Back when I open carried (OC) everywhere I went, I would occasionally be asked why I carried a firearm. I would often respond with the well-known, “because I can’t carry a cop.” One person, a transplant from Minnesota responded with, “I don’t like firearms!” I replied, “Well, I guess we have something in common — I don’t like bad guys!” Fortunately, the funny look she got on her face was soon replaced by laughter.
When I carry concealed (CC), however, no one says anything.
Because… It’s… Concealed.
After a while, I wanted to find out just how reasonable or rational carrying a firearm really was. What was the likelihood of me needing it in any given year? Over my lifetime? And for what purpose? What are the national and local crime statistics?
I know some people who carry firearms because of mass shootings. Given the statistical rarity of mass shootings, does that even compute?
Well, if you’re the only armed law-abiding citizen near a mass shooting, then yes, it computes. By all means, stop the threat. Save lives!
In fact, Kaitlin Bennet is right. Gun control policies, particularly “No Firearms” aka “Gun-Free Zones” simply do not work. They’re where most mass shootings occur in the United States. Furthermore, all it takes is ONE armed law-abiding citizen to stop a mass shooting. In fact, the FBI’s latest report on active shooter incidents in the U.S. clearly shows that armed and alert citizens have been and will continue to be part of the solution.
Even so, mass shootings are extremely unlikely. According to the November 8, 2018 Washington Post article entitled, “The terrible numbers that grow with each mass shooting,” 1,135 people have been killed since Charles Whitman gunned down 17 people from the University of Texas.clock tower on August 1, 1966. That incident more or less began the modern era of mass shootings.
I was born only a few short years before then, so in all that time, given our mean population between then and now, some 259.8 million, I have had a 1 in 228,899 chance of dying in a mass shooting. That’s 0.000437%, or 0.44 deaths per 100,000 people.
Less than half of one death per 100,000 people seems pretty low, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. By comparison, here are a few of the Top 100 causes of death in the U.S.:
Bottom of the 100: Unspecified Diabetes Mellitus with Peripheral Circulatory Complications: 1.3 per 100k
Intentional self-harm by handgun discharge: 1.4 per 100k
Chronic viral hepatitis C: 1.5 per 100k
Alcoholic cirrhosis of liver: 3.4 per 100k
Motor vehicle accident: 3.5 per 100k
Murders and non-negligent manslaughters: 5.35 per 100k
Pneumonia: 16.2 per 100k
Top 1 out of 100: Atherosclerotic Heart Disease: 62.5 per 100k
Violent crime: 383 per 100k
Woah! What? You mean violent crime occurs six times more often than the Number One Leading Cause of Death?
Yes. That’s exactly what I mean. Specifically, violent crime in the U.S. is 6.13 times more prevalent than the leading cause of death. Moreover, it’s 73 times more likely than murders and non-negligent homicide.
Thus, when I say I carry for my own personal protection, it’s not because of the possibility of a mass shooting which clocks in at 0.437 per 100k. Rather, it’s because of “assault by other and unspecified firearm discharge, which clocks in 8 times higher at 3.4 per 100k. It’s because murders and non-negligent manslaughters clock in 12 times higher at 5.35 per 100k.
But mainly, it’s because violent crime clocks in 876 times more likely than mass shootings at a whopping 382.9 violent crimes per 100k.
For those who say, “That’ll never happen!” please note the motor vehicle accident rate, which, at 3.5 per 100k, is 109 times less than violent crime. Yet, not only do we wear seat belts, but the federal government determined both the fatality and injury rate to be serious enough to MANDATE seat belt use.
Years ago, our Founding Fathers knew the dangers of an unarmed populace, so they MANDATED that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” They even stated that it was “necessary to the security of a free nation (state).
One gent, an ER doc, once spent the afternoon trying to convince me that firearms were “bad” because of “all the people he had to stitch up, if not zip up, in his emergency room.
Let’s examine that.
In 2013, there were 73,505 injuries and 33,636 deaths related to firearms. Their total comes to 107,141 firearms-related injuries and deaths.
Also in 2013, there were 1.3 million violent crimes. Of those, roughly 725,000 violent crimes were stopped by armed citizens. That’s 6.8 times more good than bad. Furthermore, experts examining the UK’s firearms ban estimate that violent crime would increase to between 200% and 300% of current levels if firearms were banned in the U.S. That’s an additional 1.3 to 2.6 million violent crimes, but without the attenuating effect of 750,000 stops.
