Tag Archives: opinion

Do you think you are special or something?

COPS (TV series)
COPS (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is going to be sort of “free thought” and probably a bit disjointed so please bear with me as I try to put this together…

In the local news here a story was recently posted about an off duty LEO getting arrested by another agency for DWI. The social media comments then soon followed:

“Bet he gets off of it.”

“Good. They should be treated like everybody else.”

“They should be held to a higher standard.”

And so on….

Let me start out by saying that I think anybody who breaks the law should be prepared to face the consequences, regardless of your job or position in society. That’s the only way this system works. And I DO believe that we LEO’s have to hold ourselves to a higher standard simply because we are representatives of that system. Agreed. 110%.

However, there seems to be a Catch 22 in play here. Cops should be “treated just like anybody else” but they should also be treated differently (held to a higher standard) because they are cops. How does that work?

If you think every doctor, lawyer, nurse, etc who was ever arrested for DWI gets their names and profession paraded through the news you are sorely mistaken. Should we do so?

Never mind the issue of HOW this story made the news in the first place. Either the arresting agency contacted the media, the arrested officers department released it, the press heard something on a scanner or some disgruntled ex called the press. The stuff you see in the media is but a small fraction of the total number of arrests. Unless the PD or some other party has a particular interest in calling the media in, 99% of people locked up never have their story hit a major local outlet.

Of course there is the possibility that the off-duty was an ass and the arresting agency thought “screw him”. Or the arrested guys PD has been looking for a reason to can him and though the press could help “move him along”…who knows?

Treated like everybody else? That may kind of depend on the local PD or the individual cops involved. I have let many “non-cops” go with warnings. I’ve let people get rides home (all totally legal folks…if there was an accident or someone hurt they faced the music 100%). I’ve allowed that joint to get ground up and tossed in the gutter vs arrest (again…100% by the law). Should we treat cops with the same discretion? That’s a sticky question. Where do you draw the line? A cop with a joint is different from your college student daughter. But how do you balance “treat him/her like anyone else” with “hit him all the harder because he’s a cop”?

Do you just blindly let people off based on their LEO status? Do you let every auto-worker go simply because he works at the local factory? If you don’t, how is that fair? On the flip side, should I NEVER let your wife off with a warning for a brake light out or a one day expired registration? Should I never let a cop off with a warning for the same thing?

“Bet he gets off”…What? Like the 99% of other first time arrests who get sentenced to probation, or get a DWI reduced to an impaired and a fine? That would be getting treated “like everybody else”.

My thought’s (in general…there will always be exceptions)?  If we are going to treat cops “like anybody else” lets be consistent. If I’m not calling in the press on a surgeon locked up for DWI then I shouldn’t do it to a cop either. Certainly, someone from his/her PD should be notified so that they can deal with the repercussions of “being held to a higher standard”, but beyond that I don’t think airing non-felony arrests simply because it looks “transparent” is fair. For routine vehicle and traffic stops? If I can give a pass to your kid I shouldn’t be given grief for giving a pass to a cop. For routine stuff of course. If you find yourself giving passes for stuff you would NEVER give a pass to a non-LEO for that’s a sign of a problem.

In the end I guess I’m looking for a little clarification on expectations beyond the personal grudges people have against cops. Lets set aside all the baggage, name calling and “I remember when I was stopped” stories and discuss the facts and figures involved here.

Thoughts????

 

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let the hate flow through you

The Costa Hate.

Someone explain it to me. I don’t drink his kool-aid, but I don’t hate the guy’s stuff either. Is it jealousy of his success? Is this some sort of “sell-out” thing, like some folks point at musicians when they go commercial? Sure, this video is a tad loopy, but it’s Airsoft in Japan and they wanted him to do this for a photo-op.

I see a lot of OMG HE’S FLAGGING PEOPLE WITH A GUN!!! going around. But it really looks like he’s pointing over everyone’s head at the far wall. And correct me if I’m wrong, but people actually point and shoot Airsoft at each other all of the time don’t they?

