Friday, January 24, 2014

Once more with feeling

At the risk of being called a cop basher, let's take a look at something that happened recently in the local area.

Local sheriff deputies go out to serve a warrant on a local ner-do-well.  Ner-do-well grabs a couple of hostages and runs, deputies in chase.  He holes up in a trailer (Why is it always a trailer?) and after some negotiation for some smokes, releases the hostages and decides have himself a real, live Wild West Shoot Out and end it all in a Blaze of Glory, otherwise known as suicide by cop.  OK, this sucks, but it is what it is.

Right up until the actual Sheriff himself gets involved, and then things go sideways.  We'll let the Sheriff tell it in his own words, as reported by a local TV station:

Stokes said Tilley fired a 12-gauge shotgun three times as he, the K-9, Fleming and two other deputies were entering the home.

Stokes said he ordered all his personnel to retreat and then fired two cover shots so they could get out.

While retreating, Stokes said he heard glass break, which made him think Tilley was trying to push a gun barrel through a window to aim. Stokes said he instinctively fired another shot, which went through the window and hit Fleming after ricocheting. Stokes called his shooting accidental.

I'm just going to leave the "cover shots" alone and shake my head.  This isn't an episode of "Combat".  So anyway, he "instinctively fired another shot" that hit his deputy (granted, it was a ricochet) and it's an accident?  In what bizarre alternative universe?

If one of us did this, there would be 7 different kinds of hell raised and claims of how the antis were right and letting us yahoos have guns just guarantees a Dodge City on Saturday night at every little disagreement in a parking lot.

Sheriff Stokes, you screwed up, and you better be glad your deputy isn't dead.  (He was hit in the shoulder and is in the hospital in very good condition at this time.  Movies aside, there are lots of important things in the shoulder, and it's perfectly possible to die getting shot there.  No word on any permanent damage, but we can hope for none.)

Let's see, you violated Rule 1--The gun is always loaded.  You at least missed Rule 2, as you apparently didn't aim the gun at something you weren't willing to kill or destroy.  (Small miracle there.)  You blew off Rules 3 and 4 in total, because you had your finger on the trigger and had no effing clue what your target was when you pulled that trigger.

This is a perfect example of something that we are all taught in self defense classes.  I suspect Sheriffs and their deputies don't get thrown into gunfights often, and I imagine they don't train for them as much as they might.  We're told that when the feces impacts the air handler, we will default to our level of training.  I suspect that this incident shows that when the level of training is low, performance will be low.

And if I were the voters in Davie County, next election, I'd consider a new sheriff who thought a little higher of training.  Next time that ricochet may not hit a deputy.

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