The net effect would be a 192% increase from our current 1.3 million violent crimes per year to roughly 3.8 million violent crimes per year. That’s nearly 3 times as much violent crime. “No way!” you say. Wrong. The United Kingdom experience a tripling of its violent crime following its firearms ban, and violent crime remains 2.74 (“nearly 3”) times higher than it was before.
Now you know WHY I carry a firearm. Now you know WHY I firmly support our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I support it because it’s safer — many times safer — than getting rid of them.
Yet along come the libtards, who cannot for the life of them figure out that assaults with firearms are just as deadly as automobile accidents, and that violent crime is 100 times more likely. They’re all for wearing seat belts, not to mention prohibiting supersize soft drinks, but they refuse to even consider the only effective solution to a very real problem that’s 109 times more prevalent than motor vehicle deaths.
Bottom Line: There were 1.28 million violent crimes in the U.S. in 2017. That comes to 382.9 per 100k people, which is 109 times more likely than dying in a motor vehicle accident.
THIS is why I carry a firearm. Of COURSE I carry a firearm. You should, too. You wear seat belts, don’t you? Then why wouldn’t you protect yourself against a threat that 109 times more prevalent than motor vehicle deaths?
To all the blitheringly idiotic liberals who think they know better: No, you do not. You don’t know the facts. You’re ignorant. All you know is the predigested liberal anti-gun mantra, factless ideals that have no basis in reality.
The FBI’s own statistics blow all of your anti-gun and gun control arguments totally out of the water. You’re idiots with irrational fears. Not only do so-called “gun-free zones” never work, they backfire, actually attracting mass shooters. When it comes to firearms, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about and really need to shut the hell up and stop interfering in other people’s lives.
Our Second Amendment never limited the term “arms” to just “firearms.” Our Founding Fathers knew this well, as period writings clearly show that “arms” is the shortened form of “armaments,” of which “firearms” was only one type, and only used when references to “arms” was limited by type to firearms.
When you enter the term “armaments” into Google Images, here’s what you get:
I think this makes it abundantly clear what that the term “arms” used as the shortened form of “armaments” in our Second Amendment, is most certainly NOT limited to “firearms.”
In fact, here’s a complete list of infantry arms used during the American Revolution:
Firearms include the Flintlock Musket, commonly known as the Brown Bess, the Long Rifle, the Pattern 1776 Infantry Rifle, the Ferguson Rifle, the Charleville Musket, and a number of various pistols.
Other Arms include the bayonet, hatchet, tomahawk, swords, cutlass, sabres, hunting swords, knives, and pole arms (pikes, spears, halberds, partisans, and spontoons), and various cannon.
ALL of these weapons mentioned above are ARMS, the same word used in the Second Amendment. Only some of them are “firearms,” a subset of arms consisting of mostly hand-held weapons that employ burning powder to launch a projectile down a tube.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: armaments : military weapons that are used to fight a war, i.e. “arms”
Wikipedia states: “A weapon, arm, or armament is any device used with intent to inflict damage or harm to living beings, structures, or systems.”
“…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” – Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Our Founding Fathers WANTED the people of our great nation to have “military weapons that are used to fight a war,” and for damned good reason. If their right to keep and bear arms was infringed in ANY manner, then an unscrupulous federal government could then employ force to compel them to give up their freedoms.
Our federal government has long since crossed the line of using force to compel We the People to do is bidding, instead of the other way around, where our federal government used to serve the interests of the people without infringing on anyone’s Constitutional rights.
Our federal government uses other forms of force against our will:
Fiscal, primarily through the IRS, but also by withholding federal tax dollars earmarked for things like highways if a state refuses to kowtow to some federal mandate — usually well beyond the fed’s authority to even consider such a mandate much less attempt to shove it down a state’s throat.
Land, primarily through the BLM. Countless of ranchers that used to actually own their land have had to forfeit their land in order to avoid prison.
Economic, primarily through the EPA and the SEC, but many federal authorities jump on this bandwagon, forcing organizations to stop doing business if their business doesn’t support the fed’s way of thinking.
