Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A Lesson From The Day Job

I don't talk about specifics from my day job very often. Here especially, and only rarely on my personal blog. I work in the insurance claims industry handling high exposure and litigated commercial liability claims. From time to time, I get assigned to handle claims involving the use of firearms in one form or another. It can be anything from a security guard discharging a gun in self defense to drug deals gone bad to drive by shootings and more.

Yesterday, a claim was assigned to me involving a tragic set of facts. I won't go into too much detail because anyone with more than novice Google Fu skills could probably track it down without too much trouble. Long story short and the lead in to the point of this post, a police officer had to shoot two dogs that had attacked someone.

I was able to meet with my insured this afternoon, and (unusually) there is security video of the event including the shooting. On the plus side, I get to see what happened and when. On the negative side, the incident happened more than 25 yards from where the security camera was mounted making details a little fuzzy (literally).

While I do not know what caliber the officer used, I feel pretty confident in assuming it was some flavor of Glock or Sig 9mm as the majority of the departments in my area issue either Glock 17s or Sig P226s in 9mm. I mention this only to say that the make and caliber of the gun are likely irrelevant given what I saw in the video.

Quick warning to the squeamish, I am about describe what I saw which resulted in the deaths of two dogs. I am a dog lover, and I had to watch it. So, I will do my best to mitigate the imagery.

The officer shot the first dog from a distance of about 5 yards. The first shot was not a killing shot, and the dog started spinning around very quickly. Now, I'm not going to fault the officer for failing to kill the dog on the first shot. I wasn't there, I don't know the officer's experience, etc. What my point here is that the response of the dog to the first shot made all subsequent shots much harder. The second dog, seeing what happened to dog number one, became very agitated and started a spin cycle of its own. I could not tell how many rounds were fired; however, I didn't see a reload involved. So, less than 17 is a safe assumption.

Here are the lessons I would like to offer up in light of this video.

1) Shot placement is everything. Make it count because you might only get one chance. It does not matter how fast you shoot or what caliber you use if you miss the target. Conversely, caliber (within reason) does not matter if you hit the target.
2) Moving targets are harder to hit. This should be self evident to most people, but it bears repeating.
3) Movement buys you time. In this case, the dog could potentially have survived the first shot had it had an avenue of escape and run away. In the self defense context, it's better to be a moving target than a static target.

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