Vehicles and Improvised Weapons

Improvised weapons and presence of mind.

Last week in Marana Arizona a suicidal suspect decided to go on a low intensity shooting spree.  Police were called and as the suspect calmly walked down a sidewalk randomly shooting, one police officer can be seen through the dash cam video using the most efficient weapon in his arsenal to stop the guy.

His cruiser.

You can see the video here:

Sometimes the “gun” is not the most tactically efficient means to stop a threat.  We tend to be fixated on the gun as an almighty tool, and fail to realize that the most efficient weapon is right in front of us.

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Years ago I worked with the criminal investigations unit of the San Francisco District Attorneys Office.  We were prosecuting a case against a serial rapist.  He had a habit of snatching his victims and driving them to a remote dried river bed where he would rape them.  One of the victims accompanied us to the scene where the crimes had been committed.  The entire area was a collection of loose rocks.  I asked her why she had not fought him.  (I can’t imagine asking a rape survivor this now, but at the time twenty years ago this did’nt t seem like a really inappropriate question.)  

She looked at me and said “With what?  I didn’t have a weapon.”

She had literally been raped on a bed of “weapons”.  

The problem was she had been conditioned to see the things around her as benign, simple rocks, not as force multipliers.

“Everything in the video seems to point towards an obvious excessive use of force. It is miraculous that my client isn’t dead,” said attorney Michelle Cohen-Metzger.

Yes it is Michelle.  

The officer was authorized to use deadly force, and he did use deadly force to stop your client.  The fact that the threat was stopped ends the discussion.  That he survived is nice, but totally immaterial.  (Ironically, by stopping him with his cruiser he probably saved your clients life.  Had he not done that another cop would have probably shot him.)

Vehicles can also provide cover and escape if used properly.

A hero named William Ramirez saved the life of a cop in Miami last week with his mini-van.

While on his way to work he found himself in an impossible situation.  An officer was on the ground taking fire from a madman with a rifle.  

Ramirez did a hero’s job.

He sped his mini-van between the two combatants, opened the side door and somehow pulled officer Rosny Obas into the cab.

Then, while still under fire sped away to safety.

Ramirez saw… while under intense stress… that the most effective way for him to solve a life and death problem was to use his vehicle as an extraction device.  

He did not get out of his vehicle and attempt to render aid.  He used the vehicle as a shield in order to render aid.

His mini-van stopped being tool to take him to work, and instead was converted into a shield to provide temporary cover from an enemy combatant.

We who carry guns for personal defense need to be constantly aware of our environment.  Not just scanning our world for potential threats but also looking for force multipliers… tools that we can use should the event materialize that will aid in our survival.  Sometimes these tools might be as ubiquitous as a rock, sometimes it might be an firearm … and sometimes it might be a police cruiser or a mini-van.


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