Ob links

consonant (896763)
The Motherlode
The Cult


Please direct questions and comments (both yours and /.!) to the email address on the /. user page.

Listed on BlogShares


Monday, February 08, 2010

Economics of Stand-offs

by gillbates (106458) Alter Relationship on 8:39 Friday 05 February 2010 (#31030478) Homepage Journal

I have cop relatives. On more than one occasion, I've heard said that police are trained not to draw their weapon unless they intend to use it.

And when you think about it, it makes little sense for an officer to draw a gun and make an armed criminal *more* nervous. That is, unless he intends to put a bullet in the criminal.

Think about the typical cop-criminal standoff in the movies. Both point their guns at the other, but no one fires. Why?

  1. The cop can't arbitrarily shoot someone, so he can't fire until fired upon (*according to cop-movie semantics.)
  2. The criminal doesn't want to get shot by the cop. But since the cop hasn't fired yet, the criminal (who is pre-disposed to shoot cops) can now take more time to aim and get a shot that will most likely be lethal instantaneously.
  3. Having both drawn their weapons, the cop cannot de-escalate the situation without the criminal's consent; the cop is betting the criminal will somehow be more easily persuaded to relinquish his weapon with a gun pointed at him.
  4. The criminal now holds all the cards. The cop - by not firing - has signaled to the criminal that he can take his time, aim well, and squeeze off the opening round.
  5. The police officer will not even hear the criminal's weapon fire before being struck by the bullet.

In short, a cop gains no tactical or situational advantage by drawing his weapon but not firing. In real life, the movie standoff doesn't end with the criminal laying down his gun; it usually ends up much worse.

Comments: Post a Comment