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There’s a whole lot in the Washington Post article “They took too damn long: Inside the police response to the Orlando shooting, and there is a whole lot missing. Since it is not included in the article, I’ll skip over commenting on the initial police response. But even after that initial response, a huge, flashing, screaming, bright red light goes off in my head right here:

Police fired at Mateen when he popped his head out of one of the bathrooms. The shooter was outgunned and outnumbered. But then, police decided not to pursue him.

I don’t want to impune the bravery, or the judgment of the 10 officers responding at that time.  According to their chief, these men followed their training.  Given that, we have to take into question their training and the policies that back up that training.
To have a threat identified, and in this case to be in direct visual observation and actively firing at the threat, and then to back off that threat is a tactical error. A big one. I don’t know how to get past that.

By all accounts, they had numerical superiority, they had sufficient firepower, and a greater freedom of movement. Right then, when they could see an armed man they knew had killed people and there were people lying dead and dying all around them, that’s when they had to drive forward and stop the threat.

Instead, they allowed the enemy to reload and reposition. That was the critical error that resulted in an additional lose of life. People bled to death while they waited, and then the shooter killed more.

The Orlando Police chief says they didn’t enter and stopped firing because the situation became a “barricaded gunman situation,” and it was no longer an “active shooter situation.”

Was it an active shooter situation when he was running away from the police who were shooting at him? Was it an active shooter situation when his rifle jammed and he transitioned to his sidearm?  Did it only become an active shooter situation again when he started to pull the trigger on his victims after a failed breach?

None of that matters. Whether or not it remained an active shooter situation, it certainly remained an active dying situation. While the already outdated and discarded “wait and see” policy was in effect in Orlando, multiple people bled to death.

In the article, former FBI SWAT team member and hostage negotiator Chris Voss states “buying time increases the likelihood of a successful assault” and can often save more lives.” This ignores a painful fact.

Tick Tock, Drip Drop, they are bleeding to death.  Lots of them.

He doesn’t have to shoot more to kill more. All he has to do is wait.And that’s what he did. He waited, in complete control of the situation.

At that point, the Orlando police department was out of good options. Actually they were out of anything but really bad options. Entering with ballistic shields through a single opening was an option. A bad one.

Explosively breaching was an option. A bad one. Tossing flash bangs and rushing in was an option. A bad one. Apparently just waiting until there were fewer hostages left alive was also an option. A bad one.

Eventually, the Orlando police decided to use explosives to enter the building, and failed. How that happens is beyond me, given the amount of time they had to plan and prepare for the breach and the resources at their disposal.

A few minutes later they went to plan B, and rammed through with a Bearcat. During the minutes between these two entry techniques, the shooter was killing more hostages. This Plan B, the decision to just do something, punch a hole, and start shooting the enemy, cost lives. And it probably saved a lot more.

Why was this the option, and why did it take three hours to make that decision?

Mr. Voss again sheds some light on that decision making process: “This is not military combat where there are acceptable casualties on both sides. Law enforcement doesn’t have that conversation. No casualties are acceptable.”

The two sides he is speaking of are the shooter and law enforcement. The unacceptable casualty rate is for law enforcement. The conversation that law enforcement doesn’t have is how many law enforcement casualties are acceptable. Who’s missing from that equation? The victims. The dying. Those are the “acceptable” casualties.

You are on your own.

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  1. Add to “acceptable” casualties they were a bunch of happy boys…could the slow, inept,PATHETIC response be from homophobia? We’ll never know. Can any relatives sue the cops for negligence???

      • I would put more credit in the theory of a Bloomburg funded order from HQ to “fall back” in order to deliberately increase the body count so gun control could be pushed. That’s at least slightly more plausible than “The Cops all silently conspired to let more die because they were gay” narrative.

        Ultimately, the most likely explanation is simple incompetence. They were unprepared for the situation, and they collectively froze. Analysis paralysis took over, and they all waited for someone else to make the decision.

        You are indeed on your own. The old action-movie cliches like John McClain don’t seem so far-fetched suddenly.

        • If either of you honestly believe that politics come into play while people are shooting at one another you’re batshit fucking insane.

          Turn Alex Jones off and go outside to talk to real people.

          I am ashamed with my fellow POTG that nobody has called either of you out on your Herculean levels of stupidity yet.

        • ^this

          Pure idiocy. Question the tactics, even question the courage, but the idea that cops are going to think “gee, they’re only gays, who cares?” and let the bad guy kill more is just a crock.

        • @Hannibal which was the point I was making.

          The most likely reason was simple incompetence.

    • Orlando, Florida isn’t a hotbed of anti-gay sentiment. While it’s possible that some individual homicide detective might slow walk an investigation into one gay person’s murder, providing there’s no media attention surrounding the case, the idea that high level figures would drag their feet on an active shooting scene, just because it’s at a gay club, is absurd.

      Nobody wants to bring that kind of heat down on themselves, especially since somebody would end up telling the media, rather than endure the criticism of just being ineffective.

      No, I think it’s as simple as it appears. The cops do love their toys, but when it comes time for action, they want to go home and you’re on your own.

    • Really matt and officer Hannibal? I’ve known extremely racist gay bashing cops(in Chicago) in my 60+ years. Who abused homosexuals for sport. And you two cast aspersions on those who question any “official ” narrative. Bear in mind I commented more than 1000 times and am not known to be a fan of the gay thing…how praytell would you know what went on in Orlando?

      • I think its fair to say they know what went on inside those cops’ heads about as well as you…… You say the cops are homophobic….. They say that the cops are like 99% of the population and don’t care they’re gay…… I say the cops didn’t think about them being gay; they were too fucking scared to care about it. I say they were trying to do the best they could in a chaotic situation and not get killed in the process. If you expect perfect Medal of Honor performance out of your police 24/7, then I’m afraid you don’t live on planet Earth my friend…… Its safe for us to say these things from the safety of our computers…….. All you crap talking monday morning quarterback retards are cowards.

