Do you know what your boundaries are in regards to when you would draw your firearm? When you’d use it? Practicing Active Self Protection means knowing when an encounter escalates from verbal to physical to deadly threat, and this showcases the truth of that!
Original video: http://get-asp.com/gsj8
News story with more details on the incident: http://get-asp.com/vrzr
How do I protect myself from an escalating deadly threat?
1. We must first recognize the changing nature of a confrontation. This applies well past LEO, to CCW holders as well. This situation started as a call about a man attacking a woman in the area, and this officer started very calm and verbal. The man quickly escalated it by retrieving an improvised weapon and attacking the officer with it. We must all know our boundaries regarding when we are willing to use deadly force to protect ourselves, and when a verbal altercation changes into a physical or even a deadly threat.
2. Movement in a gunfight is not just good; it is critical. You must be able to hit a target while it is moving and/or while you are moving. We almost NEVER see a gunfight where a person faces a deadly threat while standing still in a perfect isosceles stance and draws and fires. Far more often you will be in a compromised stance, moving. So learn to move! Move laterally, diagonally, and vertically. You must be able to move and shoot accurately, so hone that skill.
3. Spatial awareness is important. Knowing our environment (everything in us, on us, and around us) means knowing the best places to go if we have to move in a hurry. Officer Blanford did what he had to in the moment and I am not criticizing his action, so don’t hear me doing so. When he moved to his left, though, he got caught in a corner where he really had few movement options. After the suspect moved away, he did a great job getting behind the car (or where he could use it to maintain distance). If you can, know where your safety lies and try not to put yourself in a corner.
4. We train and practice to shoot until the threat stops. Officer Blanford executed an excellent double tap in this instance that was effective in getting the suspect to change course and stop his attack, and once the threat ended, Officer Blanford stopped shooting. We do not shoot to kill but to stop the threat. Once the deadly threat has been stopped, we stop shooting and re-assess our needs for follow-up actions.
5. An attacker can be a deadly threat from a long way away. You might feel safe when someone is 10 or 15 feet away, but they can close that distance remarkably fast. Officer Blanford had his firearm out and on target when the suspect charged him, and still he was able to close that 15 or so feet and pose a deadly threat before the officer could shoot. Don’t think that distance creates safety automatically!
6. Respect the LEO in your life and your town, because they’re making $18 an hour (that’s under $40,000 a year before overtime, friends) to deal with stuff like this.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.