What’s the story with the hate on this dude? He’s certainly bought the AR platform some attention.

the armed citizen

This is something I just wrote in response to a comment about the Paris Terror attack. Someone had commented on how he has firearms training and believes that he could have gone toe to toe with the attackers and had a good chance of prevailing. I replied with:

IMO It’s not really entirely matter of “ability” as much as it is simple availability.

Unless the Jihadi’s are assaulting your home or are on your street, or you happen to be able to take your AR and plate carrier to work with you, the odds of being there with the right tools are really not that good. In our society, the people driving around with the weapons/tools and the communications to co-ordinate response are the Police. Even with all of that and the specific duty to be cruising around to respond to trouble the odds of being able to counter-assault an attack like this are slim.

Certainly our citizenship being armed and prepared to defend their lives “in extremis” is vital. But IMO the odds are better that they would be able to exfil a terror attack than stop one.

Most armed citizens are going to be walking the streets with handguns. The odds of stopping two guys with AK’s with a handgun are NOT going to be good.

We need to work together. You may be able to contain a house fire with your extinguisher/garden hose, but you still call in the Firemen because they have the Engines/Pumpers. This is the same sort of thing.

mob mentality

Without getting into the specifics of the controversies we have all seen in the media these past few weeks, the latest complaints about our justice system have me confused.

No system is perfect, but what is it that these internet “experts” want? Should mob rule override Grand Juries when they come back with rulings the mob dislikes? The people in the Grand Jury get to see the ACTUAL evidence in the case, not the interweb hype and media spun tidbits. What about trial decisions? Should the threat of riot and disorder influence our courts?

10 things about the entertainment industry that piss me off (revised)

English: Silent Single 8 Movie Camera
Image via Wikipedia

Ask my wife and she will tell you, I can get out of control when I am watching any television show or movie about the military or law enforcement. The constant, recurring mistakes and misinformation that these industries put out just get in my craw and I have to yell “BULLSHIT!!” It makes me wonder, don’t these shows have advisers? If they do, what the hell are they getting paid for? Or is it that the directors think that they have better knowledge on these topics? The following are at the top of my WTF?!?! list:

1. Give me that before you hurt yourself:Cops and soldiers are constantly “racking” their weapons. I mean come on! I carry with a round in the chamber all the time. If I had to constantly rack my weapon every time I drew it there would be brass flying everywhere and my co-workers would think I lost my mind. I know that directors love the “click clack” of weapons being cycled but use your goddamn head! SWAT teams don’t stack up on a door and THEN load their weapons. FBI agents don’t have to charge their pistols after they draw them and they definitely don’t have to do it two more times in the same incident! Racking your shotgun just before you kick down a door is f$#%ing STUPID!! Going into an apartment after a serial killer, knocking on the door, hearing him run out the back and THEN racking your pistol and giving chase…F#$%ING STUPID!!!

Addendum: Lets see what else have I seen…oh yeah.

FYI you director types, there is no “safety” on a Glock pistol so a character telling someone with a Glock “turn off your safety” makes no sense. And what is up with that “clickety clack” sound every time someone draws a pistol?? Is that supposed to be the safety disengaging (if it’s a Glock refer to my previous comment)? Is that supposed to be a hammer cocking? Cause it doesn’t sound like that and hell…nobody really thumb cocks an automatic that often.

OH! And another thing, when a Glock (or any striker fired pistol) runs empty, and if by some chance the slide fails to lock back (why do so few television pistols reach lock back?), it will only “click” once. These shows where an empty Glock runs out of ammo and goes “click…click…click..” well…whoever made that creative decision…YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!

2. Oh what the hell why not?:Every Tom, Dick and Harry stacking up with the SWAT team, I think not. If my blood pressure went up one mmHg every time I saw some “CSI”, “FBI Investigator” or “Detective” stacking up with the tactical team to go in and get the bad guy my head would F’n explode!

News Flash. If I saw some “CSI” getting in my stack on a high risk entry he would get a boot up his ass. No SWAT team leader worth is salt is going say…”OK you FBI Profiler with no tactical training I am aware of, or experience with MY team, go right ahead and get in the stack.”

