08 January 2009

Shootings...And Other Stuff...
Okay, we're going to take things in REVERSE order today, and save the shooting for last.
--The recent ice storm that ravaged much of Ft. Wayne, and cost individual homeowners LOTS of "foldin' money" is still costing. I&M reports about $12 MILLION to house, feed and otherwise supply the crews that came in from other states, but (imho), I feel it was money WELL SPENT.
At our house, everything is back to normal (or AS NORMAL as a decent person can feel in OUR part of town).
The sewer guys came back out and looked at why our drain in the basement was not...well, draining.
Seems there is supposed to be a grate that covers the opening that was cemented over...OK.
And we might be looking at a sump pump install if the drain cannot be emptied...OK.
But I got my handy-dandy cordless Crafts-MAN drill out, attached a foot long masonry bit and went at it. I drilled a few holes AROUND the cement blockage, and lo, and behold, I heard a trickle of water going into the waste line.
Had to call the missus to hear that.
Then, after one more hole drilled, I heard a slurping sound, and then saw that well-known, swirling "vortex-effect" created by EXITING WATER...
It drained all the lines from around the basement walls in less than 5 minutes (no more hauling buckets of water to dump out).
I was ecstatic, to say the least.
I'm thinking of NOW applying for a plumber's license (to "add" to my overly-endowed resume')...LOL.
This saved us a crapload of moolah, that we can otherwise put to another use (like a new front door, or perhaps new front steps (the old ones are crumbling faster than our economy). Who knows?
All I can say is that a reward of a Chinese dinner awaits me sometime soon in the future...Hoorah!
--The police-action shooting that occurred in the 1700 block of Kenwood yesterday morning seems to be perfectly warranted (as do most such shootings). The man racked and levelled a shotgun at the officers on scene, and I don't care who you are, that "shik-shik" sound tends to get one's "attention" REAL fast.
Chief York stated that the fact Thompson displayed a shotgun and aimed it at officers, eliminated the use of beanbag ammunition as a viable option for putting down the threat.
Now THAT concerns me, somewhat.
And the more I thought on it, the more bothered I became.
Beanbag rounds are NOT the only less-than-lethal devices at the FWPD's disposal (or they should not be).
When visiting the Regional Academy in November, and with speaking to Sergeant Berning (who heads up TASER training), I asked him about the shotgun round used AS a "stand-off" TASER. He knew exactly what I was referring to. it's called the XREP round, and fires a battery-powered projectile that contains the two prongs used to deliver a 30 second "tase" to an individual, givng officers adequate time to run up, disarm and otherwise secure any weapon or person.
Sounds simple, huh?
Then my question would be WHY didn't the FWPD employ such a device INSTEAD of doing the ".308 smack-down"?
Here's one police link to the XREP:

And here's my defense department link:

Now given the layout of the front yard, and surrounding area, I'd say that most officers were WITHIN 50 feet of Mr. Thompson. That would fall within the range of the XREP round from an officer's shotgun.
But not having been on scene to see the tactical deployment, I can't make judgment calls on protocol.
Yet, the XREP is only ONE method of averting lethality.
You also have the CO2 propelled .68 caliber pepperballs, and a .40 MM rubber ring "dispenser", carbine, that can chip paint off of a steel door. It might break a person's arm, but they WILL drop the weapon and live to see another day, instead of getting killed.
Any of these items could have been utilized, if they were available and on scene.
As soon as Mr. Thompson came out with the shotgun, and even BEFORE he racked it, he could have been disarmed using less lethal, stand-off means, and I say that the possibility of Mr. Thompson STILL being alive (and getting the help he desperately NEEDED) was very much there. It just didn't become the option of choice (for whatever reason).
And please don't think for one moment, that I'm coming down on the man who made the "one shot-one kill" gig happen one damn bit.
He's been through this before, so he KNOWS what HAS to be done under the circumstances.
And I applaud every officer involved for not allowing the situation to escalate further.
There comes a time when whatever training you've received has to hold court, and decisions are made to preserve the greater number.
I'm just stating that options NOT realized might have been available, and that Mr. Thompson might have lived to see another Christmas, that's all.
Now, there's not much left but to have a closed casket funeral (a .308 at that range does nasty things to the human skull).
Interestingly, here's a link to the News-Sentinel that has an interview with Mr. Thompson's ex-wife.
And it's a very good read:

There will always be that ONE, unique scenario that will always demand an immediate response, and to whatever level is required to eliminate the threat.
It occurs in the military, by it's very definition, and it occurs on our very streets each and every day.
I'm glad to know that there are highly trained officers and warriors out there willing to do all that is expected of them (and in some case more) to protect and serve our community...AND our nation, no matter where they might find themselves.


Jim Ritchie said...

