screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-9-20-29-amThe award-winning author aunt of an LSD abuser and her family are in the act of pushing what may be the most arrogant and stupid petition ever authored against law enforcement in California history… and that’s saying something.

Carina Hoang, author of  Boat People: Personal stories from the Vietnam Exodus, is pushing for something her family called “Luke’s Law,” a concept so moronic that it’s almost impossible to believe they’re sincere. But sincere they most certainly are.

It’s understandable that any mother who has lost a child would wish for a magic wand, something that could make the emotional nightmare go away. I have had no words to ease her pain or to make sense of Luke’s death.

My sister found her magic wand in the form of Luke’s Law. She wants legislation that would change police practices to prevent the wrongful death of children under 21. My sister wants officers to shoot to disarm, not shoot to kill. She has called for the sheriff’s department to be more accountable for the actions of its officers — a change that would protect not only kids under 21, but also those suffering from mental illness like Arlt.

Her message to everyone: “All lives matter, my son’s life matters.”

Our family and a group of community supporters are preparing a Luke’s Law petition, and we’re confident that we’ll get the signatures needed for a referendum.

Within days of Luke’s shooting, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office released the body cam footage in the name of transparency.

The 16-minute video has been posted on YouTube and Facebook for the world to see, including all of Luke’s teenage friends. But instead of answering questions, the video has raised even more: Why were 11 police officers and a K-9 present to deal with one boy? Why did they shoot him with a semiautomatic weapon, and why did they act so hastily? After he was already on the ground and wounded, why did they release the K-9 to attack the boy again? Why did they handcuff him after he was shot? And why did they lay him face down while trying to address his chest wound?

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Hoang’s screed shows a depth and breadth of arrogance, ignorance, and contemptuous bile that I find hard to put into words.

Last month we told you about the great lengths law enforcement officers went to in Santa Cruz (CA) while trying to take Hoang’s nephew Lucas Smith into custody. Smith had gotten high on LSD,  became combative, and repeatedly stabbed his father and uncle.

A 15-year-old on LSD stabbed his father and uncle multiple times early Saturday morning in Corralitos (CA), leading to officers from two departments and deputies from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department to try to take him into custody.

Luke Smith was still armed with a knife with a 4″ blade as officers tried to negotiate with him, then used an array of less lethals against him including multiple baton rounds from a 40mm launcher and several taser deployments, along with the deployment of a K-9.

Smith was un-phased by the dog, the half-dozen baton rounds, or either taser strike, and raised his knife arm towards one of the officers attempting to take him into custody, leading one of the officers to fire a single shot from an AR-15 patrol rifle to defend his fellow officer.

The 16-minute body camera footage from officers show that officers desperately tried to help Luke Smith.

Let’s go through this entire event again in detail, shall we?

Officers attempted to get him to drop the knife and warned him to keep his distance when he got too close with the knife still in his hand. They then used baton rounds from a 40mm launcher—which feels roughly like getting hit with a fastball—to try to get him to stop his advance and drop the knife.

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It only worked temporarily.

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A total of six baton rounds were fired at Smith, one even striking his knife hand, and he shrugged them all off. Twice tasers were deployed, and they had no effect.  Even the K-9, Kato, had no effect on Smith due to the LSD. When Smith raised his knife towards an officer, Deputy Vigil fired one shot center mass to stop the threat. When Smith wilted to the ground, he did not fire any additional rounds.

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Officers on the scene tried their best to help Smith, but there isn’t a whole heck of a lot they can do when a .223 bullet hits a human body at approximately 2,900 feet per second from a range of just feet and fragments in the chest cavity.

It’s very sad that Luke Smith chose to abuse drugs. It’s horrific that he became incredibly violent and attacked three people, stabbing two of them multiple times. It’s infuriating that the LSD’s effect on this teen was so strong that attempts to use logic, and reason and eight attempts at less lethals and two attempts at using a K-9 to take him into custody failed.

It was not the intention of any of these officers when they went on shift Saturday night to take a life, and the video from their body cameras makes it very clear that they were doing all they could to try to take a dangerously violent young man into custody peacefully.

In the end, Deputy Vigil was forced to fire to protect a fellow officer when he perceived that Luke Smith was about to stab his third victim of the night.

It’s a sad chain of events, but responsibility for Luke Smith’s death lies with his decision to abuse powerful mind-altering drugs.

Luke Smith’s death is very, very sad. It is also 100% completely his fault. Carina Hoang’s smug, self-important and ignorant rant doesn’t hold Smith responsible for his role in willfully abusing drugs, nearly murdering two family members, refusing to drop his weapon, or attempting to kill a law enforcement officer.

