Sergeant Johnson shot him from 104 yards away, with one shot from a pistol, firing one handed, while holding the reins of two horses.
A few comments I’ve read online suggested the 104-yard pistol shot was an Austin PD conspiracy, because such a shot is impossible. I’ve also heard people say Johnson must be lying or exaggerating. You just can’t shoot someone with one shot, one handed with a pistol from over a hundred yards away.
My own experience and training leads me to a different conclusion. That shot would be amazingly difficult, but not impossible.
Most police officers never train to shoot past twenty five yards. I’ve worked for three departments, plus served as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo, and I can’t recall ever shooting a pistol at long range during police training. But I’ve taken a few pistol courses from private training companies. One of them was at Tiger Valley, near Waco, Texas.
The owner/instructor, TJ Pilling, lined us up on the pistol range one day and said we were going to have a competition. He told us to fire one shot at our targets, which were half-size steel silhouettes. We were at twenty-five yards, and we all hit. He backed us up to thirty-five yards and told us to fire again. We all hit. Forty-five yards. A few missed. Fifty-five yards. Only I and one other officer hit. Sixty-five. I was firing a .40 Glock 22, and aimed just over the top of the target’s head. I missed. The other officer hit.
TJ asked me if I aimed high. I told him I did. He said, “Aim center mass.” I did, and shocked the hell out of myself by hitting the target.
TJ walked us to a bay with a full-size silhouette target at 110 yards, and said, “If you have a 9mm, aim center mass. If it’s a .40, aim at the neck.”
The guys with 9mms started pinging the crap out of the target. I fired several shots standing and couldn’t get a hit, so I went prone and tried again. Eventually, after a spotter helped me walk the rounds in like a mortar, I made repeated hits.
I was, to put it mildly, surprised. I’d been a cop for twelve years at that point, and all my training had focused on shooting twenty-five yards and closer. I’d been in the military seventeen years but received almost no pistol training from either the Marines or Army. Conventional wisdom taught me pistols were last-ditch, close-in weapons, and shooting at someone even twenty-five yards away was stretching it. I had struggled to make accurate hits at twenty-five, had missed a target at that range more than once, and had seen cops and soldiers miss numerous shots even closer than that.
To understand the terrorists of today, we can look at their forgotten forebears from the 19th century:
I discovered the secret through reading about 19th-century history, particularly the years from the 1848 revolutions to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The key was Bismarck, the Prussian minister-president who unified Germany. If you want to learn about Bismarck, you will probably pick up a book by some historian of international relations, such as A.J.P. Taylor. That’s the right place to start. But it means you can read a lot about Bismarck before finding out about the time in May 1866 when a guy shot him.
Ferdinand Cohen-Blind, a Badenese student of pan-German sentiments, waylaid Bismarck with a pistol on the Unter den Linden. He fired five rounds. None missed. Three merely grazed his midsection, and two ricocheted off his ribs. He went home and ate a big lunch before letting himself be examined by a doctor.
But even the books that condescend to mention this triviality may not tell you about the other time a guy shot Bismarck: A young Catholic tried to kill him in July 1874, during the anti-Catholic Kulturkampf Bismarck had engineered, but only managed to score his right hand with a bullet.
The point is not that Bismarck was particularly hated, although he was. The point is that this period of European (and American) history was crawling with young, often solitary male terrorists, most of whom showed signs of mental disorder when caught and tried, and most of whom were attached to some prevailing utopian cause. They tended to be anarchists, nationalists or socialists, but the distinctions are not always clear, and were not thought particularly important. The 19th-century mind identified these young men as congenital conspirators. It emphasized what they had in common: social maladjustment, mania, an overwhelming sense of mission and, usually, a prior record of minor crimes.
It has become a pastime of mine to pick major royal or ministerial figures from 19th-century continental Europe and look up the little-known assassination attempts against them. Even in peaceful, isolated England, there were no fewer than seven attempts to shoot Queen Victoria. Russian czars, French presidents and Bulgarian prime ministers make particularly fertile ground.