This un-Constitutional crap MUST STOP, America. Write your Congressman. Arm up. Do NOT let them take our hard-won freedoms!
In a major victory for gun rights advocates, a federal appeals court on Thursday sided with a broad coalition of gun owners, businesses and organizations that challenged the constitutionality of a Maryland ban on assault weapons and other laws aimed at curbing gun violence.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said the state’s prohibition on what the court called “the vast majority of semi-automatic rifles commonly kept by several million American citizens” amounted to a violation of their rights under the Constitution.
Well, almost outstanding. The judge seriously erred when he said, “In our view, Maryland law implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment — the right of law-abiding responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.” That’s not quite the “fundamental right” our Founding Fathers penned into the Constitution via our Second Amendment.
Chief Judge William Traxler erred when he limited the scope of understanding to “in defense of hearth and home.” A “hearth” is the floor in front of a fireplace, where families of old would gather for dinner, usually cooked over that fireplace, and while away the evening hours basking in its warmth, discussing the day, and playing.
Our Second Amendment knows no such bounds, either on location or type and size of arms.
The Constitution states that all ratified amendments become a part of the Constitution. Thus, the Constitution states “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
This prohibition against the right of the people to keep and bear arms is absolute. It’s application isn’t limited to a specific government entity. It applies to everyone. Furthermore, it’s scope isn’t limited, either. For example, it’s not limited to “hearth and home,” but rather applies every where a free man may travel.
It’s not even limited to “firearms.” Our Founding Fathers chose the term, “arms,” even though knew exceedingly well that the term “firearms” was a type of arms that used a rapidly-burning powder to discharge a projectile. A sword is also a type of arms, as is a club, mace, hatchet, machete, and knife. They are all “arms.” Thus, any restriction — infringement — on their size, length, weight, caliber, action, mechanism, or capacity constitutes an infringement, and an un-Constitutional one, at that.
“…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” – Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
Any law which violates the Constitution is NOT law. It’s a blight against our governmental system, a violation of our Constitutional rights and freedoms. No U.S. citizen or law enforcement officer at any level is under any obligation to either follow or enforce an un-Constitutional law. In fact, is it our duty to ignore it, if not stand firm against it and toss the Constitution-violating legislators out of office.
State and Federal legislators take an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution in order to PREVENT this from ever happening. They are NOT authorized to “do it anyway” and let the courts legislate from the bench. That’s a heinous dereliction of their duty, and no matter what other good they may have done or might be doing, it’s completely undermined by their bad.
Allowing them to remain in office is like allowing a horribly abusive spouse to remain in the home because “he/she only beats me to a pulp every once in a while.” GET RID OF THEM!
Washing State’s I-594 bill regulate transfers, not just sales, of all firearms in the Evergreen State. It’s a universal handgun registration scheme, an INFRINGEMENT on the right to keep and bear arms. Those legislators who voted for it are VIOLATORS of our Constitution. Get rid of them!
Law enforcement officers not only swore to protect the Constitution, but put their lives on the line every day. They oppose I-594. They’re smart enough to know how dramatically this violates the rights of the people. They’re also experienced enough to know that it will do NOTHING to keep the criminals in check.
So who did this to the people of the State of Washington? The people themselves. They’re the ones who elected the Constitution-violating traitors into office. They’re the ones who refuse to vote them out. They’re the ones who, 7 out of 10 support universal background checks.
They’re the blithering idiots who allowed this to happen.
A lot of fear-mongers are claiming the UN Arms Trade Treaty “takes effect” today (Christmas Eve). In fact, this “treaty” has absolutely zero effect on our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
1. Our Constitution mandates treaties adhere to a simple yet rigorous legislative and governmental process. No matter who in our government signs a treaty, if the treaty didn’t go through the appropriate review and approval process, it is NOT binding in any way shape, fashion, or form.
2. Our nation remains sovereign. No treaty may usurp any portion of our Constitution without a Constitutional amendment to that effect. Thus, even if a treaty were to go through the appropriate review and approval process, if that treaty violates the Constitution, the treaty remains null and void.
Finding evidence which supports these claims is both simple and straightforward. In fact, we need look no further than the Constitution itself.