Instead Hoang asserts that police are bloodthirsty, that officers looked for an excuse to shoot him, that they enjoyed tormenting him after he was shot, and then made sure he died. It is nothing more or less than a poorly-veiled blood libel.

Let’s look inside her hateful, ignorant mind again.

My sister found her magic wand in the form of Luke’s Law. She wants legislation that would change police practices to prevent the wrongful death of children under 21. My sister wants officers to shoot to disarm, not shoot to kill.

Congratulations, genius. They’ve only been doing that for a century.

Law enforcement officers in the United States are not taught to shoot to kill.

Law enforcement officers in the United States are taught to shoot to stop the threat.

That means that officers only fire their guns if they encounter a imminent deadly force threat from a suspect, they only fire while a suspect is acting as a deadly force threat, and they stop firing the moment they perceive that the deadly force threat from the suspect has stopped.

You’ll note that nothing in there refers to killing a suspect, or even wounding one, only ending the threat.

If a police officer is forced to fire on a suspect acting as a deadly force threat, the officer misses, and the suspect stops acting as a deadly force threat, that’s considered a good day. The firearms training officer may not be happy (because that bullet went on to hit something when it missed the suspect), but the goal is to end the threatening behavior, not the suspect’s life. Likewise, it’s considered a “win” if the officer causes the suspect to stop the attack by only wounding a suspect. It is not the officer’s intent to kill. It is the officer’s intent to stop the deadly force threat posed by the suspect’s chosen actions.

What the clueless and uninformed Ms. Houng doesn’t grasp is that police aren’t trying to kill, they’re attempting to stop a suspect’s attempt to use deadly force against the officer, another officer, or a member of the public.

Another thing Houng clearly doesn’t grasp is why officers aim where they do on targets, which is the center of exposed mass, as shown in the common B-27 target, or any of the other targets used by California law enforcement agencies.

b-27 target

The goal of shooting at the center of exposed mass accomplishes three things:

  1. It increases the likelihood of hitting the suspect somewhere and stopping the deadly force threat.
  2. It reduces the risk of a bullet completely missing the deadly force threat and going downrange to strike an innocent bystander.
  3. It increases the likelihood of taking the suspect out of the fight, meaning the officer has to fire fewer rounds at the suspect, reducing the threat of additional injury or death for the suspect and other people downrange.

Let’s look at the LMS Defense LMSD-2 target to explain why Houng’s “shoot to disarm” demand is so asinine.

target lmsd-2

The LMSD-2 features an assailant with an upraised knife. You’ll note that there are two faint white target areas, a large circle in center of the chest, and a smaller oval covering the suspect’s eyes and nose area in the center of the suspect’s face that is a secondary target if the chest shots are ineffective (suspects sometimes wear body armor, are on drugs and don’t feel the shots to the chest, or are simply determined to carry out their attack even if mortally wounded).

You do not see any circles around the knife suggesting it is a target. For that matter, no general law enforcement targets I’ve encountered show legs, arms, hands, or feet as targets. It’s almost like there’s some rational thought behind more than a century of standardized police firearms training. What could those reasons be for not shooting at arms and legs and hands and feet?

  • in the real world, a suspect’s arms and legs are in almost constant motion, and are often obscured behind cover or concealment. You cannot hit a moving target, or one you can’t see.
  • arms, legs, hands and feet are not only moving targets, but much smaller targets, scant inches across in many instances. They’re much harder to hit.
  • arms, legs, hands and feet do do a lousy job of slowing, much less stopping bullets, even when they strike bone.
  • shots to the arms and legs can be just as fatal, just as quickly, as shots to the chest, which we’ve demonstrated on numerous occasions.

Put in the simplest possible terms, an officer shooting at a knife or gun or the hand and arm holding it aren’t likely to make a hit. Even if they do, that bullet is likely to exit and keep going downrange until it hits something or someone. Perhaps shooting a dog-walker down the block or a pre-schooler having dinner six blocks away in his home is acceptable to Carina Hoang, but it isn’t acceptable to law-abiding citizens, or to law enforcement officers. Their goal is to keep the bullets they’re forced to fire in the body of the deadly force threat so it does not endanger others. That means shooting center of exposed mass.

Every time an officer misses and is forced to shoot again, that’s also another bullet that is going to hit something. Houng and the Smiths, who appear to have picked up their knowledge of firearms from Hollywood, clearly haven’t given that the slightest bit of thought.

She has called for the sheriff’s department to be more accountable for the actions of its officers — a change that would protect not only kids under 21, but also those suffering from mental illness like Arlt.