Just try, for example, either Napoleon. A bomb designed to kill the first on his way to the opera injured or killed roughly 30 people around Christmas 1800; the conspirators were pro-Bourbon legitimists. Exactly the same thing happened to the third in 1858: A bomb planted by Italian revolutionaries killed eight and injured 142, while barely stopping the emperor’s carriage.
Biographies will often omit these events totally, much less note the astonishing Napoleonic parallel. Yet all this bombing and gunfire must have had a profound psychological effect on the leaders who were targeted, along with peers elsewhere. The prevalence of assassination obviously influenced the gory histories of the emerging Balkan states and, once you unlock the secret, you can see the imprint of terror on the history of Germany, with its countless princelings and kinglets — all of them frightened all the time, and thus predisposed to political overreaction.
No one sees the murders of three U.S. presidents between 1865 and 1900 as part of the same phenomenon, but it was. And the bad news is that the First World War, which began with a famous assassination, was in some ways a culmination of this tendency to desperate, violent action.
Back when Todd G. was in law school, he had a wonderful opportunity to teach his classmates about use of force:
For a project in one of my criminal law classes I was invited by the DEA tactical training cadre to bring half my class (and professor) down to the FBI/DEA “Hogan’s Alley” force on force training village in Quantico, Virginia. This was during the time that Waco & Ruby Ridge were being investigated by DOJ and federal law enforcement UOF rules were under severe scrutiny.
Our group was put through a number of exercises ranging from the classic Tueller drill (attacker 21 feet away charges at you with a knife) to team room-clearing.
A few days later I had to present my paper to the entire class. The half that attended the force on force (FOF) exercises sat on the left side of the room and the other students sat on the right.
Just a few minutes into my presentation I brought up the danger of a knife wielding attacker. The right side of the room grew indignant immediately and argued that someone twenty-one feet away — the length of an entire room — simply couldn’t be a deadly threat to someone with a gun. Before I could even reply, the left side of the room erupted in angry shouts: “You’ve never been there!”
Next we discussed opening a closet door to find a stranger holding a pistol that was pointed down toward the ground. Again the students on the right side of the room insisted he couldn’t be threat because he wasn’t pointing the gun at anyone. And again the left side of the room lost its collective mind: “Do you have any idea how fast someone can point a gun at you from that position? It’s faster than you can see it and respond before you get shot!”
It was the easiest presentation I’ve ever given.
American expat Patrick McGroarty was covering the Oscar Pistorius trial in Pretoria when his home in Johannesburg got burgled. They came back for more the next month. Around the same time, robbers killed the South African national team’s goalie — leading the nation to wonder “why South Africans take from each other, and why these desperate assailants are so quick to kill.”
In this discussion of “South Africans,” McGroarty brings up the touchy subject of race exactly once:
Though the murder rate has fallen by more than half since the end of white minority rule in 1994, the number of people killed in South Africa each year still ranks among the highest in the world.
McGroarty’s family moved into an apartment complex with 24-hour security.
One of the prison assets Carl from Chicago went to audit turned out to be a sniper rifle:
These guns were kept in storage at the armory, and they brought out the sniper to show me the weapon himself because they didn’t let other people touch it after he had calibrated the scope. The sniper asked me a question:
Do you know why they pick snipers out of the staff in the prison?
No, I said.
Because in Attica there was an uprising and the prisoners took over the yard and then the prison brought in outside marksmen to ensure they could not escape. During the melee the marksmen shot many prisoners but it turns out that the prisoners had changed clothes with the civilian hostages, so some of the individuals gunned down were actual guards or workers. Thus the snipers were prison guards from that facility because they could pick out the inmates from the guards and workers.
I said that if he ever saw me in his scope wearing an orange outfit, please don’t shoot. It wasn’t a joke.
Before becoming mayor of Cali, Colombia, Rodrigo Guerrero was a Harvard-trained epidemiologist. Once in office, he led a data-driven fight against crime:
When Guerrero became mayor in 1992, the conventional wisdom was that the vast bulk of Cali’s murders stemmed from disputes over cocaine trafficking — at the time, the Cali Cartel was overtaking the Medellín Cartel in control of the cocaine trade.
