Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Another thing to think about...

The report, entitled Too Many Guns: How Shootout With Bombing Suspects Spiraled into Chaos, shows that the initial shootout in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev was eventually killed was almost a circular firing squad, as on-duty and off-duty officers, some in uniform and some in street clothes, arrived on the scene from multiple directions and began shooting no only at the Tsarnaev brothers, but each other:
There's another lesson here that I'm not seeing discussed because of all the "Hurr-hurr, har-har, cops! Amirite?"

So, there our hero is, sitting in the mall, munching on a Chick-fil-A and reading Sheepdog Magazine Monthly when that event that he's wargamed out in gun forum discussion boards for years finally happens! A bunch of guys yelling "Allahu akhbar!" come swarming out of the GAP, firing AK-47s from the hip and headed straight for the food court!

"Get behind me, sheeple!" screams our hero, as he does a quick reload-with-retention, dropping the 15-round magazine from his carry gun, Glock 17 with the grip chopped to G19 length, and jamming a 33-round extended magazine (You know, the one he keeps in his weak si... sorry, "other strong side" hip pocket in case of terr'ist attack) into the gun.

Using the tactics he learned at Rick Taylor's Advanced Tactical Combat Gunfighting Level II class, he assaults into the ambush...

...Only to be mowed down by the guys in blue who show up towards the tail end of the festivities. Hey, the cops came in response to some guy shooting up the food court; in the absence of a big glowing "Good Guy!" light over our hero's head, they're not gonna know he's not him:
  • There's a dude...
  • With a gun...
  • In the food court...
  • Bang.
I wonder if more firearms training should involve knowing when to drop the gun with a quickness for deconfliction purposes?
.

48 comments:

The Jack said...

It seems like knowing how and when to drop the gun would be a very good part of training.

The class I was in GreenCastle worked on that, though that was more in the mug/robbery case than Foodcourt Six.

However, one thing you can guarantee in a DGU is that the police will, eventually, show up.

The might not show up all hot and ready to rock and roll, but odds are real good that they were called into man-with-gun (perhaps even by the sheepdog her/himself).

PhilaBOR said...

I'm interested if there are any statistics regarding this. I've heard a podcaster assert that the cops rarely or never shoot the good guy but my google-fu is lacking.

Tam said...

PhilaBOR,

As the number of gun toters and SWAT teams increase, even if the number of food court shootings stays constant the odds for a gaffe of this nature go up.

There are plenty of instances of off-duty or plainclothes cops getting shot by uniformed responding officers.

azmountaintroll said...

Come the day, the most important thing I'll say to the 911 dispatcher is, "Tell the responding officers DO NOT SHOOT THE MAN WITH THE WHITE HAT".

fast richard said...

"Everybody shoots everybody in a fight."

My favorite line from Sam Fuller's movie The Big Red One.

Being sure of your target and what's behind it is sometimes easier said than done. The sorts of classes I've taken have generally addressed the issue of how to respond when the police show up. That can be as dangerous as the initial encounter.

Stephen said...

Private carry is for self-defense. The sheepdog thing only happens if I'm curiously and temporarily still alive when all the good options, to include escape, have been exhausted.

Murphy's Law said...

Tam nails this one. Responding officers in these situations have been known to shoot off-duty or plainclothes officers that were trying to handle the same situation, because when the adrenaline is up and tunnel vision is the law of the land, a "man with a gun" is ANY man with a gun who is not in a readily-identifiable uniform. And sadly, that same adrenaline rush often prevents the off-duty or plainclothes officer from hearing the "drop the gun" commands that immediately precede his demise. Or worse, he hears them but reflexively turns towards the sound, and where our eyes go, so goes the gun in our hands.

The only saving grace is that police officers are taught hand signs or other recognition clues to telegraph that they are one of the good guys. That's saved a lot of lives. But the average Gunstore Commando does not know these signs, and while most police are now adding this type of situation to their training and teaching their people how to recognize and work with each other, the non-affiliated citizen with a gun who is "just trying to help" is still liable to get shot because they're not recognized as being part of the team.

