Saturday, August 15, 2015

Girls' Day Out

Tara and I try to get out to the range every Friday. More often than not, we don't make it. Lives get in the way, don'tcha know. When we do get out, its fabulous, but this last time was even more fabulous than usual. We had five guns and no time constraints. I'm not sure it gets better than that.

Choices. Lots of choices.
Since we haven't done much shooting, and since the last time we went out we both shot like we'd never held a gun, we worked on the basics. I didn't bring enough dots for the Dot Torture, so I made up my own drill.

3 2" targets and 5 1" targets at 7 yards.

I forgot to take a "before" picture, but you can see my dot set-up.

Using a normal shooting stance, one shot at each target T1-T8. Next round, strong-hand only, one shot at each target T1-T8. 3rd round, weak-hand only, one shot at each target T1-T3, then T8-T4 (reverse order). Last round, weak-hand, two hands, T1-T3, then T8-T4.

I was a bit high on each of the targets T5-T7. And who the hell knows what happened on T8.



After I finished my round (and felt pretty good after my performance with the Dot Torture a couple of weeks ago), I played with some of Tara's guns. Boy, I love those cowboy guns. Love them. Unfortunately, they're an expensive habit I don't need to take up.

And just for shiggles I emptied my last magazine at the middle of the target and called it a day.

Not the best target of my life, but I'll take it.
Remember when I said we had a fabulous day? Tara mentioned that she needed some work with the AR to get more familiar with it and I remembered that Double Tap had the sim up and running, so to make our day even more fabulous, we headed to FiTS.

Double Tap put her through her paces with accuracy drills before running her through some scenarios.


When she got tired, I took a turn. I did pretty well. The two tactical rifle skills classes I took were helpful. It's been a year or so since I took my last AR class, but the repetition in class helped build some muscle memory that I was able to tap into. There's another class coming up that I want to take, but it conflicts with an event I'm in charge of, so I can't attend.

It will be another couple of weeks before our schedules match up and we can hit the range again, but I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, August 10, 2015

ALL THE CLEAR-HEADS PLEASE STAND UP




 By Jerry Cooper
 
The older I get, the less I suffer fools.

Here’s a quick lesson for you:


  • ·         If you comply with a law enforcement officer’s direction, the officer will in all likelihood communicate by words or actions his or her appreciation
  • ·         No one has a Constitutional right to disobey a lawful command by a law enforcement officer
  • ·         No one has a Constitutional right to resist, delay or obstruct a law enforcement officer acting upon his or her lawful authority
  • ·         “Not every push or shove, even if it may later seem unnecessary in the peace of a judge’s chamber, violates the Fourth Amendment.”  (Foster v. Metropolitan Airports Commission, 1990)
  • ·         If you assault an officer, don’t be surprised if you are assaulted more
  • ·         At the scene of every police response, there is at least one firearm
  • ·         Attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer of his or her firearm constitutes deadly force, and can justifiably get you hurt bad
  • ·         If you shoot at an officer, expect to be shot at yourself
  • ·         If you shoot at an officer, and then get yourself shot in return, you’re not the “victim.”


You see, it really isn’t that difficult.

Now, to be fair, let me make a few other points:


  • ·         Not all law enforcement officers should be one
  • ·         Not all competent law enforcement officers are as gracious as they should be
  • ·         Not all use of force by law enforcement officers is constitutionally justified
  • ·         Not all use of deadly force by law enforcement is constitutionally justified
  • ·         Unconstitutional use of force by a law enforcement officer should, and usually does, result in bad consequences for the officer
  • ·         All uses of force by law enforcement are by nature “ugly”


This is why after serious use of force by law enforcement officers there comes a professional investigation.  Most (not all) use of force, once the matter runs the course through the criminal justice system, turn out in favor of the law enforcement officer(s) who used force.  That’s because the courts have to ascertain if the use of force was “reasonable.”  The courts ask:


  1. ·         Did the officer(s) follow Constitutional law?
  2. ·         Did the officer(s) follow statutory law?
  3. ·         Did the officer(s) follow their training?
  4. ·         Did the officer(s) follow departmental policy?


The problem is, however, no matter whether the officer’s use of force was reasonable or not, no one wants to wait for the facts to be established.  Clear-heads are not wanted before, during, or even after the professional investigation.

