RANGER AGAINST WAR: A Most Peculiar Man <

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Most Peculiar Man

 --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 violence,' 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.

Why 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 police procedure.

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 it.

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

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Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

To all,
Pls note that the pic leading in the art is of a local swat dog here in the Homeland.
Pls note that he has two 30 round mags in his fully automatic rifle tricked out in the Seal template.
How have we come from Officer friendly to this.?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 8:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, just to nitpick a little, I'd wager that Myers' shotgun was loaded with slugs or buckshot. In most of NYS you cannot hunt deer, etc with a rifle (legally) and shotguns are the only option. Therefore, most shotgun owners stock up on slugs or 000 buck (usually 3 inch mag).

Myers was apparently following Joe Biden's advice - more or less.

I think there is more to this story. The victims were not so random. They appear to have had a connection to the corrections dept.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 9:13:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I agree that there's more here than meets the eye.
Whatever Myers used as ammo is only important for determining the level of threat. We know his intent-what is his capability when he's cornered in an abandoned building? Did he shoot his wad in the execution phase?
I surmise that the decision to assault was made because this poor fool shot the police dog with the camera. This was not aggressive on Myers part as he was reacting to police movements into his barricaded position and he fired defensively.
The only way that a decision to asslt can be made is if the barricaded subject is attempting to go mobile , or has threatened to kill hostages , or even if his weapon could kill by standers which was highly improbable in this scenario since he was shooting soft lead incapable of penetrating walls etc.
We know the danger posed by killers like Myers but it's the killing intent of LE assault units that really grabs my concern.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 9:28:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I've read all on the topic and DOC does seem to have a correlation to this shooting.
I must wonder why the retired agent didn't have a concealed/carry weapon. Does the targeted threat disappear after retirement?
As for the dog and the shooting , i see that Myers was holed up in a basement and that is strange. Where could he possibly go? Why assault a cornered rat?
Why not just flood the place? Open a fire hydrant and flush him out -literally.
NOW HERE'S MY BIGGY QUESTION.= What if a former Marine type were waiting for a haircut and he had a Makarov 9 in his pocket? Would this have saved any lives? Why can't we former officers carry a weapon as a form of civic responsibility? Retired cops carry legally. A legal concealed weapon would've done well in this scenario.
Did no one notice that he had a shotgun when he walked in?
Did no one respond immediately and defensively?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, LE could have waited him out, smoked him out or used some other non-lethal method. THAT is what they are suppose to do and I recognize that what they are **supposed** to do is the thrust of your post.

Myers killed correction dept employees. That probably sealed his fate. Around here most corrections dept are deputy sheriffs and/or fullfledged cops consider them brothers in arms.
If not, killing the dog definitely did. They hate it when their dogs are harmed and will seek revenge. This is wrong of course, but it is reality.

I personally know someone - coincidentally a very large, strong and martially skilled former airborne ranger - who killed a K9 unit with his bear hands after the police somewhat arbitrarily set it on him. The police really went to town on him after he did that. Batons, tasers...the works. He then ended up doing time and paying for the dog out of his mechanics pay check. I think it took him a few years to pay that one off. I know because he could never afford more than a couple drinks and he'd always curse the late K9 and the cops as we offered him another round (he had achieved sort of a folk hero status to us troglodytes).


Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I must wonder why the retired agent didn't have a concealed/carry weapon..."

Um...because this is NY?


Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What if a former Marine type were waiting for a haircut and he had a Makarov 9 in his pocket? Would this have saved any lives?"

Speaking for myself, I don't get haircuts any more. I'm going frontier style. So I guess everyone else would be SOL.

Oh yeah, and the only Makarov in town is probably now carried by a cop.

Theoretically speaking, a weirdo walking into a barbershop with a shotgun would cause a Makarov to come out and into ready. And one never points a weapon at anything one doesn't intend to kill.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Deryle said...

Guess I'm inspired by the Leonard Cohen lyric.
Here's a few more.

"The Future"

Give me back my broken night
my mirrored room, my secret life
it's lonely here,
there's no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby,
that's an order!
Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that's left
and stuff it up the hole
in your culture
Give me back the Berlin wall
give me Stalin and St Paul
I've seen the future, brother:
it is murder.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned
the order of the soul
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant

You don't know me from the wind
you never will, you never did
I'm the little jew
who wrote the Bible
I've seen the nations rise and fall
I've heard their stories, heard them all
but love's the only engine of survival
Your servant here, he has been told
to say it clear, to say it cold:
It's over, it ain't going
any further
And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil's riding crop
Get ready for the future:
it is murder

Things are going to slide ...

There'll be the breaking of the ancient
western code
Your private life will suddenly explode
There'll be phantoms
There'll be fires on the road
and the white man dancing
You'll see a woman
hanging upside down
her features covered by her fallen gown
and all the lousy little poets
coming round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson
and the white man dancin'

Give me back the Berlin wall
Give me Stalin and St Paul
Give me Christ
or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don't like children anyhow
I've seen the future, baby:
it is murder

Things are going to slide ...

When they said REPENT REPENT ..."

There it is.


Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 12:34:00 PM GMT-5  

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