The best thing a citizens can do is call 911, identify him/herself as being on the scene, and describe him/herself, but even that isn't a failsafe because it takes time for that information to be passed to the field and processed by everyone there, and things will be moving very fast indeed. Remember that the armed citizen isn't expected to "Go Rambo" and shut down the active shooter--they are supposed to protect themselves as they extricate themselves from the situation or shelter in place. A freelance rover with a gun is just gonna get shot down by the police in most realistic cases unless they drop their weapon and get their hands up the moment that they see the police. Don't care if it is a pristine Kimber--it had better hit the floor fast and hard.

Robert said...

Murphy said... "And sadly, that same adrenaline rush often prevents the off-duty or plainclothes officer from hearing the "drop the gun" commands that immediately precede his demise."

I'd say it's not that they didn't hear the command, it's just that their brain does not process it because of "I'm a cop! Obviously they aren't yelling at ME to drop my gun!"

Robert said...

azmountaintroll said...
"Come the day, the most important thing I'll say to the 911 dispatcher is, 'Tell the responding officers DO NOT SHOOT THE MAN WITH THE WHITE HAT'."

Which, once it gets passed down through a few people before reaching the responding officers, turns into "THE GUY WITH THE WHITE HAT ON IS THE SHOOTER"...

The Raving Prophet said...

Pfft. Just kit up and there's no worry.

http://www.armstobear.com/store-products-DSM-1-DSM-%28Dont-Shoot-Me%29-Safety-Banner-CCW_1096437078.html

(Yes, the above is sarcasm. Tam makes a good point- without a uniform we're running the wrong IFF code in an active shooter situation.)

fillyjonk said...

At work, we've been told that if there's ever an "incident," to hit the ground with arms outstretched the moment the cops show up - because they might take anyone standing up as a potential shooter.

And this is on an allegedly-unarmed college campus.

(I'm not sure how I feel about the "go prone, citizen" request, but you can dang well bet I'm doing it if the worst happens)

Lewis said...

Rick Taylor is like a god.

Anonymous said...

DTI does.

Gerry

CarlosT said...

Of course, given police response times, that's one looooong gunfight if you're still standing around by the time they arrive. You could just holster.

Alien said...

There are plenty of instances of off-duty or plainclothes cops getting shot by uniformed responding officers.

Given the propensity for the po-po to shoot anything and everything in sight (see: Boston, Tsarnaev), I'd be more worried about the off-duty three tables behind me who will shoot me in the back because "man with a gun."

I'll side with Stephen, above: I intend to un-ass the chair and access an exit ASAP; my heater ain't coming out of the holster unless the guy blocking my escape is armed.

Scott J said...

Wait....so you're telling me it won't be Iike an IDPA stage? :)

KM said...

fast richard: That can be as dangerous as the initial encounter.

Probably more so.
If you hear/see the cops showing up, *you're going to be looking at them as a help, not threat. And they should be looking at you as the good guy right? Umm...no.
(One reason I don't like the Gunsite "move the gun along with your eyes when you scan")
$3k custom gun? Drop that thing like it's covered in broken glass.

*if your trainer had any sense, they covered this.

Matt said...

I think this played out in a shopping mall in I beliebe Nigeria or Kenya last year. The first responders were armed citizens (I don't know if they were legally armed) who kept engaging the terrorists as they led people to safety. Innocent casualties and damage to the mall seemed to increase when the Police/Military showed up.

RevolverRob said...

This is why I avoid sheepdog mentality and places where sheepdogs might congregate. I am deeply disturbed by the sheepdog mentality. I really wish that stuff had never been written. The increasingly becoming nationwide stance of shall-issue concealed carry means exactly what I hoped it would mean, "Carry your own gun and be responsible for yourself, end of story."

What's the point of that rant? Well, if you don't start sheepdogging there won't be no sheepdogging and then you'll worry a lot less about getting shot the hell up by po-po responding to an active shooter event. Or put another way do your shooting, if you must, and then put the gun away and hide.

Besides in my world, when the cops show up everyone in the place would have already unloaded into the bad guy and the cops wouldn't have enough ammo or men to shoot everyone who was armed. But that seems as unlikely as a terr'ist incident at the local mall.