The Treaty Review and Ratification Process
Article. II. Section 2. of the U.S. Constitution governs the process by which the President can make a treaty:
“He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur…”
Did the President seek and obtain both the advice and the consent of the Senate? Did two-thirds of the Senate concur? Both of these requirements must be present before the President or his designee can legally sign a treaty. On the day John Kerry signed this treaty, the Senate had been consulted, and their advice was a big fat “NO,” with a majority voting in opposition to the treaty. Thus, neither Kerry nor Obama had obtained the consent of the Senate. Furthermore, not only did two-thirds of the Senators present not concur, the majority of the Senators vehemently opposed the treaty.
In addition, there is serious doubt among Constitutional scholars that the President can appoint anyone to sign a treaty on his behalf without express, written authorization to do so. General Douglas MacArthur had such authorization. On September 2, 1945, MacArthur accepted the formal Japanese surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri, thus ending hostilities in World War II. John Kerry most certainly did not have any such authorization.
Regardless, neither Obama nor Kerry had either the consent or the a two-thirds concurrence of the Senate. Therefore, Kerry’s signature on the treaty is invalid, null and void, and without any lawful authority or substance.
The Amendment Proposal and Ratification Process
Article. V. of the U.S. Constitution governs the process by which Amendments are proposed and ratified:
“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”
Put simply, this clause requires the following for all Amendments to the Constitution:
1. Two-thirds vote from both houses of Congress (or two-thirds of the state legislatures)
2. Ratification by three-quarters of the state legislatures (or three-quarters of a Constitutional Convention).
3. All Amendments are valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution.
Thus, even if Obama and Kerry had the advice and consent, along with a two-thirds concurrence of the Senate, the treaty would still be invalid simply because it violates our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. As the Second Amendment clearly states, “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The UN Arms Trade Treaty infringes on the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It is therefore Constitutionally null and void.
The key thing to remember here is to never allow anyone to tell you otherwise. When the entire populace of the United States of America knows its Constitution and the rights and freedoms respected and protected therein, no amount of government chicanery can take that away from them.
Know your rights! Stand up for them, not merely often, but always!
It’s called FREEDOM, people, and it is very, very good.
As reported by Fox News on October 15, 2014, the United Nations has issued an ultimatum to the United States of America: Control Ebola or face an unprecedented situation.
What the UN means by “unprecedented situation” can be found on the UN website (http://un-influenza.org/?q=content/un-response), in their response plan for the Avian Flu, under Objective 6: Continuity Under Pandemic Conditions: “Ensuring the continuity of essential social, economic and governance services, and effective implementation of humanitarian relief, under pandemic conditions.”
Reading between the lines, as well as observing their response throughout other nations, this includes the mandatory implementation of the UN’s other agendas, most notably confiscating all firearms for the “safety of all response workers.”
Similar indications can also be found on the World Health Organization’s website, in their Global Alert and Response (GAR) page (http://www.who.int/csr/en/): “Coordinate and support Member States for pandemic and seasonal influenza preparedness and response.”
Again, reading between the lines, the WHO brings the doctors, while it’s parent organization, the UN, brings the muscle.
This is further echoed in their August 28, 2014 Ebola Response Roadmap (http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/131596/1/EbolaResponseRoadmap.pdf?ua=1).
This document clearly states it’s purpose on page 5: “To assist governments and partners in the revision and resourcing of country-specific operational plans for Ebola response, and the coordination of international support for their full implementation.”
While they tie their “country-specific operational plans” to the “Ebola response,” the fact remains that an OPLAN is an OPLAN. It’s an Operational Plan. That’s military lingo for how an organization intendeds to accomplish its mission, and their specific intent for the United States of America comes through rather glaringly in Objective 2 on the same page:
2. To ensure emergency and immediate application of comprehensive Ebola response intervention in countries with an initial case(s) or with localized transmission.
The key activity of Objective 2: “Coordinate operations and information across all partners, and the information, security, finance and other relevant sectors.
The most alarming aspect of this document, however, involves their definition of “security:”
Security: where necessary, and particularly in areas of intense transmission and short term extraordinary containment measures, national/local authorities must plan for and deploy the security services necessary to ensure the physical security of Ebola facilities. National/local authorities must give particular attention to ensuring the security of the staff working in Ebola treatment centres, Ebola referral/isolation centres, laboratories and, if required, for teams working at the community level to conduct surveillance, contact tracing and safe burials.”
