Here’s an interesting story about a 19 year old youth in Los Angeles – Abdul Arian – who took police on a high speed chase around the city while at the same time calling 911 and uttering threats about what would happen if the police stopped him.
There are two things of interest.
The first is what happened after he eventually stopped. He got out of the car, surrounded by growing numbers of LA police, and was moving backwards from the police while facing them, before turning towards the police in what was subsequently described as a ‘firing position’ and holding some sort of object in his hands.
No-one can argue about part of what happened next. Unsurprisingly, the police that had him surrounded shot and killed the youth.
It was dark, the guy was clearly unstable and had threatened to pull his gun on the police if stopped, so when he stopped running away and appeared to present something at the police as if it were a pistol, the police did the sensible thing, and shot to stop the threat.
But – and here’s the but – it wasn’t just one or two police officers that fired four or five rounds each. Eight police shot at the youth, firing, between them, more than 90 rounds. That’s a lot of rounds being fired, particularly in a semi-residential area where who knows what was further ‘down range’.
There is video of the encounter on this web page and it appears, based on the voice over narration, that the shooting may have occurred over a surprisingly lengthy period of time (relatively speaking) – ie at least ten seconds, maybe more like fifteen. Note also how the youth continued to act in a crazy and threatening way during this period of time, even after the police first started shooting at him, before finally collapsing. He showed little obvious sign of impairment prior to suddenly collapsing.
The lesson here is one of our ‘favorite’ lessons – and to appreciate it, slightly change the scenario and instead of a fool being chased by many police, maybe you are being chased by a road-ranger and end up having to shoot to save your life against the incensed road-rager.
It took eight police officers more than 90 shots between them to reach a point where the guy finally collapsed, and the guy was still nimbly moving about the place prior to suddenly collapsing. We can only guess at how many unnecessary extra shots were fired at the guy as he was collapsing, and of course, it seems pretty safe to assume that many of the shots missed.
But there’s no reason to assume the police are particularly worse at shooting than you would be; indeed, with at least seven of their friends around them for support, probably wearing bullet proof vests, the suspect generally moving away, and never shooting back at them, their own stress levels, while high, where several levels lower than yours would be when facing a deadly threat all by yourself.
So – answer the question. How many rounds would it take you to achieve a similar outcome? And bear in mind we have no idea how many rounds ‘more than 90′ actually is. It might be 91. But it could be 99 or way more, too.
Maybe you can do as well with ‘only’ more than 80 rounds, or maybe even more than 70 rounds or more than 60 rounds. Indeed, why not consider yourself – alone – as being twice as good at eight LA policemen all together, and say that you only need ‘more than’ 45 rounds.
Do you carry more than 45 rounds with you? If your answer is no, then in cases similar to this, you’ll run out of bullets before you’ve stopped the threat. You’ll lose.
A related question. The youth was never more than a second or at the most two from the police. Once you’ve emptied your gun at the person attacking you, how long will it take you to reload and get back in the fight? Any more than perhaps 1.5 seconds maximum, and you’re going to have the bad guy on top of you before you get your gun running again.
Remember also that this encounter required more than 90 rounds against a single adversary. What say you find yourself confronted by two bad guys. Or three? Do the math.
The second thing of interest is the massive contradictions of facts as between what the now rapidly becoming sainted dead guy’s family are saying about the guy (I wonder if Muslims become saints?) and what the facts of the matter starkly reveal (better reported in the LA Times article in the first link than in the Huffington Post second linked article).
Remember that every bad guy is also probably a grieving mother’s son, maybe the father to some grieving children, the husband and breadwinner to a grieving wife, and so on and so forth. Remember also you probably don’t have the moral support and legal resources of the LAPD to back you up and ensure you get at least your fair share of airtime to give your side of any story.
Somehow there’s much more news and emotional value to see a woman in tears while clutching an outdated carefully photographed picture of her dead husband/son/father than there is to see a woman rejoicing and happy at her husband/son/father having survived a deadly encounter by virtue of shooting a bad guy. Life’s just not fair, is it.
Which leads to our most favorite lesson of all- any time you have a choice, don’t shoot. Avoid the fight. Even if you win the encounter, you might lose all the bs that goes down subsequently.