-Rob

Robin said...

No, no, its exactly like an IDPA stage, you stand around looking confused until someone shouts "Unload and show clear!"

Robin said...

Best response when the police show is to dump yer piece in the nearest trash bin full of McD's wrappers, stick your arms straight up and scream like a little girl.

Windy Wilson said...

"police officers are taught hand signs or other recognition clues to telegraph that they are one of the good guys."

Murph -- so, they flash gang signs at one another?

Scott J said...

Robin, I almost choked on a Sun Chip when I read that.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the pictures of the Kenya mall attack, there is a rather famous one with a man wearing a vest with an IDPA logo on it pointing to something off screen.

The gentleman with the vest has his finger in register.
The police officer does not.

Gerry

TheRock said...

Private carry is for self-defense. The sheepdog thing only happens if I'm curiously and temporarily still alive when all the good options, to include escape, have been exhausted.

Amen. I'm getting me and mine out; sorry about your bad luck if you aren't prepared to help yourself.

Patrick Henry, the 2nd said...

@Murphy's law

"Remember that the armed citizen isn't expected to "Go Rambo" and shut down the active shooter"

I disagree. I have a duty to protect innocent lives. That duty includes shutting down the active shooter. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't. If I die, whether from the active shooter, another CCWer, or a cop, I don't care. You have to try to save lives.

Will said...

Gerry:

What I read is that there is a range nearby where there was an IDPA meet happening, when some sort of police types participating got the call/page about the mall. They all got an invite to assist. That's why the IDPA "shoot me vest/concealment gear" is seen in mall photos.

No idea how many non-.gov IDPA shooters joined the mall-party-in-progress. I'm guessing they may have been the most effective on site. BTW, they worked as a group when they hit the place. Went to the roof via the outdoor parking structure, and worked their way downward.

Would be nice to get an AAR from the participants. Any IDPA people have connections to that area's group?

Anonymous said...

That's why sheepdogs carry CCW badges, or so I've read.

- Drifter

Anonymous said...

Will,

There are at least two that I have seen.

One from the Provost Marshal General and one from the NYPD.

The NYPD study is pretty damning.

You probably can find both on the internet some place.

Gerry

Kristophr said...

Making sure the 911 dispatcher knows you are a white hat and knows what you look like is one of the most important parts of a 911 call:

"I am the one wearing a firearm and a bathrobe. Please don't shoot me."

Robert Fowler said...

I'm safe. I stay out of malls. If I can't find it at wally world or the local hardware store, I don't need it.

TBeck said...

Trouble isn't hard to find when you go looking for it.

tweell said...

This is definitely a problem, and one that folks must remember. I know of one incident where a shop robbery turned into a shop owner death because of it - the perp dumped his piece and ran when the cop showed up; the owner popped out of the doorway with his pistol and was shot by the policeman.

A week later the policeman ate his own pistol.

IIRC the Phoenix police recreated this scenario in their shoot-house training, they didn't want a repeat. Make it easier on them, don't have a firearm in your hands when they show up.

Murphy's Law said...

Anonymous Patrick Henry, the 2nd said...
@Murphy's law

"Remember that the armed citizen isn't expected to "Go Rambo" and shut down the active shooter"

I disagree. I have a duty to protect innocent lives. That duty includes shutting down the active shooter. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't. If I die, whether from the active shooter, another CCWer, or a cop, I don't care. You have to try to save lives.

Yeah, ok...whatever. It wouldn't be the internet without someone posting something like this, would it? Sheesh.

Jim Dunmyer said...

It bugs the heck outa me to watch any of the cop/action shows and see all of 'em pointing their weapons at one another. Officers approaching the perp from all directions, all pointing weapons at the perp. Or one guy trying to put the cuffs on the perp while 2 others are in front of the perp with weapons trained on him.

I'll say that that the cops are using more-or-less proper finger discipline these days.

Anonymous said...

"Make it easier on them, don't have a firearm in your hands when they show up."
This, so much. Hooray for reholstering.

Derfel Cadarn said...

It is just too bad these morons weren't more lethal. I'm sure that these "heroes" dying from friendly fire would make an amusing story.

