Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Ferguson Goes Just as Expected

 

There were no surprises in Ferguson last night — not the grand jury’s decision, and not the riot that followed (I predicted both on NRO last month). Nor was there anything unexpected in the pitiful display of bellyaching by some in the media about the “flawed process” that produced an outcome other than the one they desired.

For all the time it took to reach their decision, my sense is that it wasn’t even a close case for the grand jurors. Either Darren Wilson was in legitimate fear for his life when he shot Michael Brown or he wasn’t. There was abundant evidence to suggest he was and very little that he wasn’t. The evidence proved the only criminal in the fatal encounter was Michael Brown, the not-so-gentle giant.

So, given that a violent reaction to the grand jury’s decision was widely anticipated, certainly among the police, how did things go out of control so quickly? Yes, the police had been planning and training for weeks, but so had the rioters (and I distinguish the rioters from the peaceful protesters). The police couldn’t be everywhere, so it didn’t take long for those bent on destruction to take advantage of the fact that officers were thinly spread.

Still, I was surprised to see police cars vandalized and burned last night. One of the elementary rules in dealing with hostile crowds is that you don’t leave the police cars unattended. They make too rich of a target for people hoping to star in a YouTube video. If you can’t park them in a secure location, you leave behind a sufficient number of officers (and it doesn’t take many) to deter anyone who might have malicious intent. The sight of a burning police car sends the message that the authorities are impotent, which only leads to further rioting.

The rioters will be back out tonight. And why wouldn’t they be? Let’s hope the police learned some things from last night’s events and are more effective in their response to tonight’s.

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  1. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil FawltyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I wonder if the Ohio National Guard is available for the evening.

    • #1
    • November 25, 2014, at 4:31 PM PST
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  2. Larry3435 Member

    Speaking for myself, if I was really convinced that the local police had a predilection for maliciously killing people who looked like me, I would be disinclined to go out and riot or loot in front of the police. But hey, that’s just me.

    • #2
    • November 25, 2014, at 4:41 PM PST
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  3. Spin Inactive
    SpinJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jack, as a law enforcement officer, can you answer a question for me? I read through the medical examiner’s report of Michael Brown’s body. The examiner said there were three gunshots to the head, two to the torso, three to the right arm, and one to the hand. The one to the hand was, as I understand it, when the gun went off / was fired while Wilson was still in the vehicle. We can call that one accidental. So that’s eight rounds at a minimum that Wilson fired at Brown.

    Now, I’ve been around firearms my whole life, spent some time in the military where I learned about shooting at people. But I’ve never had to actually fire a gun at someone. Even so, I’m having trouble understanding why Wilson had to show Brown so many times.

    Do you have an opinion?

    • #3
    • November 25, 2014, at 5:04 PM PST
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  4. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jack Dunphy: Still, I was surprised to see police cars vandalized and burned last night. One of the elementary rules in dealing with hostile crowds is that you don’t leave the police cars unattended.

    They left the MRAP at the station to avoid the bad PR.

    • #4
    • November 25, 2014, at 5:24 PM PST
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  5. Johnny Dubya Member

    Consider for a moment the hubris, illogic, and immorality of the rioter. Immediately after the incident, he presumes to know that which no one (except the eyewitnesses) knows. His prejudice in his mind gives him license to destroy the property of people who had nothing to do with the incident, and who are more worthy contributors to the community than is the rioter. Then, following the legal ruling, he riots again, presuming to know more than the grand jurors do. Or perhaps he presumes them to be liars. He most certainly has not read the legal documents.

    I am referring to the “angry rioter” who is motivated by a mistaken sense of injustice. Of course, there is an even more immoral rioter: the “greedy rioter” who uses the unrest as an excuse to take whatever he wants.

    • #5
    • November 25, 2014, at 5:31 PM PST
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  6. jmelvin Member

    The Ohio National Guard may be available, but Governor Rhodes is sadly gone.

    • #6
    • November 25, 2014, at 6:03 PM PST
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  7. Doug Watt Moderator

    Spin:Jack, as a law enforcement officer, can you answer a question for me? I read through the medical examiner’s report of Michael Brown’s body. The examiner said there were three gunshots to the head, two to the torso, three to the right arm, and one to the hand. The one to the hand was, as I understand it, when the gun went off / was fired while Wilson was still in the vehicle. We can call that one accidental. So that’s eight rounds at a minimum that Wilson fired at Brown.

    Now, I’ve been around firearms my whole life, spent some time in the military where I learned about shooting at people. But I’ve never had to actually fire a gun at someone. Even so, I’m having trouble understanding why Wilson had to show Brown so many times.

