"Bran thought about it. 'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?' 'That is the only time a man can be brave,' his father told him." --- A Game of Thrones
Street Fighters know that pre-dawn, before kicking down the door, is the loneliest time of the night. Sunrise can be a lifetime away. The predators and the degenerates who lurk along the raw edges of the night know their quarry is vulnerable and alone. Street Fighters easily slip into the drone zone by accepting the natural hazards of their chosen profession. Street Fighters would have it no other way. Street Fighters experience a moment of tranquility when fear lessens, pins and needles of anxiety subside and the sudden surge of alertness billows into their brain. You have to be lucky to be good, but not good to be lucky, but sometimes luck just comes your way. Sacrifice, charity and concern for teammates are a characteristic of the Street Fighter. There is an unrefined, hungry thirst for adventure that lies in wait within the Street Fighter's instinctual biological drive. When that drive is released the Street Fighter discovers the result can either be thrilling, intoxicating and mind-blowing, or the result can be deadly. It is a verified fact that the majority of gun battles are won in the mind. Street Fighters must not only be skilled in the art of the gun but also understand how to get their opponent to psychologically quit the field of battle. The goal for Street Fighter Part Twelve is to hone the Street Fighter's mindset, skills and tools. Rational actions can be predicted but the risky part, stupidity, has a mind of its own.
Street Fighters know that pre-dawn, before kicking down the door, is the loneliest time of the night. Sunrise can be a lifetime away. The predators and the degenerates who lurk along the raw edges of the night know their quarry is vulnerable and alone. Street Fighters easily slip into the drone zone by accepting the natural hazards of their chosen profession. Street Fighters would have it no other way.
Street Fighters experience a moment of tranquility when fear lessens, pins and needles of anxiety subside and the sudden surge of alertness billows into their brain. You have to be lucky to be good, but not good to be lucky, but sometimes luck just comes your way.
Sacrifice, charity and concern for teammates are a characteristic of the Street Fighter. There is an unrefined, hungry thirst for adventure that lies in wait within the Street Fighter's instinctual biological drive. When that drive is released the Street Fighter discovers the result can either be thrilling, intoxicating and mind-blowing, or the result can be deadly.
It is a verified fact that the majority of gun battles are won in the mind. Street Fighters must not only be skilled in the art of the gun but also understand how to get their opponent to psychologically quit the field of battle.
The goal for Street Fighter Part Twelve is to hone the Street Fighter's mindset, skills and tools. Rational actions can be predicted but the risky part, stupidity, has a mind of its own.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol has a proud tradition dating back to when the Highway Patrol was created in 1930. The Patrol is an organization with a rank structure similar to the armed forces. Since its inception, graduates of The Citadel, my alma mater, have honorably served as troopers in the South Carolina Highway Patrol. In the past 88 years, 19 troopers have been killed by gunfire.
On 20 November 1992, Trooper Mark Coates, a marine veteran and father of four, was shot and killed after stopping a car for weaving in traffic on I-95 near the Georgia state line. During the traffic stop, the driver, Richard Blackburn, began to struggle with Trooper Coates and both fell to the ground. Blackburn fired a .22 caliber handgun bullet into Trooper Coates' chest that was stopped by his vest. Trooper Coates was able to kick Blackburn off and returned fire, striking Blackburn five times with his .357 Revolver loaded with Winchester plus P cartridges.
Blackburn was shot in his left buttocks destroying his hip and later required a hip replacement. He was struck in the back of his right arm causing massive tissue damage. A metal rod was surgically implanted from his elbow to shoulder. Another bullet exited between his spine and left kidney. A fourth bullet went through his right arm exiting the left side of his chest and a fifth round penetrated his left shoulder and exited his right chest. As Trooper Coates moved to cover and radioed for backup, Blackburn, despite his devastating gunshot injuries, fired another shot. This second round struck Trooper Coates in the left armpit beneath his ballistic vest and travelled into his heart.
COATES SHOOTING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x4GYccVO8Y
If you ever find yourself on the ground as Trooper Coates did, quickly turn your toe out so you get a good perpendicular alignment of the sole of your shoe to your attacker's knee, shin or ankle. Drive the kick in from your hip, creating space by propelling your attacker away from you. Draw your pistol, hold your attacker at gunpoint, and if legally justified, shoot him!
At the time of the Trooper Coates fatal incident, many police academies were teaching the Hollywood 'High Noon' approach where two antagonists face off and launch rounds at each other. FBI statistical data about Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) killed in the line of duty reveal approximately 50% of them who were killed with a firearm were struck at a distance less than five feet from the predator while 70% of LEOs were killed no more than ten feet from the attacker. Some academies wrongly assume there will be some distance of separation between the LEO and his assailant. However, in Trooper Coates' shooting there was not any distance of separation; Blackburn was literally right on top of him.
To a sociopath like Blackburn, facing death daily is simply part of his lifestyle. Predators like Blackburn come to accept they will either die in prison or will die violently on the street. Many times they are soused with booze or chemicals that cripple their common sense, suppress their fear and jack up their invincibility. Ironically, Blackburn was a regular user of marijuana and had illegally carried a handgun for eight years.
These predators hold life in low regard, particularly yours; are devoid of contrition and are pitiless, merciless and ruthlessly cruel. Predators are not some namby-pamby flimflam Billy Badass troublemaker with drooping pants showing the crack of their ass and a phony teardrop tattoo below the eye.
Adam 12 was a television police procedural drama that followed two officers as they rode the streets of Los Angeles in their patrol unit '1-Adam-12'. The show depicted the officers as they watched the changes in American culture through the windshield of their patrol car. Their genteel skill sets were more appropriate to dealing with the enfeebled roamers one would have expected to find in a bucolic 'home on the range' where a graceful white swan goes gliding along in a heavenly dream. They certainly would have been incapable of facing a viciously violent Blackburn in a life or death encounter where they would have to cause real physical pain to the assailant.
