guys better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6……..I stand by that.

  10. ” …it seems clear that he is advocating that if a police officer believes there is a legal justification to kill someone, they should do so. This advice should not only be ignored, but also be vocally rejected by members of law enforcement at every level.”

    This is just inane, anecdotal stories aside. The only thing I can think of to make sense of this statement is that the author does not understand the justification for deadly force in US caselaw. It may only be applied if an officer (or anyone, more generally) reasonably believes a suspect is an imminent threat to life and limb.

    If you (reasonably) believe someone poses an *imminent* threat of death or great bodily injury and you are not responding in kind, you’re a fool or suicidal (unless you have a star-trek phaser)

    • Except that we all know that Police use of deadly force is held to nowhere near that standard. Often times, police would walk under circumstances that would land anyone else in prison.

    • In practice, based on experience, this standard leads to shooting of people who reach out to their pocket to take out a wallet to show their ID, after explicitly ordered to produce one by the officer.

      Either it’s a bad standard (at least for police officers), or it’s not actually being applied.

    • When such a “reasonable” belief may be predicated on something as trivial as a “furtive movement” we are much better off as a society to encourage caution and restraint in the spirit of Mr. Taylor’s comments.

  11. The obvious corollary to Farnam’s logic is that excessive use of force by the police should, no, MUST be answered with defensive gunfire from the victim. No-knock raids anyone? Even less room for ambiguity.

    Put simply he believes public service is a fundamentally adversarial relationship. Small wonder American cops kill in record numbers. Farnam has no business being one.

    • Excellent point. What’s good for the goose . . .
      What justification is there for any no-knock raid? That the suspect might flush a couple of joints down the john? Doesn’t cut it with me. That the suspect might respond with armed force himself? What happened to surrounding the place and smoking him out? I can see a hostage situation; but most of these are unambiguous.
      I don’t get it. Why have we evolved from “protect and served” to “overwhelming force at the slightest pretext”? I fear this isn’t going to end well. In just those communities where LE needs to build a relationship of trust they seem compelled to treat almost everyone with the presupposition that the suspect is the same as their usual customers in that neighborhood. Some are; some aren’t. The latter are left with a bitter taste in their mouths and decline to give LEOs the benefit of the doubt when a thug invites a bullet.

    • “he believes public service is a fundamentally adversarial relationship”

      Exactly, as demonstrated by his assertion that a principle of warfare should serve as a guideline for domestic police work.

  12. My battalion got in a couple fire fights with US special forces operating in our area without informing us. They do that too often. Fortunately they ended quickly before anyone was seriously hurt.

    I don’t like comparing police to the military. There is a world of difference. The military protects the country. The police control the people. I don’t like being controlled and I don’t like people who want to control me. I want them to use as much restraint as the can and I will always be grateful to police that use sense and restrain their behavior and don’t kill people unless it’s absolutely necessary. I’m sick and tired of cops telling us that they need to make sure that their job has to be performed in a risk-free environment.

    • “The police control the people.”

      No supposed to be that way, though.

      The police are the enforcement arm of the Executive Branch. In an ideal world, where laws truly did represent values (and things like fiat felonies and revenue through enforcement schemes did not exist), the police would not be seen as “control.”

      Your statement is an indictment of just how far down things have slid.

    • Exactly which country are they protecting? They did not stop 9/11!! Our military does not protect the country it carries out the political will of our leaders over other people throughout the world. Since WW2 which war has been fought where the homeland was under threat? Answer NONE!!!

      • You can never stop all attacks from a determined enemy and in WWII no one stopped the Japanese attack either. Whether the military is performing well or not is a matter of debate, but that is their purpose. The purpose of the police is to control us.

      • The protection the military offers is one of deterance. There is no way they can intercept or anticipate every attack. The effectiveness of the US military is in knowing that if you attack the United States of America, you are calling down the fist of an angry God on your head. It’s what kept the Soviet Union at bay for the nearly five decades of the Cold War until communist Russia collapsed under its own weight.

        While our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan haven’t been flawless and have arguably been failures at nation building, especially in Iraq, they have served one purpose.

        They have reminded the international community and our erstwhile enemies that if you f**k with us, will destroy your country, demolish your infrastructure, kill the political leaders that decided that attacking the US, or harboring those that decided attacking the US was a good idea, and hang around a decade or so just to prove our point.

        That’s what the military is for.