Her message to everyone: “All lives matter, my son’s life matters.”

Despite Carina Hoang’s obvious ignorance and hatred of police, law enforcement trains to shoot to stop the threat, not to kill, because they (like most gun owners) believe that life matters. Unfortunately, people under 21 are willfully involved in violent crimes. Being mentally ill did not make the perpetrators of the mass killings at Sandy Hook, or Virginia Tech, or the movie theater in Aurora any less capable of being incredibly lethal. The mentally ill murder the innocent with disturbing regularity, and there’s an argument to make that sane people rarely kill.

Our family and a group of community supporters are preparing a Luke’s Law petition, and we’re confident that we’ll get the signatures needed for a referendum.

Your referendum, ma’am, is short-sighted, ego-centric, and deadly.

Your referendum, ma’am, would force officers to fire more shots, posing a much greater risk to innocent people downrange because you arrogantly didn’t bother to learn even the rough principles behind why all defensive shooters (law enforcement and more than 100 million other gun owners) train the way they do, and aim where they aim, in hopes of having to fire the fewest shots possible to save lives.

Within days of Luke’s shooting, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office released the body cam footage in the name of transparency.

The 16-minute video has been posted on YouTube and Facebook for the world to see, including all of Luke’s teenage friends. But instead of answering questions, the video has raised even more: Why were 11 police officers and a K-9 present to deal with one boy?

That “one boy” high on LSD was the most active threat in the city at the time, having twice attempted the murder of his own family members just a short time before, and posing a clear homicide threat to any random citizen who cross his drug-fueled path. Again, Houng completely minimizes the deadly force Smith had already used, and the threat he posed to the law-abiding citizens nearby.

Why did they shoot him with a semiautomatic weapon

Because this is the 21st century, and almost all firearms used by police are semi-automatic? I’m guessing that Houng, in her ignorance, thinks “semi-automatic” means “machine gun.” After all, she’s clearly not done the least bit of research. No that it made a single bit of a difference in this case. When the taser failed (twice) and the 40mm sponge rounds failed (six times) and the K-9 unit failed to make him stop, the officer fired one time.

Just one time. A single bullet.

Would it have made you happier, Ms. Houng, if Luke had been shot in the chest with a .69-caliber musket ball weighing 480 grains instead of a single .223 rifle bullet weighing 77 grains or less?

and why did they act so hastily?

“Hastily?”

You call the numerous attempts to reason with your dangerous, stab-happy nephew, the numerous attempts (eight in all) to use less-lethal force to force him to stop advancing on officers while he was armed, the risk of a K-9, and the risks officers took to reach and and remove the knife he refused to give up even after being shot “hasty?”

After he was already on the ground and wounded, why did they release the K-9 to attack the boy again?

Because, as the video plainly sees and as the officers yell repeatedly, your nephew refused to drop the weapon that he’d already used to stab two of his own family members and attempted to use to stab a police officer (which is why he was shot).

Why did they handcuff him after he was shot?

It’s standard police procedure, which you and your family were no doubt told, and which you would know on your own if you had done the least bit of research on the subject.

And why did they lay him face down while trying to address his chest wound?

Again, if you had bothered to do the slightest bit of research or asked questions before beginning your rant, you would know that leaving a person on their back after being seriously injured increases the likelihood of that person choking to death on their own vomit at the scene should they throw up, or weeks later of aspirational pneumonia due to stomach fluids and vomit in the lungs. In trauma management classes taught to soldiers deploying overseas and increasingly to law enforcement agencies here in the United States, turning a subject so that he’s facing downward is called the recovery position (below), and gives them the greatest odds of survival.

Officers did what they could to keep Smith alive from the beginning of this incident until the end. Cop-hating Carina Hoang, however, sees nothing but malevolence from the beginning of the incident until it’s sad conclusion.

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I understand that Carina Hoang is emotionally spent. I understand that she’s grieving, and wants to do “something” because of her family’s loss and pain.

I have no sympathy, however, for her hateful assertions that officers were quick to shoot Luke Smith, when the 16-minute video so clearly shows the great efforts officers went to attempting to bring him into custody safely. I resent her assertion that officers wanted to kill Smith out of malice, and that they abused him, tormented him, and refused to provide aid when all of that is clearly and demonstrably false.

Put bluntly, Carina Hoang needs to shut up.

She’s entirely wrong, and if she’s successful in her idiotic quest, she’s going to get lots of good people killed downrange of officers who are forced to try to make impossible shots against parts of the body that can’t stop bullets.