Good time to throw this out there for LE with various rural settings and see how to start thinking about how to address those potential issues and problems. Anthony “Mr. 28” knows what he’s talking about in this matter.
We’ve had a couple active killer events in the past couple weeks again. Three nationally known ones in the past couple months. One at a church, one at a movie theater, and one at multiple military locations. There are questions that should be coming to mind in an effort to improve our responses to such incidents, as well as improving the training we are conducting for them.
The SC church shooter escaped and drove to another state prior to arrest. The agency involved responded and actively involved themselves in getting the information out so that he could be identified. As LE outside of the jurisdiction, when we heard about it, and learned the shooter was still outstanding, did we start asking questions about possible other targets? Would you identify sectors in your town or city that should have an LEO staged so as to prepare for an additional incident? How many have the manpower and ability to divert units responding to the first incident, so as to protect additional potential ones?
The recent LA movie theater incident, we can surmise that the shooter planned on escaping, either to continue additional targets or to just flee as the SC church shooter did. His keys were left on his tire, and his car was parked by the emergency exit to the theater. He attempted to mingle with panicked people in the crowd, and for reasons known only to him decided to commit suicide as responding units approached, rather than shooting to make his escape. What if he did go mobile? Burnett County WI had such an incident with a suspect shooting at numerous cars from the side of a busy highway, before fleeing in a vehicle. He was luckily located some five miles away as additional personnel were still being called out from home, and the lone Deputy stopped the threat during a brief gunfight on the side of the highway. Are you as an officer, or an agency, thinking about how to respond to these?
The Chatanooga TN incident involved shots fired at a recruiting center from a vehicle before continuing to be mobile and gain access through a security gate of another naval center where he was able to continue his rampage. In the confusion that follows when one starts to learn about multiple shooting incidents occurring, are we training to adapt to the fluid situation to secure the shooter, and get aid to the victims?
According to the FBI study of Active Killer Incidents from 2000-2013 (https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2014/september/fbi-releases-study-on-active-shooter-incidents/pdfs/a-study-of-active-shooter-incidents-in-the-u.s.-between-2000-and-2013), 15% of incidents involve multiple locations. Much current training mentality is that the incident is no longer an active shooter unless killing is ongoing. It is one of the ways the necessary tactical response differences are identified between active killers and hostage takers or barricaded gunmen. As active killers continue to manipulate their plans to get around LE responses, what are we doing to improve our abilities to maintain the pressure of contact teams versus shifting to a barricaded gunman speed? An example of this in my state, which also ties into the next point, is the Sikh Temple shooting in Oak Creek Wisconsin, where the shooter became a mobile shooter on foot after he left the temple and engaged multiple LE outdoors in the large parking lot. He adapted his tactics to his environment, and was able to critically wound one of the LE responders before being stopped by excellent marksmanship of a second.
The latest training manual version for my states LE training was approved in December 2014, and instructors are still being switched over to the new curriculum over the coming months. In that basic academy curriculum, it naturally focuses heavily on tactics needed for responding to an active shooter in a building. It briefly touches on some small unit tactics that could be used for movement in a separate part of the manual. Other states may also heavily focus on active shooter techniques and training only in buildings.
The same FBI study states 9.4% of incidents during that time period occurred outdoors. While slightly less than 1 in 10, I feel it is still important to address, such as how we address how to fix handgun malfunctions that may rarely occur. It is up to us to address the possibility of an active killer in an open area, either as his target choice, as occurred in Niagra Wisconsin and recently in Menasha, Wisconsin, or on his way to another target location. In the Niagra incident, a gunman shot at and killed swimmers in the wooded area around the river bordering Wisconsin and Michigan. In Menasha, a gunman randomly shot and killed victims he found in a city park.
The tactics needed for such killers outdoors, while maintaining a few similarities in approach tactics, such as the use of angles, they are also wholly different. The use of L, T, and + intersections and geometric angles still apply in the outdoor situations as they do in structures, but with an added three dimensional approach of terrain. One also has to address more small unit tactic movement drills and linkup and coordination protocols with the different environment. How are you accomplishing that at your agency? Most of us don’t have a patrol helicopter to call on (There isn’t even one in Wisconsin at all.), or the personnel for a massive perimeter. So how will you use responding resources to build on what you need, while at the same time providing scene security at existing crime scenes?