The only thing that gets me more pissed off is when the SWAT team rams the door and Horatio Crane in his shades is the first guy through the door! Hello numbnuts director, the way it works is the SWAT team goes in ALONE!! and when its secure they call the eggheads and Detectives in.

3. Uniformed Cops as props:Every Detective/Profiler/CSI show or movie out there has uniformed cops as “background”. They walk aimlessly here there and everywhere with clipboards or magically appear to conveniently slap the cuffs on the bad guy that the dweeb from the “crime lab” ran down in a raging gunfight…please.

Or its the “dumbass uniform” who screws up the investigation that the star detective has to deal with.

Then…like in #2, when some “hot call” goes out I don’t know why TV cops bother to even show up. You know its the hot detective from the crime lab that is going to go in first and fight mano y mano with the serial killer. Where the hell the uniform cops went nobody knows, they just show up to haul off the bad guy to the station. They must have stopped in the kitchen for some coffee while the hero did all the work.

4. Hello I’m with the Gvt and I’m here to help:CSI and Criminal Minds…you always hear “were just here to help with your investigation, not take it over…” yet somehow its always some profiler that takes over the investigation and gets involved in the shooting or the apprehension. I know it wouldn’t be exciting if the agents sat in the office all day and the local cops were the ones making the arrests, but that’s how it is. By and large FBI agents are investigators, accountants, lawyers and lab techs.

And these CSI teams..it always impresses me how CSI works local, county, state, federal and hell even international cases. Who the hell do these guys work for anyways?

5. Kill em and Leave em:The “profilers” arrive like the cavalry…light up some scumbag and then hop back on their jet and fly off into the sunset. Yeah when an on-duty shooting happens that’s pretty much how it goes..no investigations, lawsuits or court appearances necessary. If you are “with the crime lab” or a “profiler” you can just holster up and walk away.

6. Nuclear Grenades: Some Delta Operator tosses a fragmentation grenade into a window and the whole floor erupts into a raging inferno of a fireball like a suitcase nuke just went off….uhhhhh…no. A loud BOOM! a puff of smoke and a lot of little bits of metal flying about is about it.

7. Crappy Salutes: Need I elaborate? Some of these actors salutes would make a Drill Sergeant break out in hives.

8. Weird Science:No we don’t have computer databases of every matchbook from every club in the tri-state area. No we cant piece a broken bottle together and get a fingerprint that comes back instantly to a known felon (that gets picked up in 20 seconds). NO DNA TESTING IS NOT A “WHILE YOU WAIT” PROCESS!

These shows have gotten so out of hand with their “stretching” of real forensic science that juries have been clearing criminals of their charges because the proof wasn’t “as conclusive as they see on CSI”. Prosecutors even have a name for this phenomenon. “The CSI effect”.

9. Tuck that thing in: Military movies where everybody is walking around with their “dog tags” outside their shirts. Or dress uniforms with improper ribbons or improper wear of a uniform. Come on guys there are books on this stuff. Read one! Then there are the hot women detectives in clothes so tight I can count the change in their pockets. Not that there are no attractive women in law enforcement, but if one of my subordinates came in with her cleavage and belly button showing she would be going home for a wardrobe change.

10. Cover me I’m going in:Nobody ever waits for back-up, sets up a perimeter or gets on the radio. It sucks to share the glory with some dumbass “uniform”. I’ll just go down into that basement with the serial killer in the “woman suit”, only pussy’s would back out and call for back-up.

I know, I know, its just entertainment, but it pisses me off… deal with it! Keep reading for my next installment. This is just me warming up.

NEW!!! 11. Tin Cans and Strings: The woeful lack of realism with movie/television communications devices is reaching WTF?? proportions. First off there are these things known as frequencies and channels. Not all radios can communicate with each other simply because they are radios. So when you crawl into a tank to escape the zombie horde (Yes “Walking Dead” I’m talking to you), the dude on the roof top with a police portable radio isn’t going to be able to communicate with you. Convenient to move the story along, but flat out never gonna happen…even in a world where flesh eating zombies walk the earth.