Think of the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, Missouri.  Brown apparently tried to disarm an officer and paid the ultimate price for it.  Opportunists, activists, hucksters, race-baiters and the national news media fanned the flames.  The “hands up, don’t shoot” theme was apocryphal.  When the facts were looked at, the District Attorney decided he could not in good conscience prosecute the officer, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder could find no basis to advance a violation of Civil Rights laws.

What a shock.  With great thrill, the news media today (Monday, August 10, 2015) informs us that a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday, August 9, shot a black protester at the “mostly peaceful demonstration” marking the one-year anniversary of the “killing an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, by a white cop.”  Oh yeah, and looking further into the story one learns that the “victim” had shot at officers. 

I do hope Michael Brown’s family can one day find peace, but I don’t think they will find it on the streets of Ferguson.

Perhaps one day the clear-heads will dominate this conversation, and I will not have to suffer so many fools. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ruger Precision Rifle

For everyone out there that has wanted to try long range precision shooting but did not want the $4000 plus price tag, Ruger has introduced a new entry level rifle that will allow you get started in long range precision shooting for approximately $2000 (rifle and scope).  Overall price will depend on how expensive of a scope you choose.
MSRP is $1399.  Street price should be a couple hundred dollars less.  Add your favorite scope and you are ready to go.  Ruger has put a lot of features into this rifle.  There isn't much else you should need.
The one feature that strikes me is the full adjustability of the stock.  This allows you to fit the rifle to you.  You are not stuck with whatever the factory makes.  Proper fit goes a long way to helping you shoot better.

http://www.ruger.com/micros/rpr/models.html

I just learned about this rifle and have not had a chance to even handle one at the stores.  I did find a review from the guys at Snipers Hide. (www.snipershide.com)  Snipers Hide gives a good overview of the rifle and it's capabilities.  If they say it is good to go, I would believe them.

Here is a link to the Snipers Hide review of the new Ruger Precision Rifle.
http://www.scout.com/military/snipers-hide/story/1564384-the-ruger-precision-rifle-6-5-cm

If you want to try your hand at long range precision shooting this may be the rifle to start with.



-Mez
07/19/2015






Friday, July 17, 2015

THEY MUST FIRST BE PREPARED TO PROTECT THEMSELVES



 
By Jerry Cooper


I have been watching an online video depicting two NYPD officers being assaulted by a mob in Harlem.  The video was published on June 23, 2015, and it appears the actual incident may have taken place on June 19, 2015.  I watched the video over and over, until the effects of my rising blood pressure told me to stop.  The video shows a woman, who has been arrested, struggling with a female officer and trying to unholster the officer’s firearm.  As the video continues, a male subject delivers a pounding to the face of the male officer.  This officer was obviously stunned and can be seen trying to shake off the effects of the strike.  The printed information accompanying the video says the two assailants were eventually taken into custody.  The female officer suffered cuts and scratches, while the male officer was treated for swelling to the face and a cut to his mouth.

In a second separate incident within hours of the first, two Bronx officers were injured when assaulted by a group.  One officer suffered a broken eye socket and a broken nose.  The other officer had his jaw dislocated.

I keep thinking of a statement from “In the Line of Fire:  Violence Against Law Enforcement,” a U. S. Department of Justice publication.  It says, “Law enforcement must recognize that in order to serve and protect the larger community, they must first be prepared to protect themselves . . . “ 

One of the most negligent aspects of training law enforcement in use of force is that we spend so much time telling them what they cannot do, and too little time enlightening them as to what they can do.  Use of force training too often drills into the trainee’s head that as a result of using force they can be sued, be criminally charged, ruin their department’s reputation, be given time off due to a lengthy investigation, become de-certified, receive hostile publicity, and cause their agency to lose accreditations or pay higher insurance premiums.

In teaching use of force legal issues to law enforcement officers, I have endeavored to emphasize what they can do.  I do think it is necessary to discuss case law detailing how officers have engaged in an unconstitutional use of force, but I try to present the subject in light of what can be done.

The Ninth U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in San Francisco, is the most liberal circuit court in the country, and historically has the largest percentage of their cases reversed by the U. S. Supreme Court.  (The Fourth U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Richmond, Virginia, has for years been considered the most conservative; however, one of Barack Obama’s campaign promises prior to being elected President was to fill the openings on the Fourth Circuit with liberals, thus completely changing the make-up.  It appears the promise has been fulfilled.)  Liberal Courts of Appeal are usually less favorable to law enforcement than more conservative courts.  To be fair to the Ninth Circuit, however, I have seen some decisions by this court that are very sympathetic towards law enforcement action.  I could be wrong, but I believe the Ninth Circuit, as well as other Federal Circuit Courts and Federal District Courts, has “matured” in its realization that law enforcement is a dangerous and difficult job.  Consider this quote from the Ninth Circuit:

“ . . . Judges should not expect police officers to read United States Reports in their spare time, to study arcane constitutional law treatises, or to analyze Fourth Amendment developments with a law professor’s precision.”

