Let me first state that I am not one to bash the police officers or sheriff’s deputies that work so hard to protect and serve our communities. I have the utmost respect for them and wish that more citizens felt the same way about their law enforcement officers.
But they need help… bad.
Specifically, I’m speaking about the officers of the New York Police Department. While I believe that their commitment to the people of New York City is second to none, their lack of support became glaringly evident when two of them were in a position to dispatch Jeffrey Johnson after he shot and killed a former co-worker and then began waving his gun around on a public street.
Though they eventually dispatched him, they were nothing short of dismal in their shooting proficiency. In total, the two officers fired 16 rounds at a distance of no more than five yards. At least nine of those 16 rounds hit innocent bystanders. So, their on-target percentage was – at best – 44%.
How could that be? How could two of New York City’s finest miss their target when it was no more than 15 feet away… with 56% of their shots? Why are there nine injured citizens when there could have been – should have been – none?
I have absolutely no proof to support my proposed reasoning for the total breakdown of fundamental pistol marksmanship and combat mindset other than the outcome of last week’s shooting.
Perhaps it has something do to with the culture of New York City. Perhaps it has something to do with the over-arching mentality that guns should be feared rather than used as a tool to ensure the safety of those whom one is charged to protect. It’s no secret that New Yorkers are bombarded with Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-gun sentiments ad nauseam.
I imagine that some police officers in New York have been taught to fear guns so much that their own guns, in their own hands, make some of them nervous to the point that they are incapable of accurately hitting a man-sized target… at five yards.
I can’t help but believe that if those officers had received proper training – training that engrained their skills to the point that they became subconscious instinct – the outcome would have undoubtedly been different.
In his book, Guns, Bullets, and Gunfights, former New York City police officer John Cirillo writes that,
“The subconscious mind … will only perform what it has learned will work properly.”
If the police officers in New York City were professionally trained and the best firearms training resources were made available to them, I believe that their subconscious would have taken over, “performing what it had learned would work properly,” and their on-target percentage would have been somewhere in the 90%-100% range, with no civilian casualties.
Jeffrey Johnson shot one innocent citizen. The police? They shot nine. That’s unacceptable. Mayor Bloomberg, get your police officers properly and professionally trained so something like this never happens again. Because if their lack of training is the issue – if it’s the reason nine innocent citizens were wounded – is not their fault… it’s yours.