“Why couldn’t the police shoot the knife out of that guys hand? Why did they have to kill him?”
“Why did they pile on top of him with five cops? Poor guy got crushed! Police brutality!”
“Why did you hit him first? He was only yelling,he didn’t even touch you!”
“Why did he hit me? All I did was say that he’s an idiot!”
These are just a few examples of the kind of questions I have been asked about self-defense and violence over the years. As a rule, the people asking them either have very limited (often none at all) first-hand experience with violence or only encountered it as a bystander. The mere act of asking the question betrays their fundamental lack of information and experience on the subject. Usually, it means they really don’t know what they are talking about.
If you read this last sentence, get offended and start howling at the screen, ready to drink my blood, then let me answer those questions for you first:
#1: “Shoot him in the hand to disarm him!”
Shooting a knife out of somebody’s hand only works in the movies. It is next to impossible for the average police officer to pull this off, it’s just too difficult. If you don’t believe me, go to the range and try it. Then, factor in adrenal stress, fear, having to make a split-second decision to take that shot, the bad guy not standing still like a paper target, etc. See what I mean?
Also, the officer is responsible for that bullet. If he misses (as he likely will with such an impossible shot) and hits an innocent bystander, he’s liable. So by default, he has a vested interest to make sure every shot hits the bad guy. Aiming for the larger target that is center mass (the torso) makes a whole lot more sense and is actually possible, given enough training.
If your response is that officers need more training, then I agree. Not because it will teach them to shoot the knife out of an attacker’s hands, but because they are typically under-trained as is. Go ask a LEO how much firearms training he gets from the PD every year (get ready to weep…). Not what he does on his own time and dime, but as a part of his ongoing training. Then, go find out how much that costs. Then, figure out how much extra training the officers would ideally receive to conform to whatever standard you feel is needed. Tally up that sum times the number of officers. It’ll be a pretty penny, even in small departments.
Final questions: are you prepared to pay extra taxes to fund this? If yes, awesome; you are putting your money where your mouth is and I applaud you. If not, fine, but which departments should get their budgets cut to free up those needed funds?
In other words, it’s easy to say the police need more training. It’s another matter making it happen. [Read more…]