Once Again, It’s Too Late

I’m back to channeling firearms indignation, which I last visited in the aftermath of Sandy Hook. I really thought in regards to police violence focusing on suicide prevention could be a silver bullet (pardon the pun), but I was clearly wrong:

Family members of a teen who was shot at least 16 times by police in Ottawa, Kansas said this week that the 18-year-old was unarmed and suicidal when he was gunned down.

Brandy Smith told KCTV that police were there when her nephew, 18-year-old Joseph Jennings, had tried to kill himself with pills last week.

“Tonight is the night goodbye everyone!!!!! It was truly a good ride! And I’m sorry for who I might of hurted (sic) and people that I may of offended, But I love all my family and I hope you don’t hold this against me,” he reportedly wrote on Facebook before trying to overdose.

About 10 minutes later, Jennings swallowed 60 pills. And Smith said two officers took him to Ransom Memorial Hospital.

Jennings survived, and was released from the hospital two days later. But only three hours after that, he was on a “suicide mission” when he walked to Orscheln Farm and Home, according to his aunt.

Smith recalled that around six officers responded, and two of them had helped save Jennings’ life by taking him to the hospital after his overdose just days before.

We live in the NRA’s fantasy world, where “a good guy with a gun” is the only solution. Who’s supposed to be the good guys in these situations?

“And I told them, if he has a gun, it’s a BB gun,” she insisted. “But we don’t know that… He knew that if he acted like he had a gun that they would shoot him, and I told them that.”

“I told them, ‘That’s Joseph Jennings, he’s suicidal, he’s upset, don’t shoot him,’” Smith added. “And that’s what I don’t understand is, why did it take them shooting him 16 times at least for them to bring him down? Why didn’t they bag him, knock him down, and then go and take care of whatever they needed to take care of?”

Smith said that her husband tried to help, but police threatened to shoot him too.

“My husband was going to tackle him. He was within arms reach. They said to get back or they were going to shoot him,” she explained.

American police have become so belligerent it is rotting the officers’ brains:

Ottawa Police Chief Dennis Butler said officers did what they were trained to do.

“They reacted based upon the training that they’ve been given from the academy,” Butler said. “We were thankful that no officer was injured from protecting themselves from risk of great bodily harm.”

Great bodily harm—from a known suicidal teenager holding an air rifle. Two officers knowing for certain the kid was suicidal. Sixteen rounds hit…could have killed a bystander or five with that volume of fire. Something is seriously rotten in the state of Denmark…

…the Readiness Is All

I’ve purloined two lines from the Bard to illustrate a simple fact—anyone carrying a firearm needs to employ it competently. The last month is leading me to believe American police officers cannot discriminate between fantasy and reality. They shoot a woman holding a drill:

SAN JOSE (KCBS) — A 19-year-old woman was shot and killed by San Jose police Thursday morning after officers responded to a report that she threatened to shoot her family with an Uzi-like weapon, though it was determined she was holding a cordless drill.

Let’s be clear. The San Jose Police mistook this…

…for this:

I guess I can understand at a distance, but Showman’s killing that could have been avoided with a pair of binoculars. Are police departments so cash-strapped as to be unable to afford magnification aids?

Good Zeiss binoculars are expensive, but nowhere near the cost of the M82 Barrett or the .50 caliber BMG ammo the rifles fire. Not to mention police departments have been showered with such gear for free thanks to the 1033 program.

No, the issue is that police officers don’t always discriminate what they are aiming at before they fire:

The frantic scene began around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, when Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputy Easton McDonald heard an alarm from his garage indicating the door was open. McDonald, getting ready for work, walked closer to the garage in his Winchester, Va. home and heard more rustling and a loud bang.

“He figured someone had broken into the garage, and his family was upstairs asleep,” Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Donnie Lang told the Washington Post.

The law enforcement officer grabbed a pistol he kept in the kitchen and approached the garage. A “dark shape” came toward him and McDonald fired, shooting the person in the chest.

“Then he hears her voice and recognizes that it’s his daughter,” Lang told the newspaper.

Another situation that could have been avoided had the officer grabbed one of these as well as the pistol…

…though Deputy McDonald’s list of poor choices wasn’t complete after shooting his daughter:

He immediately called 911 and jumped in the car with the wounded 16-year-old girl, a student as Millbrook High School.

“[A] male subject stated, ‘My daughter’s been shot and I’m taking her to the hospital.’ There was an open line for a few seconds and then the phone disconnected,” Lang told WHAG-TV.

En route from his Lilys Way home, McDonald crashed his car near Cork St. and East Lane as he raced to Winchester Medical Center. A responding ambulance took the girl the rest of the way there, the station reported.

The teen is in stable condition, while her father, a 13-year veteran, has been placed on administrative leave as his department investigates the shooting.

Wait, so equip police with binoculars and teach them to never leave home without a MagLite. Problem solved!

Nope, not by a long shot.

