Presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden offered up a ridiculous take on reforming use of force policies for law enforcement on Monday by claiming that officers should be trained to aim for the legs of “unarmed people coming at them with a knife.”
Biden today on police training: “Instead of standing there and teaching a cop when there’s an unarmed person comin’ at ’em with a knife or something to shoot ’em in the leg instead of the heart is a very different thing.” pic.twitter.com/2xgqvlQtJ2
— The Recount (@therecount) June 1, 2020
Biden’s comments came while he was speaking with local black leaders at the Bethel AME church in Wilmington, Delaware. Oddly enough, the Associated Press didn’t even mention Biden’s bizarre comment about officers shooting suspects in the leg. Instead, reporters wrote a puff piece designed to portray Biden as an elder statesman, instead of an ignoramus when it comes to both human anatomy and use of force policies.
In the early moments of Monday’s gathering at the Bethel AME church in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, the former vice president listened quietly and took notes in a spiral notebook. All of the attendees, including Biden, wore face masks.
“The vice president came to hear from us. This is a homeboy,” said Pastor Sylvester Beaman, before Biden and those present bowed their heads in prayer.
Biden’s softer approach may foreshadow how the presumptive Democratic nominee presents himself in the five months before the presidential election, emphasizing calm and competence as a contrast to a mercurial president. It is an approach that carries the risk of being drowned out by the much louder, more persistent voice of Trump.
“He’s not in office, and he certainly does not have the megaphone like the person currently occupying the White House does, but I do think our people are looking for someone who can make them feel better during these extremely tough times,” said Rep. Val Demings of Florida, whom Biden is considering as a running mate. “America just needs to be reassured that there’s someone who’s understanding, someone who’s willing to say, ‘Yes, we do have some issues,’ and someone who’s willing to address it.”
The AP’s unwillingness to address Biden’s use of force comments is even more inexplicable given that they spoke to Rep. Demings, who’s the former police chief in Orlando, Florida. You’d think she might have something to say about the idea of officers aiming for the legs of suspects when they have to use their service weapon, and given the fact that she’s on Biden’s short list to be his vice-presidential nominee, I would have loved to have heard her try to explain away his comments.
The reason why virtually every firearms instructor teaches gun owners to aim for center mass if they have to use their firearm in self-defense is simple: you’re shooting to stop the threat. You don’t pull out your gun in the first place unless your life is in danger, and you don’t pull the trigger unless you’re in fear of imminent death or great bodily harm. Utah police officer Jeffrey Denning wrote a great explainer for the Deseret News a few years ago about why police aren’t taught to aim for the leg. I hope Joe Biden can read it at some point.
Shooting someone in the leg doesn’t mean he or she will stop shooting.
The same is true of someone who is shot in the arm or shoulder, or even in the chest. Shooting someone in the leg won’t necessarily stop him or her from standing, walking or even running. Shooting someone in the leg doesn’t even mean he or she will fall to the ground. And, it doesn’t mean the individual will stop feloniously aiming a gun at a police officer or an innocent citizen and pulling the trigger.
Even so, if an officer did shoot someone in the leg, there is a chance it could sever the femoral artery and still potentially end that person’s life.
Officers learn how difficult it is to shoot accurately under stress.
An officer can be a near-perfect shooter on the range, but the stress of a real firefight is totally different. Shooting a gun out of a person’s hand is nearly impossible, and it would be dangerous to attempt in real life.
Even if an officer wanted to shoot someone in an appendage (leg or arm), doing so would be incredibly difficult to do under stress. Real gunfights are not static; they’re mobile. Trying to hit a moving leg or arm would put an officer at a greater disadvantage than he or she already faces.
Biden is simply clueless when it comes to this issue, and the mainstream media will do everything they can to cover up his buffoonery and make it look like statesmanship. There are real conversations to be had about use of force policies, no-knock raids, and other policing issues, but if this is all he has to offer, Biden should simply keep his mouth closed.