I called off from work yesterday and today. A severe head cold has me in its grasp, and in between aches and a sinus headache that seemingly won't go away, I've had sneezing fits (my current record is six in a row which led to my youngest, who's home from college on spring break, to tire of saying "Gesundheit!"). I was therefore watching TV today (which is something I rarely do anymore) when I came across a show that featured the manhunt and arrest of Charles Moses in Nebraska and Wyoming in 2000. Moses, from Texas, was wanted for a probation violation (possession of a prohibited weapon explosive) and was described as a "survivalist" with a penchant for weapons. Observed at a gas station by a local sheriff's deputy as someone matching the description of a wanted suspect, the LEO approached the suspect to ID him. Moses jumped into his pickup truck and pulled a .22 revolver on the deputy, who struggled with him in the passenger compartment of the truck before able to drive off. Lost in the subsequent vehicle chase, Moses also was armed with an SKS rifle and used that weapon against two other lawmen wounding another deputy and a state trooper in separate altercations. Moses fled to Wyoming, where he killed a farmer and stole his pickup. As Wyoming lawmen caught up to Charles Moses, he drove his stolen truck into the mountains of rural Wyoming and escaped on foot. Moses was apprehended when a rancher and his son called police after he showed up at their home.
I turned the channel after that show to the news, where a mass killing in Alabama dominated the headlines. Prior to committing suicide, 28-year-old Michael McClendon went on a rampage, killing 11 persons. McClendon once had aspirations to work as a law enforcement officer. According to reports, he killed his mother and other relatives before firing at, wounding and killing complete strangers he came into contact with, including killing the wife of a local sheriff's deputy and his 18-month-old baby. He also critically wounded his infant daughter. After fleeing the scene, McClendon engaged in a shoot-out with police, including the same deputy whose, unbeknownst to him, wife and child McClendon had just murdered. McClendon ran into a business where he shot and killed himself.
The news also carried the story of a 17-year-old who killed 15 victims in a school in Winnenden, Germany. Prior to committing suicide, the gunman, Tim Kretschmer, exchanged gunfire with police, wounding two officers. According to reports, at least nine of the victims were pupils at the school, the remainder teachers and staff. Several other people were wounded by Kretschmer before he was cornered and shot it out with special police.
Be a Realist
You or I could get down or be disheartened by such news and programs. After all, it doesn't paint a pretty picture of humanity. However, we can ill-afford to play ostrich and stick our head in the sand as to the potential for violence in this world. Pollyanna thinking such as, "it will be okay" and "everything's all right" can get you killed. Your capacity for greater and countervailing violence is what, most times, stops a suspect from resisting or assaulting. That's right, sports fans, you got to be willing and able to use greater violence (force) to stop or control violent offenders. I don't know how many times in my SWAT career that the team just deploying led to a suspect's surrender. I remember one local violent offender made a statement to tune of, "Man, SWAT I didn't know you guys were that serious."
When dealing with violent offenders, don't assume compliance. Assume and prepare for violent resistance.
Some points to consider:
Things are the way they are. The ostrich effect and wishful thinking help no one and usually results in lack of training and planning because "It won't happen here" or "This can't be happening to me." Maybe 99.9% of the people we deal with comply without violent resistance, but those in the remaining .1% can hurt you, if you let them. So, don't. Make sure the odds are so weighed in your favor plan and prepare now.