But Guerrero didn’t assume, he measured. The police, courts and every other institution that counted murders all came up with different figures. Guerrero had weekly meetings with these groups and academic researchers to find more accurate figures. Then they mapped homicides by time and neighborhood.
That took about a year — and his term was only two and a half years — but he found something important: deaths were concentrated on weekends, especially payday weekends. (On his first New Year’s Eve as mayor, there were 22 homicides in one night.) The same was true in Medellín, which was why El Mundo’s crime reporters needed dozens of ways to describe violent death, as the Eskimo people are said to have for snow.
“Things that happen on the weekend in our country are often associated with alcohol,” Guerrero said. So Cali started to look at alcohol in the blood of victims (few perpetrators were caught) — and found a large percentage of victims had very high levels. “My initial hypothesis was that this was drug trafficking,” he said. “But the traffickers were not going to wait for weekends to resolve their conflicts — and get their victims drunk.”
The astronomical murder rate was related to the cocaine trade, Guerrero concluded — but only indirectly. Cocaine created social disruption and intensified an already-violent culture. “Drug trafficking was like H.I.V.,” Guerrero said. “It interferes with the defense mechanisms — in this case police and justice.” Those institutions were corrupted and degraded to the point where practically no one paid a penalty for murder — a suspect was identified in only 3 percent of homicides and convicted in a small percentage of those.
Guerrero banned the sale of alcohol after 1 a.m. on weeknights and 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. (That 2 a.m. is considered early closing says a lot about the problem.) As he expected, bar owners — and bar patrons — objected. Guerrero asked bars to try it for three months, but success was obvious nearly instantly. The effects were big enough to overcome the objections.
The other decree banned the carrying of guns — enforced by checkpoints and pat-downs — on payday weekends and holidays. The army, which held a monopoly on the manufacture and sale of guns, fought the law. But again, success was persuasive. Researchers compared gun ban days to similar days with no ban in Cali and in Bogotá, which replicated the program. They found that neighborhoods with the ban saw 14 percent fewer homicides in Cali and 13 percent fewer in Bogotá than neighborhoods without restrictions.
Together, those two decrees cut the homicide rate where they were instituted by 35 percent.
There was more: Since the data showed that a large majority of offenders were under 24, Guerrero instituted a curfew for young people in high crime neighborhoods between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weekends.
Carl from Chicago talks about his professional visit to a maximum security prison years ago, where he was performing an audit:
The first thing you noticed in the prison was how LOUD it was; everyone was screaming the word “motherf&cker” in about 250 variants. It was a cacophony of yelling and noise and very disconcerting. The prison cells were very small with 2 inmates each; one stood menacingly at the bars and one was usually on a bunkbed (there wasn’t really enough room for both of them to stand). If you walked too closely to the cell they might spit on you; if you walked below the high tiers they might throw urine down on you.
The prison was very hot and stifling. The prison was built in the 1860’s long before the concept of air conditioning even existed in practical terms. There was little air flow and the whole place stunk. This audit was conducted during a long, humid summer.
When you think of a jail you assume people are “locked up” all day; this wasn’t the case at the Joliet Correctional Center. During the day likely half the prisoners were walking around, either going to the yard or going from place to place for one reason or another. Guards and prisoners were intermixed and this was likely how they kept the whole place from exploding in the summer heat. I just walked around them intermixed too, in a suit. After a while they just checked me in and I would do my work independently without a guard escorting me as I found my way around the facility.
For me it was odd because everywhere I walked people would scream something unique in my direction which I couldn’t understand. It sounded something like “yoalwr” in one syllable. After a couple weeks I finally figured it out. The prisoners were very street smart; they knew I wasn’t a cop because the police strut in a certain confident manner and act like they own the place (which they do). They also figured I wasn’t a state employee (like an accountant or manager) because they didn’t wear suits and also acted with an air of quiet resignation. To them – I was someone else. A lawyer! That’s the only guy who would walk around the prison in their universe. After I thought about it a bit I realized they were asking “Are you a lawyer” which seemed like a positive thing to pretend to be because a lawyer could be seen as a friend to an inmate should they decide to take the place over and take everyone hostage which from my perspective could occur at any time (although it didn’t).
