Shooting To Kill
[Re: “Not Again,” WW, March 24, 2010:] Police are not trained to shoot to disarm or shoot to disable. They are trained to shoot for center of mass, the torso, the largest part of the body. Trying to shoot an assailant in the arm or leg while running is fiction from the movies. The average time to draw and fire a handgun is 1.5 seconds. The average person starting from a standstill can cover 21 feet in that time. So if you are presented with a person attacking you with a knife, your chances of coming away uninjured or alive rely on you making a decision and starting to draw your weapon when your attacker is over 7 yards away from you.
“Before it Starts”
While this is a tragic situation, the officer most likely did what any officer is supposed to: He shot a man approaching him with a knife and refusing to drop it. This is not the movies; shooting a knife out of a bad guy’s hand is a stupid idea and could have got the officer killed. Police are trained to shoot until the threat has stopped. If it takes one, two, three or four shots, it doesn’t matter; you shoot until he stops. A number of drugs can cause the bad guy to ignore the shots even if they are fatal. It does not matter if the man is mentally ill or not—he can still cut you pretty bad with a knife.
The man could have been Tasered or shot in the leg, rendering him harmless. Unfortunately, police shoot to kill because there are fewer lawsuits involved in killing someone than just maiming them. It’s a sad, tragic truth that should be changed. Sizer just returned from a law enforcement conference in England where police do not carry firearms. I wonder how they are trained to handle being approached by a person with a knife. Maybe we could learn something?