Robin said...

I remember seeing photos from the Kenyan mall attack by Al Queda with the guys in civvies and shooter patches working the mall.

But I've never seen a real narrative of what happened there. I think that that is creating a lot of Kenyan Mall Truther nuts in Kenya as I understand.

Maureen Williams said...

That potential circular firing squad was the main reason I stayed in the house that day. And I live two towns away from where he was shot.

Anonymous said...

Will, do you have a source for the IDPA story? I read about the situation at the time, but dont recall anything of that sort, other than a vague reference that some members of a gun club heard one or more of their members were there and came to try to help them. One other civvy that came heard about it from a text from his brother, and came. He spent about 6 hours in the mall. Others were known to have participated, along with some off duty police. Both seemed to have worked together from pictures and reports. It was thought they may have helped save up to a thousand people and get them out, exchanging shots with the terrs in the process. The official response was slow and disorganized.

Tam said...

" I'm sure that these "heroes" dying from friendly fire would make an amusing story."

You stay classy, pseudonymous internet man!

CarlS said...

Assumption: Cops do not show up instantaneously; they usually take 20 minutes or more.

This being so (as numerous documents prove), perhaps it is time for cop academies and certification classes to require:

"Don't shoot at anything that moves until you first assess the situation, because in the intervening hours between the call and your arrival, things may have changed. Some of the people on scene might very well be undercover or plain clothes cops, federal agents, and non-police lawfully carrying. Identify your targets and THINK before you shoot.Use of deadly force will not excuse mistakes made in the heat of the moment, because you're cops - highly trained, better than civilians - and the Supreme Court has previously ruled that "professionals are deemed to know what they are doing and can be held liable for failure to maintain their professionalism." Kill innocent persons and nightmares won't be your only problem."

Anonymous said...

The first two guys to get their were security ops for, I think, an oil company and were called because a company employee was trapped in themall. When they arrived they met up with a legally armed Kenyan whose brother had texted him that he was trapped in the coffee shop. They approached a number of police and army personnel but none would do anything until the SWAT team arrived and it had an eta measured in hours.

The armed civilians went first to a roof top car park where there had been a sausage sizzle and were joined by a single EMT team, then they got the survivors into buddy pairs and and sent them running, two at a time, to the exit. They repeated this going down through the building.

Finally they had a wash up and then went home as the police etc had no interest in them!

mike from Oz

Robin said...

Jim Dunmyer, uh, that kind of cops circular firing squad behavior happens in reality as much as your shows.

See the Tsarnaev shootout in Boston.

Goober said...

It definitely is something that needs to be discussed and understood before you stand and draw. However, there are three things that need to be considered:

1.) If you’re still at the start of an active shooter situation, the police are still most likely several minutes out still;
2.) The police, IF they’re doing their job, are not going to just shoot the first guy they see with a gun. Fog of war and all, so accidents do happen, but the idea that police have not ever run into a “good guy with a gun” in their careers is mostly fallacious. Off duty cops, for instance, run around with guns all the time. Unless the cop is a newb or is really in need of additional training, he isn’t going to open up on you just because you’re packing. Drop your gat, let them cuff you, and then make your case;
3.) Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I’m willing to take the risk that the boys in blue pop me in order to at least try to save innocent lives. I understand that you weren’t saying that the fear of being shot by cops should cause you to decide to stand down. I don’t mean to insinuate that was what you’re saying, it’s just something that people need to consider. Lots of people die every day for much less noble purposes than trying to stop a mass murder.

Theother Ryan said...

Massad Ayoob talked once about how this problem was handled in various Israeli massacres.

The consensus was that armed citizens shot the people who were shooting little kids and it seemed to work OK. I'm not saying all folks here are smart enough to do the same thing but it's not a bad idea anyway.

KM said...

@CarlS: Use of deadly force will not excuse mistakes made in the heat of the moment-because you're cops

Everybody loves a dreamer.

The "Right Words To Say" has been officer training for how many decades now?

Matt G said...

I've actually designed an entire firearms qualification which includes responding to threats while retrieving and displaying credentials along with off-duty gun. The guys with the tri-fold wallet badges will often fail.