Gendarmes and Guns

America is addicted to opening fire—American police officers more than any other group. Due to the preponderance of the “21 foot rule” in police training, officers develop instincts to draw and fire on anyone within seven yards that has an object in the potential perpetrator’s hands:

For more than 20 years now, a concept called the 21-Foot Rule has been a core component in training officers to defend themselves against edged weapons.

Originating from research by Salt Lake City trainer Dennis Tueller “rule” states that in the time it takes the average officer to recognize a threat, draw his sidearm and fire 2 rounds at center mass, an average subject charging at the officer with a knife or other cutting or stabbing weapon can cover a distance of 21 feet.

The implication, therefore, is that when dealing with an edged-weapon wielder at anything less than 21 feet an officer had better have his gun out and ready to shoot before the offender starts rushing him or else he risks being set upon and injured or killed before he can draw his sidearm and effectively defeat the attack.

Mythbusters demonstrated the danger a knife-wielder poses to a shooter with a holstered pistol two years ago:

Note that seven yards is a specific circumstance—pistol holstered, sudden charge. Weapon out and trained on the target requires far less than 1.5 seconds for the shooter to begin firing. This leads to a dangerous misconception:

“Unfortunately, some officers and apparently some trainers as well have ‘streamlined’ the 21-Foot Rule in a way that gravely distorts its meaning and exposes them to highly undesirable legal consequences,” Lewinski says. Namely, they have come to believe that the Rule means that a subject brandishing an edged weapon when positioned at any distance less than 21 feet from an officer can justifiably be shot.

For example, an article on the 21-Foot Rule in a highly respected LE magazine states in its opening sentence that “a suspect armed with an edged weapon and within twenty-one feet of a police officer presents a deadly threat.” The “common knowledge” that “deadly force against him is justified” has long been “accepted in police and court circles,” the article continues.


Statements like that, Lewinski says, “have led officers to believe that no matter what position they’re in, even with their gun on target and their finger on the trigger, they are in extreme danger at 21 feet. They believe they don’t have a chance of surviving unless they preempt the suspect by shooting.

“However widespread that contaminated interpretation may be, it is NOT accurate. A suspect with a knife within 21 feet of an officer is POTENTIALLY a deadly threat. He does warrant getting your gun out and ready. But he cannot be considered an actual threat justifying deadly force until he takes the first overt action in furtherance of intention–like starting to rush or lunge toward the officer with intent to do harm. Even then there may be factors besides distance that influence a force decision.

“So long as a subject is stationary or moving around but not advancing or giving any indication he’s about to charge, it clearly is not legally justified to use lethal force against him. Officers who do shoot in those circumstances may find themselves subject to disciplinary action, civil suits or even criminal charges.”

*Snort*…you’re killing me!

Yes, if a police officer kills someone he or she is always open to civil suits. But is Lewinski actually arguing in the event that police officers that jump the gun and shoot someone with a melee weapon the police will be subject to loss of liberty? What country does he live in? Should a police chief attempt to arrest a subordinate for assault and fabricating evidence, the DA will reject the warrant. The Tueller drill has in effect put a 21-foot circle around every police officer in the U.S.A., where any force up to and including inflicting death is perfectly permissible. Police officers aren’t even responsible for firing accurately any longer:

A police shooting in Orlando, Florida, claimed the life of a 22-year old college student, Maria Godinez, on August 19, when police confronted a man said to be brandishing a gun at a bar in the city. But though Godinez was an innocent bar patron who was struck with an errant police bullet, police hit the alleged gun-wielding man with first-degree murder charges — even though he never fired a shot.

There is also some question as to whether Kody Roach, 23, was in possession of a gun when police officer Eduard Sanguino opened fire on him with nine shots at about 12:45 am. At least five of those bullets hit Roach, who was later hospitalized in critical conditon. One of the shots ricocheted and struck Sanguino’s fellow officers, Lt. Frank Nunez, in the leg.

But another bullet went astray and hit Godinez, who was inside the bar enjoying a night out with friends, in the shoulder. The young woman, who grew up in Cocoa, Florida, after emigrating from Guatelmala as a small child, collapsed and later died at a nearby hospital.

But on Tuesday, police charged Roach, who is still in the hospital, with first degree murder in the death of Maria Godinez, saying that he initiated the confrontation that led to her accidental killing.

Nine more rounds; but this time one of the frightened bystanders dies from a hit from one of Officer Eduard Sanguino’s four errant projectiles. Did anyone mention Kody Roach’s gun was unloaded? Maria Godinez literally was killed for nothing. Without a doubt, no Florida authority has or will ever ask the most pertinent question:

The use of the felony murder charge has long been controversial in such cases, particularly because some have questioned why an unarmed bouncer could remove Rouch but three officers had to fire multiple shots to subdue him. We have previously discussed the sharp statistical difference between officer shootings in this country as opposed to other countries.

How many more must die needlessly?


One thought on “Once Again, It’s Too Late

  1. Pingback: Please Tell Me It Isn’t Too Late | In The Corner, Mumbling and Drooling

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