Bob, I'm sitting here in shock...with your background, you know that once an offender has elevated the threat level to deadly force, the appropriate response is the open-air option. While the Taser XREP round is applicable to some situations, when a suspect has his finger on the trigger of a firearm, it is simply unreasonable to expect that the electrical energy released by the device is sufficient to guarantee disruption of the smaller muscles in the trigger finger. Even if the aiming of the shot is disrupted, a round could still be discharged, into an unintended target, and if it's a rifled slug, the threat envelope expands dramatically. Such a scenario would have unnecessarily endangered the lives of citizens for a good half-mile or more, inside their homes or outside. While less-lethal means are always preferred, the suspect's potentially lethal actions require an appropriate (and sometimes rapid) escalation up the force continuum, and that appears to be the case with this shooting as well.

Bob G. said...

Maybe I'm just getting old...

Like I say, the Sarge was perfectly in line with taking the (sweet) shot, and his skill in halting a potentially life-threatening situation IS to be commended.

I just feel don't like tossing the pom-poms up though.
Granted a medically-induced tirade from an armed Joe Average seems a lot similar to a sweaty, tweaked-out drug-dealing felon, who's also armed.

It's just my "personal" feeling that as soon as Thompson came out of that door, he could have been taken down with several less lethal alternatives, if they were at hand and in closer proximity.

Pop him with 20-30 pepperballs and a few beanbags (close in) RIGHT as he exits the place, not giving him any time to bventure further out, and he'll never know what hit him OR where he dropped the shotgun he WAS carrying a second ago.

Knowing me (in my younger years), I'd be right next to the front door when he came out, and rip that shotgun from his grip...

Hell, I've taken chances, and then shook like a dog $hittin' bones wondering WTF I was thinking (afterwards).

I Don't mind seeing the BAD GUYS get offed one bit, and don't mind pulling a trigger or two to do it myself. I tend to be gun savvy, not gun happy.

I live in an area (as does Phil Marx) where the possible use of deadly force (by me) is ALWAYS "on the table". I "pack" when I mow my damn lawn!
Dealing with that alone carries it's share of responsibilties.

I had a gun pulled on me (a few years back) when I asked a youth to remove the trash he dumped on my property...my Guardian Angel clocked some MAJOR O/T that day!
And I didn't have a weapon on me at all...nice huh?

Thompsn and I, although we were the same age, differ in two points:
1- self control
2- no alcohol/meds issues
(the 2nd might have explained the lack of the first in Thompson's case)

Like I said, Jim...maybe I'm just getting old.
At least in 56 years, I haven't been arrested...(crosses fingers)...just reprimanded...{vbg}

Thanks for your thoughts & comment.
It's VERY much appreciated.


Jim Ritchie said...

Please don't get me wrong, Bob...I regret any loss of life as deeply as anyone. The situation unfolded so rapidly that full assets were not in place when Mr. Thompson exited the house, and given his previous threats to "blow up the neighborhood," stacking near the doors would have been inadvisable at best. To be honest, if I had one of my people standing right beside the front door ready to do the John Wayne thing, I'd order him back to the perimeter & we'd have a little talk after it was over. (I don't get paid to get my people killed.) While Mr Thompson may not have been a bad guy, his actions during this incident were indeed life-threatening, and those lives included people I regard as friends. Sergeant Berning at the PSA might be of some assistance in more fully explaining the dynamics and current doctrine of addressing barricade situations such as this one.

Bob G. said...

I'll give all of you troopers one thing that back in my day we lacked...
When you talk about the dynamics, doctrine, protocol...whatever, you ARE dealing with a whole NEW set of variables as opposed to decades ago.
I'm just one of those old dogs that has a time wrapping my brain around ALL the new tactics.
Change used to be measured in months or years.
Now it can be measured by DAYS, if not hours or minutes.

Technology, procedural nuances, tactics, everything is in a state of flux, and I honestly don't know how anyone can keep a handle on ALL of it.
And if I had thirty of my years back, I'd get on board with that in a heartbeat.
Those that DO manage to keep up with all this have my sincere thanks and deepest respect.

When TIME becomes a commodity in VERY short supply, you just have to do what you have to do.
I WOULD take the shot.

That's why we always have that "Plan B" available.

Stay Safe out there, Jim.


(not John Wayne...more like Gary Cooper)


Jim Ritchie said...

Thanks Bob...I figured I could count on you to be open-minded about things & I appreciate your support. Someday we'll sit down over a cup of joe & talk about the evolution of even basic street tactics. Some of them are surprisingly enough swinging back toward more bold, old-school philosophies as a result of recent events, and I'm in step with that. After all, the computers & other gadgets don't mean much when the rounds start flying...right then, it's the people who run toward the tower that get the job done. Thanks, buddy! (BTW, I love the verification word for this post..."nocong" Did you write that one?

Bob G. said...

Like many things in life that come flyin' at you...the ""words are TOTALLY RANDOM!

(always got the "joe" goin' at MY place).
Be an honor to chat you up., Buddy!