There's been a lot of media attention about the
The video and eye witnesses report that the officers were more or less surrounding the vehicle. Something happened to spook one or more officers, and out came the hail of bullets. According to various radio news accounts, the suspect was hit 2-4 times, is in stable condition and was not grievously injured.
Think about that for a minute. If 120 rounds were fired, and only 2-4 actually hit the suspect, where did all of the other bullets go? That is an accuracy rate of only 3.33% ! (Of course this doesn't include shots that were on target but didn't penetrate the SUV).
The video shows that a lot of them managed to hit the suspect's SUV. According to most of the news accounts, at least 5-11 of these rounds struck multiple houses, and one of them struck a deputy. One of the TV news stories showed a picture of a bullet-hole in a nearby house that was far above the height of the SUV!
Don't get me wrong:
I believe that everyone, police included, should have the right to use deadly force and fire upon someone if their lives are endangered. I am not second guessing the level of danger that the police faced in this situation, nor am I saying that they were necessarily wrong for attempting to use deadly force. My complaint is with their lack of competence.
It is inexcusable to fire that many rounds in an undisciplined and inaccurate manner. I'm surprised an innocent bystander wasn't harmed, or more deputies didn't shoot each other. I realize that adrenaline and fear can cause people to be inaccurate, but that is ridiculous.
The officers involved might say "we had to fire a lot of rounds as bullets often fail to penetrate windshields and car bodies". While this is somewhat true, this does not excuse the number of rounds that utterly missed the vehicle and that hit the houses and the deputy. Also, if the only way to stop a moving vehicle with those guns is to spray bullets, the officers should be issued more suitable weapons rather than have countless rounds bouncing off of vehicles and whizzing off in virtually random directions.
I am certified by the NRA as a Pistol Instructor and as a Range Safety Officer. I have had gangsters point guns at me and have even had two muggers attempt to rob me at knife-point. Thus, I really do know what it is like to have my life threatened with deadly force and I know that it is possible to not panic under such stress. I also have a fairly good idea of what a reasonably trained person should be able to accomplish with a firearm.
A single well placed round will stop an enemy faster than a rapid volley of misses. Had every one of those officers fired a few aimed and well placed shots, they would have been able to more quickly disable the suspect while firing far fewer rounds, fewer misses and posing a much smaller risk to civilians and property. If the officers lack the skills to do this, they aren't being trained well enough and aren't being required to practice often enough. ANYONE who carries a gun should be able to reflexively and quickly place shots within an 8-10 inch circle at distances of under 25 feet, even under stress. If they can’t achieve something close to this level of performance, they shouldn’t carry a gun.
If our society is going to try to keep weapons away from civilians and force us to rely on police for protection, the police had better be up to the task. I realize that police officers have a tough job and deserve a break, but I just can't give them a pass on something this foolish. I find it hard to beleive that an armed civilian would do worse, yet civilians are often denied the right to carry a firearm for self defense.