Unlike your humble scribe, Ralph knows what it feels like to have bullets aimed in your direction. Surprisingly, our resident one-liner provider reports that the attempted murder made him angry. “I just wanted to kill him,” Ralph said. And there you have it: the “fight” part of the “fight, flight or freeze” response to life-threatening danger. While fighting is a perfectly understandable and entirely useful strategic option, it’s important to realize its limits. You need to know when to turn it on—and when to turn it off. You know; if you can. And if you can, you really need to stop fighting when your life is no longer in danger. To wit this, via chicagotribune.com: “The incident began when an eyewitness called 911 to report three masked men entering the business, according to Pat Camden, a spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police . . .
Four officers arriving at the scene heard gunshots from inside the business, then saw the three masked men carrying handguns fleeing outside, Camden said.
Behind them was a fourth man, later determined to be the store clerk, firing shots at the fleeing men, Camden said.
The cops, not knowing who the aggressor was, opened fire, Camden said.
Well, of course they did. Equally obvious, the Chicago cops are saying that it wazzunt them that shot the clerk. Maybe.
“(The officers) had no idea what was going on — police officers return fire, three offenders are hit,” Camden said. The store clerk was also struck, he said.
Camden said it wasn’t immediately clear whether the four were struck by police gunfire, or whether the men wounded one another.
“At this point, we don’t know if the (masked men) were hit by the store clerk, or…if the offenders fired,” Camden said. “It’s kind of all up in the air.”
In a statement released this morning, Chicago police said the officers wounded the three men, but only when they pointed their weapons at the officers. The statement also said the fourth victim, presumably the store clerk, was discovered wounded inside the business, but doesn’t say who shot him.
So we don’t really know if the cops would have opened fire on the trio of robbers if the clerk hadn’t been chasing the bad guys, attempting to shoot them. But we do know that the clerk got shot for his crime fighting/retaliatory efforts. That he was in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing.
Race car drivers call it the “red mist”: a state of mind characterized by unbridled aggression. They suddenly lose the ability to think, reason or plan. In other words, drive. Misted men often crash, and take others with them. As it did here, the red mist can lead to a real mess.
As always situational awareness and avoidance is the best “solution.” As far as training yourself to know when to stop goes, to avoid playing misty, the rabbi’s shoot/no-shoot video is ace and force-on-force training (paintball?) is a must. In any case, be mindful of your inner Dirty Harry. The shorter the gun fight, the luckier you get.