        • What “our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan” and a multitude of other places have done is convince parts of the world that the United States is a rabid dog that will probably have to be put down one day if it doesn’t drop dead from internal collapse. What it has done is turn some older Americans, some of whom served in combat during WWII and Korea, against their own government’s actions in foreign lands. What it has done is divided the recent generations between blood thirsty fiends clamoring for the blood of the enemy of the day, an angry mass willing to stop it at all costs including violence, and an apathetic lot who lament the death of American ideals while remaining dumbfounded on how to ever restore it. These wars around the globe are among the most damnable things this nation has ever done and it will be the death of the nation if its economy and social upheaval doesn’t do it in first. If this country is going to engage in such warfare around the globe then I say, with great sadness, good riddance.

        • “It’s what kept the Soviet Union at bay for the nearly five decades of the Cold War until communist Russia collapsed under its own weight.”

          Their military was also what kept us out of invading the Soviet Union ending the Cold War then and there especially when every invasion of Russia ended in the invader being defeated and or vanquished from history.

          It is also what is keeping us from invading Russia over the Ukraine.

        • >> While our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan haven’t been flawless and have arguably been failures at nation building, especially in Iraq, they have served one purpose. …

          This is a good point John, but I think we can generalize it a bit too, politically incorrect as it may be. Whatever the merits and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (and I don’t personally discount their necessity), I think people don’t really understand how much our adversaries pre-9/11 believed their own BS that their men were superior to our men. That they were courageous and brave while American men that grew up in a modern industrialized culture had made them weak.

          If the men of our armed forces and the administration in supporting them not proved able to withstand the onslaught of the insurgency in Iraq and defeat it, no matter what happened after that, we’d be in such a world of hurt we can’t even imagine. Every idiot across the region would regard us with scorn and join up to keep kicking the paper tiger until he gave up. I shudder to think what would have happened if we’d have pulled out under fire and been chased out of Iraq. American life wouldn’t even be the same, we would have proved the corruption and weakness of our own society.

    • “The police control the people.” Many people see this as goal, or a necessity, rather than the tragic failing it is.

      Here’s a sound foundation for police work: “To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” That’s the seventh of the “Peelian Principles” once issued to every new officer of the (London) Metropolitan Police.

  13. A Peace Officer is charged with keeping the peace, enforcing the laws and bringing suspects before a judge to answer charges.
    This requires the active and passive support of the community,
    without that support, the LEO mission fails.

    These objectives are to be met with the minimum necessary force.
    An officer is allowed and permitted to defend himself, but again, with the minimum necessary force under the existing circumstances.

    To suggest LEO should be killing folks, or using i appropriate levels of force for any other reason is dangerous.

  14. I’ve been in that spot many times in Iraq. Usually the culprit is an old guy who has so many cataracts on his eyes He’d be legally blind in the states. Judgement is everything

  15. The logical conclusion is that police become seen as a threat to more and more people, including the law abiding population that previously supported them. And at that point cops get killed, and nobody cares.

    What frightens me is that I see our nation trending in that direction.

    Excellent article and I will admit that I am one of those who have become more likely to err on the side of the non-officer when all information is equal. It will take a lot for me and others who have gotten fed up to this point, to change our point of view. I do believe that John Farnam’s advice could get many good officers killed in the long run.

  16. Agree with many others, a great article. Our entire justice system is based on the principle that it is better to let a criminal go than to incarcerate an innocent man. Hence, Miranda and an entire host of rules and regulations to prevent innocent people from unjust prosecution. Do these laws sometimes, or even often, result in known criminals being released – sure it does, but despite that our society as a whole accepts we’d rather have that situation than the reverse.

    Applying that principle to the topic at hand, it’s pretty reasonable to then state that just because you have justification doesn’t necessarily mean you should always shoot. If the jury has a reasonable doubt that the person on trial is not guilty, they are instructed to acquit. If a police officer – or any other citizen – has a reasonable doubt that the person in their sights is really a threat (even if the shoot is otherwise justifiable) it seems wise and in keeping with the rest of our justice system to hold fire until that doubt is resolved.

    It this makes it more dangerous for police officers – that’s sort of the price of the occupation and of the system we’ve all come to accept. Just as releasing known thugs on “technicalities” is often dangerous and risky, so will it be risky to wait that extra nanosecond before pulling the trigger. We all make our choices – if you want a job that has no risk associated with it, choose another job.

  17. The problem with bad thinking like Farnham’s is that they could be wrong. In many cases, officers draw guns when they shouldn’t and this is just one more step beyond that.

  18. I used to keep the Kawasaki KZ1000 Sheriff bikes in repair. All these guys were great people. I grew up next door to a kind sensitive State Patrolman, a class act. As a child the State Patrol would come to our school and talk to the kids in the gymnasium, we always saw them as the good guys, people you could trust, come to confide in, ask for help and guidance. It used to be if I was confused on a highway issue I could walk up or stop and ask a cop, you know, a friendly encounter, neither thinking another thing of it.