        • Hey buddy I’ve engaged large black men who attacked me on the Chicago EL. And protected a female from a lunatic in the same place. With nary a weapon but my wits,guts and very strong muscles. Does that mean I don’t respect guys carrying guns? With a badge and all kinds of tacticool advantages? Who take 3 hours to engage a single crazy Moose-lim? I guess it does… especially when none were scathed. Look in the mirror if you’re looking for a keyboard commando little Richard. Scan the vast #’s of comments agreeing with my analysis. You’re FOS…

  2. TL;DR

    Well… I read about half of it. Lets face it – “officer safety.” And I don’t blame them. Seriously. If I was an officer at the scene, I wouldn’t want to rush in guns blazing to protect and save the people inside too Fxxxxxx cowardly to protect and save themselves. Why do I have to save these people all the Fxxxxxx time?? If I keep trying to save these people – sooner or later i’m going to die trying to save them. Nah. I’ll pass. They need to save themselves. Hundreds of people being mowed down in a building and not a single one had a firearm? Super lame. Police can’t protect you. Police shouldn’t have to protect you.

    • Maybe they shouldn’t have to, but that’s what they are called do.

      You think a fireman wants to haul your drunk behind out of your house at 2:30am because you fell asleep with lit cigarette? No. And while policy is that you don’t sacrifice your life for those who cannot be saved, you make the extra effort for those who can or might make it. You don’t end search and rescue until the fire has either overwhelmed your response or you know everybody is out. Leaving somebody unprotected to die just because you’re afraid of the possibility of getting hurt – that’s cowardice.

      • And yet I guarantee you that if the fire is intense enough for a fireman to doubt his survivability, he won’t be going in there, so the “extra effort” isn’t worth it. It doesn’t matter if he is called out there or not. The cops were called in Orlando and they didn’t see the “extra effort” worth the risk either.

        • I know a thing or two firsthand about that effect… let’s not overgeneralize it to mean anything. An active shooter situation really doesn’t have much to do with it.

    • You make a good point, but it’s undercut by the fact that police unions like to lobby for gun-control laws (like Florida’s law that bans carry in bars). So if a cop wants to play the “why don’t you defend yourself?” card, they can start by getting their unions and chiefs to stop trying to disarm people.

      (This is the part where someone says “most individual cops are pro-2A”, which may well be true, but most cop organizations are anti-2A.)

    • Who was too cowardly to protect themselves?

      The legislators responsible for the guns in bars ban were cowering in there waiting for the police to save their foolish butts?

      Or the bar patrons were too cowardly to disobey the law?

  3. Man… What’s the point… All went smoothly, yknow, good death toll, good agenda push. Trying to tell the big brother to be free of incompetency and conspiracy is one of the less productive use of time. Just sayin

  4. You are correct, Sir.

    According to a LEO I know, they did NOT follow current training doctrine. They should have pressed forward to neutralize this guy by whatever means to end the killing and stop the dying. Yes, that includes getting to those just lying there bleeding to death. Hours passing killed as surely as the killer.

    • Karl, that’s what confuses me about this event the most. My training as a soldier and as a combat advisor to military police forces is contrary to the immediate actions performed by the Orlando police. Every officer I’ve talked to says that it is contrary to their training as well. And yet I can not fault those responding officers as their chief made it clear that they were acting in accordance to their training.
      Who else is being trained this way?
      You see the threat, you are firing at the threat, the threat begins to reposition to an area with the potential for further victims, you no longer advance on the threat?

      • Mr. Taylor,

        My personal take on it, and I could be wrong, is an “elitist” divide between patrol and SWAT that at least exists in the management (I won’t call that leadership) view of things. Maybe it is a way of covering their ass and the organization’s ass.

        I believe disobeying an order is probably a greater barrier to action than personal fear for most officers. It is their job and they don’t want to lose it. So…my opinion is that this was a leadership failure, even before the event.

        And, as you know, NO REASON or EXCUSE does anything to counter the pathology of a seriously wounded person: TICK TOCK!

        • Or! In the words of Mike Tyson – “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

      • One thing that came to mind as I read the article, and your comment here reinforces it in my mind, is that the phrase “active shooter” has to go.

        It’s newspeak anyway. When did it start to catch on? After Sandy Hook or thereabouts?

        By using the term “active shooter,” they have WAY too much wiggle room to spin the tactical response, and the Orlando shooting is an excellent example of this kind of spin.

        • As usual, JR, you have managed to distill one of the primary issues.

          Categorizing and sub-categorizing, then making twenty-seven different scenario responses to an “asshole murderer with a gun” results in a higher casualty count every time.

          The SCOTUS deciding cops have no obligation to do a damn thing beyond collect revenue aside; once upon a time cops wanted to be the good guys, and they wanted to stop the bad guys. Innocent people are dead, again, because of the mismanagement of the modern police department and the cowardice if the individual officers to fail to comply with bad orders.

        • yeah, “active shooter” is retarded. Is there a passive shooter? No? Then it’s a poor choice of words, at best.

      • There actually IS something to the whole “no longer an active shooter” thing, training-wise. National doctrine put out by the feds dictate that an active shooter situation can become a ‘barricaded hostage’ situation and that tactics should slow down at that point. There is, however, no real guidance on what that line looks like.

    • Here, Here!
      Thank you for writing this. You have help put some of my deep-seated fury into words regarding the historical fail that occurred in handling this threat.

      Seriously, think about it in military terms: When is losing 49:1 acceptable?

  5. Mr. Voss again sheds some light on that decision making process: “This is not military combat where there are acceptable casualties on both sides. Law enforcement doesn’t have that conversation. No casualties are acceptable.”

    I don’t blame them at all. Cops have families. They have wives, children. To most cops it is a “career/job.” Make no mistake that a cop would probably die for his family, for his children. Not for random people at a bar in the middle of the night. Nope. Not going to happen. And this should be a lesson to people. Cops will not put their life on the line for yours. They have their own familial obligations that are dependent upon them providing for them. You are not part of that equation. If you are not going to take precautions for your own safety, then the default situation, is you are a victim.

    • Excellent points, and a good illustration of the difference between civilian police and the military. Cops are civilians, not just in a pedantic sense of the word, but literally. If a butterbar lieutenant says “clear that room” the squad will clear that room or get court-martialed or worse. If a police “lieutenant” says “clear that room” (which didn’t happen in this case anyway) the officers can quit their jobs.

    • But those same police, who you are arguing do not have to protect you, are also denying you the ability to protect yourself, under threat of violence and imprisonment.

