Never mind whether or not the officer in question was justified in shooting the perp. What in the world was she doing behind the car door? Cover? Concealment? Why did she shoot over the car door? Why is she standing still? I’m not a police office, but it seems that Officer Tracy Yurkunas was torn between playing offense and defense. I’m with Krav Maga, Jimmy Hoffa and Adam “Speed, Surprise and Violence of Action” Deciccio. If you can’t avoid a violent threat, a strong offense is the best defense. Unless you’re facing an edged weapon, you’re in your own home or find yourself in some specific situation I can’t think of right now (that members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia are about to describe), attack! Am I wrong?

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38 Responses to Question of the Day: Offense or Defense?

  1. Am I wrong?

    Yes, you are wrong.

    If you can’t avoid a violent threat, a strong offense is the best defense.

    That is well intentioned but it is in error. An example of “the best defense is a good offense” is that armed citizen who recently caught and pistol whipped a burglar. Defense is morally and legally right. Offense is never morally right and is usually not legally right unless you are a thug employed by the state.

    . If you can’t avoid a violent threat

    That’s not quite accurate. “If you can’t avoid what you perceive to be be a violent threat” is more accurate. If you perceive something to be a violent threat, it is best not to ATTACK! unless there is a sound reason that changes your perception into a known fact, and then you wouldn’t be attacking, you would be defending.

    Semantics?Yes, but semantics means meaning and meaning means the difference between right and wrong.

    That was a bad shoot. Black man reaching for a cell phone is not just cause for shooting him. I have no doubt the officer would have been arrested immediately if she was an independent thug.

    • “I have no doubt the officer would have been arrested immediately if she was an independent thug.”

      +1. I’m getting a just a wee bit tired of white cops stopping people for “driving while black” and shooting black people for brandishing their cell phones.

    • Way to play the race card. It wasn’t “a black man reaching for a cell phone.” It was a potentially violent alleged domestic abuser fleeing from the police reaching into his jacket. Nice try though.

        • I don’t mean to pick a fight with our local humorist, but I think your lawyer is showing. There is an easy experiment we can do to see if race was a significant factor (assuming you are caucasian). Beat your wife, then when she calls the cops lead them on a high speed chase. When they corner you, jump out of your car and reach into your jacket. Let us know how that turns out.

        • Okay, I’m all over it. But first, I need to get married. Then I won’t care if they shoot me.

        • There is an easy experiment we can do to see if race was a significant factor

          I’ve seen similar videos where the police don’t shoot. The only ones I can recall seeing where the cops allowed a bad guy to retrieve a gun the guy is white – coincidence? I think not.

        • the cops allowed a bad guy to retrieve a gun

          Not sure what that means, but being a bit squeamish I don’t tend to look for this kind of video. That being said, let me thank you and Ralph for not getting shrill despite my snark.

          These are my thoughts on the video:
          1) RF’s question was merely pointing out that a door on anything other than an MRAP does not constitute cover.
          2) The perp young man created a very dangerous situation for himself by the totality of his actions.
          3) Maybe the problem wasn’t the race of the suspect, so much as the sex of the cop? Of course, in that case she may have manifested subliminal racism because the other officer was black.

        • “Maybe the problem wasn’t the race of the suspect, so much as the sex of the cop?”

          Whoa, TTACer, that’s a very insightful thought. You may have just kicked over one super important rock.

  2. You are 100% correct.

    If all other means of avoiding the situation are off the table, it’s on like Donkey Kong. Attack! Attack! Attack! And do so with gusto.

  3. If I’m out with the wife and kids its always going to be defense, getting them to safety is priority numero uno.

    That being said, all my training is from a LEO perspective and thus, (should be) offensive. If I’m alone, I would definitely be moving forward to proper cover and engaging the target, like I was trained.

      • Unless that door is armored, the door panel provides NO protection. I’ve seen rounds go through one door, through the vehicle and exit the opposite door.

        • True but most rounds are very easily deflected by the slightest touch. Fact is while it was bad cover, it was cover.

  4. Officers are taught (I think) to utilize car doors as cover. Does anyone with police experience know if police car doors are beefed up beyond manufacturer standard?

    They are also trained on ranges where moving around gets you yelled at by the ROs and even written up by the RM as a “Safety violation”, in most cases. Some shoot house or safety field (similar to the USPSA matches) training is provided by some departments.

    • Bob, none of the cruisers I have been around have any type of armor in the doors. However, my knowledge of that extends only to the 10 or 15 different departments I have had contact with or worked with.

      I drove armed prisoner transports for a Sheriff’s Office and we were never taught to use the door for cover. IMHO, the door thing seems to be one of those overly perpetuated Hollywood myths.

  5. I’ve read that some, but not all, police departments do outfit their cruisers with steel plates in the doors. If they don’t they should. Even a cheap kevlar lining would save lives.

      • Yes, that always suprised me. You’d think that ‘professionals’ would know about these things by training, but I know from my own experience that a lot of LEO’s are gun savvy through cinema. Which isn’t the most reliable source of real world information.

  6. Ballistic door panels seem to be standard on the Crown Vic police package. So maybe you could make the case that it is cover? See the list of features here:

    https://www.fleet.ford.com/showroom/2010fleetshowroom/2010-CrVicPoliceInt.asp

    I don’t know, seems like the officer did OK. Suspect made a movement towards his pocket, so she put him down. Seems like shooting the threat would usually be better than moving, ducking, running or whatever tacticool gun-fu.

    Rob

    • Seems like the Brady pukes aren’t the only ones inclined to euphemisms. She didn’t “put him down.” The trigger-happy bitch shot the dumb bastard in the guts.

      • To quote the original post:

        “Never mind whether or not the officer in question was justified in shooting the perp.”

        I’m not passing judgement on whether this is a good shoot or not, I’m pointing out that IF lethal force was justified, she was better off shooting rather than moving.

        Rob

      • I commend her. She said put them up, he did anything but. She shot. So what? I would have done the same. I don’t understand what is so hard about put ’em up. Cop or not. If there is a gun pointed at me and someone says ‘Put ’em up’ I will in fact put them up and see where it goes. What is with the constant running thing. As soon as you are out of the car you bolt. What is that? Did you need to check some texts before you were riddled with bullets? I don’t get it.

        Weighing in on the race factor. I think it determines a lot. Where I live a lot of the cops are black and they don’t hesitate to shoot whoever it is, black or white. Guns are carried by many criminals in my general area ( I have posted crime stats and can again if someone wants to see) and are used everyday to commit any petty crime.

    • Ballistic front door panels are a rare $1200 option on Crown Vic cop cars. I own 2 Crown Victoria “Police Interceptors”, the actual model name, and am neck deep in the whole Crown Vic thing on crownvic.net
      Oh, and I believe the cop made the right decision. “I’m sorry” was not an admission of guilt; she still didn’t know at that point whether he did have a gun or not. The fact that he jumped out of the car is an important factor, too.

  7. This incident happened because the police are trained that the highest good is “officer safety.” It trumps all.

  8. Well, if he was white, it proves that the police also shoot white men with cell phones. I haven’t heard from Reverends Al or Jesse, so the news is good.

  9. I’m no fan of cops,and a pretty liberal guy, but I think she was justified. The perp rolled the dice and he lost. Had he removed himself from the car and had his hands up, he wouldn’t have been plugged. Criminals are not know for making good decisions, that is why they are criminals.

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