    Do you have an opinion?

    I won’t speak for Jack but I believe that Officer Wilson’s Sig had a 12 round magazine. So 12 rounds in the magazine and “one round up the pipe” as the British say, so a total of thirteen rounds. It is reported Officer Wilson fired 12 rounds. In one-quarter of a second you can fire four rounds. You shoot until the suspect is no longer a threat. Brown according to some sources was hit five times, others claim six times. Here is a link to the grand jury transcripts from the NY Times. I have not read the entire transcript but I intend to read the entire transcript that the DA’s office released.

    • #7
    • November 25, 2014, at 6:16 PM PST
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  8. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy

    Spin:. . . Even so, I’m having trouble understanding why Wilson had to show Brown so many times.

    Do you have an opinion?

    Recall that in his recitation of the evidence last night, Robert McCulloch referred to an audio recording of the gunshots inadvertently captured by someone during an Internet chat session. There were a number of shots, a pause, then more shots.

    Given that we know the shot to the top of Michael Brown’s head was instantly incapacitating and therefore the final one, my inference from this is that Wilson fired several times on seeing Brown advancing on him. Some of those shots struck Brown in the arm but failed to stop him. Officers are trained to fire and assess, then fire again if necessary. This explains the pause in the shots. The initial volley failed to achieve its purpose, so a second volley was required.

    This answers the question often heard after police shootings: Why didn’t the cop just shoot him in the arm? Here you had a man who was shot in the arm, and more than once. Yet onward he came. There is simply no way someone of Wilson’s size can prevent someone of Michael Brown’s size from seizing his weapon if the larger man, as the evidence tells us Brown was, is determined to take it.

    • #8
    • November 25, 2014, at 6:24 PM PST
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  9. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    A. Why announce so late?

    B. Why hold back the guard?

    C. Did they want this to happen?

    Burning

    • #9
    • November 25, 2014, at 6:27 PM PST
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  10. blank generation member Inactive

    Jack Dunphy:

    Spin:. . . Even so, I’m having trouble understanding why Wilson had to show Brown so many times.

    Do you have an opinion?

    Recall that in his recitation of the evidence last night, Robert McCulloch referred to an audio recording of the gunshots inadvertently captured by someone during an Internet chat session. There were a number of shots, a pause, then more shots.

    Given that we know the shot to the top of Michael Brown’s head was instantly incapacitating and therefore the final one, my inference from this is that Wilson fired several times on seeing Brown advancing on him. Some of those shots struck Brown in the arm but failed to stop him. Officers are trained to fire and assess, then fire again if necessary. This explains the pause in the shots. The initial volley failed to achieve its purpose, so a second volley was required.

    This answers the question often heard after police shootings: Why didn’t the cop just shoot him in the arm? Here you had a man who was shot in the arm, and more than once. Yet onward he came. There is simply no way someone of Wilson’s size can prevent someone of Michael Brown’s size from seizing his weapon if the larger man, as the evidence tells us Brown was, is determined to take it.

    Aren’t police trained to make the one disabling shot?

    • #10
    • November 25, 2014, at 6:48 PM PST
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  11. Jack Dunphy Contributor
    Jack Dunphy

    Easier said than done, especially after a struggle during which you’ve been sligged in the face.

    • #11
    • November 25, 2014, at 7:09 PM PST
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  12. blank generation member Inactive

    Jack Dunphy:Easier said than done, especially after a struggle during which you’ve been sligged in the face.

    I asked because I think there’s a general impression that the police are professional marksmen under all circumstances.

    I remember an incident in Hawthorne years ago where I think someone under arrest kicked the cop in the nether regions (CoC compliant description). A leftie friend of mine said the cop should not have been angry as they are trained to maintain control.

    • #12
    • November 25, 2014, at 7:18 PM PST
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  13. Jules PA Member

    EJHill:A. Why announce so late?

    B. Why hold back the guard?

    C. Did they want this to happen?

    Burning

    Makes me think of a little song from when I was a kid:

    Ferguson’s burning, Ferguson’s burning!

    Look-out, Look-out

    Fire Fire Riot Riot

    Kill Small Business, Fight Injustice

    (repeat repeat repeat until the rioting crowd is so large Injustince is ravished.)

    not.

    • #13
    • November 25, 2014, at 7:41 PM PST
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  14. SPare Member

    blank generation member:

    Aren’t police trained to make the one disabling shot?