      • But those same police, who you are arguing do not have to protect you, are also denying you the ability to protect yourself, under threat of violence and imprisonment.

        Yes, those very same police refuse to protect you and refuse to let you protect yourself. I have no problem giving a pass to police who are not willing to protect you and me. What is most obscene and that I cannot accept is that police refuse to let you and I protect ourselves … and for no other reason than to protect their paycheck.

        Where I come from, someone who is paid to “tie my hands behind my back” is an accomplice to any violent attacker who benefits from my compromised ability to defend myself. Note that such activity is a felony … which means all police officers who enforce disarmament laws are themselves the very criminals that they claim to be fighting.

      • The police don’t make the laws. (let’s set aside interpretation and police union lobbying for the moment.)

        The government – specifically the legislature – make the laws, and the property owners decide if they want to place additional restrictions.

        No patron was armed in the club NOT because of the police but rather because they chose to obey the law and / or respect the wishes of the club’s owner.

        • Many cops, especially cops in highly visible leadership positions (the kind that get interviews and press conferences), do actively campaign against citizen self defense.

          And, they certainly get spun that way in the press.

          So, while highly visible and public cops do not write the laws, they DO influence people’s thinking. How many times have you seen a “Tut, tut, well, he should have just called us” response to a DGU, for example?

          That’s the kind of social pressure the Marxists / Statists have used for decades to run around “the law” in this country. It’s exactly how Political Correctness has come to the point it has…end running around the First Amendment.

          In this same way, they attempt to end run the Second Amendment: make it ‘socially unacceptable’ and ‘against the advice of cops’ to carry or even own a gun, and ultimately to even defend oneself by ANY means.

          Laws are words on paper; they can only reflect social values. The way many publicly visible cops talk about guns/gun ownership/self defense is their way to manipulate the social value regardless of what the law actually says.

        • JR, I take your point, but I stand by what I said.

          If there were no law against speeding, no matter how much the top cop harped on safe driving, you wouldn’t get ticketed for speeding.

          If there were no laws against club patrons carrying, and the club owner allowed it, then likely a lot of patrons still wouldn’t have been armed. But it wouldn’t be because they couldn’t be, legally.

        • “If there were no laws against club patrons carrying, and the club owner allowed it, then likely a lot of patrons still wouldn’t have been armed. But it wouldn’t be because they couldn’t be, legally.”

          You make a fair point. Perhaps that is so.

          But food for thought: even in places where carry is legal, the number of people that do carry is a minority percentage. In some social groups, it’s smaller still to even non-existent.

          So, I don’t quite share your optimism in this specific instance. There is a chance someone might have been carrying, but the social pressures may well have precluded it even if it had been legal.

          I do agree that getting rid of the illegality has to happen, though. At least then folks won’t not carry because it’s against the law to do so.

    • “Law enforcement doesn’t have that conversation. No casualties are acceptable.”

      There is an important conversation going on about police roles and the responsibility of private citizens to defend themselves. Perhaps the most important part of the conversation is the growing awareness of the significant of 2nd amendment rights and the corresponding growth of the number of open/concealed gun carrying citizens. As a consequence of this, there is a corresponding conversation about how America’s citizenry cannot expect to be “saved” by the police in accordance with the ways our traditions tell us should happen. In short, we are now being told in various ways, both direct and indirect, that in times of crisis and need the police aren’t coming—-at least in the ways we have come to expect them to come.

      Have we always been on our own? For longer than we probably realize we have, indeed, been on our own; the difference between then and now being that the incidence and context of violence was just different enough that the “protect and serve” slogans on the sides of police cars could mean what we thought they meant. So, while we’re being told that police casualties are unacceptable in situations like Orlando, an inescapable truth becomes more and more prominent: had there been just one armed and trained private citizen in that room Mateen might well have been stopped before he killed so many people. We’re on our own.

    • I beg to differ. It may be all leadership or lack thereof in Orlando, but not in Dallas. Witnesses there have gone on record that police officers there were actually shielding the very people that were protesting against them during the shooting.

      • I’ll don’t want to take anything away from the bravery of the Dallas cops who moved toward a kill-zone in when the killing started. But, to be more specific, when someone in a position to influence police policy says “No [police] casualties are acceptable . . .” it’s a pretty clear indication that a disconnect is taking place between what the public expects of police and what the police are saying to themselves. If the disconnect between the police and the public grows, I suspect a natural consequence will be a continued growth of armed citizens who are prepared to defend themselves. This is entirely within our historical traditions.

  6. Is it possible that police higher-ups didn’t want to give an order that may cause more casulties? If that’s the case then their interest in protecting themselves and their jobs caused a lot of deaths due to inaction. Not saying this is the case just wondering if it was a factor. Bottom line is exactly what others have posted, you are on your own.

    • Of course- that’s exactly what happened. If they don’t order their officers to charge in an neutralize the jihadi, they can just blame the resulting deaths on the jihadi. But if they order the charge and even one person dies, they are crucified for being too aggressive. There’s a career-safe path, and a career-dangerous one.

  7. Here’s the thing that you and I both know, JWT. People can rant and rave about militarized cops til they’re blue in the face. But the cops are not militarized. Period. Anybody can go to the surplus store and dress up like a soldier. Doesn’t make him a soldier.

    They’re cops. They hand out tickets, get involved in domestic disputes and help find little lost timmy.

    What happened in Orlando was combat. Not a tweaker boosting a 7-11.

    If we want a military response from our cops then we have got to have this talk on a national level. We have got to be comfortable with traffic cops driving mraps and decked out in all the goodies, including belt feds and grenade launchers.

    I, for one, support our police. But I don’t want to see them used like that.

    Orlando was a clusterfuck. But it was not workplace violence. It was a full on terrorist attack. So far, these are rare enough in this country that I don’t believe it justifies taking the cops to the next level.

    • ^^^This 1000%. While we ask cops to step into the line of fire at times to protect people, we wouldn’t grab those same cops and send them to Iraq. It’s not what they are trained or equipped to do. And unless Delta or Navy SEAL’s start setting up standby squadrons all across the US, we aren’t going to have the properly trained and equipped personnel to deal with these in the best possible way. They provide a deterrent, just like armed civilians provide a deterrent, but the odd attack like this will still slip through.