You may have squeaked through your agency 'Adam 12 School of Gun Fighting' with a gentlemanly bare minimum qualifying score and you may have never been in a fisticuff. If that is true, the predators will see right through your bullshit. You simply can't bluff the ilk of a professional predator. The Street Fighter's goal is to drive the fear of death into the predator's wicked soul. You want your fighting spirit to set off alarms and fear. You want the predators to feel horror and fear deep down in the pit of their stomachs if they fuck with you. When fighting the predators of the world the Street Fighter cannot be squeamish in the use of deadly force when legally justified. You are either psychologically controlling them or they are controlling you. The more you stay on the offensive, the more your momentum builds. The tactics you employ against the predators must be unpredictable.
While at the range Street Fighters must ingrain in their psyche that every round fired into a paper target is a bullet slamming into Lucifer who is hell bent on sending you to your grave. In Street Fighter Part 12 we will examine your options: what is your tactic if you are unable to move offline or if your attacker has his hands around your throat and is choking you? Quick lateral movement may not be a sufficient enough response to disrupt the attacker's aim if all you have is .33 seconds to move. You may have to attack by closing the distance to impede his draw stroke and finish the fight. You will have to wear protective equipment, grab a couple of airsoft pistols and go one on one with your training partner to determine what works and what doesn't work. How good are YOU about figuring out a reasoned response to unreasonable conditions?
Accessing your pistol and concealing your weapon many times work against each other. The faster you want your draw stroke, the lower the number of concealment options. On the other hand, the more you desire concealment the more you lower access time. This requires clothing compromises. Street Fighters know the gun comes first; the choice of garments comes second.
Street Fighters have a compelling tactical reason to hide their pistol. They do not want their cover garments to tip off predators to concealed carry. Remember the grey man. Before walking out the door of your house always look in the mirror. When negotiating with dope peddlers, the undercover Street Fighter wants to appear to be pure vanilla.
Most of our square range drills call for keeping your pistol in your holster until the whistle blows and then you draw and shoot. Street Fighters must ask themselves how tactically sound this training has been when they have to go to gun in a rip off. Street Fighters should consider practicing a stealthy or surreptitious presentation from the holster. Practice drawing your pistol little by little screened from the predator. Spend time at the range by rotating your torso away from the target so that your torso camouflages your movements. Likewise, any object the undercover Street Fighter holds in his hands at the time of the rip off could mask the drawing of the pistol. The goal of the Street Fighter is to shoot his attacker superfast before he is capable of shooting you without taking excessive time to achieve solid hits. Street Fighters learn this by putting in the necessary practice time on the trigger to determine how to hit without getting hit.
Wyatt Earp said, "a gunfighter must be capable of killing so that when he meets some sonofabitch who is trying to strike his death knell he will send his soul to hell. It is hard to make this clear to a man who has never been in a gunfight. Rapid solid hits are better than a slow tight group in a gun battle. Shoot what's handy, as long as it's handy, until something else becomes handier." The undercover Street Fighter must be perceived as the most dangerous stallion in the room. Running your handgun in a gun battle requires pistol craft that includes a lot more than shooting proficiency. Pistol craft includes the Street Fighter's mindset, his lifestyle, and his profession.
On 29 November 2009 at 0800 hours pure evil came hunting for police blood and won. Maurice Clemmons shot down four Lakewood, Washington police officers. Clemmons shot the first two officers, Tina Griswold and Mark Renninger, in the head as they sat quietly at a table eating an early morning breakfast in the Forza Coffee Shop. Neither officer had any warning and had no time to react.
Officer Owens, who had been seated at the table with Officers Griswold and Renninger, attacked Clemmons with his bare hands, never having drawn his pistol. During the melee Clemmons' Glock pistol malfunctioned and he drew his back-up revolver and shot Owens in his head. Officer Richards, who had been standing several feet away at the coffee counter, charged Clemmons. A violent hand-to-hand struggle ensued with so much savagery that Officer Richards' Taser and holster were ripped off his belt. Officer Richards managed to shoot Clemmons once in the gut, later determined to be a non-fatal gunshot wound. Despite being lamed by the gunshot, Clemmons wrenched Richards' Glock pistol from his hand and shot Richards in the head. Clemmons limped from the coffee shop out onto the street. He drove off before a massive police response arrived. Knowing that their ballistic vests protect officers, Clemmons executed all four officers with shots to their heads.
This ineffective training also ended tragically for Officer Richards. In an all- out fight for life Officer Richards' opponent, Clemmons, already wounded with a .40 caliber bullet in his belly, put a bullet into Officer Richards' face. Clemmons, the psychopath, was not stupid; he was able to transition from his jammed Glock to his pocket revolver. Clemmons carried a back-up pistol and knew enough to defeat the officers' ballistic protection by taking all four officers out with headshots.
With his identity concealed by a hooded jacket, the wounded fugitive escaped capture for several days. Clemmons was believed to be in possession of the pistol carried by the slain officer Richards. A Seattle officer who spotted the large mole on his left cheek finally recognized him. As Clemmons attempted to remove the pistol from his waistband, the Officer stepped out of his patrol car. Rapid shots were fired as Clemmons ran between parked cars into the front yard of a nearby home. The officer fired four additional shots knocking Clemmons onto his back. Paramedics subsequently determined Clemmons was dead.
In the 1980's, the San Diego Police Department pioneered the concept of Contact Cover. One officer would handle the physical contact while the second officers' responsibility was to cover his partner with his pistol. Officer Richards chose to ignore this training and died. Were any of the officers trained to make contact shots over and around their partners as they battled hand to hand with the assailant? A Lesson Learned: there is no such thing as self-defense. There is the offensive and there is the counter offense. Nothing else maters when you are in a fight for your life. You either have the initiative at the start of the fray or you must scramble for it and never let go. If you go on the defensive, you will receive a deathblow by a more combative predator. Don't defend, go to gun and eliminate the threat.
Officer Owens was an extremely athletic, former Washington State Patrolman, certified as a defensive tactics instructor; known to fellow police officers as an all- around good guy; a guy you would always want at a party. In the fight of his life an overweight pudgy psychopath shot him dead in hand-to-hand combat. What happened? Many law enforcement officers (LEO) are poorly trained in unarmed combative skills; having received training similar to that at the local YMCA or neighborhood Boys and Girls Club. Street Fighters must have absolute confidence in the validity of their training. Confidence is indicative of their conviction that they can overcome any obstacle thus reducing the risk of irresolution in situations fraught with danger. Street Fighters perform assignments that call for high levels of self-confidence. They must be able to rapidly adjust to dynamic, complicated and dangerous tasks. Confidence is developed through arduous and stressful training that permits Street Fighters to go into the struggle knowing full well they have put forth extreme effort and have numerous real world experiences to corroborate this belief.