And then there is the good ole “watch me talk to my wrist” scene. This is where all of our heroes simply have to talk to their watchbands and they magically can communicate with each other. Now…I have actually used one of those wrist mikes operationally. It is a microphone and switch that is run through your sleeve and pinned to your cuff. The switch dangles in your palm AND there is an earpiece that runs up your neck to your ear so you can hear any reply. Most importantly, the whole affair is ATTACHED TO A FRIGGIN RADIO!!!

What exactly is Mr. CIA transmitting with when he talks to his Rolex? Am I to believe that our FBI agents now have wristwatches that are full fledged radios that can transmit and receive? I’m pretty up on current tech…they don’t exist. Some sort of bluetooth device that connects to a radio/cellular system? Maybe, but how exactly is he hearing any reply? I never seem to see any of these “secret agents” wearing an earpiece…hell even a bluetooth earbud would give the scene at a scintilla of possibility.

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two man drills, good stuff or misunderstood?

I have seen, practiced and even operationally utilized some two man movement techniques similar to these but they sometimes left me thinking about the wisdom of them.

I can see the utility in “nuts to butts drills” when used doing building clearing and other situations where you need to maneuver in tight quarters and keep a 360 deg security. Similarly I can see their advantages as immediate reaction drills where you make contact while in a stack or while approaching a scene/suspect with a partner close by.

However, once the bullets start flying I can’t see an advantage in standing close together and slugging it out. One, you present a big target and two, you fail to present the opponent with the attention dividing distraction two people can present. I would think that it would be better to split up and find cover that would allow you to mutually support each other with fire.

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Tanks on American Streets

One of the “Police Militarization” tropes circulating around is the “OMG! LOOK! Cops are using TANKS on American streets!”. Some of the more militarily knowledgeable people may couch it as “Police are using weapons of war/military equipment/etc…” but the implications are the same.

What I think… is many folks are ignorant about what these vehicles are and what they are used for. Either that, or they are willfully ignoring what these trucks truly are.

First of all, lets be clear that American Law Enforcement has been using “military style weapons” and armored vehicles for YEARS.

NYPDriotbike_700

armored_car

coptank

bikegun

copgun

Just like back in the Prohibition days, when the “Mob” was running the streets with Tommy Guns, your Police Officers are expected to deal with situations like this:

All an Armored Truck does is protect people from bullets.

That being said. There seems to be a lot of confusion between MRAPS and other Armored Vehicles.

1391774718000-hamburg-swat

An MRAP is a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. Used by the military, its really just a large truck with armor plating. It’s not a “Tank”, it isn’t built with any integral weapons. Weapons can be mounted on it, but weapons can be mounted on a pick-up truck too.

When the military decides it doesn’t need them any longer it has been offering them to LE vs scrapping them or putting them in a field somewhere to rust.

Another vehicle commonly used by American LE is the “Bearcat”, made by Lenco Armored Vehicles. The Bearcat is specifically made for LE and is purchased by an Agency outright or with the assistance of grant funds.

Nash_Bearcat

They are not the same vehicles, but I see Bearcats called “military vehicles” or MRAP’s all the time. IMO, the current “issue” with armored vehicles appears to be more about MRAPS being former “military Vehicles” than it is about what they are in essence, a vehicle that allows police to drive up to or through an area they know or suspect will have a high probability of weapons fire.

The appeal of the MRAP to LE is that, unlike having to come up with the 200+K for a BEARCAT, the government provides an armored vehicle, free of charge, to the municipality receiving it.

brinks

Armored cars routinely travel our roads to protect cash. Police armored vehicles protect people. My personal opinion is that the MRAP issue is more about how the vehicle “looks”…combined with peoples political leanings…I think that if we drove around in a Brinks Truck nobody would complain.

I even recently read some articles stating that “being a cop is dangerous…you are expected to accept risk to your life”…the implication being “we don’t think you should have armored vehicles so just accept the risk of getting shot”.

Just this year some officers near me had their squad cars shot up by rifle fire responding to a domestic. One was injured by glass. The SWAT Team that responded to the resulting armed barricade was also shot up. But because they were in a BEARCAT they were able to operate in the area and apprehend the guy.

