Honest question for you: if you’re in the situation these officers were, with a man putting rounds on you with a rifle, how would you respond? This takes incredible guts and a willingness to put your Active Self Protection into action. I say these officers did incredible work!
News story and all camera original videos of the officers being engaged: https://get-asp.com/iw4u
Full report of findings of the officers actions from the DA: https://get-asp.com/6axp
UPDATE: The perp in this video died: https://get-asp.com/xluq
What do these officers teach us about protecting ourselves against a determined attacker?
- There is a significant difference between territorial and predatorial violence. (I learned these terms from Marc MacYoung) Territorial violence occurs when an aggressor wants something from you; they put a line in the sand and tell you that you will give it to them, or they will hurt you. Muggings and rapes fall in this category among others. Predatorial violence occurs when the attacker wants you dead and there is no ability to comply with demands to live. In territorial violence compliance might get you out alive, but a predatory attacker will not be stopped short of your death or you having the attitude, skills, and plan to stop them. The officers here were facing predatorial violence, and no negotiation would help. It was time to use lethal force in defense of self.
- In any territorial or predatorial violence, the attacker gets to set the time and circumstances of the attack. They will almost always launch that attack from ambush, or as we like to call it in Umas, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself. The officers were both injured but both survived the ambush!
- 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! The training these officers had kicked in, and they moved and put shots on target, stayed in the fight and won. Well done.
- If you have a partner with you when you’re attacked (be it a LEO partner if you work on a team, or your spouse or martial artist buddy), you want to do everything you can to work as a team. Knowing each other well and communicating clearly will help you protect yourself from danger. This takes training and practice and commitment, but two partners working together present a formidable challenge to any attacker. These officers knew one another and were able to communicate with each other and with dispatch. If you have a partner, make sure you practice communication!
- Even if you’re injured, you must stay in the fight and not stop as long as you have consciousness. The human body is designed to take a ridiculous amount of injury and still function, so never stop fighting just because you’re injured! Even if you’re shot or stabbed, you have a 67-95% chance of surviving! (https://get-asp.com/ew3l and https://get-asp.com/p0hn give the details) So practice emotional fitness by knowing that even if the bad guy gets the jump and you’re injured, you’re still in the fight and still likely to survive if you take definitive action to protect yourself. These officers stayed in the fight, and that’s immensely commendable.
- First aid skills are important. If you’re going to train and prepare to take a life to defend yourself, you should also have skills, training, and equipment to save life should you need to. (I carry an individual first aid kit at a minimum: http://amzn.to/1Or4yVz ) Often that will not involve defensive encounters, and in a defensive encounter your primary responsibility is to yourself and your loved ones. The first responding officers in the original video had to get the gear off of the injured officers and start TCCC until EMS got there. Having those skills can save the life of a good person, so get them!
- Capacity matters. My rule of thumb is that I want a minimum of 5 rounds for each bad guy I might face, which accounts for 2 misses and 3 shots on target for each. (of course, you never want to miss…I am just accommodating me on my worst day) When the balloon goes up you will likely pull the trigger more times than you will expect, and no one at the end of a gunfight wishes that they had fewer rounds in their firearm. Both officers emptied their sidearm against this attacker, which means 15 and 18 rounds respectively. That was what it took to end the threat!
- 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. These officers found cover and concealment and were on the move so as not to get pinned down, and that was part of why they prevailed.
- As a firearms user you must be able to effectively use your firearm to protect yourself from various dimensional stages of action. (there’s a great article on the basic, no nonsense draw stroke here and here) The most common use is position 4, or the “press out” position where your arms are extended and you are accessing your sights. But you must know how to use the gun in position 3 (compression ready) and in position 2 (retention ready) as well! That takes practice and training with a competent instructor, and it should involve force on force also. These officers show that you also need to be able to use it from “urban prone” and from behind a car and kneeling. Get training so that you’re ready!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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