Sunday, November 30, 2008

Policemen Who Didn't Shoot

Interesting sidelight on the terrorists' attacks in India...the case of the policemen who didn't shoot back...this from Neoneocon:
Photographer Sebastian D’Souza, who was able to take a photo of one of the armed terrorists in the train station in Mumbai, also described the events he witnessed there. One puzzling—not to mention profoundly troubling—aspect of his report was the following [emphasis mine]:

But what angered Mr D’Souza almost as much [as the terrorists’ rampage] were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. “There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything,” he said. “At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, ‘Shoot them, they’re sitting ducks!’ but they just didn’t shoot back.”

…The militants returned inside the station and headed towards a rear exit…Mr D’Souza added: “I told some policemen the gunmen had moved towards the rear of the station but they refused to follow them. What is the point if having policemen with guns if they refuse to use them? I only wish I had a gun rather than a camera.”

Neoneo does a nice job of analysis, but it's worth noting that this is consistent with David Grossman's theses from ON KILLING. Police...even paramilitary police special units...don't have or should have the same conditioning (for lack of a better word) as military troops. Police also have, quite correctly, a huge, huge aversion to civilian casualties. Still, as seen in Mumbai, it's a weakenss that terrorists didn't hesitate to exploit.


Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised a bunch of Hindus would be afraid to kill. Look to their religion.
I've met Grossman. He's really got it together. Contrary to the popular belief that policemen are bloodthirsty, most of them will not shoot, even when it's in their best interest to do so. That's why so many get killed in gunfights.
Jim Cirillo makes a good argument for manning special units with hunters. They are used to shooting and killing things. Most policemen haven't thought it out ahead of time and have to make a life and death decision on the spot, instead of having made the decision beforehand.
Also, policemen know their instant decision will be second guessed and criticized for years. Until they know they will be backed up by society, they'll have that hesitation.
Something to think about!

Anonymous said...

Wow I feel really safe. I can't wait until they disarm us and let those cops protect me.

Anonymous said...

Astounding, appalling. the mushroom

Geoff aka Pathfinder said...

"Anonymous said...

Wow I feel really safe. I can't wait until they disarm us and let those cops protect me.
11:56 AM"

You'll have a very long time to wait, LEOs in this country are already not legally obligated to help. Proven and supported in court, they do not have to intervene.

Anonymous said...

Good comments here and in the other report ("N"). It does boil down to it seems, an individual's mindset(=culture, training, attitude, etc.) at the time of the emergency; one can be not "switched on", and get clobbered. I seem to recall one report of a CCW holder not engaging the mall gunman last holiday season - hey, otoh, "civilians" aren't paid to attack. The US Marines seem to have this down: violent counter attack. You're on your own, baby! Gunsite reminder: "Good guys win, bad guys die."

Your Humble Narrator said...

When I read the first paragraph and quote from the article my mind immediately went to Grossman's text "On Killing" which I'm reading now. I was pleasantly surprised to get to the end of the blog post and see what I was thinking echoed in print.

My CCW instructors all recommend Grossman's text for its insight into application of deadly force and we're fortunate to see tactics changes in law enforcement in light of recent "active shooter" tragedies. I take a certain comfort in knowing our police are starting to at least engage in training which instructs them to shoot back, get in the fight right away, and take the initiative. Nobody wants a police force filled with stone killers but we need to know the folks who'll respond first have the training to drop a threat without hemming and hawing over morality or karma.

Scot J said...

Good sentiments. Add to it the lack of a gun culture and many fewer "normal" armed encounters to build mindset by the Indian police, and the chances of a cop freezing go farther up.

Viewing some local cops (I'm in Hyderabad right now for another week of vacation), there is some question if they have ammo at all. Either not issued, or sold on the black market to local bandits. If they do have it, it's the same 5 rounds they have been carrying for 20 years, and inventoried in and out of the arms room every shift.

With an antigun and untrusting attitude towards the street cops by the brass, I'm sure there is some heavy conditioning to not shoot under almost all circumstances.

Scot in Hyderabad. Just let me get back home before the war kicks off.

JNevis said...

I think that the picture of the terrorist standiing there with a unloaded weapon should be an ad with the tag "This only happens in 'Gun Free Zones'" The commentary should explain "The Police can't help you until after the fact and gun control only leaves the criminals with weapons and you with a camera instead of protection."

Anonymous said...

One of the explanations given with regards to the lack of return fire is that Indian police are apparently not issued ammunition.

Very bizarre if true, and I'm sure that policy has just changed.

That being said, while the dedication of their police may be in question, the commandos that stormed that hotel certainly are.

Anonymous said...

Er, last sentence should end in AREN'T. :)

David said...

It's not just the Indians. Look at the cops in Columbine - hit behind walls while kids were being shot.

Anonymous said...

Don't know where some of you guys are from but, in Philadelphia (PA) point a gun at a cop, or innocent bystanders with a cop on scene and the cop WILL shoot. Been there! Saw it! Done it! I can't agree that many cops in America would act like those in Mumbai. By the way, I understand that the Rail Protective Force in Mumbai is only armed with a type of bamboo baton. No siderarms.