Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Give them more range time for starters

From The New York Times:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg convened an extraordinary meeting of black religious leaders and elected officials at City Hall yesterday to calm frayed tempers over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Queens, calling the circumstances “inexplicable” and “unacceptable.”

The "black man" was armed with an automobile, which he was using to attempt to run down a police officer.

“It sounds to me like excessive force was used,” the mayor said of the conduct of the officers, who fired 50 shots outside a Queens nightclub early Saturday, killing Sean Bell, 23, hours before he was to be wed, and injuring two others. “I can tell you that it is to me unacceptable or inexplicable how you can have 50-odd shots fired.”

Several factors go into this. One is that the 9mm round used by the NYPD is underpowered. Therefore it will take more shots to get the job done. Another is that the City of New York mandates that their police department modify their Glock handguns so that they will have a ridiculous 10-POUND trigger pull! This makes it difficult to shoot the NYPD Glock quickly with any degree of accuracy. Finally, NYPD cops don't get enough practice. Shooting is a skill which must be developed and maintained through constant practice. Because NYPD makes an effort to screen out "gun people" who would go shooting on their own for recreation the typical New York cop only shoots when the Department forces him too, and the Department doesn't force them to often enough.

Add to this the fact that when you perceive your life to be in danger, like it is when someone is using an automobile as a weapon against you, the biochemical reactions which take place in your body (the "flight or fight" response which is hard-wired into our genes) make it difficult to hit a target as small as the "kill zone" on a human body even when it isn't moving, or behind cover or poorly lit.

I understand why creatures like Al Sharpton and Charles Rangel are doing what they're doing. They don't care about the dead men, or the cops or the welfare of New York City. This is just a chance for them to strut and preen and mug for the cameras to demonstrate to their constituents how important and powerful they are. However Bloomberg is supposed to be the head of New York City's government with a duty to ensure that the City's workers, who all ultimately report to him, get a fair deal.

If Mr. Bloomberg truly believes that 50 rounds are "too much" then he needs to begin work right now to equip NYPD with handguns in .40 or .45 caliber with trigger pulls in the 5 lb. range and see that they shoot at least 100 rounds per week in practice in realistic training scenarios.