Confirmation shot...confirmation shot...confirmation shot.
This morning, Laura Ingraham played some clips of a Katie Couric interview on the Today Show, involving a former Air Marshal, Tony Kuklinski. Katie's questions for Mr. Kuklinski is typical of those who are ignorant of combative firearms training, especially amongst law enforcement. She asked, in essence, "Why shoot to kill? Couldn't the Air Marshal have shot him in the arm?" Mr. Kuklinski points out to Katie how when the s*%t hits the fan, you are under great stress; that in such a situation, you are trained to aim at the largest target- center mass- that will insure the best possible means of stopping the threat immediately. Katie's follow up question seems to completely ignore the first answer he gives. It is utter insanity to think that for humane reasons, you would risk your life and the lives of the passengers to bring the suspect down by "aiming to wound". What would Katie have them do? Aim at a hand? A finger? A leg? An arm? Pull out their phasers and set them on stun? Meanwhile, the suspect who does mean business gets to detonate his bomb. This is also why snipers are trained to aim for headshots and not shoot-to-wound. Shutting down the computer- the brain- results in an instant kill where the suspect is unable to harm his hostage by pulling a trigger, pressing a button, etc.
My teacher explains it to me this way: You aim center of mass with the objective not to kill, but to stop the threat quickly and decisively; the fact that your vital organs tend to be located at "center of mass" is regrettable and unfortunate. In a life and death situation, in real time where you only have split-seconds to make a decision and act, you don't screw around. I think it is this incident (I could be mistaken) that is the one I heard about on the Dennis Prager Show, where a caller mentioned how guards and police were under investigation to determine if they handled or mishandled a recent homicide bombing. According to the caller, a guard hesitated, and decided to tackle the suspect, instead of shooting him. The end result? *Kaboom*: Bomber was able to detonate his device and kill a number of people.
For the armchair responders and Monday morning quarterbacks out there, and I include myself among you, it is rather silly to pass judgment on those who were there and who are trained a certain way to deal with high-stress environments of life and death; circumstances that the majority of us wouldn't know the first thing about on what the appropriate course of action should be.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Rigoberto Alpizar lost his life yesterday, leaving behind a grieving widow. But don't condemn the Air Marshals without knowing the facts and without having been in similar shoes. It is a tragedy, and if you want to hold anyone responsible, blame it on the times we live in, brought about by terrorism. Ultimately, Mr. Alpizar is responsible for his own actions, whether mentally ill or not; whether he was on his meds or not. In bos'un's post, by the way, I address an anonymous comment regarding why couldn't the Air Marshal hesitate, based upon the report that the wife shouted out to them about the medical condition of her husband.
Labels: airport security