It is just too many guns in the streets’  he said, adding: ‘We are the only developed country in the world with this problem. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg 

Gun control, as an integral part of leftist/socialist/communist doctrine shares with those destructive and dehumanizing philosophies, one inescapable reality: it can never be falsified.  When socialism and its related or component parts fail as they inevitably must, the fault is never socialism, for socialism can never be wrong.  The only fault must be that socialism does not exist everywhere, or that insufficient socialism has been imposed, or that it has not been fully implemented and with sufficient socialist fervor.  For these reasons is utopia—paradise on Earth—unattainable.

The events of August 24, 2012 near the Empire State Building have now been sorted out.  According to Fox News: 

NEW YORK –  All nine people wounded during a dramatic confrontation between police and a gunman outside the Empire State Building were struck by bullets fired by the two officers, police said Saturday, citing ballistics evidence.

The veteran patrolmen who opened fire on the suit-wearing gunman, Jeffrey Johnson, had only an instant to react when he whirled and pointed a .45-caliber pistol as they approached him from behind on a busy sidewalk.

Officer Craig Matthews shot seven times. Officer Robert Sinishtaj fired nine times, police said. Neither had ever fired their weapons before on a patrol.

The volley of gunfire felled Johnson in just a few seconds and left nine other people bleeding on the sidewalk…

Police have determined that three people were struck by whole bullets — two of which were removed from victims at the hospital — and the rest were grazed ‘by fragments of some sort.’

It was not a mass shooting after all, just a pre-meditated murder enacted on a sidewalk in broad daylight.  New York Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-gun mania is well known, and in a bizarre bit of irony, only a half hour before the shooting, he was on local radio demanding ever more stringent gun control, not just for NYC, but everywhere.  Another bit of irony is New York state—and NYC in particular—have among the most onerous and restrictive gun laws in the nation.  NYC’s laws are almost certainly unconstitutional in many ways.

New York is one of the few states that has a “may issue” concealed carry law.  In other words, no one in New York has a right to carry a concealed weapon—or to carry openly for that matter—and all permits are issued at the whim of government functionaries.  In NYC, concealed carry permits are possible, but in practice, issued only to the wealthy or politically connected.  One must have a permit merely to have a firearm in their home or business, and the application fee—non-refundable of course—is $340.00. This does not include a fingerprinting fee of from $94.25 to $105.25.  All other applicable regulations are clearly designed to make it so difficult to exercise ones rights under the Second Amendment as to cause most people to abandon the attempt.

In other words, NYC is essential an anti-freedom paradise for gun control fanatics, yet Mayor Bloomberg is not satisfied because the law-abiding have not been completely disarmed and/or jailed for attempting to exercise Second Amendment rights.

Even in such an anti-gun people’s paradise, shootings still occur, yet anti-gun policy cannot possibly have failed.  The shooting must be attributable to the fact that other states allow people to observe the Second Amendment and there are “…too many guns in the streets.”  Only when perfect socialism—no gun ownership by the law abiding—exists, can utopia exist.  NYC’s near-utopia just isn’t enough.

There exists another issue plainly illustrated by this shooting: poor police training and marksmanship.  A security camera happened to record the confrontation between the killer—who would want his name to be mentioned here—and the two NYPD officers that shot him—and nine bystanders.

Notice that there was a large concrete planter between the gunman and the two officers, and one behind him.  Some news stories have suggested that the officers had no cover and had to simply start shooting in the middle of a crowd of bystanders.  The security video makes plain that this is not the case and the officers used poor tactics.

Consider these issues:

(1) Both officers approach the shooter, who is walking down the sidewalk at the curb, bunched together and from his left/rear.  They do not try to flank and contain the shooter.

(2) The officers appear to be fixated on the shooter and appear to have little situational awareness, particularly no awareness of available cover or of the surrounding crowd.  For instance, there are three people seated on a bench immediately behind the shooter and directly in the officer’s line of fire.

(3) Glancing behind him, the shooter spots the fast approaching officers, pulls his handgun from his briefcase, turns and points it at the officers.  This obviously catches them by surprise.

(4) The closest officer, who appears to be left-handed, draws and begins to shoot in what appears to be a sort of Weaver position while simultaneously slowly shuffling to his right (toward the curb) and cover, but the shooter is down and out of the fight before he can ever actually use that cover.  His engagement range appears to be about eight feet.

(5) The lagging officer engages from what appears to be 15 feet, but he draws and while crouching and clumsily side stepping to his left (away from the curb) fires one handed.  As he side steps, he also steps backward, away from the shooter and any cover.  In fact, his actions place bystanders—all of whom are running and ducking for their lives—directly in his line of fire.  His final rounds would have been fired from as much as 20 feet.

(6) When the shooter is clearly down and out, the officers do not take time to scan their surroundings to be certain there are no additional threats.  In fact, the closest officer immediately starts transmitting on his radio.

Most people assume the police are good and cool shots.  They’re used to seeing TV and movie cops take down suspects with single shots from great ranges with perfect precision and coolness.  In reality, most police officers are not good shots, and under the stress of deadly force confrontations, have abysmal hit/miss records.  In this case, the two officers fired 16 rounds.  They did hit the shooter but as Fox News reports:

The volley of gunfire felled Johnson in just a few seconds and left nine other people bleeding on the sidewalk.

