Thursday, June 01, 2006

Marine brings a knife and his warface to a gunfight

BlackFive brought this story to my attention the other day. I finished most of the post that day, but then wasn't sure about continuing it to completion, as it kind of strayed off on a tangent....I seem to have a habit of rambling and losing focus of the topic, these days.
Former Marine kills would-be robber
3 men, one woman attack waiter walking in Midtown


By BILL MONTGOMERY
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/30/06


A pack of would-be robbers including, a pregnant 17-year-old, figured a Midtown waiter walking to his girlfriend's house Monday night would be an easy mark, according to police.

But, in Thomas Autry, 36, the bandits picked the wrong victim, said Atlanta police homicide Detective Danny Stephens. The former Marine, cornered by his pursuers on Penn Avenue at 4th Street, fought back with a pocket knife in a deadly melee that left the young woman dead and a man in his late teens seriously injured at a hospital.

As banter in atlanter puts it, "if you pull your shotgun on a Marine and he shows you his war face you should probably pack it up and call it a night."

Autry had left his job at the Jocks & Jills restaurant in Midtown and was walking along Penn Avenue when a blue Cadillac pulled alongside and three men, one armed with a shotgun, and the woman jumped from the car.

"This group had robbed two men on Piedmont earlier Monday night, taking a video camera and a cellphone," Stephens said.

"Autry takes off running, and they chase him. During the chase, Autry's trying to get into his backpack to get a pocket knife, which slows him down," Stephens said.

During the chase, Autry repeatedly yelled "fire, fire," which Stephens said attracted nearby residents' attention.

Grabbing the knife from his backpack, Autry managed to kick the shotgun from the man's hands and stabbed the woman in the chest, fatally wounding her. Stephens said. In the melee, Autry also stabbed one of the male suspects. Another suspect attempted to shoot Autry with a .380 pistol, which misfired, Stephens said.

The suspects ran back to the Cadillac and drove to Atlanta Medical Center, where police arrested them. The young woman, "about two weeks pregnant," was pronounced dead at the hospital, Stephens said.

Some people might be of the opinion that you shouldn't do anything risky that endangers yourself further by provoking or aggravating the aggressor. Not all circumstances are the same, but in general, I'm of the mindset along the lines of Jeff Cooper, the father of modern combat hand gunning:

“If violent crime is to be curbed it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore, what he must be taught to fear is the victim."

Banter also makes this statement, " this incident shatter's the long-time rule of thumb that one should not take a knife to a gun fight."

It's a separate point from the news piece, but I'd like to take the time to address it.

There is an excellent training video that many police departments used to use, called "Surviving Edged Weapons". It features one of my longtime teachers, Dan Inosanto, demonstrating the Tueller 21 feet rule. It basically states the following:
in the time it takes the average officer to recognize a threat, draw his sidearm and fire 2 rounds at center mass, an average subject charging at the officer with a knife or other cutting or stabbing weapon can cover a distance of 21 feet.
There seems to be some controversy in the interpretation of that, but for me it's always seemed fairly simple, and straightforward (I'd be curious to hear Curt weigh in on this, since he's the police officer). Edged weapons, in close-quarters, can do massive, massive damage. If not superior, it is at least equal to the potential damage of a firearm. A firearm is nothing more than a "bullet-shooter", that if not aimed at you, with the possible exception of some powder burns and muzzle flash, isn't going to harm you. It's whole advantage is in distance.

The average person can close the gap between himself and another person in about a second and a half. (This video demonstrates the Tueller Rule. Unfortunately, it is rather static and nondynamic in presenting the hypothetical scenario, where the officer's reaction is limited to just draw and aim; in reality, there are many variables that can come into play, but the point of the video is to isolate and illuminate the ability of a surprise charge, and how quickly an aggressor can close the gap).

