Time to Stop Reacting to Terrorists as if They Were Crooks

First, a little background on me.  I served in the Infantry as an officer for a few years, in Vietnam, Germany, and the U.S.  Why that matters now is that I can look at a firefight like Orlando from a tactical point of view and comment professionally on the dos and don'ts that I see.

The inevitable suggestions arose from the usual suspects on Day 1 – more background checks, and ban AR-15s, even though none were used in the nightclub.  Mateen had passed several such checks and an FBI investigation, so he wouldn't have been stopped by such changes.  Neither would any of the other mall killers.

The Centers for Disease Control have gotten involved by once again proclaiming gun violence to be a public health issue, claiming that the CDC themselves should no longer be prohibited from speaking out on the subject.

Let's get the CDC out of the way first.  They were prohibited from doing research on guns by the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986.  Their "reports" on gun violence were so biased as to reduce their credibility on any subject.  If the CDC ever got the message and changed their ideology, they would at least say all violence is a public health issue, not just gun violence.

Now the CDC want the FOPA Act repealed "in the public interest."  What doesn't show here is that even if such were a good idea for the CDC, FOPA also forbids the federal government from creating in "any form or by any means" a federal firearms registry.  Without this act, gun registration would be an accomplished fact, and the Second Amendment would be endangered or useless.  I'm sure the CDC are aware of that.

Moving along to Orlando, the fact that someone walked into a nightclub with a 3- to 4-foot-long rifle unnoticed and unaided leaves me curious as to how that happened.  The answer should be instructive.

Once inside, the shooter probably moved to a pre-selected place to begin his attack.  Black rifles are highly noticeable, even short ones or ones with folded stocks.  However, Mateen had been a security officer and had handled guns for years, so he was able to bring the rifle up smoothly and begin shooting before he was noticed.  That had to mean that people in the room were spread out from each other, not elbow to elbow.

Nothing gets my attention like a gun being fired anywhere!  At a range, in the country, up close.

We don't yet know how the patrons around Mateen reacted – in disbelief or sheer terror and "feet don't fail me now."

A video I watched on YouTube recently shows a company teaching people how to respond to a nearby shooter. It's the same tactic that was taught in Vietnam.  You all charge the shooter, and you do it right bleeping now!  A few may be shot, maybe killed, but standing in one spot or trying to run means the shooter can continue to shoot unimpeded and kill a big bunch of folks.  On the other hand, even a drunk can run ten feet to tackle a shooter in two seconds.  After that, it should all be over as the shooter is overwhelmed by late arriving angry bodies.

Charge or die!  It's that simple.  No permission required.

From what I know, the three to four police on the scene responded quickly and followed the shooter into a back room.  Along the way, more people were killed than can now be blamed on Mateen with certainty.  Once in the back room and contained, the police treated Mateen like any other criminal, bank robber, or distraught individual, who wanted to live; backed off; and waited for a negotiator.  Meanwhile, the people hiding in that back room were being shot at will.

The Clinton administration made a fundamental error when it decided to treat terrorists as criminals.  The result has been acknowledged as less than spectacular by most everyone but Madeleine Albright and the Clintons.  Our police, though, followed this example.

Police follow procedures, with good cause, but it's time for procedures to discriminate killers from crooks and treat them differently.  A shooter in the midst of a mass of people, particularly in a gun-free zone, should be responded to as a terrorist by police and by civilians in the vicinity acting in self-defense.

Think back to Littlefield, Colorado.  That incident became the driving example for police departments for years.  If you wait to completely understand a situation, people will die.  The lesson is that you go in with what you have and react to what you see.  It's tough, but it saves lives.  That's why you wear a badge.

The police in Orlando waited.  Why?  I don't know.  Procedure?  Waiting for SWAT?  Procedures are supposed to save lives, but this one was incorrect for this shooter.  The police gave no indication that they ever thought of Mateen as a terrorist even while he posted on Facebook.  Procedures and awareness need to adapt for such people.

Lots of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan know how to enter rooms and houses and live through it.  Street police can learn those same tactics and not wait long minutes for other police to show up.  They become a quick reaction force and go with what they have.

If the reports about innocents being killed while going in are true, it's also time to reconsider how police are taught to shoot and the standards they must achieve to qualify.  "Center of mass" isn't good enough anymore.  Even if the reports are not accurate, shooting where innocents are nearby requires a higher level of proficiency than currently demanded.

This is not about how to handle crooks or angry exes.  It's about how to handle terrorists.  Police waiting for other police just doesn't work here.  It's a certainty that this will happen again.  We should prepare.