So they should just accept the risk of having been shot there because some folks think having an armored vehicle is “militarization”? To be blunt…go @#$% yourself if that’s your opinion.

Yes, as a Cop, yes… I accept risking my life to protect others. I don’t accept risking my life over your politics or your tin hat fears that we are going to use these trucks to take your weapons and round you up for some FEMA camp.

If the real issue is that your local cops are using their equipment when it’s not necessary, you should be dealing with the decision makers at you local PD. Don’t put people at risk over hyped up fears about equipment.

Occam’s Razor for shooters….

The Ockraz Logo
The Ockraz Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

William of Ockham was an influential medieval philosopher who is recalled chiefly for the maxim attributed to him known as Ockham’s razor. Also spelled “Occam’s Razor”. The words attributed to him are, entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem…or “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity”.

I bring this up because I have just read a quote from the Dokkodo, the “The Solitary Path”, which is a short piece written by Miyamoto Musashi shortly before his death:

Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what can be of use to you.

I see a link between the philosophies of these two men and an application to weapon training. I will attempt to explain.

These philosophical issues come to mind because I was recently involved in a friendly conversation debating that “Less Filling. Tastes Great” topic of using the slide release vs “power stroking” the slide on a handgun during an emergency reload.

I have a post here regarding this very issue BTW.

Debate points that always seem to come up when discussing emergency reloads are:

“I use the power stroke because I may be using a weapon I am unfamiliar with and running the slide is fairly universal for all pistols while slide releases may vary.”

and

“I use the power stroke because the actions are similar to the manual of arms for clearing malfunctions.”

Being a fairly recent convert to the slide release method, Occam’s and Musashi’s quotes kind of cut me both ways.

I argue that the “It’s universal for all pistols” point either means you own too many pistols or you are saying you are going to be doing a combat pick up of a pistol…or a disarm.

Per Occam/Musashi…if you have so many different pistols that you may/may not be carrying at any one time, you are violating their precepts. I’m not against collecting guns, I’m not against having different pistols/rifles for different applications, but if you worry that you may not be able to “auto pilot” your weapon because you may be carrying something different on any given day, that’s a problem IMO. Pick one and make it a part of your hand.

The combat pick-up/disarm argument doesn’t hold much water for me either. I’m probably not going to disarm an attacker of his weapon and magazines and have to do an emergency reload with them. And the combat pick-up is such a statistically rare issue that I don’t see it as a valid point. Either way, if they worry you then do the power stroke method if that ever happens.

The second point…”I use the power stroke because the actions are similar to the manual of arms for clearing malfunctions.” Is a more valid argument when applying Occam (Musashi doesn’t really apply here). Having one way of operating the pistol regardless of reason (malfunction or running dry) is a stronger point IMO and I have much to agree with.

However I would counter that Occam said “…must not be multiplied beyond necessity” he didn’t say “never multiply”. The slide stop method has some things going for it; speed, efficiency, the weapon/hands stay more oriented to the threat, etc. The necessity of multiplying your manual of arms to gain those advantages may be debatable, but I would debate it.

Either way you choose I find Occam and Musashi’s points as interesting ways to analyze our choices when it comes to weaponcraft. What do you think?

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lets see if this gets hearts racing

Anyone into LE/MIL training has heard of the book “Sharpening the Warriors Edge“. The core of the book is focused on the proposition that the human heart rate is a factor in combative performance under stress and that as the heart rate increases a person will loose motor function and other skills.

This book and author were picked up by Ltc David Grossman, who you all know, and this heart rate chart was propagated throughout MIL/LEcircles as proven science.

I have always been skeptical of the whole “heart rate chart” thing and how the TAC/LE community seems to have swallowed it without any sort of verification or peer review.

I don’t believe that HR in and of itself causes any significant motor loss.  I remember doing drills in SWAT school where I had to run in full gear and assemble a pistol while competing head to head. Since it wasn’t life or death it wasn’t exceedingly difficult. If anything, it would have been the mental stress of competition that caused any motor skill degradation. Conversely I’ve had some “oh shit” moments that left my hands shaking…Imo its adrenalin and mental factors that are whats in play here not HR at all. Saying heart rate is the cause is like saying that dilated pupils cause nodding out…not heroin in the bloodstream. Heart rate may be somewhat of an indicator of hormonal changes in the body but I see no proof that those indicators prove to be universal between all persons.