    It’s not this way anymore.

  19. So the Gentleman in the article wants to give justification for every rogue policeman’s unauthorized shooting actions! Placing military ROE’s in a non military situations a brain fart, Police training to day does make paranoid cops who shoot before they have too in the Name of Safety! do enough of that and then retribution may take place! Eye for an Eye!

  20. One of the things I like best about TTAG is that it is a place where people speak truth to power. Sometimes that truth is an unvarnished, hard-edged truth, but it is truth nonetheless. So thank you for this, Jon.

    Where I once felt that I could trust the police, I’ve lost that trust. I’m now afraid of the police. People like me used to be the natural allies of the police. Now we aren’t.

    • Agreed. I do everything I can to avoid cops due to that lack of trust, even refusing to call them. The ONLY time I would even consider calling a cop is in the aftermath of a DGU, but even that’s conditional.

      My trust in them is gone, and unfortunately, seeing as I’m only 19, I can’t even remember a time when that wasn’t the case. And I’m not alone in my distrust. Unless cops nationwide make a serious change, they will lose the support of massive chunks of my generation.

    • Unfortunately this goes both ways. I feel that people, in general, have lost their sense of virtue. It’s a vicious cycle in which both sides will lose trust with one another and everyone loses in the end. I’ve known police officers in my former Army Reserve unit and hearing some of their stories and interactions were a real eye opener, especially since they had to straddle both law enforcement and military duties.

  21. The problem with Mr. Farnam’s article is that it is based on a distorted view of the society we live in today.

    His view would make one think our society is filled with mostly criminals. Yes, there are plenty of bad people out there but 99% of the people out there are not violent criminals.

    Do some of those 1% deserve to die? Would killing them be justified? I would say yes to both questions. However, if police do not use deadly force in a judicious manner it endagers the 99% of us law-abiding men, woman and children out there.

  22. Mr. Farnham’s admonition for LEO to kill MORE citizens is wrong…..PERIOD.
    And for ONE FUNDAMENTAL REASON. They are not military, they are not
    given ‘rules of engagement’ and their job is not to break things and kill people.
    That is a military mission…….reserved for combat OUTSIDE THE US.

    The job of LEO is to SERVE THE PUBLIC…..and sometimes that might mean
    holding their fire and DYING…..that’s part of the job. And if they are too cowardly
    to accept that they need to quit and find another line of work. Just because a
    situation may meet the legal definition of justifiable in no way makes such an action
    acceptable, necessary or wanted. It merely means the officer couldn’t be bothered
    to think. The purpose of giving guns to LEO is NOT SO THEY CAN KILL PEOPLE.
    That is not their job no matter what they think. They have weapons for the exact
    same reason citizens are allowed weapons. So they can defend life and safety when
    ALL OTHER OPTIONS ARE EXHAUSTED. But they have long ceased to be trained
    that way. No they are just the state sanctioned dispensers of lethality granted godlike
    powers with no accountability and more importantly without the omniscience of a diety
    to know when they should or should not act.

  23. Encouraging the police to shoot more people will result in the people encouraging the people to shoot more police. My Dad was in the Northern Philippines during and just after WWII. Friendly fire incidents did occur when communications between various units were poor. Dad and his unit also worked their butts off and kissed butts during and after the war to foster good relations between the US forces and the Filipino populace as to try and keep the region from sliding into an anti-government and anti US attitude.

  24. Farnham’s original blogpost is a glowing goldmine for any attorney pursuing a wrongful death claim from any police department or individual officer that’s ever trained under Farnham’s DTI. It’s my personal opinion that Farnham, whatever his past merits and abilities, is getting on in age and doesn’t have the best grip on what he set loose over the internets, our how it actually legally jeopardizes his former students. (Attorney: “So, you were taught by DTI — continually DRILLED by DTI — to KILL suspects, not detain them, and that there should be MORE horrific, unwarranted, police shootings?!!”) If I were a friend, and caught it in time, I would have advised him to immediately take it down. Robert Farago hasn’t done Farnham any favors by publicizing what any moderately wise, currently employed LEO would regard as a mistake, a legally dangerous provocation.

  25. farnam is as egotistical as he is riddled with PTSD. to think that it is correct to treat civilians like combatants is inherently WRONG. i get what he is saying, if the officer says to himself, “this person is a physical threat to me or others, i must act” then yes, they should. no one would argue with that. but his is WWWAAAAYYYY over zealous in his delivery.

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