While we honor the memory of those four gallant Lakewood police officers, we must enlighten ourselves as much as we can from their ultimate sacrifice and pass along the lessons that were learned. It is our responsibility to provide the Street Fighter with skills and tools so that at day's end he returns home safely. Street Fighters must learn from the past, prepare for the future and deal with the present.
Louis L'Amour wrote "Gunfights are brutal only I could never see the sense in having folks look at your tombstone and say, 'He was a man who didn't believe in violence, He's a good man_and dead."
Street Fighters must possess the fighting spirit. Why is the fighting spirit so important? In most instances the struggle ends because one of the participants is psychologically defeated, not physically defeated. He disengages from the fray because he determines he is unable to muster the physical or mental strength to continue. The majority of melees are won or lost in the mind. In order to force the predator to cease his aggression, Street Fighters need extraordinary mindset, skills and tools.
In the battle of wills we need to first ascertain why the predator quits. He probably quits because he is no longer willing to assume the attendant risk to obtain his goal. Therefore, our first step as Street Fighters is to put the predator in peril. The second critical piece is the predator must recognize his peril. The fighting spirit the Street Fighter brings to the battle is as important as the gun he carries or the tactics he employs. Fighting spirit means you are red hot and as sharp as a Gillette razor.
Street Fighters know that merely pointing your pistol at the predator does not consequently make him aware of the peril for he only understands the violence you project. He might not think you have the grit or iron will to drop the hammer. He may have been previously shot at and missed and he thinks you may also throw your shot. Dope may have so deadened his senses he isn't even aware of the peril he faces and he possibly may not see your pistol. Rarely will he fight until his last gasp of breath. The fighting spirit works because it is the mental science of human behavior and coercion, something the predator well appreciates. Your fighting spirit is a cause for alarm to the predator, putting horror into the pit of his stomach, making him wince and cringe. He then figures out the attack is not worth the potential pain and he quits.
The undercover Street Fighter is either in the saddle controlling the situation or he is being controlled. The undercover Street Fighter can be anywhere along the band from ice cold to flaming red-hot. You want to have more fervor than the predator so that the longer you are on the offense the more you maintain the momentum. Street Fighters lose when they fail to use sufficient force. You cannot be squeamish in taking the fight to the predator or in the controlled deployment of justifiable force. Bear in mind that the predator comes from a different world than you. He likely came from a dysfunctional or impaired family where he routinely was bullied and had his ass kicked. His world is one of dog eat dog, might makes right, the street hits back. Your fighting spirit is not unlawful. Your fighting spirit is reasonable self-defense. The predator will most often mentally discount the possible fierceness or boldness of your counterattack. You are both locked in a struggle to the death. You cannot allow the predator to fight with more intensity than you. You must learn how to project force and you must learn how to counter force against you. In a rip off, the undercover Street Fighter will receive very little forewarning only the detection of the threat and the rapid escalation of unmerciful callousness. The undercover Street Fighter must be able to rapidly shoot faces and necks at car length distances. You will survive if you are resolute enough, accurate enough and yes, passionate enough.
In a rip off situation the undercover Street Fighter must understand the dissimilarity between tactical compliance and capitulation. If you capitulate to the predator he now controls and forces his will on you. You have now totally put your life into the hands of the predator. Not a good idea. Prior to assuming the undercover role, the Street Fighter must have pre-determined a 'red line' that when crossed, you fight to the death.
In tactical compliance, the undercover Street Fighter projects capitulation but is weighing his options until the 'red line' is crossed. During a rip off the predator wants the flash roll. He may or may not hurt you. You are awaiting your window of opportunity to escape or fight. Your tactical compliance is different than freezing or capitulating. You have still maintained your options; give him the flash roll, escape or fight.
The fighting spirit governs us to switch off the options and in a blink of an eye go to gun. The faster you can do this the better you increase your odds of living. When the 'red line' has been crossed, nothing you say or do will alter the hazardous spot in which you find yourself. Going on the counterattack increases your chances of living. We all have an innate revulsion to take a life while hoping for a quiescent life, never to use unnecessary force and to endeavor to avoid danger by de-escalation. However, the predator may give you no other choice other than to resort to the primal level, forcing you to fight for your life. A life or death struggle is not an activity a Street Fighter can do half ass. Jump onto your accelerator with full gas until you either win or you die. Arrogance, swagger, and false bravado are traps that have killed many a Street Fighter.
Street Fighters know when to be tough and know when to temper that toughness with kindness. Street Fighters are dauntless in battle, but not foolhardy. In fact, Street Fighters balance their bravery with great foresight and surprising patience, seeking the counsel of others. Street Fighters know when to stand firm on their beliefs but are not blind to the possibility to negotiate differences. The Street Fighters creed: I will decide. I will take action. I will be accountable even when no one else will. The difference between a suit and a Street Fighter is the difference between waiting for shit to happen and getting shit done.
Mryamoto Musashi's tenet explains that: "The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike, or touch the enemy's cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing or touching the enemy, you will not be able to actually cut him. To win any battle, you must fight as if you are already dead."
A big stumbling block faced in defending use of force is to prove the necessity of employing counteractive deadly force against a predator's use of knees, feet, elbows and fists. Faced with the risks of disabling or fatal injuries from blunt force trauma can the Street Fighter use a reasonable level of force, to include deadly force, to stop potential life threatening injuries received from an empty hand physical assault? The ratings-driven news media is always eager to wreak the reputation of an officer who defends himself against a seemingly unarmed predator.
In 2013 the Wyoming Supreme Court overturned a first degree murder conviction when a prosecutor made this egregious closing statement to the jury, "We respectfully request that you go to deliberations and that you return a verdict of guilty, because you see: in the state of Wyoming, there is a law against shooting an unarmed man." The Supreme Court explained that the assertion by the prosecutor that Wyoming law prohibits shooting an unarmed man was inaccurate. "It is for the jury to determine whether a defendant reasonably perceived a threat of immediate bodily injury under the circumstances and whether the defendant defended himself in a reasonable manner."
