Cincinnati Police Officer Shoots, Kills Knife Wielding Suspect
“A Cincinnati Police officer fired on and killed an older white man who apparently pulled a knife on the officer in Northside early Monday morning.”
1. Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.
2. Don’t pull a weapon on a cop.
Someone expressed the following sentiment in the comments, “Seems extreme that the officer killed a suspect for pulling a knife; there are other ways to incapacitate from a distance besides killing.”
Ah, armchair law enforcement.
In the February-March 2011 issue of Concealed Carry Magazine, Michael Martin explains the following:
“If an attacker lunges at you with a knife, can you draw your firearm in time to stop him? That depends on how close the attacker is. Since attacks are almost always a surprise, we should assume that we’d need 1.2 seconds to perceive and process the fact that we’re under attack, plus the time required to draw our firearm and align it with the attacker. Let’s assume the motor reaction time takes two seconds (the time to orient toward the attacker, and draw our firearm from concealment). That means that our full reaction might take more than three seconds, which is enough time for an attacker to cover more than 50 feet. So the answer to the question is, ‘Are you more than 50 feet away from the attacker?'”
So “from a distance”, in this context, is 50 feet. What are the effective ranges of non-lethal alternatives that a patrolman would be carrying?
Tazers – According to Taser International, Inc, long range cartridges have a range of 35 feet. Standard range cartridges range from 15 to 25 feet.
Pepper Spray – DPS markets their X-Stream-range Defense Spray as having an “incredible” range of 20 feet. Kathy Jackson, author of The Cornered Cat, points out that, “physical effects [of pepper spray] generally begin to occur within five seconds of the time the spray hits…”
That’s it. If a cop is to get close enough to use non-lethal weapons, assuming they are carrying them, they have to be close enough that they can be easily stabbed. Making such a demand of a law enforcement officer is simply irresponsible.
Another comment I take issue with, “When will the police learn to shoot and INJURE someone? With all that training why can’t you shoot in the arm, leg or SOMETHING onstead of taking someone’s life?”
1. Police aren’t that well trained to shoot. Most only shoot enough to pass their twice a year firearms qualifications. I train more in a month than they do in a year, and that’s nothing compared to a professional shooter. Expecting cops to be expert marksmen after a couple hours of training is totally unrealistic.
2. This is not the movies. You are demanding that they hit a target a few inches wide, while it is moving, and the shooter is also likely to be moving, under the stress of a life-threatening situation? Why don’t you demand they shoot the knife out of his hand while you’re at it? That is about as reasonable as what you want.
3. Shooting to maim is legally reckless. A firearm is lethal force. If you (or a cop) deploys lethal force in the way you describe, it is the legal equivalent to admitting that your life was not in danger. This means taking away your legal defense for using a firearm to defend yourself from attack. Since the cop was being menaced by a deadly weapon, such a response could only be described as idiotic.