If you watch “Cool Hand Luke” or other movies you think that the guards own the facility and that they push around the prisoners. I didn’t get that vibe at all at the Joliet Correctional Center. The guards and the prisoners in a way were both serving their sentences in that ancient, broken down, hot hell. Both sides seemed to have a wary detente and likely the prison gangs kept the place in line, since an orderly confinement was best for their businesses. While I was there they busted a guard for drugs and assisting inmates and I wasn’t surprised; it seemed like many of them were from the same neighborhoods and being an entry level guard was a low paid, dangerous job that you probably didn’t want to make even more desperate by mixing it up with maximum security prisoners who are mostly gang members and hardened criminals many in for very long sentences.
If you watch the surveillance video of Tamir Rice, you see a “youth” in a hoodie, walking around with a handgun out, and then “10 minutes later,” that same individual getting up from a park bench as a patrol car comes screaming onto the scene — silently, because there’s no audio, and at a very low frame-rate, too.
It does look like Tamir reaches down to his waistband with his right hand — and then he’s down. We have no audio, so we don’t know if the cop yelled “Hands up!” or not — but if Tamir was reaching for a gun, it’s hard to blame the officer for shooting first, even if it turned out to be a replica.
It does raise the question of why they came roaring in like that though. Did they think they had an active shooter situation?
I don’t know the standard protocol for addressing a thug with a pistol, but I’d want my shotgun and some distance — and back-up, of course.
It turns out the real reason everything went sideways is likely pretty simple — the officer who shot Tamir Rice was unfit for duty:
The Independence police memo describes an episode in which a supervising officer suspended gun training with Loehmann after Loehmann had an emotional breakdown about a girlfriend.
“During a state range qualification course, Ptl Loehmann was distracted and weepy,” Polak wrote, naming the trainer as Sgt Tinnirello. “[Loehmann] could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal. Sgt Tinnirello tried to work through this with Ptl Loehmann by giving him some time. But, after some talking it was clear to Sgt Tinnirello that the recruit was just not mentally prepared to be doing firearm training …
“Ptl Loehmann continued with his emotional meltdown to a point where Sgt Tinnirello could not take him into the store, so they went to get something to eat and he continued to try and calm Ptl Loehmann. Sgt Tinnirello describes the recruit as being very downtrodden, melancholy with some light crying. Sgt Tinnirello later found this emotional perplexity was due to a personal issue with Ptl Loehmann’s on and off again girlfriend whom he was dealing with till 0400 hrs the night before. (Pti Loehmann was scheduled for 0800 the morning in question).”
Some of the comments made by Ptl Loehmann during this discourse were to the effect of, “I should have gone to NY”, “maybe I should quit”, “I have no friends”, “I only hang out with 73-year-old priests”, “I have cried every day for four months about this girl.”
In recommending Loehmann’s dismissal, Polak listed what he said were other performance shortcomings, including Loehmann’s having left his gun unlocked, lied to supervisors and failed to follow orders.
“Due to this dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage this personal stress, I do not believe Ptl Loehmann shows the maturity needed to work in our employment,” Polak concludes. “For these reasons, I am recommending he be released from the employment of the city of Independence. I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”
So, how should the police handle a large man who won’t comply at all with their orders?
He’s not violent, but he won’t do as they say, and he’s big enough that they can’t make him do anything without themselves getting violent. In this case, a smaller cop used a headlock to pull the big man down.
He briefly turned the headlock into a choke as he went to control Garner’s free hand. When you’re arresting a criminal, should you loosen your grip when he says, “I can’t breath!” How about, “You’re hurting my arm!” Do you think anyone has ever, oh, I dunno, fibbed to the police about such things before? And then hurt a cop or got away?
As an experienced grappler, I can say with some authority that someone being choked out can’t say, “I can’t breathe!” — not loudly and clearly, certainly. On the other hand, a large man, with many men holding him down, whose heart starts to give out…
In fact, it’s not clear that he was choked much at all, and he’s saying “I can’t breathe!” after the medium-sized cop released his headlock, and a large cop stepped in to hold Garner’s head and shoulder down.