    Another big factor is the stopping power of the round. A six and a half foot, 300 pound charging man isn’t likely to go down from one 9mm round unless it hits a major, vital organ like the heart or brain. Now, if the officer was carrying a .50 cal, maybe it’s a different story, but those very heavy rounds are much more difficult to fire accurately under stressful situations (which is why the .50 cal pistol is a novelty, rather than a common weapon)

    • #14
    • November 25, 2014, at 7:42 PM PST
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  15. Peter Robinson Founder

    Jack Dunphy:

    Spin:. . . Even so, I’m having trouble understanding why Wilson had to show Brown so many times.

    Do you have an opinion?

    Recall that in his recitation of the evidence last night, Robert McCulloch referred to an audio recording of the gunshots inadvertently captured by someone during an Internet chat session. There were a number of shots, a pause, then more shots.

    Given that we know the shot to the top of Michael Brown’s head was instantly incapacitating and therefore the final one, my inference from this is that Wilson fired several times on seeing Brown advancing on him. Some of those shots struck Brown in the arm but failed to stop him. Officers are trained to fire and assess, then fire again if necessary. This explains the pause in the shots. The initial volley failed to achieve its purpose, so a second volley was required.

    This answers the question often heard after police shootings: Why didn’t the cop just shoot him in the arm? Here you had a man who was shot in the arm, and more than once. Yet onward he came. There is simply no way someone of Wilson’s size can prevent someone of Michael Brown’s size from seizing his weapon if the larger man, as the evidence tells us Brown was, is determined to take it.

    Thanks for this explanation, Jack. I’d wondered about the number of shots myself.

    • #15
    • November 25, 2014, at 8:42 PM PST
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  16. Nick Stuart Inactive

    SPare:

    blank generation member:

    Aren’t police trained to make the one disabling shot?

    Another big factor is the stopping power of the round. A six and a half foot, 300 pound charging man isn’t likely to go down from one 9mm round unless it hits a major, vital organ like the heart or brain. Now, if the officer was carrying a .50 cal, maybe it’s a different story, but those very heavy rounds are much more difficult to fire accurately under stressful situations (which is why the .50 cal pistol is a novelty, rather than a common weapon)

    The police would be criticized for using too lethal of ammunition.

    • #16
    • November 25, 2014, at 8:52 PM PST
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  17. Spin Inactive
    SpinJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jack, thanks for the explanation. I had assumed that was the case, but I wanted to hear it from a professional. I was unaware of the pause in shooting. Excellent information.

    Now on to my second question: why do police carry piss ant 9mm and .40s? Why not .45 ACP? I mean, it would have been one or two shots, not 9, right?

    • #17
    • November 25, 2014, at 9:33 PM PST
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  18. Stu In Tokyo Inactive

    A friend’s dad was an RCMP officer, we talked about this kind of thing and in general dealing with the police. He was a bear of of a man who could and did handle himself in just about any situation, a Korean war vet too. He told us that they are trained (this was in the late 70’s early 80’s) to escalate the violence to the point where they win/live….every time, so it is simple if you try to take my gun away I will shoot you.

    This whole situation is about so much more than the 6’4″ 300 pound high on pot thug that died, so much more.

    • #18
    • November 25, 2014, at 9:40 PM PST
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  19. Spin Inactive
    SpinJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Peter Robinson: Thanks for this explanation, Jack. I’d wondered about the number of shots myself.

    I’m glad to be in the same company as Peter Robinson.

    • #19
    • November 25, 2014, at 9:54 PM PST
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  20. jmelvin Member

    Spin:Now on to my second question: why do police carry piss ant 9mm and .40s? Why not .45 ACP? I mean, it would have been one or two shots, not 9, right?

    All sorts of studies have been done on the efficacy of common defensive ammunition (read: good hollow point ammunition) in handgun calibers such as the 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP in defensive uses. What is commonly found is that all three of these have a very similar efficacy rate in stops. Given this, some departments are returning to the 9mm since it generally allows for more ammo to be carried in the same size gun as one chambered for 40 S&W or 45 ACP (due to a narrower case) and is often more tolerable to shoot allowing faster and better aimed follow up shots (due to the lesser recoil). Given the more tolerable shot characteristics, follow up shots may be placed better and result in fewer flyers that miss the intended target and endanger the lives of others downrange.

    The big problem amongst all of these is that they are similarly limited as mere handgun rounds and not rifle rounds, which can be far more effective in stopping an advancing bad dude, but even these may require multiple shots to end an attack. So even with rifle rounds there are no guaranteed one shot stoppers and the same can certainly be said for piddly handgun rounds. In either case, rounds can enter and then exit the intended target and endanger others beyond the target, so the desire for more powerful ammunition must be balanced with the likelihood that it may overpenetrate and kill someone beyond the intended target. It’s a bad enough situation when one life is taken in a justified manner to preserve the life of another, so you also must take into consideration that uninvolved parties may be hurt or killed.