Is it possible that, contrary to the national media’s campaign to show law enforcement officers are out to kill and otherwise deprive citizens of their constitutional rights, police are actually consistently using too little force?  According to the U. S. Bureau of Justice, “. . . In a significant number of incidents, police use lower forms of force than are justified.”

Are police officers at times hesitating way too often before escalating the use of force?  Many studies tend to show this as being the case.  In the law enforcement profession, the fear of being sued is an occupational hazard (del Carmen, 1991).  Job performance may be hindered by a preoccupation with litigation (Breslin, Taylor, and Brodsky, 1986).

It is well established in law that a law enforcement officer has a right to use force, up to and including deadly force, to defend himself or a third person against the use, or attempted use, of deadly force.  What is “deadly force?”  It is force that could result in death or serious injury to a person. 

News Flash:  No one has a constitutional right to disobey a lawful command given by a law enforcement officer.  No one has a right to assault an officer, especially an assault that could result in a serious injury.  No one has the right to attempt to arm themselves with a deadly weapon that under the circumstances could be used against a law enforcement officer.

There is plenty of research data that points to the conclusion that officers are more often guilty of using not enough force rather than too much force. 

I mentioned the Harlem and Bronx incidents only as a prop.  I was not present at the incidents.  I don’t have all the facts.  I have not seen the incident or investigative reports.  I am not insisting “coulda-woulda-shoulda,” but I will ask the question:  Did the officers involved in those incidents have a right to use deadly force against the attackers?  Was their force level too little?  For whatever reason, the officers apparently did not counter deadly force with deadly force; they accomplished their mission using lower levels of force, and under very difficult circumstances that are foreign to most people.  For that, they have my admiration.  I do not desire to “Monday morning quarterback.”  I’m just raising an issue. 

In any use of force incident, there are parallel truths at play: 1) verbal de-escalation should always be the goal in a confrontation between a law enforcement officer and a member of the public; and 2) officers must first be prepared to protect themselves.  There are a lot of gray area in-between circumstances in which force is clearly excessive and in which force is clearly justified.  In fact, most use of force situations falls within this gray area.  The U. S. Supreme Court has said that when there is a gray area, deference must be paid to law enforcement (Saucier v. Katz).  This is something the national media does not want the public to know.

Law enforcement officers cannot protect others until they first protect themselves.

(In bringing up the training issue, in no way am I blaming use of force trainers.  They probably share the least guilt in the push to force law enforcement officers from proactive policing to reactive policing.  I will place the blame where I believe it belongs in a future post.)

Monday, July 6, 2015

When I Suck, I Admit It

I have been intermittently cranky, which could be attributed to a couple of things: 1) I'm female and that just happens, or 2) lack of range time.

Mez, the shooting hubby, told me I needed to take my "pew pew pills" to cure my crankiness. He was right, it had been months since I'd done any shooting and I missed it.

Friday rolled around and I decided to hit the range. I had some unused money on a gift card - just enough to buy 100 rounds of .380 and some range time, so off I went to the range.

I hadn't shot the Glock 42 seriously since May of last year. I knew it had been a while, but I didn't think it had been that long! I shot an entire defensive pistol match with it and did okay. Not spectacular, but okay considering I was using a "mouse gun" and it was the first time I'd had it out of the box.

Because I did okay in the match, I felt fairly confident taking the Baby Glock to the range to run the Dot Torture drill. It's a tough drill, even when I'm in practice.

I sucked. I sucked badly. There are excuses I could make, but why? I'm rusty and I know better. However, since I feel like it's important to share the bad with the good, here are my targets. I completed the drill with both my strong (right) hand and my weak (left) hand. I'm embarrassed to say I did much better weak-handed than strong. (PS - don't bother chastising me for using the term "weak hand"; I say what I mean and I mean weak, as in not strong.)

Right handed

Left-handed
I failed both of these, as I should be able to shoot them clean at 3 yards. It was very tempting to go grab another hundred rounds and go again, but instead I called it a day.

