Friday, March 2, 2018

Scot Peterson's reluctance to go charging in to confront the Parkland shooter makes sense (obviously?)

By all accounts, Scot Peterson had been a model cop until he became a national disgrace. “His personnel record is filled with commendations,” reported the Sun-Sentinel. “Four years ago, he was named school resource officer of the year. A year ago, a supervisor nominated him for Parkland deputy of the year.” But like most of us, he had never faced a situation like he did on the day that Nikolas Cruz shot 33 of his former classmates, teachers, and coaches with an AR-15...the reality is that, even though they undergo extensive training designed to inoculate them against natural human stress reactions, it’s not uncommon for soldiers to freeze up the first time they experience combat. It’s not a sign of cowardice. In most cases, those same troops perform well—or even heroically—after that first exposure to real-life combat. We can’t expect police officers to behave any differently.
The gun lobby’s heroic-gunslinger fantasy also animates Donald Trump’s repeated calls for arming school teachers. It’s a distraction from the real issue—mass shootings, on and off campus, accounted for fewer than 4 percent of gun murders last year.
Third (from the interview with David Chipman, who has been on SWAT teams):
There’s this famous book called On Killing, by David Grossman, who studied how training in the military has evolved over the years. They used to qualify by shooting at round targets, and what they found is that once they got into combat, many of them did not fire their guns, and even when they fired their guns, they would purposely fire over the enemy. So they had to train people to actually shoot at targets that looked more like humans, and that’s why police qualify today on targets that aren’t round but are shaped like people.

So I think that unless you are trained—and you’re trained over and over again, and you practice like you play, which means you’re training in simulated life or death environments—the likelihood of you even firing your gun is small. And then the likelihood that you would actually hit a moving target surrounded by other moving targets—any trained operator knows the fallacy in that. It’s highly unlikely that it would turn out well...I’ve never talked about this before, but for me personally, to get through these operations, I would actually pretend that I was already dead. And in that way, I had the courage to do what I needed to do to safely to protect my team and do the operation. How many other people do that? I don’t know. I can just share my own experience...Yes, most [gun owners] practice, but they’re not practicing with rounds of ammunition zinging past their head.
Do no harm:
Some aspects of law enforcement are like being a doctor. You never want to do harm. You don’t want to make the situation worse. And it seems to me that this idea of putting a gun in teachers’ hands is like giving up in this issue.

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