I have no problem with ensuring the security of Ebola treatment facilities. The question is, under Obama’s management, will it ever stop there? What legislation is in place to prevent overbearing law enforcement from pulling the same crap as the New Orleans Police Department pulled on American citizens immediately following Hurricane Katrina?
Since Day 1 at their training academies, American law enforcement officers have been taught to “control, control, control.” When you put them into a widespread situation, many of them are overwhelmed. They fall back on their training without any regard for the Constitutional implications that what they’re doing is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. It might be suitable for a localized riot. It is NOT suitable for widespread chaos. This was most dramatically exhibited when SWAT teams busted down door after door after door in Boston immediately after the marathon bombing.
Did they respect our Constitutional rights? No. THEY BLEW RIGHT PAST THEM.
Again: What U.S. Federal Legislation is in place to ensure that NEVER happens again? What penalties are in place for local, county, state, and federal law enforcement officers, as well as augmenting forces like the National Guard, to prevent them from crossing the line?
Comments within the document such as “repurpose existing programmes [sic] to support control efforts” with respect to “security” indicate they have ZERO intention of respecting our Constitution.
What’s next? The widespread confiscation of firearms “for your safety?”
Here’s a thought: Instead of assuming Americans are idiots, let’s try another route: Education. Let Americans do what we do best: Control ourselves.
In 2012, immediately following the Mountain Shadows flare-up of the Waldo Canyon fire, I and all other residents of my apartment complex were denied access to our domiciles for five full days, despite the fact that residents in homes on either side of us were allowed to return after just TWO days. We were told it was for our “safety,” despite the fact we were no less safe than those homeowners.
THAT CRAP HAS GOT TO STOP.
Again, Congressman Lamborn: What legislation, specifically, do you have in place to ensure these rampant denials of our Constitutional rights NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN?
With few exceptions, We the People are perfectly capable of controlling ourselves. We’re well aware of the risks to both ourselves and others, regardless of what Obama is saying to the contrary.
All we need are clear and unambiguous guidelines. We don’t Obama lying to us in pathetic and misinformative attempts to calm our nerves. Older generations grew up during the Cold War. Younger generations watch The Walking Dead every week. Let’s get real!
As a retired USAF Officer, I remain well-trained in CBRNE operations. Most of my neighbors do not have my training, but given the fact this is a military town, there are a LOT of us scattered throughout the community who do.
Even those who are untrained, however, know the risks. If they’re told to limit travel for food and work, use hand sanitizer or wear and discard gloves, keep their shoes in the garage, and wipe down all doorknobs and other touched surfaces with a soap/water/bleach solution, I’m pretty darn sure they can handle that!
I can’t help but wonder if this is the beginning of the end of the United States of America.
By refusing to close our borders and by bringing in infected individuals, Obama is INVITING a UN takeover of our country. He’s long been looking for a way to either ditch or circumvent our Constitution, and I believe he may very well have found it.
UNLESS, of course, laws exist which clearly limit the scope of his many executive orders, most of which were drafted during his first term, yet clearly targeted to give him absolute dictatorial authority over our nation in times of crises — whether those crises were unavoidable, or, as many of us believe, manufactured by Obama himself.
On October 15, Dr. Ben Carson said, “We’ve known for a long time that [Ebola] has this kind of potential. That’s the reason that several weeks ago I said it was a real mistake to bring infected people in to this country in any way.”
Both the video and the audio are clear, steady, and in HD format. There’s no mistaking this one, folks. Total kudos to the videographer. Even though he’s using a cell phone, he does a fantastic job of keeping the video extremely steady for a cell phone.
I spent more than 90 minutes pulling every detail possible from 104 seconds of recording, using my talents as an audio/video enthusiast to slow things WAY down. I threw the video in HD on a large (24″) high-res (1920×1200) monitor with a 5.1 sound system several times, taking copious notes. My narrative is given below, in stage/movie script format, with video times on the left.
There’s a LOT going on, here, with at least 25 distinct comments made in the last 20 seconds alone, and with significant overlap in the last ten seconds. Try playing the video while reading along with the script, and you’ll see what I mean!
Note: I’ve taken significant care to mask the cursing.
