Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lex Anteinternet: Packing Heat

Recently I posted this item about concealed carry of firearms:
Lex Anteinternet: Packing Heat:  M1911 Colt pistol. Let's turn to a topic that makes people scream and yell at each other, as well as to simply quit listening t...
In that, I made this point
And let's next an uncomfortable truth. . . a lot of policemen aren't exactly marksmen.

Now, in fairness, maybe this guy was.  But policemen aren't the equivalent of snipers, or even accomplished pistoleros.  They're policemen. Their job is pretty varied and most of them never fire a shot in anger, television portrayals aside.  And frankly the track record of large city police forces isn't necessarily all that spectacular in this area.  That may well be because, with all the various thing they do, shooting a pistol well, which isn't necessarily the first thing most policemen have in mind when they become policemen, isn't necessarily their first priority.  By way of some examples of surprising police gun play, police action in New York City on occasion provides a good example.  A person can easily find examples of New York police firing large numbers of shots and hitting comparatively little, or if they are hitting, firing far more shots that would seemingly be required. 

Indeed, the New York Times has noted:
New York City police statistics show that simply hitting a target, let alone hitting it in a specific spot, is a difficult challenge. In 2006, in cases where police officers intentionally fired a gun at a person, they discharged 364 bullets and hit their target 103 times, for a hit
rate of 28.3 percent, according to the department’s Firearms Discharge Report. The police shot and killed 13 people last year.
In all shootings — including those against people, animals and in suicides and other situations — New York City officers achieved a 34 percent accuracy rate (182 out of 540), and a 43 percent accuracy rate when the target ranged from zero to six feet away. Nearly half the shots they fired last year were within that distance.
In Los Angeles, where there are far fewer shots discharged, the police fired 67 times in 2006 and had 27 hits, a 40 percent hit rate, which, while better than New York’s, still shows that they miss targets more often they hit them.
New York Times, December 9, 2007.  The article goes on to note that the police departments in question argued that poor marksmanship was not the cause of their lack of hits, and they may be correct.  But we can still draw two conclusions from this at a bare minimum.  Maybe in an armed
spat more than one man or woman with a pistol is a good thing and maybe police aren't the world's greatest pistol marksmen.  Indeed, hitting things with pistols requires some dedication.

 Illustration of a New York policeman who has passed the civil service
examination.  He's stopping a horse that's apparently out of control and
thereby saving an innocent damsel.  While dates, this photo this
illustration does illustrate the truth that the police are a service
that does a lot more than just get into gun battles and that its not an
occupying army.  The fact that British police don't even routinely carry
firearms perhaps accidentally illustrates this. Truth be known, police
very rarely need them, and they aren't their main focus by a long shot.

Some would argue that this would apply to anyone, and perhaps it would, but in contrast to police, people who are single mindedly carrying a pistol may very well have a different mindset towards being proficient with a pistol.  Or at least they are not likely to be any worse, perhaps.
As if to emphasize this point, and some others, we now have had this past week the example of a health care worker, a black gentlemen, being shot by a policeman while trying to render aid to an autistic man.  The police department in the city in question, North Miami, has come out and said that the policeman, who was armed with a M4 type carbine, was aiming for the autistic man, not the rescuer.  The policeman was only 50 yards away, and M4s are fairly accurate.

That's a bad shot.

Now, I know that  I'm second guessing somebody in a horrible situation that I wasn't in, but at 50 yards?  He should have been able to make that shot.  That perhaps points out a bit of what I was trying to illustrate above.

What else can we take away from this?

Well we can thankfully take away from it that it was not an example of a racially biased shooting, thank goodness.  But I think we can see why African Americans are hypersensitive to this topic.

We might also, although a person hates to dwell on it, note that contrary to the way the press would have it about the "high powered" 5.56 rounds fired by the M4, it's not particularly lethal.  It's only a .22 caliber weapon.  There's a lot that goes into that I'm not going to go into, but it's not exactly a .458 Winchester Magnum or something.

Anyhow, while not fully related to everything I'd posted in my earlier entry, it does seem to prehaps illustrate something about police marksmanship, maybe.

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