I note that in more recent versions of the HR chart it stipulates “HORMONAL Induced Heart Rate”. I don’t know if Siddle has altered his approach or if these charts are from a source other than Siddle, but when it first came out it seemed implied that heart rate ALONE was the factor and that’s how many LE/MIL/TAC trainers were regurgitating it to their students.

All the same I don’t know that HR should be used as a metric at all. I would think that people would have different symptoms at different heart rates under adrenaline/hormonal influences. Just because I may loose motor skills when scared at around 155 BPM doesn’t mean you are going to lose them at the same rate.

I wonder where these numbers came from…and so do others. That’s the core of the criticism as I see it.

Some other LE/MIL folks didn’t bite either. Hock Hochheim posted the following.

http://www.hockscqc.com/blogs/08-13/index.htm

Go to the bottom…August 1st post.

Of particular interest to this discussion from Hocks post is:

The professional look of the chart and its matter-of-fact presentation suggests some very serious, study work has been done. But by whom? The actual source is somewhat elusive these days. The source is usually just regurgitated as “Bruce Siddle’s work on,” or the “work of Bruce Siddle,” over and over again, as through Siddle himself was a renown heart surgeon or maybe a Distinguished Fellow, doctor at Houston’s Debakey Heart Center. Does anyone ask, just who this Siddle really is? Actually, Siddle has not graduated a college and has no psychology or medical degree or experience. He is essentially a self-proclaimed, martial arts grandmaster of his own style ” Fist of Dharma,” from a small, Illinois town. He had an idea at a very ripe time decades ago, to teach very non-violent, police courses. Many police administrations loved the programs because of the pressure-point approach. Many, many officers, including myself, did not like the program.

Siddle is also the guy behind the Pressure Point Control Tactics (PPCT) System that was so popular in LE circles for a while.

Its interesting how a self-proclaimed grandmaster can found a widely LE accepted DT system, leverage what many are now believing to be a mistaken idea into notoriety, and even get ownership of a handgun manufacturing outfit (with Grossman once again). The snake eating tail aspect of tactical experts endorsing/spouting each others work serves to ingrain concepts into our training and operations…some are good, but others we really should be taking a closer look at.

Grossman also used to hitch his training wagon to John Giduck who also is having some credibility issues of late.

This all goes to show the power of “getting an in” with LE and MIL circles. I don’t want to come off as “bashing” any of these authors but we in the LE/MIL communities seem to be having a “flavor of the day” issue with people and concepts. I think a dose of skepticism would serve us better than hero worship of authors and trainers we haven’t seriously investigated or vetted.

Do any of my readers have any additional information or expertise on this subject?

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what action movies could be like…

….when the actors know what they are doing.

One of my pet peeves has always been the crappy presentation of firearms handling in the entertainment media. One of my more popular posts here covers some of the stuff that irks me.

From the simple way actors hold weapons to crappy portrayals of tactics, the “you gotta be kidding me!” stuff abounds.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Take a look at this video:

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t perfect. The idea of a lone officer going in against multiple, heavily armed bad guys and advancing on the last one to the point of transition isn’t exactly the soundest portrayal of “what to do” from a tactical standpoint. As a matter of fact, that point was addressed by the “actor”:

Costa acknowledges that a one-man entry will be questioned, that the “reality” and “verisimilitude” of the mini-move will no doubt be derided by some, but in the end he says, “..it’s a commercial. If they lock it down and wait for backup to arrive, that would not make much of a commercial would it? Of course there is going to be some ‘entertainment value.’”

Tactics in this example aside, the individual weapon handling here is far above what you would see in most TV/movie examples. I contend that many people in the entertainment industry could easily “up their game” in the realism department by paying just a little more attention to how their actors handle weapons.

Of course this “actor” IS Chris Costa…perhaps he’s angling for an entertainment consultant gig?