You know, it's true though, a bad day at the range is still better than a good day at work :)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Very Righteous Use of Force



By: Jerry Cooper
 
I simply must stop watching TV news.

I am writing just hours after prison escapee David Sweat was shot and captured by New York State Police Sergeant Jay Cook on June 28, 2015 near Constable, New York.  I cannot resist making a few candid comments concerning the event and subsequent news coverage, and the lack thereof.

For those who do not pay attention to any news, David Sweat and Richard Matt are killers who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in New York on June 6, 2015.  Matt was killed by a U. S. Border Patrol officer near Malone, New York on June 26, 2015 when he failed to disarm himself when confronted. 

Neither should have been in prison at the time of their escape; however, the State of New York shamefully does not have the death penalty.  Maybe they will revisit this issue, but I doubt it.  So, both were serving life sentences.  Matt had killed two people, and Sweat savagely killed a deputy sheriff who was on routine patrol at the time, then ran over him to make sure he was dead. 

I saw a news alert banner on my computer screen reflecting that Sweat had been shot and captured.  I immediately ran to the TV and switched on CBS.  Just golf there.  So, I switched to ABC, then to NBC.  As the case with CBS, there was only routine programming.  Surely CNN would have coverage.  They did, but hey, it is CNN, and they might as well have been reporting on a Paris fashion show.  I turned to FOX News.

Julie Banderas was anchoring the news program.  Oh boy.  Bandaras is even worse than Bill O’Reilly when it comes to pontificating about something she has absolutely no knowledge.  Back in 2006, during the early stages of the Duke lacrosse case in which players were falsely accused of rape, Bandaras made an idiot of herself when she tried explaining the legal issues pertaining to the police interviewing the suspects.  I have taught interview and interrogation, including the legal aspects, to many law enforcement officers.  I was embarrassed for Banderas, so I sent her an email with information to try to help her out.  I wasted my time.

Referring back to Matt’s capture a couple of days earlier, Bandaras struggled with the idea that if police shoot to stop the threat, and not to kill, then why was Matt shot in the head three times?  Let me try one more time Julie to give you a little help.  A professional investigation will undoubtedly answer your question in due time.  As for now, let me just throw out three possibilities: 1) in a police shooting, a trained, experienced officer only hits the target about 20% of the time; so, maybe they were shooting at “center mass,” but shot Matt in the head; 2) center mass is the largest part of what you can see, and if Matt was trying to take cover or use concealment, then the head might have been center mass; and 3) as Matt had a shotgun, and if he was aiming the gun at the police, then it is common for the officer’s brain to focus on the threat; the threat in this case would be the shotgun, which he probably would have been near his head while he was taking aim.

Then, referring to Sweat’s capture, Bandaras kept saying how impressed she was that although Sweat had killed a deputy sheriff in the past, the officer who shot Sweat had the presence to simply wound him.  She explained that Sergeant Cook was a firearms instructor and obviously knew where to place the shots in Sweat’s back so as not to injure any organs or other vital body parts.  Now, Julie, not taking away from Sgt. Cook’s abilities, but under what had to be great stress, and using his duty handgun, do you really believe this is what happened?

Thankfully, they finally got Rod Wheeler on the phone to comment.  Wheeler is a former Washington, D.C. homicide detective, and is a brilliant guy.  Wheeler tried to bail Bandaras out.  Wheeler illuminated that if Cook shot Sweat in the back as reported, it was certainly justified so that Sweat would not escape and harm anyone else.

After Wheeler, they connected by phone with Gil Alba, a former NYPD detective.  Alba sent Bandaras into a downward spiral by telling her that officers shoot to kill, not to stop the threat.  Huh?  Now, Bandaras was all confused.  Fortunately, she was replaced as anchor by Harris Faulkner.  An ATF agent, also commenting telephonically, straightened out the mess.  He enlightened everyone by clarifying that officers don’t shoot to wound; they just shoot, and sometimes they wound, and sometimes they kill.

This incident represents the kind of cooperation that should exist between law enforcement and the public.  More than 2500 leads were provided.  On this occasion, I heard no one ranting about demilitarizing the police.

Sweat has killed a deputy sheriff, was convicted of first-degree murder, was sent to prison, escaped, and was then shot twice in the back while trying to further his escape.  Sergeant Cook did what he had to do: shoot Sweat in the back to stop him from making it to a tree line where he might again escape and potentially kill someone else.  Under Tennessee v. Garner, it was a very righteous shooting.