      • True. But the swat members are still not soldiers. And they answer immediately to a civil chain of command.

        If this event happened in 50 different American cities we’d see 50 different responses. Most of which have more to do with the local pols than the local cops.

        If these events do become regular then we’ll see a discussion about soldier-cops. Or even a national police force.

        I don’t like either idea.

        • “Most of which have more to do with the local pols than the local cops.” I am afraid you are correct, and Orlando is evidence of it. I really hate the idea that all over the country, the best practices for medical response are continually updated and rehearsed. But tactical response is not.

        • You know what your problem is, jwt? You’re a professional. You see the problem and move to address it. Pols are your natural enemy. They create more problems than they solve and get in your way when you try.

        • The only real solution is allowing people to protect themselves. If cops are looking out for #1, why can’t people too?

    • True. But SWAT’s purpose is primarily dealing with stopping criminals who are heavily armed. In the vast majority of their situations, the criminal involved doesn’t want to kill people and wants to live. In this case, both of those were false.

      I do think it was a failure on their fault, and the two failed breaches were not acceptable for the situation they had.

      I think my biggest takeaway from this is the need to have personnel with combat medic type training and equipment. Armed teams with more advanced medical training who can move to a forward position with ballistic shields to assess, treat, and exfil wounded people when it’s to hot for other emergency responders. But that’s probably a pipe dream.

      • “In the vast majority of their situations, the criminal involved doesn’t want to kill people and wants to live. In this case, both of those were false. “

        That might be true of the average ‘criminal,’ but it’s clearly not true of the ‘average’ spree shooter and certainly not true of the average terrorist.

        The latter are suicidal by nature.

        The police response in Orlando ranges somewhere between incompetent and completely misreading the situation they were dealing with. They are behind the times.

        If they are assuming the ‘average’ shooter nowadays is just a dude that made bad judgment and wants to live, etc, well, maybe they should go to Germany, France, Belgium or Sweden for a little OJT. That’s the reality.

        They can always read a situation and dial the response BACK if the bad guy is not a jihadist or suicidal spree killer. But to act like neither of those criminal classes exist would be pretty weak.

  8. The cops went home safe, so it was an excellent operation. What if maybe dozens of people died who didn’t have to die? None of them were members of the union, so they don’t count.

  9. I’ve been saying basically this for a long time.

    Cops are not there to casevac you! Thier job is to secure the scene, take as few police casualties as possible and capture or kill the attacker. You continuing to breathe is AT BEST a tertiary consideration.

    For the first hour or number of hours you’really on your own. Self-aid or buddy-aid is all you will get.

    My local Sheriff’s Department just had everyone go through a course on the use of CATs, Israeli bandages and Celox/QuikClot. They now carry that stuff with them. IT’S NOT FOR YOU!! It’s for them or a wounded deputy/officer.They were specifically instructed NEVER to apply any of their gear or training to a wounded civilian. No, it’s not an insurance thing it’s a “This shit is expensive and you never know when you’ll have an officer down” thing.

      • I’ll see if I can get my neighbor to go “on the record” about the specific fact that he’s been told not to use that stuff on civilians.

        He’s the Deputy that told me about it while I was testing the battery in his wife’s minivan. (Alas, the battery could not be saved.)

        You can get written accounts of similar stories from police over at Breach Bang and Clear though. They just reorganized the site however, so “Medical” doesn’t exist anymore so I’m not sure what Department they would be in now. I’d check “Pontifications” first though.

        The one(s) that I can remember off the top of my head are “Wishful Thinking & Playing Dead is Not a Plan” which comes in various installments and interviews numerous police officers and other LEO’s.

        Be advised that the site may well be NSFW (gratuitous boobage) and many of the articles formerly listed in “Medical” contain extremely graphic photos.

    • Nothing wrong with that. But you miss the point. The cops’ guns, tactical training and superiority are what were needed to save these people. They needed to create access to the wounded for the medics by permanently dealing with the shooter.

      It is that simple.

      • No offense, but it’s you who misses the point here Karl.

        When the police made entry and engaged this guy, forcing him into a bathroom, they could have held him there and evacuated wounded from the area they had already taken control of. They didn’t because that’s not their job. They only evacuate their wounded.

        Their job is to secure the scene and make sure it’s safe for EMS to go in. If you die from treatable injuries during that time frame that is simply not their concern. My point is that people think cops are there to “save” them when in face the police are not there to do that at all.

        In effect, nothing went wrong in Orlando. The cops did what they were there to do. Those that died while they were figuring out/doing it are not a concern to the police. That’s the point.

        • Criminologists who study police culture can point to the unionization and “professionalization” /sarc/ of police forces which has instituted divisions of labor that did not previously exist. In this new reality, taking care of wounded “civilians” is the role of (unionized) EMS technicians and not cops. If you talk to long-service, retired cops, they’ll tell you that things were very different before these union influenced artificial divisions-of-labor redefined and narrowed police roles. Depressing as it may be, changing these practices is almost impossible and we’re likely to see police unions and willing politicians continue to move police roles even further away from serving/saving the public.

  10. “What went wrong with the police response to the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre …”

    What response? Oh, you mean the police action that started 3 hours after the first call to 911. Could it have anything to do with the fact that it took police 3 hours to engage the attacker?

    • But it didn’t, and that’s a key point. There were at least 3 times that officers engaged the shooter. The first two times it was the officers that broke contact, apparently in accordance with their training.

  11. The police aren’t good soldiers and soldiers aren’t good police.

    This is an advantage that nutbag murderers have.

    I imagine they also thought he may have a bomb vest or other explosives.

    I withhold judgement since I wasn’t there. Could it have been better – probably.

    Could it have been worse. I can only imagine.

    • Well, then, could you say that armed citizens with prior military training would make good soldiers in an Orlando-like emergency?

      • I think it’s difficult to soldier in an otherwise civilian encounter.

        I think armed response early would have been better, prior military or not.

        The reality is that it may well cost lives of the good guys regardless of the level of training. As a general rule, non military personnel move away from danger and try to limit casualties in their immediate area. Unfortunately, those in the immediate area of the murderer suffer.