A punch to the nose can create tears that hamper your ability to see. You can't know if the predator is going for a weapon, either yours or his. The punch can also break the nose bone and drive it into your brain. A sock to your temple can produce a fracture ripping the underlying artery resulting in death. A hit to the back of your neck or to the throat can be deadly. Other examples of "empty hands" that can result in severe trauma include: a hit to the face can produce airway blockage; a strike to the ribs can severely damage the liver and spleen; a hit to the chest can cleave the sternum tearing apart the heart; while a kick to your back can dislocate your spine causing paralysis or death. Unlike the movies, you will not simply shrug off these hits and if by wizardry easily win the fight.
You may be familiar with the violent 'Knockout Games'where participants attack an unsuspecting victim, attempting to knock out the target. There is one shocking aspect of the brutal game that is rarely reported, it's not just a game, it's deadly. As we age we experience physiological changes that put us at even greater risk of harm. If you can't explain to the jury the danger you face from 'empty hands' you will be jailed.
This past year, a 70-year-old San Bernardino Deputy Sheriff slowed his vehicle to avoid running over two dogs. He was rear-ended by a driver who got out and delivered a single punch to the deputy's face. The deputy never regained consciousness and was taken off life support two days later. The brain is gelatinous and rests inside a skull soaked in fluid. As we age, the brain slowly shrinks while the skull does not. A knock to the face causes the skull to move backwards while the brain dawdles. The front of the skull strikes the brain forcing the brain to accelerate backwards smashing into the rear of the skull. The brain's movement within the skull creates the secondary injury. Our brain cannot function more than twenty seconds without oxygen.
The greatest enemy to the Street Fighter is the ground. A vicious punch to the kidney can knock you down onto your knees leaving you in a defenseless position. If your attacker pounds your head off the pavement (ground and pound) he may dim the light switch in your brain and now you have to contend with another major problem, will he grab your pistol and kill you? A punch to the head that is against the ground is deadly force since the punch is multiplied by a factor of eight. Prove this to yourself by placing a grapefruit on the ground and punch it. The ground is the force multiplier.
A Street Fighter must be able to articulate why he employed his weapon, pistol or knife against a predator attacking him solely by physical force. To accomplish this goal Street Fighters must be familiar with the laws of self-defense. For instance, what is a sufficient level of force when defending oneself? What goes beyond that level? What about if the Street Fighter's apprehension is subjectively genuine, but objectively unreasonable? The threat can be verbal as long as there is an accompanying physical action by the attacker placing the Street Fighter in immediate fear of physical harm. Sometimes self-defense is justified even if the perceived aggressor didn't actually mean the perceived victim any physical harm. What matters in these situations is whether a "reasonable person" in the same situation would have perceived an immediate threat of physical harm. The use of self-defense must also match the level of threat. A Street Fighter can only employ as much force as required to remove the threat. If the threat involves deadly force, the Street Fighter can use deadly force to counteract the threat. If however the threat involves only minor force, and the person claiming self-defense uses force that could cause grievous bodily harm or death, the claim of self-defense many fail.
Street Fighters must be aware of the pre-cursors to an assault. How is the attacker standing? Is he obviously staring you in the face? Are his pupils dilated? Is he agitated? Is he looking around and over his shoulder to see who could be watching? Did he just drop his center of gravity? Is he standing bladed to you? Did he just drop his dominant foot back? Is he psychologically intimidating you with the words, "I'm going to kill you"?
Street Fighters know that power point presentations with complex operational plans are all nice for window dressing but when the Street Fighter is on the X where Lucifer gets a vote, all that planning may be overcome by rapidly changing events. Street Fighters must be trained how to think, not what to think. Most plans created on paper are in need of constant revision on the fly. The undercover Street Fighter must think smart about his every step, every conversation and change of plans. He must conceive, analyze, decipher, and figure out his next move in warp speed avoiding a mistake he may not be able to bullshit his way out of. You don't want perfect to be the enemy of good; it's time to stop processing and start operating.
Street Fighters know from experience with even in the best of plans there is always a 25% margin of error because of unknown variables. The goal, by meticulous planning, is to try and cut this margin down. Street Fighters must shun the tendency of giving more credence to information they expect to hear than information they don't want to hear. Street Fighters know there is no such thing as the perfect plan. Every good one can eventually fall apart, especially when you depend on someone else. When it comes to life and death the only one you can count on is yourself.
Undercover Street Fighters have sharpened senses. They do not simply walk into a room. Instead, they measure faces, possible menaces and location of exits. All have to be assessed and pigeon holed without causing or calling undue attention. With the stakes being life or death, the undercover Street Fighter must outguess Lucifer. Hazards must be weighed against choices until you hone in on the path that gives you the best chance of survival. All undercover Street Fighters know that during negotiations with Lucifer, cover is truth_truth is cover_live the cover.
Street Fighters must search for answers to Close Quarter Battle (CQB) that do not have any theoretical answer from academia to these extremely violent and gory clashes. Some of these antiquated schoolroom answers are simply not valid.
One of the strategies taught to stave off a direct line attack was to move a step or two laterally off line creating time and distance thus allowing us to bring our pistol into the fight. No predator will blindly rush past you as you orient yourself by moving a step or two laterally. His focus is on you and he will easily change his direction of attack. Lucifer can move forward faster than you can backpedal. We must acknowledge that our instinctual response may not give us the desired outcome we are seeking. The typical human reaction to aggression is to move backwards. A committed attacker will in all likelihood crush these kinds of defenses. The Street Fighter must move laterally on an arc with carefully measured strides so as not to fall. Draw your pistol and finish the fight.
I have attended Close Quarter Battle (CQB) classes taught by some very fine instructors: Bob Taubert, Mike Seeklander, SIG Academy and Dave Spaulding. In Dave's Handgun Combatives Coursewe focused on the challenges compounded by theclose proximity of your attacker. Therefore, there is an outright probability that the Street Fighter will have to foil his attacker's gun grab or gun take away as you struggle to bring your pistol into the fray. Historically, Street Fighters were taught two responses for fighting in the hole: the Shove and Shootand the Speed Rock.
