Nine New Yorkers shot by cops
Years and years ago, an instructor at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Ft Bragg put together a little instructional chart called, "Murphy's Laws of Combat." It went viral throughout the Army, insofar as something can could have gone viral in the dark ages before Youtube or even email. One iteration is here.
The original Murphy's Law, of course, is, "If something can go wrong, it will." And so the MLOC include such gems of wisdom as,
"If the enemy can't get in, you can't get out."
"The enemy attacks only when you're not yet ready."
These kind of aphorisms were going around a long time before Ft Bragg was even founded. One of my favorites that I drummed into my troops was scripted by Carl von Clausewitz almost 200 years ago: "In war, everything is simple. But even the simplest things are very difficult."
And so we come to the day after the sad day when a man in New York sought and achieved vengeance against the man who terminated him from his job a year ago. The murderer, Jeffrey Johnson, stood on the sidewalk outside his former place of employment and confronted his former boss (or coworker), Steve Ercolino, whom Johnson shot in the head three times.
Then Johnson bagged his pistol and walked away. Alerted by a bystander, two police officers pursued Johnson. According to reports, Johnson made motions with his pistol that the officers perceived as threatening them, so they fired at Johnson 16 times. Seven of those bullets hit Johnson, killing him.
And the other nine bullets hit New Yorkers who were in the line of fire, fortunately killing none. As Glenn observes,
I’m not saying they did the wrong thing, because I don’t think they did. I’m just saying that if it had been a private citizen, rather than a pair of government employees with government guns, this would be treated very differently by Bloomberg and the press.That's true, of course. And like Glenn, I am not finding fault with the officers for shooting Johnson. But 16 shots from 10 feet away? And they miss more than half?
I carried a pistol for a long time in the Army but I never had to gunfight with it. But just time spent in competitive pistol shoots was quite enough to teach me that accurate pistoleering is difficult. I always qualified expert, but no shot can be taken for granted. Under stress, heart rate elevated, moving target, fear factored in - very hard to shoot well.
I don't know what the cops could have done except engage Johnson when they believed he was about to shoot at them. I guess I would have, too. But over and over, I come back to this: 16 shots from 10 feet away? And they miss more than half?
And so my beginning list of Murphy's Law of Police Operations:
1. Police carry guns to defend themselves, not you.
2. Cops are not skilled shooters. If you see a police officer with a drawn gun, run as far as you can as rapidly as you can. (Actually, I did find myself in that situation once, and I did exactly that.)
3. Police bullets are just as happy to kill you as the bad guy.
Add your own in the comments.