        Looking back at the LA shootout, the shooters were mobile and the police did engage but we’re unable to make a face shot to take them out. It seems that hurt the morale of those engaging and they hunkered down and fired from cover as best they could while protecting the wounded. Even with all the police it went for awhile with high casualties .

        We can’t prepare enough or mobilize enough people to prevent casualties. If more people carried then it seems it would limit them somewhat more than making cops into grunts or special ops.

  12. What the real response to Orlando should be is that the outraged citizens of Orlando run the mayor-city council out of office and the first actions of their replacements should be to fire anyone over the rank of sergeant in the Orlando PD.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

  13. My take away from this is simply never go into a place where they disarm you (if you can avoid it) and don’t expect the police (or anyone else for that matter) to risk their lives to save you. The police protecting/rescuing you should not be part of your self-defense strategy. I imagine that the only place I’d go where I have to be disarmed is the court house – and I’d surely note the location of any emergency exits there.

  14. I think the delay was from hostages calling 911, telling them he was putting bomb vests on innocents, and thru out the club. Orlando was almost impossible to train for. A bunch of people who refused to defend themselves made very easy targets for this terrorist. And complicated the situation for the police.

    • The claims that the attacker had bombs is just a distraction from the reality that the police were not going to run in and put themselves in harms way … at least not until they were able to stack the deck so heavily in their favor that they faced minimal risk of harm.

      Look at the situation: the attacker already shot and killed multiple people with no end in sight … and clearly had the means to continue to shoot and kill people. Whether he uses a firearm or a bomb to kill more people after any given point in time is immaterial.

      Some people would claim, “We should not storm the castle because that might push the attacker ‘over the edge’ and cause him too detonate a bomb and kill people.” And I can say, “We should not storm the castle because that might push the attacker ‘over the edge’ and cause him to open fire with his rifle and kill people.” What is the difference?

      Once the attacker has demonstrated that they are a spree killer, there is nothing more to consider. The sooner that someone goes in to stop the spree killer, the more lives they will save.

  15. John Wayne Taylor, TTACer, and strych9 are all converging on the explanation of the truth.

    Remember, the only mission of police is to enforce laws in a general sense. That mission includes capturing criminals in a general sense. Their mission does NOT, I repeat, does NOT demand that they lay down their lives to save others.

    Some individual police officers willingly risk their lives to save others because they have a deeply personal sense of honor and duty to their fellow man/woman. They would, in all likelihood, risk their lives to help others even if they were not police officers. The rest of the police force have no such motivation and refuse to risk their lives for others. (Such officers who find themselves in life/death situations are only in those situations because they failed to see them developing.) What you never see are police officers risking their lives because their department told them to.

    This inconvenient truth illustrates that we are on our own. That is why we should all be prepared to defend ourselves from any attacker who comes calling.

  16. So let me ask this question; while this guy was confined to the bathroom were officers while being covered by other officers dragging people in the club to safety? Were they getting the injured out of there or just letting people bleed to death?

  17. Time and again, its demonstrated that citizens do not get their monies worth when police engage active shooters. The cost in lives is too much. As I have said before, Police fail to understand the difference between a Police action and Combat. It’s a mind-set. Once a mass murder position is fixed, two choices exist. Diddle or attack. Two officers withdrew because they feared for their lives and was outgunned. Remember police have NO duty to protect you nor hunt the murderer. SWAT showed and once they learn shooter is in a solid defensive position survival kicks in and police have the “right” to go home alive don’t they? The action may turn to can we negotiate? When in doubt Attack.

    A simple X breach charge or multiple breach points would knock a hole in any wall, whether concrete or wood, but doubt they practice it.

  18. The whole thing would have been much different if people weren’t barred from defending themselves with the best means possible. Not everyone in a club is drinking so why should everyone have to disarm?

    • Florida law allows for (sober) employees of a bar or nightclub, who aren’t otherwise prohibited from doing so, to carry a firearm while on premises and working, with the explicit authorization of the venue’s owner. Concealed or openly, even. No security certification is needed, either. I think bars and nightclubs, especially those catering to the gay population, should have at least one trained person on duty at all times with a firearm.

        • He was outside guarding the entrance and as such was the first person engaged by the attacker. If I recall correctly he fired at the guy moving into the club but didn’t have much of an impact. Truth be told I don’t recall ever hearing any more about this guard and what followed after this. Maybe others know more details.

          Also this is simply common sense – approach the armed guard using surprise and eliminate him first, them move on to the defenseless people inside. Also recall that this attack happened at last call and there likely were a lot of people going both into and our from the club – adds to the confusion.

        • Can’t respond to Mr 308 below for some reason, so I’ll put it here.

          In my opinion, outside is one thing, and you are right. Anyone rushing the door will engage the guy they see with a weapon first.

          Inside, it’s another story. I think venues should have a trained employee inside, who is armed. Someone who knows the building and knows when and where to strike at an attacker. For PR purposes (customers would be a little jittery seeing an armed person inside a club) the employee should be carrying concealed.

  19. I don’t know if this has always been the case, but I was kind of surprised when I trained as a firefighter about eighteen years ago; how much the focus was never risk your life, even for fellow firefighters, let alone for your fellow citizens. We are called a para-military organization after all, with military rank and chain of command, where risking ones life, I thought, was part of the job.

    I figure this bureaucratic enforced cowardice is just another sign of the corruption and degeneracy of the fallen state of our once great republic. Just think, as our Founding Fathers, as unpaid volunteer militia, faced the greatest military power of the time, I’m sure the thoughts running through their minds was that they would have the courage to face the enemy unto death, and that to run from from the field of battle, was the greatest dishonor, and a show of craven cowardice.

    So many did hold, and many did not, but at least the expectation of standing to face the enemy, to the death, was the norm of the time.

    I think of the time back in the sixties and the response to Charles Whitman mass murder from the Texas University Tower. Regular citizens came from all over Austin with hunting rifles to shoot back at the killer, and a citizen, Allen Crum, a book store employee, was one of those that went with other police officers to break into the fortified tower to finally stop the slaughter. The expectation today? Not only has that expectation of running to the sound of guns by the general citizenry fallen to the way side, but now, even the “Professional” police force have become more concerned about simply writing tickets and drawing chalk lines around the bodies of some strangers, than ever to even think of risking their lives, for what was once “fellow citizens”.

