Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bringing a gun to a knife fight? Bringing a gun to a knife fight. Shoot or Don't shoot?

"I've followed officers through both the police and FBI training as they learn when it's justified to shoot. You might think it's only when the suspect has a gun, but it's not.

Kevin Foust, the Supervisory Senior Resident Agent of the Roanoke - Bristol -Lynchburg offices for the FBI agreed to bring two fellow agents to demonstrate why a man with a knife is in fact a threat to an officer with a gun. Joining him were veteran agent and firearms instructor Ron Buckley, and agent Kate Kelley, who's three years out of the Academy.

Through role playing in a studio at the Kirk Family YMCA, Buckley demonstrated what would happen if Kelley came after him with in knife. In one scenario he tried to holster his gun and go for a baton -- to make the fight "fair." In another, he shot Kelley when she lunged at him.

Scenario 1 -- Kelley is ten feet away and refuses his command to drop the knife. As he tries to holster the gun to avoid shooting a woman armed 'only' with a knife, Kelley manages to get the gun from him. She could have shot him if she wanted.

Scenario 2 -- Kelley is ten feet away. This time when she lunges for him, he opens fire. Kelley winds up on the ground. She does not get his gun. She could not shoot him.

'Our studies have shown that these types of situations occur within ten feet if not closer, and so this is the most dangerous time an officer will ever face,' said Foust who was watching nearby. 'There's nothing in any law anywhere that says an officer has to get hurt first in the line of duty... In order to be able to respond with deadly force.'

I asked Buckley if he felt comfortable bringing a gun to a knife fight.
Carlin: 'The average person would say if you have a gun and she has a knife, that's not fair. What do you say?'
Buckley: 'Well, I would say my first concern is to prevent her from getting a better weapon that she's already got.'

Foust summed it up pretty well from the FBI perspective. 'You were talking earlier about making it a fair fight... My answer is no, we don't want to make it a fair fight. Just like the criminal doesn't want to make it a fair fight. We want to so overwhelm that person that they believe that taking the action they are thinking about is going to be a bad thing, therefore I need to comply with officer's commands.'"


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the FBI perspective on this issue..In my opinion, a "fair" fight is considered a sport, and should not be confused with a life or death situation.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with theFBI perspective on this one as well. Officers of the law are not there to make it easy for criminals to do what they do. They are there to make it so criminals don't do what they do for fear of what will happen to them. Very interesting point of view.