When I was in law school, one of my classmates was a lovely man who had decided to go to law school after several years as a police officer in Oklahoma. I forget the context of our conversation, but he once told me that, in law enforcement, you never shoot to wound. Shooting is binary. Either you don’t need to shoot at all, or if you need to shoot, the only way to ensure a safe outcome for both officer and innocent bystanders is to shoot to kill. In other words, by the time you’re firing, the time for some hypothetical “shoot to wound” has already passed. As part of that point, my friend told me that, unless you’re a sharpshooter, in a chaotic, adrenalin filled situation, you can’t shoot for delicate targets such as a hand, foot or knee. You go for the big target — the torso — or the second biggest target — the head, and then you shoot to kill.
Despite his long, long years as a lawyer, I have no doubt that my friend is shocked and horrified, as are New York cops, at the new rule the Legislature is mulling over, one that requires them to shoot to wound:
City cops are livid over a legislative proposal that could handcuff the brave officers involved in life-and-death confrontations every day — requiring them to shoot gun-wielding suspects in the arm or leg rather than shoot to kill, The Post has learned.
The “minimum force” bill, which surfaced in the Assembly last week, seeks to amend the state penal codes’ “justification” clause that allows an officer the right to kill a thug if he feels his life or someone else’s is in imminent danger.
The bill — drafted in the wake of Sean Bell’s controversial police shooting death — would force officers to use their weapons “with the intent to stop, rather than kill” a suspect. They would be mandated to “shoot a suspect in the arm or the leg.”
Under present NYPD training, cops are taught to shoot at the center of their target and fire their weapon until the threat has been stopped.
“These are split-second, spontaneous events — and officers have to make a full assessment in a fraction of a second,” said an angry Michael Paladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association. “It is not realistic, and it exists only in cartoons.
“It’s moronic and would create two sets of rules in the streets if there is a gunfight. This legislation would require officers to literally shoot the gun out of someone’s hand or shoot to wound them in the leg or arm. I don’t know of any criminal who doesn’t shoot to kill. They are not bound by any restrictions.”
Read the rest here.
This one is right up there with the medal the military is contemplating for courageous restraint — an honor, Rush Limbaugh says, correctly, will surely be awarded only posthumously.
Is there anyone else out there who thinks it utterly insane that we, as a society, blithely assume that our troops and police should take all of the risks on our behalf, while we systematically strip them of their right to defend themselves against the bad guys? Oh, wait. Of course it makes sense. I’m just looking at this whole thing wrong. If you’re a Progressive, the troops and police are the bad guys. It’s the ones on the receiving end of the evil cop and evil American soldier guns who are poor, misunderstood victims of the man, of America, of white imperialism, etc., and it’s only right and proper that they have the upper hand in any engagement.
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