Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Learning From Others

Let’s get two things clear from the start.  One: a CCW permit doesn’t make you a police officer or give you police powers.  This is big, so make sure you remember that.

The second thing is: Police are charged with using necessary force to take someone into custody or to stop a violent criminal.  Civilians are limited to equal force to defend ourselves and prevent a violent criminal from harming people we choose to protect.  While there are lessons we can learn from the police, sometimes they focus on what not to do as a CCW holder.

Take the Akron Beacon Journal story, “Reserve Officer Is Investigated,” published 21 Oct 2011.

The off-duty reserve officer saw a four young adults drinking in a car.  He attempts to take them into custody, they rabbit, but he’s got a grip on the steering wheel or the driver and gets dragged 100 feet until he lets go.  He’s injured (I’m trying to take out all the adjectives that color the story), but he gets to his feet , draws his weapon and attempts to shoot the driver, through the back window, to stop the potential danger to the public at large.  I want to note the officer was aware of the two females in the back seat.  Fortunately nobody was killed.

Now, there is a special relationship which exists between the prosecutor and the police which will never exist for civilians.  Simply put, without police cooperation the sound you hear is the auto destruct warning of the prosecutor’s career.  And the police know that without the cooperation of the prosecutor the jail cell doors might as well be revolving.  

These two entities are connected.  The prosecutor will cut the police some small amount of slack that you and I are unlikely to experience.

Back to our story.  The officer stopped firing as the car pulled out into cross traffic as innocent people or no-shoots got in the way. 

I’m not going to rehash the entire article.  I don’t trust the veracity of the news media.  I wasn’t there and have no idea what the perceived or legal reality was for that officer when he pulled his weapon.  I will say I suspect that if a civilian attempting to stop a drinking driver from driving by shooting through the back car window the legal outcome would be significantly different.

Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh has one good piece of advice for all armed individuals: “His use of force was acceptable since he ceased firing and innocent persons were not injured.”  In other words stop shooting when you are endangering bystanders, especially when the danger to you has been removed.

One final note: the driver pleaded guilty to a felony charge of assaulting a police officer and receiving stolen property (where did that come from?).  A drug and obstructing justice charges were dismissed and the city never filed drunk driving charges.  The driver left court with probation and did not go to jail, did not become a guest of the state for 10 years.
I don’t know.  This entire affair isn’t quite kosher.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bitter Lessons

“I trust my equipment and my training.”  That quote was in the newspaper.  I believe him.  He’s still alive and, well, what else can he say.  

There was a near fatality Saturday morning at Bridge Day in West Virginia.  Point of fact, I don’t know if he’s still alive or not.

The story?  Hard to say exactly what happened.  About mid-morning a fellow in a 'squirrel suit' and chute jumped off the platform like so many before him.  A squirrel suit has cloth panels under the arms and between the legs like Rocky the Flying Squirrel, hence the name.  Me, I think they call them squirrel suits because you’re nuts to wear one.  The suit is supposed to give you more glide or slow your descent or something that gives you an advantage over other BASE jumpers.  People who wear them tend to open their BASE chutes late ‘cause it’s really a crowd pleaser. 
To jump off the New River Gorge bridge you need 100 skydives in your log book.  That’s a lot of training.

Your equipment has to be checked the day before, followed by a visual inspection on the platform.  I understand there are other routine inspections.  You can trust the equipment.

So what happened?  He had the training, had the right equipment, right?  He opened late, too late according to witnesses in the landing zone.  His chute never completely opened, its lines were still stretching.

We’ll never know what he was thinking but it should be clear, training and equipment aren’t enough.  You need good sense.

Take a lesson here.  Tactics is about applying skill with weapons, your training and good sense to solve a problem.  Surviving is the measure of your success at this.

Nobody is going to be impressed if you give up an advantage because of your knife or gun or last school attended.  Giving up an advantage because you have the certificate from the newest Super-School or own the hottest new gun tricked out with laser, light and echo-locating sonar is a mistake.

Just because he’s holding a $99 POS shooter and has the junkie shakes doesn’t make you invincible.  Give away your advantage and you could still end up on a slab in the morgue.

Well, Saint Peter, he was a kid with some Chinese junk knife and I figured my Cold Steel and I...

Remember, there are no style points in survival.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gunshow Observations

Airsoft fans already know this but for the rest of us:  Glock has taken out an injunction against the airsoft manufacturers from making airsoft Glocks.  It’s not about safety or concern that you’ll paint the orange safety muzzle black.  Glock wants a cut of the profits.

I was told you could sell your airsoft Glock online for big bucks, but then you wouldn’t have it to practice with.  

If you anticipate ever needing your Glock for self-defense, you should be training and one great way is force-on-force.  Police and high-end schools can use Simunitions, but many police prefer airsoft because you can use it anyplace and clean-up is sweeping the floor.  

Civilians can do the same with eye protection and airsoft.  Don’t surrender your training options to make a little money unless you have no other options.

I was at a gun show this weekend and saw a fellow with a police shield issued by the S&W Collectors Association.  He was wearing it on his hip like police do.  I have always thought this is a mistake. 
What do the police think?  Do they wonder if you’re a wannabe cop?  Or are you one of those strange rangers trying to fool people? 

Me?  What do I think?  I think most police associate phony police badges with child molesters.  I’m not LEO, but that’s what I think too!  I’m a little horrified that the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) issues Texas Ranger-like stars to their members and some of them wear them on civilian clothes.  The last thing you should want is that people think you’re impersonating a police officer.

Bad Juju all the way around!