As Dave highlighted in his class, the Shove and Shoot has many flaws. It is nigh impossible that pushing your straight arm smack into your attacker's chest will stop the onslaught of his rush. In the 1980s in Miami, Florida, renowned firearms instructor Chuck Taylor introduced me to the Speed Rock. The Speed Rock worked best if you were backed up against an obstacle such as a wall or a car with absolutely no place else to go. Chuck taught to rock back on your hips, pull your pistol out of your holster, flag your thumb alongside your rib cage and break your shot; under certain circumstances this is still a viable option. The theory was that by leaning back from the threat you would be creating a couple of inches of space permitting you to get your pistol into the fight. However, by leaning backwards you are putting your own balance at risk and you can easily be knocked ass over teakettle. Your intention is to always disrupt your attacker's balance.
The atrocities committed in a prison yard are excellent examples of violent close quarter battle. After retiring from DEA, I spent several years with a State Department of Corrections. I witnessed firsthand vicious attacks by prison cutthroats. In the 'Smack and Thwack'attack the villainous assaulter hit his mark around the left side of the neck with his left hand sticking his hand onto the mark's neck. As soon as he hit with the first slap, I saw him pull out his shiv and plunge it into the mark's stomach. The attacker repeatedly drove the blade into the mark's gut and on the last thrust twisted and ripped the blade out as the blood gushed from the mark. Even if the mark had thrown up an arm into the guard position, the attacker would have hacked away on the arm and stuck the shiv into the mark's belly. He could then have rotated the blade at the same time dropping his shoulder, ripping the mark's gut open.
One close quarter jail yard attack involved the cutthroat slamming the mark's face with an open palm smack and rocking the mark back onto his heels.The attacker would attach to the mark by hooking the mark's right arm with his left hand propelling him backwards repeatedly thrusting his blade into the gut. No matter how hard the mark tried to pull his trapped arm free by going backwards, the cutthroat would stay attached pumping the shiv into his gut.
One mark tried to defend against a shiv attack by punching at his assailant, but the assailant came in low under the punches, hooked and trapped his left leg with his left hand. He pulled the leg up to belt height knocking the mark off balance, twisting him sideways. The fight ended as he drove his blade into the mark's kidneys. Another brutal jail yard tactic involved the attacker kicking the mark in the shins and then slashing his carotid artery in the neck; a non-survivable wound.
The 'Lock in the Sock'attack was impossible for the mark to defend against. The attacker would stealthily close on the mark's blind side, most often his rear. When within striking distance he would swing the sock holding the lock in an arc to gain maximum momentum. The mark's skull would crack open like an eggshell spewing blood in a wide arc, often splattering the ceiling in the day room.
It is of vital importance that a Street Fighter knows when deadly force may be lawfully used. If a Street Fighter kills unjustifiably he may be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter as well as be sued in civil court by the victim or his family. It is obligatory that Street Fighters function within the boundaries of legal guidelines, morality, good judgment, and accepted practices. They must also prepare by studying case law in order to act wisely whenever using deadly force in the course of their duties.
For example, William Blackstone, an 18thcentury English scholar wrote in his Commentaries: "Self-defense is justly called the primary law of nature, so it cannot be taken away by the law of society." And, Justice David Josiah Brewer wrote in 142 U.S. 18 (1891) "the law of self-defense justifies an act done in honest and reasonable belief of immediate danger"
Officer Schlabach pursued Mitchell as he attempted to evade arrest at speeds of 100 miles per hour. Inclement weather made the chase even more treacherous as it was pouring rain. After a ten minute chase Mitchell ran his car into a roadside ditch. Schlabach stopped his marked unit 63 feet from Mitchell's car where he paused to assess the situation. Mitchell appeared to be unarmed as he got out of his vehicle. After calling in his location to dispatch for backup, Schlabach drew his pistol and slowly approached Mitchell ordering him to get down on the ground. Mitchell began walking slowly toward the officer. Schlabach described him as aggressive, with clenched fists, wide eyes, refusing to listen to his commands. Schlabach began backing away. Mitchell told the officer "you're going to have to fucking shoot me." Schlabach took this to mean, "If I didn't shoot him, he was going to kill me with his fists, with his feet, with my gun, with anything he possibly could've gotten at the time." Mitchell pressed Schlabach all the way across the road, narrowing the gap to 10 feet. Schlabach fired a shot at Mitchell who hunched over slightly. One second later Schlabach fired a second shot after taking two steps back. Both bullets struck Mitchell, killing him. All this action took place in less than twenty seconds. The appeals court granted Schlabach qualified immunity deeming the shooting justified.
The court wrote in their decision that it is important to note the ultimate determination of reasonableness must be based on the totality of the circumstances. Three factors to be helpful in use of force cases: "(1) the severity of the crime at issue; (2) whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others; and (3) whether the suspect is actively resisting or attempting to evade arrest by flight. Quoting Graham, 490 U.S. at 396-97, we are admonished not to assess those factors from a distance, but rather to consider that "police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments-in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving-about the amount of force that is necessary in that particular situation."
Mitchell's crimes were severe. During the course of the ten-minute chase, Mitchell knowingly placed himself, Schlabach, and the public at risk. The available video footage showed Mitchell moved toward the officer with speed, purpose, and confidence despite the fact that Schlabach had a gun trained on him. Mitchell continued charging toward Schlabach even as Schlabach changed trajectories and began backing away from him. If Mitchell continued any further, Schlabach may not have had enough time to react without a violent confrontation. The same analysis applied to Schlabach's second shot. Taken together, these facts all indicate that Schlabach had "probable cause to believe that the suspect posed a significant threat of death or serious injury" when he fired both shots. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1,3 (1985).
While it is beyond question that "a police officer may not seize an unarmed, non-dangerous suspect by shooting him dead," it is also clear that Mitchell was something more than a "non-dangerous suspect." The available evidence readily established that Schlabach reasonably believed that he was in danger of serious physical harm when he shot Mitchell. We therefore will not "second guess Schlabach's assessment, made on the scene, of the danger presented" by Mitchell's approach. Ryburn v. Huff, 565 U.S. 469, 477 (2012). We conclude that Mitchell was actively resisting arrest at the time he was shot. Accordingly, the third factor also supports a finding of reasonableness here.