Last, it is overwhelmingly obvious that most active killer events involve a single perpetrator. Columbine comes to mind as going against this rule, but most don’t know of Craighead County AR in 1998, which saw a 13 and a 11 year old shooting at students. Las Vegas saw a man and woman combination that also involved police officers executed. Foreign terrorist incidents often involve more than one suspect as we’ve seen. So while around 98% of incidents are single suspects, do we train for multiple, or are we training to assume only one?
A lot of flexibility and situational awareness needs to be encouraged, so that we can not only adapt as killers adapt, but so that we can maintain efficiency in working with rescue task force concepts providing early aid to victims, and get active killers put down like the animals they are faster.
I sometimes feel like writing about topics that are more lighthearted and varied than just dealing with firearm or self defense topics to work on writing skills, and I’ll occasionally type out brainstorms that come to mind. The latest that came to mind are there are many influences growing up that shape who we are. Role models, heroes, and imagination all played a part in the lives of many of us growing up. Heroes were different then it seems, as technology and media change values and attention spans. Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and Duke and Hawk from GI Joe are making a comeback with my boys, but not all boys have had the fortune of having parents who are trying to instill those types of memories in their kids. I always found role models and values in books that I read as well. I was considered a bookworm growing up, and if I wasn’t out in the backyard pretending to have an adventure, playing with the GI Joes, Legos, and Star Wars toys, I was likely curled up in a corner or sitting in a tree reading a book. The books taught me a lot, such as chivalry, perseverance, always doing your best. From the Hardy Boys to Star Wars again to The Chronicles of Narnia, I always had a character I wanted to be. I grew older as we all do, and the toys went into the closet to wait for my kids. Some of the books did too, but the great thing is that there were always new books to get into. There were books about history and war, books on the outdoors and hunting, books on Boy Scouts and Scouting, and more books with characters that had character. There are still some that I even read to this day in an age where it is difficult to find time away from a computer, work, or family. A couple books of short stories from Louis L’Amour I’ve found time to read a few times, as they don’t take long. Set in the World War II era, West From Singapore and Night Over the Solomons are written in the sometimes cheesy, fantastical pulp fiction genre that is not really any different than the predictability of some TV and movie film plots of today. But I love reading them, and they take me away to an old freighter in the South Pacific with a Colt 1911 under my arm in a shoulder holster, or flying a modified cargo plane near the Amazon hiking to rescue a pretty girl and using my wits and a carbine against Nazi sympathizers.
I find myself agreeing with Pongo Jim or Turk Madden as they fight to do what they know is right, even though they don’t need to or it will cause them hardship. And after the story is done, and the ship is sailing on to the next port or the cargo amphibian is flying off into the sky after the mission is done, the values the hero has exhibited in putting others above himself are the same that I try to exhibit day to day and to teach my own kids to exhibit as they treat others as they wish to be treated. I’m glad I grew up with books, and that I still can have a bit of fun reading some of what I grew up with, and remembering some of the old time values that books and movies tried to instill in us as to how the good guys acted. I think it might be time to break one out for one of the boys…
I was going through my equipment the other day during my bi-annual maintenance checks. During that time, I swap out items from the previous seasons and put in clothing and other kit for the seasonal changes. I do maintenance on items that require it, and it gives me a chance to go over and handle all the various kit items I use or carry depending on the duty. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Soldier, LEO, or prepared Citizen (Or Civilian, some people go back and forth for what the proper word is for the law abiding people that make up our nation.), this is a ritual that many do. There is always equipment, gear, or kit (Depending on the term you prefer to use.) that one either uses more often than others or relies on for more a broader spectrum of tasks than others.