    • I figure this bureaucratic enforced cowardice is just another sign of the corruption and degeneracy of the fallen state of our once great republic.

      (slow clapping … changing to fast clapping … changing to thunderous applause)

      That there just might be the Internet quote of the year!

  20. Based on some of the comments, I want to reiterate that we should not assume any level of cowardice among the responding officers. Again, according to their chief, they acted in accordance to their training. That’s what we should expect of law enforcement. I have no reason to doubt that some of the officers desperately wanted to continue to pursue the attacker, but they fell back on their training instead of following their instincts. They should not be slighted for doing what they have been trained to do and told to do.
    It is the policy and the training they obeyed that should be held into question.

      • Ralph, I’m not just trying to be polite. It’s an important distinction. It’s easy to train brave men to make the right actions, but it’s damn hard to train around cowardice.

    • Yep. Bureaucratic enforced cowardice. When one looks at the response to the Charles Whitman murders by the citizenry and the police of the time, and now? One can see the progressive influence in the current focus of “don’t risk your life under any circumstance”. It infects everything that was once considered noble, honorable and courageous, and turns it into a cravenly and cowardly focus of simple survival as the highest good, at all costs. No matter if that means the deaths of the innocent, the helpless or the defenseless.

      • Yes and today if a citizen was to try and jump into action to fight an attacker alongside the police he would likely just be shot himself or at even the best case just arrested for his trouble.

        Yes there may be exceptional cases and every situation is different, but broadly speaking this is what would likely happen.

        We need the officers to start seeing us as equals and not just a bunch of cattle to be ordered around and assaulted whenever they get the chance to. Right to keep and bear is what makes this happen. If all of us carried the cops would certainly have a much better attitude about us – they know that most of us are not in fact criminals, and if they were respecting of our rights that would go a long way.

        Which is part of the reason they are essentially required to be anti 2a by their unions and at some level by management.

        • The Federalist Papers talks about why having a Citizen Militia as a first reaction force as essential to maintaining liberty. The Founders saw the same type of falling out of favor in the public expectation to be the first line of defense, and the arrogance and contempt the police force that develops towards the public they are supposed to “protect”. This is what happens when the people places the responsibility for the public defense in the hands of a “professional” police force..

    • Mr. Taylor,

      Well, in actuality it may not even be cowardice but simple indifference.

      When a seriously dangerous (I cannot overstate how dangerous) pair of large German shepherd dogs headed to my neighbor’s yard, where I was almost certain their garage door and their door to their home was open, I headed over as fast as I could get the raw meat juice off my hands and get my shoes on. And I was “rewarded” with a deadly encounter with both dogs that included 4.5 pounds of force on the 5 pound trigger of my semi-auto handgun pointing at the dog which just ignored the owner in order to charge me from over 50 yards away.

      When that neighbor saw the video of that event, he was mortified and pretty much turned white as a sheet. He realized that those dogs were 70 feet away from killing his 95 pound wife and 18 month old toddler. He also realized that I faced serious injury/death and serious legal consequences in that event. Needless to say, he struggled to express just how profoundly thankful he was to have a neighbor like me.

      How many other people would step-up these days and go to that level to look out for their neighbor? How many police would do that without their qualified immunity and police union to defend them in court? That is what is missing in our communities. Whether it is cowardice or indifference doesn’t really matter. We have to face the fact that inaction is now largely institutionalized.

      • “How many other people would step-up these days and go to that level to look out for their neighbor? “

        Given that “My gun is for me and mine only” and worse responses we get around here, I’m guessing: “Not many, even on this site.”

        • And that just goes to prove my point that inaction/indifference is largely institutionalized in our nation.

        • Honestly, most of that is again, because of cops who hate us and laws/prosecutors that have contempt for us. Civic-minded defensive action is a GREAT way to get the opportunity for cheap tattoos and a lot of spare time, unfortunately. As a country, we have become far too bound by the overbearing concept of “law”. We have too many laws, and too many prosecutors/cops/judges who would rather put someone away for “breaking the law” than applaud someone for doing the right thing even if it broke some moron’s arbitrary idea of how to conduct yourself.

  21. This puts the nails to the reality of the situation.

    We have some good data on the survivability within mass shooter situations. Pretty solidly, where response is prompt and medical triage is immediate, we have at least twice as many wounded survivors as we have killed. (Aurora: 12:58, Tuscon 6:13)If the shooter kills 10, you are often going to have 20 or more wounded who are ambulatory or rescued by medical help.

    Much like how we can’t expect airplane hijackers to let everyone go, we can’t expect hostage takers to be intending on letting anyone out alive. Plan accordingly.

    At the Pulse, we had 49 killed and 53 wounded. Almost an even ratio. That immediately suggests somewhere around 20 who would have been saved by prompt emergency medical attention, who did not get it because the police did not press the attack.

    The problem was how they redefined the situation. I think they must address ‘barricaded gunman’ situations differently in the future, and if he’s shot anyone previously, assume he’s planning on shooting the rest, do not shift from ‘active killer’ stance, and act accordingly and aggressively to save as many lives as possible.

    • And I’m sure that there are Orlando cops who will go to great lengths to not read the final text messages of the wounded people who were allowed to die in the building. There are plenty of police who detest the limitations placed on them by their unions and by compliant politicians. If they want to keep their jobs there’s not a lot they can do but follow departmental policies.

  22. In the old days, if you were on a plane and it got hijacked, the worst that would happen is an unplanned trip to Cuba. After 9/11, hijackings are (and should be) treated differently.

    After the recent mass shootings, it seems to me that stopping the shooting ASAP should be the priority. In particular, the shooters need to be pressured by police lest they have more time to kill.

    • After 9/11 there was a sea change in the public mindset, too.

      There are quite a few examples of hijacking/bombing attempts that were stopped by passengers the second they saw something sketchy going on. After the standard passivity resulted in 3,000+ deaths — and after the passengers of Flight 93 stopped the terrorists from crashing a plane into the White House — it switched from “don’t antagonize them” to “let’s roll.”

      As pod says below, everything changes when the victims have an “oh no, you don’t” mindset and fight back in numbers. That’s what we need in response to the new threats we’re facing. Let’s roll.