Accordingly, we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court.
As Detective Smith drove home in his unmarked police car, the decedent, Ryan Hennessey, passed him, tires squealing. Hennessey overcorrected when he pulled back into his lane, almost hit a parked car, over corrected again when he pulled back into his lane, careened into the oncoming lane and almost had a head-on collision with an approaching car. Detective Smith estimated Hennessey was driving 70 mph in a 30 mph residential zone. Detective Smith turned on his blue police light and gave chase. Detective Smith did not know it, but Hennessey had been in a hit and run collision minutes before.
Instead of pulling over when he saw the police car chasing him, Hennessey turned off his headlights, despite it being night, and accelerated. Detective Smith turned on his police siren and radioed dispatch that he was pursuing a car. Hennessey crashed into a curb. Detective Smith got out of his police car and walked over to the wrecked car, intending to render first aid and arrest Hennessey for felony reckless driving. Detective Smith decided to handcuff Hennessey, and told him to put his hands outside the window. Hennessey grabbed Detective Smith by the throat with one hand and grabbed him by his tie with the other hand. Detective Smith tried to back away, leaving Hennessey behind the closed door, but Hennessey clambered out of his car window, hanging onto Detective Smith. Then he yelled, "Shoot me, motherfucker!" and came at Detective Smith swinging. Hennessey started kicking Detective Smith in his stomach and groin. Detective Smith tried to back away from Hennessey and fend off his blows and kicks, but Hennessey charged him, held him in a bear hug, and grabbed his gun by the barrel. Hennessey landed a solid blow to Detective Smith's head, cutting him, knocking off his glasses, and forcing him back out of the glare of the police car's headlights and into the surrounding darkness. Detective Smith could feel Hennessey trying to pry his thumb off his pistol. Then he felt the gun's slide move back toward the locked position, where it would prevent the gun from shooting. Detective Smith feared for his life and didn't want to render his own weapon incapable of being fired. He moved the slide forward, fighting Hennessey's pressure on the gun. At this point, according to Detective Smith's testimony, when the men were still struggling for control of the gun, Detective Smith fired, hitting and killing Hennessey.
The district court denied Detective Smith's summary motion because of his "failure to await backup, failure to use his baton or spray on Hennessey, decision to contact Hennessey "with both his hands encumbered, and failure to release his magazine to make his gun unusable, raising questions of fact as to whether the detective's tactics recklessly created the situation in which force would have to be used."
The court relied on Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327. The fact that an officer negligently gets himself into a dangerous situation will not make it unreasonable for him to use force to defend himself. The Fourth Amendment "reasonableness" standard is not the same as the standard of "reasonable care" under tort law, and negligent acts do not incur constitutional liability. An officer may fail to exercise "reasonable care" as a matter of tort law yet, still remain constitutionally "reasonable." But even if we were to assume for the sake of argument that a jury could conclude that Detective Smith should have sat in his car until backup arrived, or donned all of his equipment before approaching Hennessey, or have taken precautions against Hennessey grabbing him by his throat and pulling himself out of the car window to attack the detective, none of Detective Smith's supposed errors could be deemed intentional or reckless, much less unconstitutional provocations that caused Hennessey to attack him.
Accordingly, we REVERSE the judgment of the district court and find the use of deadly force reasonable.
This case arose out of a nighttime encounter between Officer Gerlach and Carden. Carden punched Gerlach ultimately positioning himself on top of the officer as he attempted to grab his holstered firearm. Gerlach applied his Taser in a "drive-stun" mode as Carden continued to resist. Carden stood up and attempted to flee. An autopsy performed later that morning revealed that Carden had died from multiple gunshot wounds-six in all, and all from the back.
The district court denied Gerlach immunity explaining its view of the facts: Carden had terminated his struggle with the officer and had begun to flee at the time Gerlach shot him; Carden obviously was not armed; that Gerlach had no objective reason for believing that Carden posed a serious threat while fleeing unarmed. The district court reasoned that Gerlach's use of deadly force in this case violated Carden's clearly established rights under the Fourth Amendment.
Gerlach asserts that Carden grabbed at Gerlach's holstered sidearm several times during their struggle thus giving Gerlach probable cause to fear for his safety, even in the seconds after Carden had turned to flee. Even if Gerlach had probable cause to fear for his safety during his struggle with Carden, he lacked the same cause after the struggle had ended and Carden, still unarmed, had turned and begun to flee.
In Bouggess v. Mattingly, 482 (6thCir. 2007) the court decided the reasonableness of deadly force at a particular moment depends primarily on objective assessment of the danger a suspect possesses at that moment.
The judgment of the district court denying qualified immunity is affirmed.
Street Fighters must make instantaneous decisions based on tactical acuity and operational experience. Shit can rapidly go to hell in a hand basket and Street Fighters can go one of two ways: either vapor lock and panic or flip the switch and auto-revert to their training. Street Fighters know that like an experienced quarterback, they may have to 'call an audible' following the first gunshot as strategy will change from the original plan of action.
Street Fighters know when caught in a rip off they will see death up close, or feel their own death imminent; it takes time for your brain to process the stimuli you are seeing and hearing. Choose the correct response and send the signal to pull the trigger taking not much longer than .33 tenths of a second. Being able to assess the rip off in the blink of an eye and reacting could be the difference in your hitting Lucifer with a deathblow or you dying in harness if you throw your shot.
Street Fighters well understand the potency of applied aggression. It all boils down to the concept that a Street Fighter, tenacious like a lion and completely sure of his capabilities, entering into the fight with asymmetrical violence can decidedly debase an opponent's will to fight. This holds true also against much stronger or even multiple assailants.
Street Fighters must accustom themselves to the analogical assault patterns predators may employ against them in a rip off. One situation undercover Street Fighters frequently find themselves facing is a fierce close quarter gun battle. The undercover Street Fighter must anticipate this likelihood as part of the risk he faces each and every time he goes undercover. As part of the rip off plan, the predator will try to set you up through unbalanced initiative. He will do his best not to telegraph any danger cues. His goal is to catch you flat-footed and asleep at the switch. The predator will want to control the rip off, its location, its level of violence and its time span.
