When would you have taken decisive action against this man who threatened so many? Practicing Active Self Protection means knowing when the right time is to act, and the right actions to take! So many times officers get scrutinized incredibly carefully, but body cam footage like this shows us how difficult it can be to decide exactly when to act.
Original video of the officer involved shooting from the news: https://get-asp.com/os9r
This guy was known to be violent, and the officers had that information: https://get-asp.com/462j
What does this officer involved shooting teach Law Enforcement Officers and Armed Citizens alike?
- Whether you’re LEO or CCW, you need to know what force options you have available and when to abandon one and move to another. (“force options” are a better model than the older “force continuum” model) You need to know when your pepper spray is the best option, or when to abandon it (or the TASER) in favor of your firearm in a split second decision. The best way, of course, to learn and embed these options in your mind is to train in force on force scenarios with the options and then respond to the situations appropriately.
- You must understand that your intermediate force options, those in between hands and firearm/knife (like pepper spray, TASER, baton, etc.) will not always be effective. They are designed to be used BEFORE a threat becomes a deadly threat, and we must always be ready for them to fail us. At that point, we must quickly decide whether the right answer is to move to empty-handed skills or to deadly force options.
- Our goal as self-defenders is to stop the threat. We are not vigilantes and we are not out to kill, we seek to stop the threat against us. Shooting to wound will not stop the threat reliably, and neither will shooting an attacker in an extremity. The only reliably means to stop an aggressor who means us death or grievous bodily harm is to put shots in the center of their available mass to cause nervous system collapse or bleeding out. (exsanguination is the technical term) Here after the first volley it was not at all clear that the threat had stopped, though of course the officers have to use care in not using too much force in the current environment. Shoot until the deadly threat is past!
- In a deadly force encounter, decisions of life and death will be made in the blink of an eye. On the range and in class we have time to consider and to think and to reset and to make multiple attempts, but when the balloon goes up in real life you’ve got fractions of seconds to decide what the best course of action is to protect yourself. The way to be better at decision making in the heat of the moment is training, specifically scenario training and force-on-force training that is designed to work on decision-making skills under stress. It’s offered all over the country, so get training!
- In a gunfight, movement is your friend. You must be ready not only to draw and fire, but to draw and fire while moving laterally, back, and diagonally. You simply will not stand still in a gunfight because it is against every instinct you have when in mortal danger! People who focus too much on stance or isosceles vs. Weaver forget this fact, but as self-defenders we must know that we will be moving. So practice and train movement on the draw and fire. This is a great reason to have airsoft trainers and practice draw and move in your dry-fire regimen as well.
- The rules of firearm safety apply in a gunfight, just like they do on the range or in your home. Whether you prefer to articulate them as Colonel Cooper’s four rules or the NRA’s three rules (I have a discussion of my preference here: https://get-asp.com/cfgf if you want to read it), you must have the presence of mind to keep your firearm pointed in the appropriate direction and only fire when you will not hit an innocent. You are morally and legally responsible for the rounds that leave your gun, so make sure to train and practice so that you take responsible shots in the moment of need.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.