  23. Research also needs to be done into actions patrons can take in the instance of an attack. Unless the attack is by multiple people, people need to remember that the gunfire only goes in one direction in a given moment. While loss of life is inevitable, it can be minimized if multiple people were to swarm the attacker. I don’t care how good you are, if ten people suddenly pile on, the dynamics of the fight suddenly change. Yeah, it’s a bit cinematic, but I think it could be done.

  24. The Orlando cops were freaking wrong. The biggest lesson police trainers got from Columbine is you don’t freaking wait for backup while people are being executed. Maybe they just didn’t care? Incompetent or criminal. One or the other.

  25. Some things you just can’t un-see.

    In this case, it was a screen shot of someones phone. It was the texting app, and it showed someone texting them about how the shooting was underway, and he was hiding in the bathroom.

    Chillingly, the last message was something akin to “He’s here, I’m going to die.” I don’t know if the author was in fact a victim, but I have to assume he was.

    The fundamental issue in this case, however, was that the first message and the last message were more than a 1/2 hour apart. This poor soul huddled in terror for at least a 1/2 an hour before the gunman hunted him down and executed him.

    1/2 hour.


    • Yes, he did die, seconds after sending that message.

      My daughter sat in her room and cried for an hour after seeing that. I got angry.

      Our country’s “progressive” politicians have blood on their hands. They put a lot of effort into making sure everyone in that club was helpless against a mass-murdering fanatic. They created that situation by passing laws that abridge individual civil rights AND kill people.

      They’re my enemies as surely as if they had shot at me themselves.

  26. Ok, so… cops aren’t soldiers, they aren’t trained like solders, and we shouldn’t expect them to act like soldiers.

    If that’s the case, then they all need to hand over their MRAPs and their M4 select fire rifles. If they aren’t soldiers then they don’t need the tools of war. They can get along with passenger cars and semi-auto rifles just like the rest of us.

    • Cops are civilians, just like you and I.

      The word by the way, civilians, historically means someone not a member of the military, however it has been obfuscated in recent decades as people use it in reference to people who are or are not police officers. This is in truth just another part of the socialist attack on our society – redefining language to bend it to their will. Progressive, liberal – even the definition of ones gender had been perverted.

      This is purposeful.

      In the classic definition cops are civilians. A cop may just quit if he decides to for any reason. A cop may or may not respond to orders based on how he wants his next performance review to go.

      In the military you cannot quit, you do as you are told, or you face severe punishment.

      These are completely different mindsets, completely different people. The progressive wants to blur the lines between what a civilian is in contrast to a state law enforcer.

      • I’ve noticed this usage of “civilian” creeping into the firefighting services too, and I’m actively resisting it. When someone (usually higher-ups at paid departments) uses the term “civilian” (often at a fire school in training classes), I object “Uh, I’m a civilian. Who are we talking about?”

        When they try to say “No, you’re not a civilian,” I respond “Uh, I’m pretty darn sure I am. I’m not a member of the uniformed military branches, never have been, I’m not bound by the UCMJ, and I’m pretty sure you’re not either.”

        When these paid, big-city firefighters start asking “well, what should we call them then?” I suggest “Taxpayers, the public, the people we serve… you know, the nice people who paid their taxes so we could have all this nice shiny paint on big trucks?”

        This “us and them” BS is something that really, really annoys me.

        If someone suggested that our VFD was a “para-military organization,” I think our chief would giggle, the chief of the VFD in the next district over would break out in a guffaw, and some of the female chiefs of our more remote districts would look at whoever called a fire department a “para-military” organization with that look mothers reserve for when their children have said something especially stupid.

  27. Nothing went wrong.

    All the cops went home safe that night. Once you understand the priorities, you will understand the action they took and how it contributed to the intended outcome.

  28. It is not a matter of cowardice or bravery. Court cases consistently rule police are not responsible for protecting anyone before, during or after a crime. There is not a department in the country who supports risking an officers life to save a citizen. If terrorists show up at your home and start torturing you and the family maybe post it all on you tube for the wold to watch – cops have absolutely no responsibility for assisting you if they feel they are at risk. Reference USSC Gonzales v Castle Rock, CO. and others. That is why gun ownership is so important. There are evil people out there. It doesn’t matter if the cops are 10 minutes away or 10 hours away. Nobody cares more about me and my family than me.

  29. I think there’s an underlying reality to this whole Orlando matter and Police responses to similar situations. Those who manage LEO’s in the field naturally regard each Officer as an asset with value far beyond whatever yahoo citizens they are trying to deal with. This value is created by the Officers’ Training, Equipment, practical experience and accumulated knowledge as well as their superiors’ knowledge of each individual as a person. The loss of one or several is a detriment to the Team. You do not, therefore, expend those valuable assets needlessly and do everything you can to preserve them, even to the point of letting people who are not one of those valued assets die, as in the Orlando fiasco.
    I am not saying this is what is foremost in the minds of LEO Management as they decide minute-to-minute what to do in a tactical situation, but it does affect “Policy Making” which defines “Training Doctrine” and is a strong driver, even if unconsciously, in decision making during a tactical situation.
    For the Officers there is a powerful morale factor in their perception of the loss of fellow Officers, their sense of comradeship, personal relationships and their perception of how “expendable” they believe themselves to be in the eyes of their management. This accounts, I think, for the attitude of the Police Unions in backing laws that favor the Officers they represent and what kinds of laws they choose to support.
    As an “ordinary citizen”, your life ONLY has value to you and your loved ones and friends. The State will pay lip service to the value of your life, if only to prevent a Public outcry, but the bottom line is the State regards each and every one of us as essentially “expendable”, particularly if our death(s) can be used to advance the interests and agendas of the State. The corollary to this is that in the associations with other people we enter into, we extend that sense of value to those beyond our immediate family as part of the association in order to build useful bonds of trust and reliance on those who are members of the same association.
    Depending on the immediate situation the circles of those bonds formed in our associations with others cross each other and the results may favor one group to the detriment and demise of other groups. Hence, the Orlando PD loses no valued assets in The Pulse shooting, but the patrons of The Pulse, unable to defend themselves, are killed outright and some left for hours to bleed to death with many others wounded while the Orlando PD decides how to resolve the situation and preserve its Officer assets.
    When you are denied and deprived of the capacity to effectively defend yourself…well, you all know the rest….