He will get within your red zone by hoax or skullduggery. Being an opportunist he will initiate the rip off when the conditions are most favorable to him and least favorable to you. In all probability you will not see the threat until the muzzle of his pistol is a few inches from your face. You will have to first solve the problem of the gun in your face, before you can access your pistol that is concealed beneath two layers of clothing. For him to be successful he must be literally close enough to touch you. In all probability there will be a second gunman.
The Street Fighter must ask himself if his agency has trained him to fight while faced with an unbalanced initiative. The answer: probably not. Street Fighters must realize they need to constantly seek cutting edge training and practice, practice, practice. Remember to control what you practice. You may get really good at the wrong thing. Street Fighters know that practice is the only way to avoid getting shot dead in an Asian jungle, a dirty back alley in America or a slimy ditch in Mexico.
The Street Fighter fights to the death not because he detests what is in front of him but because he loves what is in back of him. In other words, if you are going to fight to the death, do it for something you hold dear, something you cherish. Do it for your honor, for your family and for your buddies.
When a Street Fighter picks up on a possible deadly force threat, it will take him 0.60 seconds to recognize the threat and another 0.60 to 1.0 seconds to respond to the threat. He can make one of five decisions: fend off (fight), get away (retreat), feign (yell, puff up chest), become hypertensive (terror, fluster, use force unwisely), knuckle under (quit the fight).
When under attack, a Street Fighter's brain dumps adrenalin (stimulant), endorphins (pain blockers) and dopamine (regulates emotional responses). These chemicals make us swifter, tougher and pain tolerant but they also cause perceptional narrowing, tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, loss of fine motor skills and diminished memory recall after a critical incident.
Upon seeing the weapon a signal is sent through your brain stem to the amygdala located deep within the brain's temporal lobe. This touches off a heap of changes throughout your body. Blood vessels are constricted so you will bleed less from your wounds, heart rate skyrockets, hormones gush through your body sending strength and power into your muscles if you must fight or flee.
The average Street Fighter can usually hit the bulls-eye from five yards in a non-timed static event. However, extensive research data reveals at a distance of one to three yards he can only hit his attacker 15% of the time in a life or death fight. What was most disconcerting in the research is that the predator's hit ratio at the same distance is 70%.
Once a Street Fighter goes to gun it will take him 0.60 seconds to decide to pull the trigger and between 0.25 and 0.33 of a second for each pull of the trigger. It will take him another 0.60 seconds to realize the threat has ceased and he can stop shooting.
Always check your work through the sights of your weapon. No matter how many shots are called for in the drill, always acquire a final sight picture. Have your trigger reset and be prepared to make the next shot.
I have attended several Sig Academy dynamic training classes that were enhanced by the shot timer. You can set your timer in the 'Comstock' mode. Each shot fired will register on the LCD display that will indicate the first shot recorded, the total shots fired and the cumulative time recorded. It will also display your split times. Furthermore you can set it to record par times. For example, set the shot timer at three seconds. It will give you a starting beep and an ending beep after three seconds. The shot timer will tell you if your shots were over or under the time you imposed. It's a great tool to assess your progress level in your training regime.
For example, set your par time for six seconds. By hitting the go button you will get a three second count down then an audible beep. After six seconds you will hear another beep. Set up a piece of steel at 25 yards, at the beep draw from the holster, fire one shot, perform a speed reload from slide lock, fire a second shot.
|Tier One||5 seconds with a 2.75 reload||Tier Two||6 seconds||Tier Three||7 seconds||No Go||Exceed 7 seconds or one miss|
Shot timers hold the Street Fighter accountable to a standard. You can establish your personal benchmarks and can easily track your performance to achieve your goals. The shot timer will identify areas where you can improve: draw stroke, trigger press, reloads, etc. An added benefit to the shot timer is that it can be used indoors to practice your draw stroke using the par timer. Begin by setting the timer for 3 seconds. On the first beep, draw your pistol with a smooth movement, acquire a good sight picture and press the trigger before the second beep. When your confidence increases, decrease the time incrementally, always setting goals. Record your times in a notebook so you can keep track of your improvements. My Sig Academy instructor postulated that to win a gun battle, Street Fighters must be able to put the bullet where it needs to hit and to do it as many times as necessary to stop the threat.
As we saw in the South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Coates shooting, just a hit anywhere on Lucifer will not be effective. It may work on an uncommitted junkie or a back alley punk but it will not work on a hellcat fiend who has made up his mind to put you into a body bag. You will either have to center punch rounds into his brain bucket or put a lot more rounds into him between wind and water. Your hits must be surgically accurate, at various distances, under any situation you might face. The Sig Academy instructors also stress that you have to quickly get your weapon into the fight. Your draw must not be clumsy and must always work without fail from under deep concealment garments. We spent a good chunk of time working through hundreds of repetitions until we were able to consistently get hits on an index card at 20 feet in less than 2.5 seconds. It helps initially if you use spray adhesive to attach the index card to colored construction paper.
An excellent drill to enhance your draw stroke when you are home alone is to set the alarm on one of your devices to sound at random times. As soon as the alarm beeps, quickly draw your pistol and scan for a threat. Reset the alarm and prepare to re-engage. Obviously the Street Fighter should practice with a blue inert training pistol, an exact duplicate of your carry piece.
The closer your assailant is to you in a blitz attack the less time you have to respond to the threat and your options rapidly diminish. Street Fighters must master the critical space draw of getting your muzzle onto the threat. You can do this by either turning the muzzle toward the threat or rotating the elbow down, keeping your wrist locked. Your draw stroke should always be at the same speed notwithstanding the distance. How fast? As Dave Spaulding told me in class "it could be the rest of your life, depending on how fast you are."