    • #20
    • November 26, 2014, at 6:16 AM PST
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  21. Seawriter Contributor

    Jack Dunphy: This answers the question often heard after police shootings: Why didn’t the cop just shoot him in the arm?

    Besides the point you made in this post, let me add this. Even an arm shot can be fatal, and in that case, the same people who ask “Why didn’t the cop just shoot him in the arm?” will ask “Did the cop really have to shoot?”

    When I was living in Palestine, TX a man with a sword charged a police officer. The sword was pointed at the officer, and the man was running. The officer shot (once). I suspect the officer was aiming for center body mass, but hit the man in the arm. It must have hit an artery, because the swordsman went down, and bled out, dying before the ambulance arrived.

    Afterwards the man’s friends and acquaintances claimed the guy was really a gentle soul (except when high on PCP, which he was that night) and asked did the cop really have to shoot him, as the man did not have a gun. (Only a razor-sharp 30-inch sword.)

    Which proves man’s ability to rationalize is pretty much infinite.

    Fortunately for the officer, Palestine, Texas is in deep East Texas and the community reaction was to question the sanity of the man’s friends and relations rather than the actions of the officer.

    Seawriter

    • #21
    • November 26, 2014, at 6:43 AM PST
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  22. Ralphie Member

    I think that tv and movies have created a lot of myths that mislead the general population in understanding how law enforcement, CSI teams in real life perform their jobs. The number of shots, aim, could also be effected by Wilson’s adrenaline because he had been physically assaulted before he shot. Life is not scripted. Athletes study competition and train for that, and still come up short at times, that is why we have Cinderella stories. No one was there, and even if recorded, there isn’t anything like when you are in the middle of something. A camera could record the police and Brown physical actions, but the inner mind motives would be a little tougher. As in the Trayvon Martin case, even the audio was edited by MSM to make the case against Zimmerman seem stronger.

    I read the grand jury report in the Gosnell case, found it interesting and myself more informed to have a conversation about it, and just started to read through this one. Information is fairly easy to find. It is difficult to determine what to pay attention to and what to discard and that is what the grand jury had to do. Their decision had to be defensible, which is what the DA took pains to explain leading up to his announcement of no charges. The longer he talked, the more I thought there would be no charges before he actually said it.

    • #22
    • November 26, 2014, at 7:57 AM PST
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  23. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    jmelvin: All sorts of studies have been done on the efficacy of common defensive ammunition (read: good hollow point ammunition) in handgun calibers such as the 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP in defensive uses. What is commonly found is that all three of these have a very similar efficacy rate in stops.

    As an addendum to this: The only handgun rounds with an average efficacy under about 2.3 avg. shots per incident are .357 magnum and .357 Sig, whose averages are (I think, I’m doing this from memory) in the 1.6-1.8 range. Those rounds really are very effective stoppers.

    .357 magnum is, of course (aside from specialized target and hunting pistols) a revolver round, so an officer can only carry 5 or 6 rounds with slow reloading times. It is also a more difficult round for smaller (i.e. female) officers to consistently handle due to its very high recoil, flash, and report.

    .357 Sig was developed by Sig to mimic the ballistic strengths of the old magnum round but in an automatic cartridge. This also means it mimics the drawbacks (recoil, flash, report) of the magnum round. Automatic pistols would, of course, mitigate much of the recoil issue, but the other big drawback is cost. .357 magnum is an old straight-walled case, as are 9mm, .45 acp, and .40. .357 Sig is a bottle-necked case so it costs more to form and has tighter tolerance specs on its loading (it being a “hot” round you do not want kabooms). The higher cost and low adoption rates mean it is harder to source.

    Mind you, some PDs do use .357 Sig, but not many.

    • #23
    • November 26, 2014, at 7:59 AM PST
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  24. Ralphie Member

    Another thought, maybe I am wrong, but I think Wilson was waiting for back up police, so the force equation would have been altered to benefit Wilson even more.

    I think it was Bloomberg that said something like, if someone is trying to break into your house, do you want one cop to show up, or as many as possible?

    Wilson was doing his job, he was charged with protecting the public, and that included himself.

    • #24
    • November 26, 2014, at 8:07 AM PST
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  25. ShellGamer Member
    ShellGamerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Given that a grand jury has already reviewed the evidence, and the low rate of convictions for Federal civil rights violation charges, would it make sense to exercise prosecutorial discretion and never investigate any local police shootings at the Federal level? Since the exercise of prosecutorial discretion is never politically motivated.

    • #25
    • November 26, 2014, at 9:34 AM PST
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