The point I'm wanting to make here, is that we should never try to armchair Monday morning quarterback what officers should or should not have done in a bad situation, without fully understanding the full dynamics of a police shooting incident, in that particular moment. I sometimes hear people ponder, "Well why didn't that officer just shoot him in the leg or just wound him somewhere else?" Officers are trained to shoot center mass for a very good reason: it's the best guarantee to hit a moving target while under stress, and the quickest way to stop an attacker; it's just unfortunate that the vital organs happen to be located in that area. The officer's intent isn't to kill, but to successfully stop. When anyone is caught off-guard and unawares, in the second and a half seconds that it may take an assailant to clear the distance, in that time, the defender's brain has the delayed reaction of registering and perceiving the threat, reaching for his sidearm and drawing it out of the holster, bringing it to bear and taking aim...all of that can be a split-second too late against a surprise charge.

Anyone who has ever been in any kind of physical confrontation knows that training in the absence of subjecting yourself to the same kind of psychological stress and adrenalin rush you normally would experience when "the s**t hits the fan", does not adequately prepare you for the real deal, when it happens. It's related to the difference between practice at the shooting range, where you can take careful aim at stationary paper targets; and shooting at a combative range, where you are subject to different stimuli and stresses that engages a sense of danger and places you in various circumstances to put into practice, various techniques and tactics in a less-than-controlled, static environment; creating psychological realism is a huge factor in adequate preparations for combat. In boxing, you can hit all the focus mitts you want, beat up on the heavy bag and learn pre-rehearsed techniques...but unless you apply those techniques and hitting power in sparring with a living, breathing, uncooperative opponent, you will not be adequately prepared for the real boxing match. There are a variety of ways to spar, but generally speaking, it is controlled chaos, that should simulate as closely as possible, the real deal, and still allow your fighter to survive the practice. So that he will have fought a thousand battles to prepare him for the one that actually matters.

16 Comments:

Blogger Sheila said...

Very thoughtful Word,

I assume your thoughtfulness is the Haditha thing and as a fellow Veteran I agree whole heartedly.

My layer of understanding would be to add the term, Post Tramatic Stress Disorder. These young men were not diagnosed and the were on their 3 rd tour of duty.

The Veteran's administration doesn't have enough funding to treat all the returning vets and active duty and so quite a few go back into the field when they need some form of treatment.

Our government just doesn't have the extra money to give out either.

Red tape folks, has been the military's down fall for years and today is no differant.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:44:00 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

“If violent crime is to be curbed it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore, what he must be taught to fear is the victim."

Hear, hear!

Criminals prey on victims. We need not to be victims before the crime.

As to Haditha, I'm reserving judgment. We don't have the whoe story. After all, battle is a different reality.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 4:29:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I assume your thoughtfulness is the Haditha thing

Maybe in part; it did cross my mind as I was writing, that there was relationship there, but I didn't want that to be the underlying message in my post. I wanted this to remain much broader and generalized.

I think my Memorial Day post also touched upon Haditha, in terms of perspective on war atrocities; and that we do live in a society that is moral and just in that it prosecutes and takes responsibility for when we do cross the line between right and wrong.

I'll reserve judgment on the soldiers involved, themselves, until everything that can be known, is known. As far as the media coverage of this, in a time of war....what can I say that's not been said over and over again?

Thursday, June 01, 2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Pamela Reece said...

Being a recent victim of an assault I would be 6 feet under if it weren't for my husband and one quick move I made out of reaction. You see the woman had her hands extended and I instantly knew she was going to choke me. I don't know why I did it, but I threw my left arm around the front of my neck and grabbed my shoulder. It took my husband almost 2 full minutes to get her off of me because she was cranked up on drugs. I don't know how long it takes for somebody to be choked to death, but I believe it wouldn't have taken much longer since I was hyperventilating at the time.

I protected myself the best that I could and have since learned I need to take further precautions for my safety. I never go anywhere without pepper spray and I am going to sign up for a self defense class. If taking matters into my own hands is what needs to be done, I would not hesitate for a second. I will always be ready.

Thanks for sharing that story. It really cuts to my life and recovery from PTSD as a direct result of the battery. It was very helpful.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 4:57:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

We had a crime wave on Capitol Hill in DC years ago. Criminals would come into our neighborhood from nearby public housing projects and prey on us.