First, a little background on me.  I served in the Infantry as an officer for a few years, in Vietnam, Germany, and the U.S.  Why that matters now is that I can look at a firefight like Orlando from a tactical point of view and comment professionally on the dos and don'ts that I see.

The inevitable suggestions arose from the usual suspects on Day 1 – more background checks, and ban AR-15s, even though none were used in the nightclub.  Mateen had passed several such checks and an FBI investigation, so he wouldn't have been stopped by such changes.  Neither would any of the other mall killers.

The Centers for Disease Control have gotten involved by once again proclaiming gun violence to be a public health issue, claiming that the CDC themselves should no longer be prohibited from speaking out on the subject.

Let's get the CDC out of the way first.  They were prohibited from doing research on guns by the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986.  Their "reports" on gun violence were so biased as to reduce their credibility on any subject.  If the CDC ever got the message and changed their ideology, they would at least say all violence is a public health issue, not just gun violence.

Now the CDC want the FOPA Act repealed "in the public interest."  What doesn't show here is that even if such were a good idea for the CDC, FOPA also forbids the federal government from creating in "any form or by any means" a federal firearms registry.  Without this act, gun registration would be an accomplished fact, and the Second Amendment would be endangered or useless.  I'm sure the CDC are aware of that.

Moving along to Orlando, the fact that someone walked into a nightclub with a 3- to 4-foot-long rifle unnoticed and unaided leaves me curious as to how that happened.  The answer should be instructive.

Once inside, the shooter probably moved to a pre-selected place to begin his attack.  Black rifles are highly noticeable, even short ones or ones with folded stocks.  However, Mateen had been a security officer and had handled guns for years, so he was able to bring the rifle up smoothly and begin shooting before he was noticed.  That had to mean that people in the room were spread out from each other, not elbow to elbow.

Nothing gets my attention like a gun being fired anywhere!  At a range, in the country, up close.

We don't yet know how the patrons around Mateen reacted – in disbelief or sheer terror and "feet don't fail me now."

A video I watched on YouTube recently shows a company teaching people how to respond to a nearby shooter. It's the same tactic that was taught in Vietnam.  You all charge the shooter, and you do it right bleeping now!  A few may be shot, maybe killed, but standing in one spot or trying to run means the shooter can continue to shoot unimpeded and kill a big bunch of folks.  On the other hand, even a drunk can run ten feet to tackle a shooter in two seconds.  After that, it should all be over as the shooter is overwhelmed by late arriving angry bodies.

Charge or die!  It's that simple.  No permission required.

From what I know, the three to four police on the scene responded quickly and followed the shooter into a back room.  Along the way, more people were killed than can now be blamed on Mateen with certainty.  Once in the back room and contained, the police treated Mateen like any other criminal, bank robber, or distraught individual, who wanted to live; backed off; and waited for a negotiator.  Meanwhile, the people hiding in that back room were being shot at will.

The Clinton administration made a fundamental error when it decided to treat terrorists as criminals.  The result has been acknowledged as less than spectacular by most everyone but Madeleine Albright and the Clintons.  Our police, though, followed this example.

Police follow procedures, with good cause, but it's time for procedures to discriminate killers from crooks and treat them differently.  A shooter in the midst of a mass of people, particularly in a gun-free zone, should be responded to as a terrorist by police and by civilians in the vicinity acting in self-defense.

Think back to Littlefield, Colorado.  That incident became the driving example for police departments for years.  If you wait to completely understand a situation, people will die.  The lesson is that you go in with what you have and react to what you see.  It's tough, but it saves lives.  That's why you wear a badge.

The police in Orlando waited.  Why?  I don't know.  Procedure?  Waiting for SWAT?  Procedures are supposed to save lives, but this one was incorrect for this shooter.  The police gave no indication that they ever thought of Mateen as a terrorist even while he posted on Facebook.  Procedures and awareness need to adapt for such people.

Lots of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan know how to enter rooms and houses and live through it.  Street police can learn those same tactics and not wait long minutes for other police to show up.  They become a quick reaction force and go with what they have.

If the reports about innocents being killed while going in are true, it's also time to reconsider how police are taught to shoot and the standards they must achieve to qualify.  "Center of mass" isn't good enough anymore.  Even if the reports are not accurate, shooting where innocents are nearby requires a higher level of proficiency than currently demanded.

This is not about how to handle crooks or angry exes.  It's about how to handle terrorists.  Police waiting for other police just doesn't work here.  It's a certainty that this will happen again.  We should prepare.