--You could be in his sights
(A member of our Leon County
Sheriff's Office SWAT team)
He had no friends, he seldom spoke
And no one in turn ever spoke to him,
'Cause he wasn't friendly and he didn't care
And he wasn't like them.
Oh, no! he was a most peculiar man
--A Most Peculiar Man,
Simon and Garfunkel
Now he just sits on a stool down at the Legion hall
but I can tell what's on his mind
Glory days yeah goin' back
Glory days -- Aw, he ain't never had
Glory days, glory days
--Glory Days, Bruce Springsteen
If you look long enough into the void
the void begins to look back through you
--Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
In the Army we have a saying: "Do something, even if it's wrong." Civilian law enforcement has now adopted that maxim, to the detriment of civilian lives.
The latest stateside spree shooter, Kurt R. Myers, 64, was given a conflicted presentation in the New York Times
("Questions Linger After Gunman is Killed in Standoff"
): the report is center page, but it is page A20. It is written like a sophomoric effort to cover a Stephen King mystery, the shooter described as "spooky", "weird" and "shadowy",
the town residents feeling "fearful"
, the apres-shooting hours described as a "drama"
with a "denouement"
occurring in the defunct "Glory Days" bar.
The story had all the usual suspects:
a loner, unconnected victims and a sympathetic Governor Cuomo calling for solidarity ("'It is now time for mourning those who we lost in this senseless act of
Mr. Cuomo said in a statement on Thursday.") The coverage of spree shootings is now become boilerplate, and the outcome (the death of the shooter) is expected.
But the template is not the full story.
In the case of Mr. Myers, the final moments were hardly a standoff:
he had abandoned his car, and made his way into the small back room of an empty bar -- the avenues of escape could be clearly seen and barricaded. The town of Herkimer's police chief said Mr. Myers had "overwhelmed instantly" his small department, but in truth, two police should have been able to neutralize him;
hardly a standoff, as the perpetrator ended up on a morgue tray.
If we believed President Obama's dictum that gun laws should be enacted if we save even one life -- if we believed
that all life was sacred -- then why could Mr. Myers' life not have been saved? Myers was killed by a team of state and federal officers who had tracked him to the abandoned bar. "After a frigid overnight standoff, officials said that they had decided to move in on Thursday morning." But why?
Police Special Reaction Teams and especially FBI hostage rescue types are not military assault troops tasked with the mission of killing "bad guys". They are dealing with us, and we are citizens of this nation, and not combatants.
Unfortunately, the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©
) view of virtuous SEAL assassination teams killing terrorists in their bedrooms has bled over into LE, who are now given the imprimatur of badass killers. Killers for us, against us ... Killers ARE us
(think about it -- maybe K.A.U. deserves a copyright symbol, too.
Myers shot his victims with a shotgun, and the first question the team of state and federal officers should have asked is, what sort of ammunition did Myers use -- bird shot, buck shot or rifled slugs, and how much ammo was he toting on his body? This information is essential for the assault team to create their threat assessment. This information is more essential than saying Myers was very quiet, a little weird and spoke in a sing-song way, but we are not presented the facts, only a mantra created to elicit an equally mindless response: freaks walk among us, therefore, we need gun control to solve the problem of possible violence.
(It should be noted that Myers' weapon was not an assault rifle, so this sort of shooting would happen despite Gov. Cuomo's latest gun control bill.)
The fact of utmost importance is:
Myers was not killed in the execution phase of his spree. He was killed when he was not mobile and cornered in an abandoned building. He was not an offensive threat since the police and FBI had, by training, an inner and outer cordon around the situational perimeter, and a Situation Command Post. This is all standard operating procedure, and a Hostage Negotiator (HN) should have been present to talk the shooter down from his perilous position.
So -- since the shooter was barricaded and of no offensive threat, why was he assaulted? An assault is only executed to save life or to prevent further unnecessary loss of life. In a hostage barricade situation, even the life of the perpetrator is of value in our system of justice.
The police and FBI are not executioners but LE.
Had Myers attempted to shoot, move or even threaten
more shooting, then the minimum bar to assault would have been met, but the report says Myers made no attempt to flee. In addition, were his rounds harmless past 75 meters? Ranger surmises that his kills were close-up and done with small game shot shells rather than killer slugs or buckshot. If so, than the assault that killed Myers was an execution by rogue LE.
If so, than the criminal event in Herkimer, N.Y. extends beyond the actions of Mr. Myers.
hy was the FBI even on the scene? This spree was not of federal interest or jurisdiction. The State of New York and the County Sheriff had sufficient assets to contain this situation. Why are we comfortable with police violence and reaction teams using questionable military tactics and employing military weapons? We no longer question the application of gun violence upon
those we view as kill-worthy,
even when the killing is done in
violation of our laws and accepted
It is not fashionable or savory these days to discuss the preservation of a life we deem "bad", but the coherence of civilization as we know it resides on our ability to do that hard thing, when possible and reasonable. No one of us is Solomon, hence our body of jurisprudence; our viability as a nation depends upon our adherence to
In the military we do not have the option of not assaulting an objective nor do we have HN's. Our job is to close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, and to apply the totality of the violence that is inherent in our unit's organizational capabilities. Somewhere along the way. the police have replaced their "protect and serve" motto with the military's maximum force against the enemy.
The problem is, we are not The Enemy.
Boilerplate dictates Myers' shooting spree be called, "senseless", but clearly, it made sense to him. This is not to justify murder, but to not dismiss it in such a facile manner, either. "Senseless" implies an act beyond our capacity to reason, but violence perpetrated by those other than psychopaths usually has a reason.
That reason may not be good or pretty, but it deserves to be viewed and understood if we truly are resolved to reduce the incidence of these events.
--by Jim and Lisa
Labels: Kurt R. Myers, new york spree shooting, paramilitary police, phony war on terror, police, protect and serve, PWOT