Every time an officer is involved in a police shooting, they run the risk of being second-guessed until the cows come home. That’s what’s happening to a police officer in Columbus, Ohio.
Within seconds of arriving on the scene, he was faced with what looked like a pretty clear-cut situation. One subject with a knife attacking another person who was unarmed.
He ordered her to drop the weapon, and when she didn’t, he dropped her.
It’s not pleasant, but from my perspective, I don’t see where he had a choice.
Unfortunately, we have a news media that not only knows little about guns, they know little about the use of them. That’s clear by some of their comments. Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey had to address some of the stupid.
“It’s a legitimate question that people are asking,” says the reporter. No, actually, it isn’t — because not only has this been explained ad infinitum, even a moment’s thought would answer it. Anyone with a passing familiarity with human anatomy, ballistics, or the very narrow circumstances in which lethal force can be deployed already know the answer to it.
Nonetheless, lots of people are asking dumb questions on social media, so it’s worth watching this clip and then extending the conversation … again. Interim police chief Michael Woods answered the question as professionally and politely as anyone could expect:
JOURNALIST: "Can an officer shoot the leg? Can they shoot somewhere that would not result in a fatal wound?"
COLUMBUS POLICE CHIEF: "We don't train to shoot the leg because that's a small target. We train to shoot center mass…There was a deadly force threat that was going on." pic.twitter.com/Cat67kY5Ox
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) April 21, 2021
In the first place, police (and anyone else) are only allowed to deploy lethal force to stop a reasonably lethal threat, either to themselves or someone else. The point of using that lethal force is to stop the threat, not kill the person, but it has to be put to a use that has the best percentage of stopping the threat while not harming others. In a high-pressure situation, fine motor skills deteriorate while gross motor skills necessary for fight-or-flight responses increase — which doesn’t help with precise aim. Center mass provides the highest percentage target to stop the threat because it’s larger and doesn’t shift around as much as legs, arms, and heads do. And in this situation, where Ma’Khia Bryant already had the knife in motion to plunge into another teenager, there was no time at all to ponder shot selection. The officer needed to stop the lethal threat immediately, and followed his training.
Ed is absolutely correct. It’s easy to talk about how you should go for the arm or the leg, but in addition to the degradation of fine motor skills in such a stressful situation necessitating a center-mass shot, there’s also the fact that even if you could guarantee a hit on the leg or arm or anywhere else, shooting someone in the limbs doesn’t necessarily stop the attack.
If someone is shot in the arm or leg, they can still stab another easily enough.
But as bad as that was, it wasn’t the only stupid suggestion.
Now, stuff like this is how I know I can’t take Juan Williams seriously as a human being.
First, look around the scene. What was there to shoot at to try and distract her? There were houses and cars, any of which could contain an innocent person. Would Williams have preferred the officer shoot them?
Oh, shoot downward? That would be toward the driveway, which could cause a ricochet that could hit innocent people.
Then we have the supreme suggestion of firing up into the air.
Holy @#%!, that’s ridiculous. Every year, I write a story about not firing your guns into the air on New Year’s Eve because what goes up must come down and bad things can happen. It also sounds like every year I write a story about someone who got hurt or killed because some jackwagon either didn’t read it or didn’t listen to me or anyone else saying not to do it.
And here’s Juan Williams apparently suggesting that a police officer do that.
Then what happens if it doesn’t work and Bryant stabs the other girl?
See, that’s what all this talk about alternatives fails to account for. Bryant had another girl up against a car. She had a knife in her hand and clearly had a motive to kill. The officer, in mere seconds, had to act.
Take a look at this video posted by the Daily Caller on their Twitter feed. It’s from a garage across the street from the incident and shows the moment the officer rolled up.
New video from a different angle shows the moments leading to the fatal shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant when she was lunging at another woman with a knife
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 22, 2021
So, tell me, just how much time did he have to try and talk Bryant down? How much time did he have to do much of anything except to save the potential victim’s life?
In all this, people are focusing on Bryant’s race and claiming the cop was racist to shoot, but they forget he saved black lives as well. So tell me, just which black lives matter here?
All the Monday morning quarterbacking in the world isn’t going to change the fact that the officer had seconds to act and, frankly, he acted appropriately. I’ll say when I think an officer screwed up, but this isn’t one of those times, and the media that can’t be bothered to learn about firearms or the use of them would do well to sit down, shut up, and stay in their damn lane for once.