Street Fighters must be able to shoot from the compressed presentation. In tangled shooting you want to make sure your outgoing fire is kept away from your fending hand. Flag your thumb from its tip to its base indexed on your pectoral muscle referred to as a thumb pectoral index. You must make sure that the angle is consistent removing the wrist as a variable. Lock your hand and forearm in a neutral line getting rid of any upward or downward, inside or outside tilting of your pistol. The angle of your pistol is controlled by the height of your elbow. A high elbow ensures the downward angle keeping the muzzle away from your support hand. This is of paramount importance since your support hand is always in motion, warding off, shoving, striking.
There are several techniques. Either index your pistol off your rib cage (high pectoral) or off your hip. You don't want your pistol straight up or down because your slide will get hung up on your clothes or may strike your body causing a malfunction. You want your hand canted outward: clockwise for a right-handed shooter and counter-clockwise for a left-handed shooter. By having your pistol in a solid pectoral index position it makes it difficult for Lucifer to grab your pistol. Also it affords you good leverage to retain your pistol if Lucifer tries to wrench it out of your hand. With your body squared to the threat, at this close a distance, there is no need to see your sights because your body is in fact aiming the pistol for you. Focus your inner most mind along with your eyes on the exact spot where you want to drive your bullets. Where your eyes focus, your subconscious will focus; your bullets will follow because your pistol is lined up with the threat by way of eye-hand coordination. Practice what you must do to shoot your attacker and see what you've got to see to make sure you take him out of the fight.
Various academies teach placing the support hand on the chest. In a close quarters encounter this is risky for it neither offers protection from your opponent's head strikes nor does it allow you to strike or shove him off balance. There is always the possibility that you may muzzle flash your hand this way. It is a paramount safety concern to keep your finger off the trigger until you have the muzzle pointed at your attacker and you have made the conscious decision to slam a bullet into him.
In a close retention shooting your rounds are initially going to hit Lucifer in his pelvic area. As you fire, your gun will recoil up so start at the pelvis, create distance. If you aim for the heart and lungs Lucifer could still have a couple of seconds to kill you. Street Fighters should aim for the spine and the brain. Shoot centerline of your assailant to hit these two critical areas. As your bullets impact the pelvis, the stomach, the chest, these are the densest parts of the body and your bullet will rapidly lose penetration. The higher you go on the body the softer the tissue, the more the penetration till you hit the body's electrical system, the spine. Bob Taubert calls this the 'Stitch Him Up Drill'. After dumping your rounds into his pelvis you should hit once in his chest, once in his neck and once in his head. You should be able to do this in a few ticks over a second.
An off-duty Interpol Officer encountered an armed robbery in progress. In a similar situation the Street Fighter must decide if he wants to stay cool and not take any action. Basically just observe, report and testify. The Street Fighter wants to stack the odds in his favor by not rushing blindly into a multiple adversary gun battle.
When initially confronted by the armed robbers at the cash register the Interpol Officer wisely went to the back of the store and formulated his plan of action. Fortunately neither his clothing nor his demeanor tipped the armed robbers off that he was a cop. This is a perfect example of the off duty officer concealed carry. As a grey man he waited for thirty five seconds blending in with the other patrons, remaining pure vanilla. If he had decided to take police action, a better tactical decision would have been to maintain distance, seek cover or concealment and engage with accurate gunfire.
He chose to attack hitting the first armed robber at bad breath distance. Lucifer fell to the deck, even though critically wounded Lucifer had the mental discipline not to drop his pistol. Lucifer was totally committed to the fight, firing several rounds into the Interpol Officer. The Interpol Officer likewise was determined to fight till the death. Mortally wounded, the Interpol Officer staggered back a step or two and fired a barrage of shots into the head of his killer. Bravely the Interpol Officer continued out the door seeking to engage the other armed robbers. He succumbed to his wounds just a few feet from the entrance to the store.
Street Fighters must not count on a one shot stop. Even if your attacker hits the deck he may still have plenty of life left in him. Handgun rounds are inherently weak. Your attacker, like in the Interpol Officer shooting, might be a gladiator and want you to follow him into death. Even though Lucifer might be on the ground he still could be lining up to take another shot at you. If justified and you can later articulate that he posed a deadly threat, do not hesitate, shoot until the threat ceases.
INTERPOL OFFICER SHOOTING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMuS04_Yw-o
The Children of Hurin said, "The man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it."
The Paladins were the elite warriors of Charlemagne's 13th century court. The Street Fighter is today's Paladin possessing some old fashioned moral code that only Street Fighters fathom; a code that obliges them to always do what they think is just. When responding to a blitz attack a single officer response to an active shooter is appropriate. Sadly, many police trainers feel that a single officer responding alone is never desirable due to officer safety considerations. Street Fighters must clear the decks as to hierarchical safety needs. Officer safety is not a Street Fighters paramount concern. If playing it safe and staying out of harm's reach were our number one priority we would either lie low at the station house the entire day or adopt the pernicious attitude of some LEOs, "fuck it, drive on," meaning do not get involved.
The mission of the Street Fighter is not about avoiding danger it is about diminishing danger while still performing our mission. We have sworn an oath to protect all walks of life in America. Street Fighters knowingly place themselves in the path of bullets to serve and protect people. Thus people will always be the first priority of any police response while the Street Fighters safety must always take second place.
The Street Fighter is in a race to stop by the use of deadly force the goal of an active shooter, which is to rack up the highest possible body count. Street Fighters must move as quickly as possible, alone if necessary, into the kill zone to stop the active shooter's killing spree. Street Fighters know there may come a time that he may have to act alone to prevent more carnage before additional help arrives. This may well be the only morally sound and tactical decision he may be able to make. In the face of death the Street Fighter must be dependable, reliable, trustworthy steady as a rock as he turns and faces into the sound of the guns.
Like a Paladin, Street Fighters have the capacity to overcome hurt, tiredness and injury with an iron will. It is not necessarily the desire to win but the unwillingness to lose. While braving gunfire, under life and death, facing ruthless conditions, the Street Fighters mental attitude is all that stands between prevailing and dying. Street Fighters are warriors who chose duty over safety, love of country over the easy life, honor over complacency and commitment to a principal over their own safety. Street Fighters possess a single-minded clarity of purpose, God and Country.
The American flag does not fly because the wind blows past it. Our flag flies from the breath of each Street Fighter who has died protecting it.
*** END OF DOCUMENT ***