I can go a number of directions with this opening paragraph, but one thing that is also good about this ritual is one also sometimes gets around to making changes that they’ve been meaning to do. One also has the opportunity to make things better and refine what they are using. There are many things that are nice to have, but can be left in a “Maybe” bag back in the vehicle rather than the “Go-Gear” that’s meant for grabbing right now for the matter at hand. I’m guilty of the kitchen sink syndrome. My early years as point man on the SWAT Entry Team many years ago started me down that road as I tried to carry items to meet the wide spectrum of possibilities that building searches and rural duties entailed. I was known as the one who had doorstops, had more than two magazines, and probably had some extra handcuffs to deal with more than anticipated persons inside a mobile home on the reservation during a search warrant. I still think most of the items I carried were necessities (However, did I NEED another baton or ear plugs?). I just think now there are smarter ways to go about it.
A couple of examples of my “kitchen sink” rig setups.
I’m reminded that this phenomenon is not limited to just me. I see it still occur when I look at various plate carriers that LEO’s set up for Active Shooters, or others set up as so-called SHTF rigs. They are weighted down with six to twelve rifle magazines, two-to four pistols magazines, a large first-aid pouch, and various sized utility pouches, and all the gear I used to carry on my Blackhawk Tac-Vest and then some. Now, some environments may require such heavy loadouts, but there are many that don’t, or they can be accomplished more efficiently. I know that as I get older and I see more and more officers and citizens around me with back troubles, I want to be more efficient.
The mission drives the gear. In other words, the task or goals you are trying to accomplish should dictate what gear you use and how. Active Shooter response needs require a kit setup that is not only accessible and quick to get into the environment, but it also something that doesn’t inhibit efficiency of movement. The huge turtle-like armor carriers or loaded plate carriers stored in the trunk of the squad aren’t either. I also look at what it carried, and I ask why someone needs to carry a first-aid kit instead of a more compact gunshot kit, or why they need to carry 2-3 extra pistol magazines in addition to ones on the belt, instead of more efficient patrol rifle/carbine reloads. I like to ask those I work or train with why they carry or set things up the way they do to understand as a trainer the thought processes some people use. There isn’t always a right or wrong answer, and the person’s real needs, not perceived ones, are sometimes a very reasonable explanation. A reasonable explanation to me is the officer that knows that he will not always be able to use the carbine, so he balances out an appropriate amount of spare magazines for either weapon platform and understands the compromise. Others don’t have a reason they can always clearly articulate, and others a light bulb comes on with factors they didn’t think about.
This is a good time of year to go through your gear, or kit, and evaluate what you have and why, and how you carry or use it, and why. Is there a better way that’s more efficient? Are you using equipment to help you accomplish your tasks, or are you trying to make stuff from other tasks and goals work for this one?
We are always targets. Remember that.
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NEW YORK (PIX11) — When an emotional, NYPD police commissioner, William Bratton, announced the execution deaths of two officers Saturday night—he noted the sad history of police partners being assassinated in uniform. It’s happened seven times since 1971, Bratton said. In some instances, the officer was alone, when he was targeted for wearing blue.
On May 21, 1971, Patrolmen Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini were ambushed from behind on a street in Harlem, during the early days of violent actions by the Black Liberation Army—which sought to create a separate country for Americans of African origin. Jones was black, and Piagentini was white.
Piagentini’s widow noted to PIX 11 News in 2012: “The slogan of the time was a pig is a pig is a pig. It didn’t matter if a cop was black or white. It was the uniform,” Piagentini recounted.
In January 1972, two other…
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I was driving to a Christmas party when my phone rang. I heard the words and my heart felt shattered. Every fear, every worry, every feeling of panic came rushing into my throat and I couldn’t stop it. I had to stop it. My babies were with me. I was about to meet new people and see old friends. It was a party. Everyone’s supposed to be happy. My heart felt ripped to shreds. I kept looking at my phone, even though I knew there would be nothing good to see. My face kept smiling, my mouth kept speaking but my heart was racing and the tears were always right beneath the surface.
Today it was them. You don’t know them. They’re just names to you. To some of you, they are symbols of heroism and honor, but to many of you they are symbols of “oppression” and “brutality.”
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If we strive to have the ability to hit targets at distance, the fundamentals we develop help us be more efficient close up.