You Ain’t John Wayne or Dirty Harry and Even They Aren’t

I am going to post a few quotes from a recent article in The Nation about private citizens being incapable of pulling off a Dirty Harry move in an active shooter situation. But I suggest that you just read the entire article:

 Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association (NRA), has famously claimed that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”

yeah, but:

 Dr. Pete Blair, an associate professor of criminal justice at Texas State University and director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center (ALERRT), has studied mass shooting incidents and trains law enforcement personnel to respond to active-shooter situations. The cops who go through his course conduct live-fire exercises using real firearms which are re-chambered to fire “soap rounds” that leave only welts when they hit.

Blair’s trainees run through a number of real-world scenarios—“force on force training” that’s designed to “inoculate” officers against the problems people naturally encounter in high-stress situations. That stress response, says Blair, includes “tunnel vision, audio exclusion and time dilation,” and one would expect people who weren’t trained in these situations to “freeze up or not know what to do, and to have difficulty performing actions correctly.”

Tactical officers typically receive training in “judgmental shooting,” which includes knowing when it’s prudent to hold their fire, and “blue-on-blue awareness,” which drills into them the importance of considering whether other cops are present, including officers who aren’t in uniform. They’re trained to overcome tunnel vision by looking not only at their target but also maintaining an awareness of who or what is behind it.

and what about the people who protect the president?

David Chipman says the Secret Service’s history is instructive. “Here’s an agency that has all the weaponry that they could ever need, all the training that they could ever need, and they’ve never fired a weapon in defense of a president during an assassination attempt. You’re trained to throw your body in front of the protectee, not to open fire. Just look at the picture taken immediately after Reagan was shot and count the guns in that photograph. They’re all being held by highly-trained experts and not one of them fired. They didn’t shoot [would-be assassin John] Hinckley. And that’s because you’re likely to do more harm than good in that situation.”

So Pilgrim! Go ahead, make my day:

“The notion that you have a seal of approval just because you’re not a criminal—that you walk into a gun store and you’re ready for game-day—is ridiculous,” says Chipman[ a former agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)].


Related Articles