Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence


The sound of silence.

This last weekend we had a group of students take part in our Post CCW judgmental use of force class.

This course is taught by myself, and a sworn member of our local law enforcement community.  Many of you know Sgt. Rich… for those of you who don’t… well irreverent is probably to nice a word to describe him.

Rich’s participation in this class is particularly valuable given the fact that one of his chief day job functions is the development and training of lethal tactics to the other sworn members of his team.

Like most tactical classes, a good chunk is spent in the classroom.  The final part of the class takes place in the lab.

In this class we had eleven students that all have their CCW’s and were looking for advanced training…. especially in dealing with judgmental use of force.  Not so much in when to shoot… but when not to even draw in the first place. 

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Some of the scenarios that the trainees were put on absolutely required an application of deadly force.  Others… well, they were debatable.

Whenever someone is put into an uncomfortable or unfamiliar environment their ability to act is mitigated by a whole host of psychological and physiological responses.

Many people have far more grandiose ideas of how theywillact, then how they actuallydoact when the goblin shows up.

One of the first things that goes down the drain is communication.  Not just communication between allies… (that happens too)… but just plain old talking becomes difficult.

One of our clients was put into an unthinkable situation where deadly force was required to stop a potentially suicidal individual from inflicting harm on innocent third parties.

Our trainee had his gun on the suspect, as the suspect calmly walked away… no direct threat to the trainee, but an absolute threat to the people he was walking toward.

Our trainee decided to use a verbal command to get the suspect to stop.  When he talked a barely audible squeak could be heard from the trainee:  “stop!”

In the real world it is doubtful that the suspect would have heard him.  It is doubtful that anyone around him would have heard him.  His voice was so subdued… so soft… that his vocalization had little to no effect.

During the debrief he stated that since he knew this was a simulator he purposely kept his voice low.  That is unacceptable training.  If he were to do this repeatedly he runs the risk of developing a potentially catastrophic negative training scar.  We train like we fight, we fight like we train.  If we use our big kid voice in the simulator we will use our big kid voice in the real world.  Conversely, if we whisper in training, we are going to whisper when we need the voice of a lion.

There is a second possibility.  Perhaps our trainee was not especially conscience of the simulator.  Perhaps as his blood flow began to constrict, and his vocal cords became more strained, he reacted in a consistent way with his personality.  By being quiet and compliant this trainee has been able to navigate the complexities of life.  When he was put into a dynamic situation with no clear cut answers he defaulted to his normal modus of behavior…. he became even more compliant.   So compliant that his voice was barely audible.


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