10-Dec-14 – 00:01 by ToddG
My family consists of pretty well educated, intelligent, and fair-minded people. Nonetheless, recent events regarding law enforcement use of force (UOF) — Ferguson, NYC, etc. — have thrown into stark relief just how much their ideas of right & wrong, reasonable & unreasonable are based on fictional television events rather than reality.
Many years ago while I was still in law school, I had a tremendous opportunity to test that issue. For a project in one of my criminal law classes I was invited by the DEA tactical training cadre to bring half my class (and professor) down to the FBI/DEA “Hogan’s Alley” force on force training village in Quantico, Virginia. This was during the time that Waco & Ruby Ridge were being investigated by DOJ and federal law enforcement UOF rules were under severe scrutiny.
Our group was put through a number of exercises ranging from the classic Tueller drill (attacker 21 feet away charges at you with a knife) to team room-clearing.
A few days later I had to present my paper to the entire class. The half that attended the force on force (FOF) exercises sat on the left side of the room and the other students sat on the right.
Just a few minutes into my presentation I brought up the danger of a knife wielding attacker. The right side of the room grew indignant immediately and argued that someone twenty-one feet away — the length of an entire room — simply couldn’t be a deadly threat to someone with a gun. Before I could even reply, the left side of the room erupted in angry shouts: “You’ve never been there!”
Next we discussed opening a closet door to find a stranger holding a pistol that was pointed down toward the ground. Again the students on the right side of the room insisted he couldn’t be threat because he wasn’t pointing the gun at anyone. And again the left side of the room lost its collective mind: “Do you have any idea how fast someone can point a gun at you from that position? It’s faster than you can see it and respond before you get shot!”
It was the easiest presentation I’ve ever given. I’d just toss out a scenario and the folks who’d actually experienced the fear (and pain) of making a mistake when violence was present did all the arguing for me.
The lesson was pretty clear. On television, good guys can yell, “Stop! Police!” and if the bad guys don’t stop, the good guys always have plenty of time, distance, and ability to shoot them. But when it’s dark and you’re in a cramped hallway and you don’t know what’s around the corner, suddenly things aren’t so easy to predict…
Train hard & stay safe! ToddG
(image courtesy of wikipedia)