  30. “What Went Wrong With the Police Response to the Orlando Pulse Nightclub Massacre”


    “Assault, Assault, Assault”

    I learned that in PLDC back in ’94. 🙂

    Seriously. Action always > inaction.

  31. I am not sure on the current attitude with regards to LEO and what their actual obligation to protect people is but I will say this. I have been a member of the Coast Guard for 12 Years now. Our missions are diverse and I have done most of them. However our primary and the one I am most proud of is Search and Rescue. Now years ago we had a saying “you have to go out but you don’t have to come back.” That attitude and priority set has shifted. Now its more you have to come back and we would really like you to come back with the equipment intact as well. Don’t get me wrong, we still go out into massive storms, heavy seas, and even hurricanes. (i have personally been through 2 and let me tell you even on a 270′ boat they are not fun). But there has been a shift to officer safety. For instance we are not allowed to dive underwater technically to save someone unless we are certified as an Aviation Survival Technician (The guys who jump out of Helicopters in their neoprene onesies. Think the guardian movie). I think it was about 10 years ago they had a case down in Florida in the ICW where they had two boats hit each other. They came upon the scene and there were multiple people in the water some unconcious. Policy dictates that you do not leave the boat to rescue people unless you are at least trained as a rescue swimmer. The boat crew made a judgment call and jump in the water to save these people. For a time it was hit or miss whether they were going to be masted (NJP) for breaking policy or given medals. By the end the media attention won out and they got medals but it was a close call. I’m not saying the responders to orlando where wrong or right, if they were following policy and training then we can not blame them, however sometimes its better to jump in the water then to sit back and watch.

  32. I think until you have had to deal with a critical incident of that level, and until you have had to point your weapon at another human being with the threat of being killed is very real, then maybe armchair quarterbacking and criticizing Orlando PD is not the best route. Nobody on this forum was there that night. I certainly wasn’t. Situations are fluid and dynamic. We pay cops to protect us. You don’t like that, talk to your congress. Your local .gov
    You don’t like their training, go become law enforcement and suggest changes. The fact is they did the best they could. Minimizing first responder loss of life is paramount. The more manpower the more room for error you have. No loss of life is ever a good thing nor is it acceptable, but it is a reality. You have a right to freedom of speech. Let’s not use it to persecute others and divide one another. Especially not victims, or cops.

    • Jeff, I have met both of your criteria for the ability to criticize. But even if I had not, it is entirely appropriate to call into question ineffective training, tactics, and policies. If we only allow those directly responsible for the failures to judge themselves, we will never get better outcomes.
      If you ate at a restaurant and got food poisoning, would you leave it up to the cook to decide what went wrong and to make sure it didn’t happen again?

  33. “This is not military combat where there are acceptable casualties on both sides. Law enforcement doesn’t have that conversation. No casualties are acceptable.”
    Is this not the inevitable result of police militarization? Once they get the gear and adopt the tactics the strategies and rules of engagement won’t be far behind. As is evident here, disregard for the “non-combatants” appears to be a thing again. After Columbine there was a shift away from trying to wait out the shooters. It looks like the cycle has come full circle again.

    Nobody cares about your safety more than you do. Think about that a minute. Since most of society is stuck in the mindset of, “The police will keep me safe, so I don’t have to.” . . . and nobody cares more than you do, what’s the standard of safety you can expect from others? Including the police.

  34. A lot of people are making bad assumptions here about what happened during the 3 hours. The officers weren’t just standing around watching people bleed out. They WERE trying to get the wounded out– they released some body cam footage that shows it happening. No, they didn’t let the paramedics in but they certainly weren’t doing nothing.

    • Mike, you are talking about two different locations. Officers did help some of the victims inside the club, those that were in the open on the main floor. Not all, but some. They did not attempt to get to the dying in the bathrooms as the shooter was right there with the victims. They did not attempt to stop the shooter or rescue the dying for almost 3 hours. That’s according to Orlando PD.

  35. I agree with you pretty much all the way until the very end JWT, I only diverge slightly on this point: “Who’s missing from that equation? The victims. The dying. Those are the “acceptable” casualties.”

    That’s the problem, no loss of victims is acceptable and the police really have their balls in a vice on this one. They wait, people die, they rush in and people die. There was no good outcome because anything the police did in that situation someone was getting killed for it; the general public will never accept victim casualties. I do agree though, it doesn’t seem they probably shouldn’t have backed down and hard charged it to end it faster. Do we know if they were at least trying to get people out while they had him corned in the bathroom?

  36. “But then, police decided not to pursue him.”

    And ?

    On this blog, we see many statements by a number of law enforcement agents, politicians, blog owners and commenters that police have no duty to protect citizens. Why do we have any further interest in what the cops did/didn’t do? They showed up. We can’t complain both that they have no duty to protect us, and that they didn’t protect people.

    I always like JWT postings and comments, but let this one go.

  37. Military or police, both get paid to “protect and serve.” If bullets come their way, well that’s part of the job especially if the job is SWAT or HRT. Somebody’s head will eventually role even if just a scapegoat. The DOJ is “looking into” the response (time) of LEO’s involved ( ). I’m not holding my breath.

  38. Maybe it’s because I’ve taken up the whole volunteer firefighting thing, but my first thought to people trapped in a building (regardless of how they’re trapped) is “get them out.” For firefighters, that might mean we get to break out all the neat-o tools we have that dramatically decrease the value of a piece of real estate.

    I’ll leave the whole issue of analyzing the lack of frontal assault to those who have that training. My question has always been “The responders could see that there was no way out for those trapped with the shooter, so why not create more ways out? What took them so long to see the obvious?”

    In three hours, there was no way to get a backhoe or excavator from a rental or construction company in that area? No one thought to just grab up a structure engine, point the rear end at the side of the building, put it into reverse and firewall the accelerator? There’s at least a dozen ways I could think to breach the walls of a building like that with some speed, none of which would require explosives.

    Would some people have been hurt? Quite possibly. But the SWAT team would have been able to gain a second aspect on the shooter much more quickly, bringing his ability to murder people to an end, and enabling the EMS folks to enter the scene.


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