In the initial chaos Friday, it wasn’t clear whether Johnson or the officers were responsible for the trail of wounded, but based on ballistic and other evidence, ‘it appears that all nine of the victims were struck either by fragments or by bullets fired by police,’ Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters on Saturday at a community event in Harlem.

He reiterated that the officers appeared to have no choice but to shoot Johnson, whose body had 10 bullets wounds in the chest, arms and legs.

‘I believe it was handled well,’ Kelly said.

The distance in this case varied from about eight to twenty feet, but the police generally shoot poorly even at gunfight-in-a-telephone-booth ranges.  There are many cases on record of cops and bad guys emptying their weapons at each other at point blank range without scoring a single hit.

Keeping in mind that it is easy to Monday morning quarterback such things, there are a number of simple ways this situation could have been handled better:

(1) Rather than immediately running up behind the shooter, the officers could have remained out of sight while keeping the shooter in view and used their radios to prepare officers in the shooter’s line of travel.  This would have allowed them to better use cover and to choose the time and place of the confrontation to maximize the chances of catching the shooter unaware and to minimize the danger to bystanders.  Even though the shooter had just shot and killed a man, he was doing nothing but walking away from the scene of the crime.  It was not necessary to immediately confront him in an uncontrolled manner while surrounded by innocents.

(2) The officers—particularly the one who shot with only one hand while crab-walking to the left and backward—engaged in panic shooting, firing until the man dropped and was obviously incapacitated.  They made a number of dangerous shooting mistakes:

When caught in the open, there are two choices: run for cover and then engage the shooter, or stand and immediately engage the shooter.  Either shoot well and accurately or move, but not both.  Virtually no one can shoot accurately while moving, and TV tactics of firing rounds off blindly to “keep his head down,” absolutely do not apply in the real world, particularly when innocents surround the area of the confrontation.  Police officers (and citizens) are absolutely responsible for each and every round they fire.

Shooting one handed while moving is a particularly bad idea.  In any panic shooting situation, officers tend to place only a fraction of the rounds fired on target because they are jerking the trigger—which tends to make rounds hit low—they aren’t watching their sights at all (they’re fixated on the target, or perhaps just his gun), and with their gun up and in front of their face, they can’t see what the suspect is doing, if their rounds have been effective, or if they are having the desired effect.

Under virtually any circumstance, officers must adopt a solid Weaver stance and fire no more than two rounds to center mass, then immediately drop to low ready to assess the effectiveness of their fire.  This takes only fractions of a second, but prevents panic firing as in this case.  If this rational and professional procedure were followed, no more than four rounds would likely have been fired and all four would have been much more likely to have effectively hit and immediately stopped the shooter rather than bystanders.

It is little wonder nine people were hit by bullets or fragments.  It now appears that the shooter did not fire a single round at the officers or bystanders, and Mr. Kelly thinks it was handled well.  Due to their uncoordinated tactics and panicky shooting, I suspect that at least some of the officer’s bullets ricocheted off the planter behind the shooter and surely, off the sidewalk, producing the fragments that hit bystanders.

There is legal precedence for officers shooting in the middle of crowds.  There are cases where officers accidently shooting innocents is legally justified because the danger to those innocents was greater than the danger posed by the officers trying to end that initial danger.  A mass- shooting situation where a gunman is blazing away at a surrounding crowd is a classic case.  Officers opening fire in that kind of situation are more likely to end the imminent danger; it is worth the risk to the public for them to fire.  This was not such a case.  The officers provoked an uncontrolled confrontation when the suspect was not posing any immediate danger to the public, but was merely walking away, his gun in his briefcase.

I’ve little doubt that some will think I’m being too hard on the officers.  After all, it was a very stressful situation.  Indeed it was, but it was made more stressful by the officers themselves who, rather than controlling events to the greatest degree possible, allowed events to control them.  Do we not expect police officers to be able to correctly and safely handle stressful situations?  Do we not expect them to use their weapons only when absolutely necessary?  Do we not expect them to be aware of their surroundings and to avoid shooting innocents?  Do we not expect them to be able to shoot accurately when under stress?  Do we not expect them to use only the minimum number of rounds necessary to eliminate the threat rather than wildly banging away in a blind panic?

If we do not expect all of this of them, how—other than wearing a uniform—do they differ from any untrained, inexperienced citizen?

Police officers are, in many respects, the product of their training.  There is a famous old maxim: “train like you want to fight, because you’ll fight as you’ve trained.”  The security video reveals either two officers who have not been properly trained in tactics and shooting under stress, or officers who, having received sufficient and continuously updated training, did not use it.  In a virulently anti-gun city, one might be forgiven for thinking that proper and continuous firearm training for even police officers might be a low priority.

So in one of America’s most anti-gun cities, despite some of the most draconian gun laws, a shooting somehow took place.  This, of course, cannot speak to the futility of New York’s gun laws—which affect only the law-abiding—but must be the result of the fact that NYC’s draconian socialism is not uniformly applied to the entire nation, for gun control can never be wrong or ineffective.

Perhaps I’m too cynical in believing that Mayor Bloomberg will never allow the necessity of proper and effective police training to overshadow his never-ending crusade to quash the Second Amendment.  Perhaps I’m wrong in thinking that politics will keep the NYPD from viewing the same security camera footage I saw and coming to conclusions that will improve training and keep officers from panicky fire into crowds.  More likely, the officers will be declared heroes, and Mayor Bloomberg’s disarmament crusade will continue.

For you see, socialism can never be falsified.

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