The negligence comes in when they treat an obese potential heart attack victim like a sparring partner who has been choked out and will come to any second now.
(You’ll notice, by the way, that the witnesses have a clear point of view that doesn’t seem connected to events: “All he did was break up a fight!”)
A cop who previously worked as a youth care worker calls his old job a monster factory:
I have seen it over and over again. Due to their behavior a child or teenager needs ‘intervention’, ‘help’, or is ‘at risk’. Teachers at first usually, and then a combination of teachers, social workers, and case managers come up with various ‘treatment’ and ‘goals’ for the child/teenager to strive for in their behavior. If the child or teenager ‘acts out’ the members of one of the institutions staffed exclusively by graduates of an approved social-work or education school, or some form of ‘line-worker’ like a (youth care worker) that has been vetted for ‘professional disposition’ by one of those graduates will ‘confront’ the child or teenager about their behavior. It is these confrontations about behavior that lie at the source of the problem. They happen almost entirely on the child or teenagers terms. By design.
A teacher, social worker, mental health professional, or case manager will for good reason make sure they do not touch, lay hands, or physically restrain their ‘client’. The fact that they can be sued is only the start. You may well have a teenager or even a child who is bigger and stronger than you. There are techniques for attempting to resolve the issue at hand or at least deescalate tension that may arise during a confrontation over behavior or that was present prior to it. However, these techniques all belie what is at issue and at stake; that the child or teenager has violated a rule or norm and that someone with the authority to command their behavior is telling them to stop and they are not doing it out of either ignorance or willful defiance. If you have the authority to command a stop to a certain behavior or change in it you do not need to negotiate your position on the matter. That is ceding authority to the kid. That is a horrible decision and especially practice to make but we do it anyway. Because it would be foolish to command behavior that you have no ability to back up with some form of consequence. THAT is why teachers, social workers, mental health professionals (I am thinking of them in institutional settings) and case managers do not physically restrain or push matters too far usually. Because you call the cops to do that. That is what we are for.
There is a problem with handling confrontations in this manner for children and teenagers who are treated this way their entire lives by institutional employees. They come to believe that when handling confrontations with employees of institutions (any institution: a school, a social work institution, law enforcement, companies, etc) that they can always dictate terms through their refusal to obey ‘the rules’ and by physically resisting or even physically escalating against whatever order they’re being given. ‘You can’t tell me what to do or else I’ll!…’ fill in the blank. This works fine if you’re in one of the institutions that is staffed by people who are given to avoid physical confrontation anyway (not everyone obviously) and are governed by rules that dictate that that is how confrontations will go, but if you run into people who won’t follow those rules in the real world you quickly run into problems.
A cop cannot get yelled at and simply back down. By law and certainly by case-law there is no requirement of a cop to cede ground. As a matter of fact in general you’d better not. You ARE required by law to enforce it whether you like it or not. We have discretion only when we know intervention will definitely cause more damage to life and property than can be reasonably justified, but as always, you’d better be ready to articulate it in court. You might back up to tactically gain advantage but that had better be the only reason you’re doing it. No law enforcement agency will employ a cop who backs down from enforcing the law. You aren’t ordered to take a suicidal position when enforcing the law, but you have to make your best effort and call back-up if you need it. This isn’t a chest-thumping, braggadocio’d position to take. It is the bare minimum required of any law-enforcement officer.
I see this day in and day out in the behavior of criminals and inmates in the jail and on the streets of the county I work for. My favorite situation is when fresh from being whisked from the juvenile detention center on their eighteenth birthday an inmate new to the jail will demand to see a supervisor when, “I don’t like the level of service being provided.” It’s the same on the street. After a few years the criminal type will get to know their rights in the system due to familiarity and their expectations will change. They won’t complain about things they can’t legally expect. They certainly don’t try to take your gun away and understand that it’s suicide to try. But the young ones… the ones that have only their prior experience with their schools or the juvenile system to operate on, they make very bad decisions. The world does not have to conform to your barbaric yawp. You must learn that no one kow-tows to you.