Before you tackle the video and script, what lessons can we, as people who open carry firearms, learn from this event?
00:00 – (Video begins. NV speaking, walking slowly along the sidewalk towards the store and Kajieme Powell): So like, my homeboy just came and got me, and he said, “dude has just totally sold out the store.” (NV laughs). And he like, “F*** this.” He like “dude sellin…” Damn, this s***’s craaaazy.
00:23 – (NV steps off sidewalk into a parking lot next to the store in question). This s***’s cra… he f*****… what’s up? He’s cra… he just stole two sodas, like “f*** them I’m going to drink ’em.”
00:31 – (NV steps from the adjacent parking lot to the store’s parking lot). Hell, nah.
00:37 – (NV begins stepping to the edge of the store’s parking lot). He says straight, “put ’em on the ground, bro,” like daring sombody would touch ’em. Hell this s*** crazy.
00:44 – (unknown speaker, possibly the driver of the white pickup truck). All right man, head on down,
00:46 – (different unknown speaker, possibly Powell). All right, get out the f*** (unintelligible). Get the f*** way, f*** away from me. ****, I’m going to list the ground… I’m on facebook, you know who I am… I’m tired of this s***.
00:54 – (NV chuckles nervously). You tired, heh-heh… This the store, when the store do…
00:58 – (bearded man in red ball cap, horizontally red and and white striped shirt with red collar, black and silver watch, jeans, and red Nike shoes). Whas up, Mike?
00:59 – (NV). This craaazy.
01:02 – (NV). Whas up? Whas up?
01:10 – (Man in faded purple Route 66 T-shirt with off-white pants, black ball cap with purple Nike emblem, brown shoes with black laces and soles, something crumpled in his right hand). Brother, this not how you do it, bro. Know what I’m sayin’?
01:13 – (large man in brown collared shirt with orange R logo, bald, small beard element, black pants). Ain’t that (unintelligible, but sounds like, “Dunham”) boy, though.
01:15 – (NV). No doubt. The police gonna pull up. You see… Ya’ll call the police?
01:20 – (bearded man in red ball cap). Ya, I doin, yeah.
01:21 – (man in faded purple shirt). We called ’em, yeah. We didn’t want (unintelligible).
01:24 – (NV). You banging (could be ganging) up?
01:24 – (red ap or purple shirt, simultaneously with NV’s 01:24 statement). Come on, bro…
01:25 – (Driving officer). Take your hand out of your pocket, man.
01:26 – (Riding officer). Get your hand out of your pocket!
01:27 – (NV). Has he got his gun out?
01:28 – (Powell). Shoot me!
01:28 – (Driving officer). Take your hand out…
01:28 – (Powell). Shoot me!
01:28 – (Riding officer). Drop it.
01:29 – (Riding officer). Drop it.
01:29 – (NV). Oh, s***…
01:29 – (Powell). Shoot me! Shoot me!
01:31 – (NV). Oh, s***…
01:32 – (Powell). Shoot me!
01:33 – (Powell). Shoot me now, motherf*****!
01:34 – (Driving officer). Drop the knife.
01:35 – (NV). Oh, s***…
01:36 – (Riding officer). Drop the knife.
01:37 – (NV). Oh, s***…
01:38 – (either red ball cap or purple shirt). Come on, bro! Drop it, bro!
01:40 – (first of seven gun shots fired from gun A)
01:41 – (last of seven gun shots fired from gun A)
01:42 – (first of two more gun shots fired, sounds different than gun A)
01:42 – (last of two more gun shots fired)
01:43 – (lady in the background). Oh, s***!
01:44 – (unknown). Damn!
1. Any deciphering the details in the script, particularly “So like, my homeboy just came and got me, and he said, “dude has just totally sold out the store” (could be “stole out of the store”) and Powell’s later comment, “I’m on Facebook, you know who I am… I’m tired of this s***,” it appears the NV knew Powell. He certainly knew the man in the red ball cap, who addressed him as “Mike.”
2. According to The Guardian, “St Louis metropolitan police undertook to release the recordings of the Powell case quickly, hoping to make the circumstances clear and minimize its potential as a further catalyst for rioting and confrontation between crowds and police.”
Good for them!
