To Alex Jones: Weighing in on the D.C. Shooting
October 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
Dear Mr. Jones
I was listening to your show today and heard a clip from the Mike Savage Show where Mr. Savage was arguing with a former Marine who had called in to disagree with him. It was in the course of listening to this clip that I went off on my own tangent regarding the D.C. shooting, which I would now like to share. I will admit that I have never been a Marine or a Police Officer, and I cannot claim to know how either are trained or what regulations either would specifically have to follow. I also admit here that I have never fired a shot in anger, that I have never been in a situation in which the threshold for lethal force had been met.
What I do make the claim to is being a former sailor who has been qualified on the 9mm Beretta, the M-16, the 12 gauge shotgun, the M-2 Machine gun, the 25mm Chain gun, and to have been trained though not qualified on the M-240. I have been qualified to stand watch as Topside Rover, ECP (Entry Control Point), and SCAT (Small Caliber Action Team). I have participated in a number of Anti-Terrorism Force Protection drills, and numerous armed watches stood underway and in port both in CONUS (CONtinental United States) and in foreign port. It from that position that I will weigh in on this subject.
To start with, there are a number of of offenses that can justify the use of lethal or deadly force. The failure to follow an order in and of itself is not one of them. No one may utilize lethal force simply because their orders were not follow. If I had ever used such force for such a reason, then I would be staying in Leavenworth right now making bigger rocks into gravel. Now if you try to say “well, she was trying gain access to a restricted area,” would you happen to like any of the Naval ships sitting in port at any given time? If someone was trying to gain access to the ship inappropriately, we were authorized to use the force continuum along the line from yelling at them to tackling them if necessary. However, we could not draw down and shoot them unless we could demonstrate opportunity, capability, and intent with some leniency regarding intent. The only places that I know of where lethal force is unquestionably authorized for crossing over into a restricted area are locations housing the nations nuclear arsenal. Even then, every effort possible will be made to wave off or deter the offending party. Anyone who is properly qualified in the use of lethal force will know and fully understand this.
As to the D.C. shooting itself, I cannot speak to simply because I do not know all the details. While she did not have a gun, her car could most certainly be considered a lethal weapon; and if her use of it endangered the lives of the officers or the general public then lethal force would be justified. At the same time, such use of force would not be heroic if the police handled the situation poorly; thus prompting her reaction. I can definitely sympathize with her situation all considered. Considering that she was reportedly not the most calm, cool, and collected individual in the world between depression and her medication thing are already looking bad, she is stopped at a check point that was not normally there, she is approached by at least one stranger and surrounded by others, they all look big and menacing from her perspective and all are dress in dark and/or camo uniform, they are all carrying big scary guns, and she has a 1 yr old daughter in the car to trigger her maternal instincts. At this point, all bets are off. Still, I cannot make a definitive conclusion about the situation because all the facts are not known. What is needed here is an impartial inquiry to investigate the case; even if for no better reason than to determine that everything is done properly. Referring back to the Navy, if lethal force was used or threatened by a watch stander, that watch stander would go to Captain’s Mast and explain his or her actions to the CO, and the CO would decide the matter whether action was needed and what that action would be. While not perfect, this is precisely the course that is required in this case. However, such a review is not likely considering the reaction thus far, and that is the problem.
I should point out here that one area in which my training potentially differed from law enforcement is in less than lethal use of firearms. My train in the use of such force was geared mostly toward a shoot to kill mentality. Disabling fire was authorized when ordered to do so, warning shots were never to be fired except when ordered in the prescribed manner, and we were never to shoot to wound. More often than not, when we were to open fire, it was in defense of our ship, our shipmates, and ourselves. Prisoners were a secondary priority unless stated otherwise.
On a final note, I believe I should reference one more thing that we were taught in the Navy, namely a variant of situational awareness. In the lethal force continuum training that we received regularly in the Navy for watch standing purposes, we were often taught to be aware not only of our target, but the backdrop and the max range of our weapons as well. We were expected to take all of this information in in order to weigh the threat of the target verse the risk of needless casualties and collateral damage in order to best decide how deal with the threat only. I cannot remember a time in all my training and watch standing in which “spray and pray” was an acceptable practice. To that end, I can understand why the Officers did not shoot for the tires in order to stop her. Tires represent a small, fast moving target with a high probability of missing; with those missed being likely to ricochet off the pavement and jeopardizing the general public up to a mile away and beyond. A better choice would be to shoot the engine. The engine is a much larger and easier to hit target than a tire, the engine compartment is more likely absorb each shot and reduce the risk of shoot through, and a crack engine block will stop any car as assuredly as a flat tire.
At this point, I thank you for your time and attention. Keep up the good work.