Whenever there is an Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) caught on video we should work hard to see what Active Self Protection lessons we can glean from it. I think this officer did a fine job! Could you have won this fight?
Original video from the Columbia, MO POA: http://get-asp.com/8kom
News story with details of the incident and what led up to it: http://get-asp.com/wc9m
What does this Officer Involved Shooting teach LEO and CCW alike?
1. Even in a gunfight, empty-handed skills are important because many gunfights close to “extreme close quarters” or “bad breath distances.” Knowing how to protect your firearm from being taken, and how to win the fight that you’re actually in rather than the fight you want to be in, is crucial. This officer knew that he had no time initially to draw his gun; he had to win the fight he was in and earn his draw. That’s an important skill to drill again and again in a fight. Whether an Officer Involved Shooting or an armed robbery, empty-handed skills are key.
2. To defend against this kind of attack, you need emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is defined as the ability to internally represent a situation or predicament to yourself in such a way as to make you strong and able to successfully defend yourself against it. Repeated practice and thousands of reps of sparring and self-defense absolutely build your emotional fitness to be able to handle whatever comes your way. This officer was on his back, with a man trying to kill him, in a fight for his life. In that situation you need to be mentally strong first before physical skill takes any effect!
3. The human body is designed to take a ridiculous amount of punishment and still function. You can shoot someone multiple times and they can still pose a deadly threat! Even mortally wounded people can continue to pose a threat for several seconds to even minutes after being shot, so don’t think for a moment that shooting someone will necessarily immediately incapacitate them. That is Hollywood myth. If you read this story, the second officer (who didn’t get on camera) shot this attacker multiple times eventually, and he kept fighting and kept resisting. Those shots, in the back, were not incapacitating! In many an Officer Involved Shooting we see the same.
4. The Five Ds are a tool that we use at ASP to organize our training and preparation for defending ourselves against an armed attacker when we are not armed ourselves. (or if we are armed but outdrawn such that we must deal with the problem with our hands) Deflect, Dominate, Distract, Disarm, Disable. We pursue them from first to last, in order, to give us the best chance of successfully defending ourselves against an armed opponent. Deflect their force multiplier, Dominate as much as possible (best is the whole person, second is the arm with the tool, last is the tool itself), Distract the attacker (usually using pain, redirection, movement, etc.), Disarm the attacker, and Disable the attacker. We couldn’t see them on the camera in all their details, but we certainly saw deflect and disarm and disable.
5. Fights are physically demanding. Sure, a pure gunfight might last 10 seconds and not place a huge burden on you physically, but the vast majority of encounters we see here at ASP involve physical self-defense as well. Getting into a honest-to-goodness fight with someone is incredibly physically demanding, so being physically fit is an important part of maximizing your chances to protect yourself. Fit people are harder to beat and harder to kill! Get on the mat and spend 30 seconds brawling with someone trying to dominate you and see how winded you are!
6. As one of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock, is fond of saying, the ground must be your friend and not your enemy. You must know how to fight on the ground and not panic if the fight goes to the ground! You must have skills from bottom position, from top position, and in the scramble. You must be able to regain your feet and fight from wherever you find yourself. Too many fights require this skill to ignore it!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
(music in the intro and outro courtesy of http://www.bensound.com)