Or, as Ed Realist put it, “One could say that Michael Brown is dead because he was foolish enough to treat a cop like a teacher.”
Henry Dampier calls them state-sanctioned riots:
The police and the national guard aren’t there to protect the townspeople. They’re there to protect the rioters from people who would defend their property with lethal force.
America has ceded what used to be the prerogative of militia to professional standing armies and police forces. The result is that public defense gets left to parties who have a limited direct stake in the town itself. The soldiers don’t care because they are not from the town, are not culturally linked to the town, and could arguably care less about whether everyone there lived or died. This is the same for the democratically elected civilian governors who are in and out of office in a matter of years rather than lifetimes.
Out of the many businesses burned to the ground in Ferguson, MO over the last two days, it seems that the official military organizations have been both unwilling and unable to retaliate or act pre-emptively in such a way as to discourage future destruction.
Republican government is a joke-concept if there is no militia made up of citizens, if the rights of citizenry aren’t directly connected with the people who actually need to enforce the law directly. To the extent that citizens cede law enforcement to standing armies, they cede their governing ability. To say that citizens ‘govern’ and are ‘sovereign’ when outside parties actually implement governance without any authority higher than they are is to say something false, or at the very least to water down the word ‘citizen’ to the point to which it is meaningless.
It’s certain that, given that the most influential national press organs are supporting riots, excusing the destruction of property, that those riots will continue to spread until they are met with real physical resistance. Given that the law is an insufficient tool for progressives to achieve their goals, they are using their influence to suppress the state’s own fighting-forces, and instead relying on mobs of thugs to intimidate what remains of their scattered opposition into submission.
It’s a demonstration of power, to be able to destroy a town with impunity, at any time, using nothing but incitement to the mob, and entangling competing security forces with absurd rules of engagement which prevent them from providing an effective defense.
This is likely to continue and become worse, because to the extent that looting goes unpunished with the appropriately lethal severity, it begins a positive feedback loop. Even an auto parts shop like the one in your home town might be holding hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory that can be easily re-sold on the internet to buyers indifferent to where they came from. There’s real plunder to be had from the American middle class, and not all of it can be seized directly from a 401(k) account at the press of a button.
The Washington Post goes over what happened in Ferguson, according to the Grand Jury testimony:
The narrative begins at 11:45 a.m., when Wilson was dispatched to another call. Minutes later, he heard two radio dispatches describing a person who stole cigarillos from a nearby market, a black male wearing a red hat, khaki shorts and yellow socks and accompanied by another male.
These areas have long had problems with mailmen, fire trucks and ambulances being attacked when trying to enter, which has led to them routinely requesting police escort. Now it’s the police being attacked outright.
These no-go zones are primarily so-called “exclusion areas” which is the politically correct term for the 186 ghettos that have sprung up around Sweden in the past two decades. These areas are predominantly populated by immigrants from muslim countries with low education and even lower employment rates. The exception being the enthusiastic entrepreneurs in the fields of drug dealing, protection rackets and robberies.
Since the real law doesn’t apply, the function of justice has largely been taken over by the gangs themselves, not unlike how the mafia is seen as the go-to place in rural Italy when the local police is too corrupt to serve its purpose. Unofficial courts are held and punishments are meted out based on the cultural norms of the dominant gangs. Some no-go areas even have vehicle checkpoints at the border. Not police checkpoints, but the gangs protecting their turf from law enforcement and rival gangs.
This development would have been inconceivable only 20 years ago, and one would think this official surrender by the police would have made big headlines. This is not the case; the most attention it seems to have received in mainstream media is an opinion piece in national paper Svenska Dagbladet.
It can be speculated that this is due to the fact that any reporting on this could be seen as “support” for nationalist party SD that wants to restrict the vast inflow to these ghettos, which is an absolute no-no amongst the journalists and could cost them their jobs. The world’s most extreme immigration from the MENA-region must continue unchallenged, and another 100 000+ must be added annually to the ghetto gangs’ recruitment base.