Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Situational Awareness

Back on June 9th, a couple walked walked into a Las Vegas CiCi's pizza and shot 2 policemen to death. The officers were in uniform and armed. I'm guessing they were essentially eating lunch condition white. I mean, who would confront a couple of armed cops?

The couple then walked across the street and into a Walmart where they fired a shot or two and announced a revolution. A concealed carry permit holder made his decision and pushed his chips into the game. He gambled and lost. He was so focused on his confrontation with the man he never saw the woman with a gun until she shot him in the ribs from behind.

Having guns didn't save them. Whatever else they might have done to prevent their own deaths, they were not unarmed.


Old NFO said...

Wilcox may have saved lives, sadly he lost his own.

Borepatch said...

Old NFO, you bet. He went out as a man; you can do way worse in this world.

And don't forget that the goblins who did this were #OccupyWallStreet types.

ASM826 said...

It's clear he made the heroic decision and I hope I would have his courage. What would have been better would have been to see the situation more clearly and to responded with the knowledge that there were two threats.

Nosmo King said...

The default setting is "target fixation."

1) Position
2) Cover, strategic and tactical
3) Threat analysis

Cops are taught to never sit with their back to the entrance; if the bad guy(s) are already in the restaurant that doesn't work (or if it has multiple entrances). And, anyone can be surprised. So, position: for example, a table in/near a corner allowing 90 degree seating where everything can be observed, sitting in chairs, rather than F2F in a booth on a wall. It wouldn't surprise me if they were engaged in conversation with each other, reducing their external alertness.

I doubt many concealed carriers "game" an armed confrontation in a store entrance. Entrances are choke points, both sides of which are CQB zones, distance widens the perspective. From the right position you can shoot them in the back rather than the reverse.

Analysis: How big is this problem? Is this problem mine to solve? If so, what's the best solution, and how do I improve my odds? What criteria defines "success"?

Life is not a spectator sport.

William Newman said...

I find it hard to fault that response very much. Trying to cover every unexpected possibility is distracting enough that it tends to increase the risk of getting killed by the ordinary expected threat. If I see an armed man behaving in a violently lunatic way in Walmart, I'd estimate the odds are probably less than 10% that he has an armed accomplice, and given that he has an armed accomplice, less than 20% that the accomplice is female. Devoting much effort to covering a risk of that size might not be very effective strategy (except in hindsight knowing it was a 100% chance that particular day).

Sometimes life just throws you a curve ball, and the basically-sensible response happens not to fit. It doesn't mean that optimizing behavior to address the likely probabilities isn't a good idea, it just means it's surprisingly stressful to do it. Serious poker and bridge players have to learn to deal with this, and for the poker players especially it's reportedly pretty stressful to learn to accept the unavoidable failures even in that tidy limited artificial context. And outside tidy limited artificial games, it gets worse, because unlikely possibilities are a bottomless well: it just doesn't work to try to consider, detect, and protect against all unlikely possibilities. (What if the guy's stunt in the store turned out to be a way to push people into taking cover in the kill zone of his accomplice's suicide vest?)

Goober said...

The guy is a hero, and the media has done him a massive disservice by essentially memory-holing him.

GOod guys with guns are non-existent to them, remember? Joel has a link that goes over to a montage of anti-gunners talking about how the "good guy with a gun" thing is just so much fairy-tale, because it could never, ever happen.

Well, it happened, and it is my firm belief that he saved a metric shitload of lives. Too bad he lost his.

What could he have done differently? Who knows? I wasnt' there, so i can't comment, but I do know that when you're engaging a guy with an assault rifle shouting about the revolution, and all you have is a pistol, I think it can be forgiven that you get a little tunnel vision.

Richard Blaine said...

I'd like to think I'd have responded with as much courage and I could wish for a bit more luck. You never know unless you've been there. I've knowingly gone into life threatening situations as a volunteer fire fighter but never against something like what Joseph faced.

I'm trying not to be really pissed at the officer who said "Joseph died trying to protect others, his death is completely senseless."

Protecting others is not senseless - and I really hope that's not what he meant. Maybe I'm just tired of everyone telling people to let the Government handle it, and it's making me touchy and prone to view anything they say in the worst light.

Goober said...


I think that the officer meant that his death was senseless in the sense that it was brought about by two whackadoodles who decided to start the apocalypse all by themselves, not senseless in that he died trying to protect innocent lives. He shouldn't have HAD to protect innocent lives in the first place. hence, senseless.

If that is the case, I agree with him. The whole thing was senseless when you look at it that way.