Mi Amigos:Mi Amigos:
A LEO was working off duty at a Walmart. He shot a disabled man in a wheelchair nine times in the back. The man had been accused of shoplifting and brandishing a knife.
During the holiday season we are now celebrating this LEO will feel suffocated. Chest aching, gasping shallow breaths that burn through him as though he was sucking in the direct hotness from the sun. It's not the heat that creates his pain but the dull twinge of abject sadness knowing that he royally fu*ked up, realizing he cannot put the nine bullets he fired back in his magazine.
He is miserably nauseous as shudders ripple across his skin supposing he will be spending many a future Christmas behind bars: a wife without a husband, children without a father, a family without an income. Anxiety pumps his blood. He can hear every beat thundering in his ears as he awaits the day of his guilty verdict with claustrophobic fear. Mindful, as a former cop doing hard prison time, there's a distinct possibility some psycho will try to cancel his birth certificate by bashing in his skull, splattering blood onto the walls of the dayroom with the jailbird's favorite weapon, the ubiquitous lock in a sock.
This did not have to happen. The selection process failed him, his academy and in-service instructors failed him, his chief failed him and more importantly he failed himself. Do Not Become This LEO.
Our mission on DEA Watch is to learn from the mistakes of others regardless of who they are so that we can better perform when the grim reaper unexpectedly rears his ugly head. Street Fighters need to be able to "think their way through a gun battle." To be dynamic, precise, fluid. To be like water in mind and body, quickly conforming to whatever danger we are poured into. If we cannot control our thoughts and emotions, we will not be able to control our actions; hence, we will make a horrendous decision like this LEO.
Before he fired his nine kill shots, he had time to quickly process in his mind the AOJ triad. Does he have the Ability to kill me? Yes, he is armed with a knife. Does he have the Opportunity to kill me? No, he is moving away from me in a wheelchair. Am I in Jeopardy? No. Do I shoot in defense of others? No. Therefore, do not fire your damn blaster.
Some call it contagious or synchronous fire, wisely his backup officer refrained firing her blaster in response to his totally illogical decision.
Outcome based training, which is the preferred method of teaching by most law enforcement agencies, is limited to will I succeed or will I fail. There is no demand to either think or self-assess. The instructors tell the LEO what he needs to do to get a passing grade; there is no need for him to improve on his own. Instructors are given a set curriculum and must execute detailed precepts under rigid restraints. Instructors are not allowed to be creative. They are micromanaged by Suits to ensure compliance; thus, stifling their student's ability to think independently.
On the other side of the coin, we have performance-based training. Instructors are encouraged to be imaginative. Because they are empowered, they in turn encourage their students to take ownership of their learning experience. Students are emboldened to push to their edge of failure. As their skill and proficiency increases the bar is raised. They are allowed to make mistakes as long as they learn from their mistakes.
Instructors introduce ambiguity, uncertainty and perplexity into their problem solving. There is never a single right answer but there certainly are wrong answers. Instructors point out flaws and challenge their students to identify and correct faulty performance This goes a long way to prevent making deeply flawed, dangerous, half-cocked, slipshod, felonious decisions like this LEO who shot the disabled man in the wheelchair.
In a gun battle there are three important combative skills: hit your attacker as quickly, accurately and as many times as necessary to stop the threat, be able to draw your blaster from the holster in time to save your life and make correct legal and tactical decisions under extreme stress.
The Street Fighter faces two critical problems in a gun battle: impatience (too soon) or indecisiveness (too late). We can quickly identify the correct legal response by periodically replaying mistakes we made in force-on-force training and by applying appropriate corrections, fusing experience and visualization into a proper, legal, justifiable use of force.
We all must avoid swallowing loony knucklehead pills by the handful.
Overtime Street Fighters collect battle scars, both physical and emotional. The physical one's act as merit badges, of tales to be told while emotional scars are silently folded and tucked away into the hidden recess of our mind.
A Street Fighter's forthcoming New Year's resolution: continue to nurture close ties with teammates. If the bowels of Hades opened and you needed help combating Satan's hordes, each to a man, without hesitation, would come immediately to your aid, bringing Thor's righteous hammer, granite-hard and themselves junkyard-dog mean.
"Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear."... George Adair