These Las Vegas police officers had to think fast and have tools and skills to save the life of a man who shot at them and endangered many. They stopped the threat and saved a life, and for that they should be commended highly! This one is bloody, so beware. But it teaches important Active Self Protection lessons for LEO and CCW alike.
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As with all officer involved shootings, there are numerous news stories to go along with this one. I like the Las Vegas Review Journal reporting the best.
The officers involved are identified: https://get-asp.com/fl1t
What does this video teach us about defending ourselves against someone shooting at us?
- Evil exists in our world, and no amount of wishing it away does so. Evil people do evil things, and good people must be ready and willing to stand between them and innocent people and do enough violence to stop them definitively. No amount of negotiation will make truly evil people change their ways; only those willing and able to stop them who use attitude, skills, and plan effectively can. This guy was running and shooting and didn’t care who he hurt to get away.
- Our defensive strategy is always dictated by our mission. It’s worth remembering that the mission of military members (to overwhelm the enemy with force and drive them from the battlefield) is different than the mission of law enforcement officers (to protect and serve the public interest by subduing and arresting those suspected of crime) is different than the mission of armed private citizens (to protect their loved ones from harm by breaking contact effectively with violent criminals). Those varied missions will dictate what skills are needed and what tactics are employed! Non-sworn don’t chase stolen cars or run down fleeing suspects, as these Las Vegas police officers had to as part of their job. So even while we all learn lessons from the action, we must note that the differing roles mean differing goals and differing priorities.
- 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. These officers had a man shooting AT them, and at others, who kept moving for the gun for a long time.
- 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. I am not trying to say that the officer did a poor job here, and he self-corrected, and it’s really hard to stay aware in a real gunfight, but it’s also the time where friendly fire can have disastrous results. Keep the rules of firearms safety in your soul!
- Having a good tourniquet as part of your trauma medical kit is simple and necessary. NAEMT has a great PowerPoint on their need and use. (and another great resource here) There is a lot of misinformation and old information on tourniquets in the defensive world, but modern tourniquet technique says they can be applied for two hours without causing loss of limb. As for which one to carry, I strongly recommend either the Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) or the SOFT-T Wide. The best way I have found to carry it compactly is in a PHLster Flat Pack carrier. Keeping a tourniquet on your person and knowing how to apply it could save your life or the life of someone you love, so don’t forget it! This officer having his tourniquet on his person rather than in the car may well have saved this man’s life.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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