3. Newsweek states, “Fewer than 20 seconds elapsed from the time police arrived on the scene to the time they shot Powell. The two officers fired 12 shots at Powell, according to police chief Sam Dotson.” I counted just nine shots fired, even when I slowed down the audio and analyzed it graphically. Gunshots appear as very sharp, high, and short spikes. I hope to put up the graphical gunshot analysis soon. Working with a new program…
As for Newsweek’s claim of 20 seconds, here’s my perspective:
01:25 – (Driving officer). Take your hand out of your pocket, man.
01:40 – (first of seven gun shots fired from gun A)
That’s fifteen seconds between the initial communication/contact with the suspect and the first shot fired. When you count from when the police cruiser turned the corner at 1:14, that comes to 21 seconds.
When I heard about the shooting, I thought, “Oh, no, here we go again…” and assumed this would be a slam-dunk case of police brutality, excessive force, or bad training. Even the first time I saw the video I thought the same thing. When I turned up the volume and ran through it a few times, however, I realized what the police were seeing and hearing were significantly different than what a casual observer might see in the video. That’s when I decided to put forth the effort to come up with a complete script, one that was as accurate as humanly possible.
Through that process, I saw and heard what the officers were seeing and hearing. They were responding to a 911 call of shoplifting. Arriving at the scene, everyone was behaving normally except for one visibly agitated individual with at least one hand in his pockets. They ordered him to remove his hand from his pocket and he comes up with a tightly-held knife, is taunting the cops to go ahead and shoot him. He backs off then comes back at them.
Knives can be deadly. Even with immediate and top-notch medical attention, there are knife wounds from which you simply cannot recover. “Assault” is an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. It’s carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm. Thus, approaching another in a threatening manner while brandishing a weapon is assault with a deadly weapon. Thus, the officers were fully justified in their use of deadly force to protect life and limb while facing imminent and reasonably credible threat.
Now, let’s address all the second-guessing about why they didn’t use tasers.
First, they’re not as reliable as firearms. Loose clothing can easily block a taser dart from reaching the skin, particularly if the loose clothing is heavy. The suspect’s hoodie was partially zipped, leaving a small V of viable area between belly and neck in which to obtain a clear shot.
Second, if I were facing an assault with a deadly weapon and had the option of reaching for a taser vs reaching for a firearm, I’d opt for the firearm. If the taser failed, I’d be seriously injured, if not dead. The firearm is far less likely to fail.
Thus, even if they were carrying tasers, I think the officers made the right choice to use firearms in that particular situation.
Getting back to their use of multiple rounds, my military combat training is different than their law enforcement training. In a combat situation, you might be facing a much larger number of attackers than most law enforcement officers face while performing their duties. The conservation of ammunition is a very real concern. Thus, in combat, if a target is somewhat distant, you shoot from cover, and use only one round. Hit your target and repeat as necessary to neutralize the threat. If an attacker is coming at you, we were taught, “two to the heart, one to the head, repeat as necessary until they’re dead.” Even so, that’s just three rounds and reassess. I hear some some police are taught to keep firing until they’re no longer moving, while others are taught to empty their magazines. I cannot attest as to the truthfulness of either, but the video showed at least nine distinct shots fired, and the police chief said it was twelve.
Regardless, the suspect started falling after the third round, hit the ground with the fourth round fired, and three more were fired as he rolled towards the officer. After a brief, half-second pause, two more rounds were fired. In all, at least nine shots were fired in two seconds. That’s nowhere near enough time for an accurate assessment on the part of the officers. The suspect caused these events to unfold when he assaulted them with a deadly weapon, and it really doesn’t matter whether they fired three times or twelve. He forfeited all right to life when he initiated the assault.
“Why didn’t they just shoot him in the leg?” That’s just absurd. First, the area below the waist is more than 50% open space, so even attempting to do so creates a serious possibility of a ricochet that would either injure or kill a bystander. Second, even if the shot found it’s mark, shots in people’s limbs rarely stop an immediate attack. It’s highly likely that even with two rounds in each upper thigh, the suspect would have continued to press his attack, injuring or killing at least one of the officers. Thus, the leg shot is dangerous for the officers, dangerous for bystanders, and stupid all around.
No matter how many times I run through the video, I can’t spot anything which suggests it was anything other than an appropriate response and a good shoot. Textbook.