It wasn't until we started to organize, inform and in some cases fight back that the situation changed.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 7:15:00 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Sorry its taken me so long this week to get over here. I knew you had some good, long posts up. I just have been insanely busy this week. No sleep and little time for blogging.

I wholeheartedly agree w/this post. Especially this line:

“If violent crime is to be curbed it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore, what he must be taught to fear is the victim."

Alls I can say to that is Amen!!!

Friday, June 02, 2006 6:21:00 PM  
Blogger Skye said...

Over the past year, I've been considering taking self defense courses. I work in Center City Philadelphia and am frequently walking by myself around City Hall and Broad Street during my lunch break. Earlier this week, a parking attendant was murdered in the car lot I park my car everyday. This lot is directly across the street from where I am employed.

Over the past year, there have been attacks in both my place of employment and in that same parking lot. So much for the City of Brotherly Love.....talk about PTSD!!!

Speaking of PTSD...
As with any type of stress disorder, the patient first needs to acknowledge there is a problem before any type of treatment can be effective.

PTSD is not a new disorder. PTSD is simply a new lable posted on an age old disorder that has been in existance since cave men first started beating each other with clubs.

The disorder has affected combat veterans of all wars and eras. Many a soldier & sailor through out history have returned to duty without being diagnosed with PTSD.

A quick look at the Veteran Admininstration website FAQ regarding PTSD reveals the steps necessary to obtain help dealing with this issue. No mention of the lack of funding, just the usual bureaucratic nonsense that is the bane of healthcare in the US.

To make the assumption that ALL returning vet are suffering from PTSD is illogical. PTSD can be be a complex disorder to diagnose and treat. The resources and help is available from the VA, yet none of this is useful if the individual does not believe they have a problem.





--------------------------
I protected myself the best that I could and have since learned I need to take further precautions for my safety. I never go anywhere without pepper spray and I am going to sign up for a self defense class.

Friday, June 02, 2006 8:47:00 PM  
Blogger Skye said...

Hello! Anyone home?

Have you ever read the The Pig Book?

Quite frankly, I would want more money to be directed toward pediatric aids support and research. There are far more children in the country suffering from the physical and emotional effects of HIV/AIDS than individuals diagnosed with PTSD.


-----------------------------
Our government just doesn't have the extra money to give out either

Friday, June 02, 2006 8:52:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Thanks for weighing in skye.

Over the past year, I've been considering taking self defense courses.

The problem I have, is that there is so much baloney masquerading around as "self-defense". Bruce Lee himself probably would have told you back in the 60's that 90% of martial arts is BS.

Be careful when shopping around, that you aren't being duped. And don't confuse "martial arts" for "self-defense".


I never go anywhere without pepper spray and I am going to sign up for a self defense class.

Over at Pamela's, I posted a bit extensively on the use of defense sprays.

Friday, June 02, 2006 9:02:00 PM  
Blogger Truth-Pain said...

Thanks for dropping by "conservative soup"... actually that being my contributor blog and not my main one.
I would love to welcome you to the Truth-pain blog..it is right below Conservative Soup site on the Index. Cheers!

Friday, June 02, 2006 9:16:00 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Word My Dear.

Off Topic....I jsut launched a Blog finally....YIKES! Gulp!
Cookin Up Politics with Sheila

Their you are. I will get muddy later, but for now, it's a pretty tame one.

Saturday, June 03, 2006 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had self defense in junior high. I was living in the Seattle area at the time of Ted Bundy. It's a good thing to know, but diligence will keep you more safe.
Anna (A Rose By Any Other Name)

Saturday, June 03, 2006 7:48:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

Wordsmith: You're slacking again... If I don't get a note from your mother you're grade is going down:)

Sunday, June 04, 2006 8:51:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

*sigh*

Mike? Godammit....

And I was having such a nice, peaceful weekend, too...

Ok, getting back to work.

Sunday, June 04, 2006 9:24:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

I'm still waiting for that note from your mother :)

Sunday, June 04, 2006 9:41:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

How's a guy supposed to concentrate with you breathing down his neck?! Can't you tell I'm busy typing up another blog-post? (^_^)

Quit distracting!

Sunday, June 04, 2006 9:50:00 PM  

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