He only had a knife!

knife-fight

Today, I saw a meme (see below) made by our friend Salty Dad. The pictures are gruesome, there are no special effects and I don’t know the story behind them. These are pictures of Police Officers who have been on the wrong end of a knife wielding assailant. Look at them for a little bit, let the reality of the story sink in a little. This is real, this is un-sanitized reality and maybe in a couple cases, life altering. This is not week night TV series corn syrup and latex.

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Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan TV serials. I love old Westerns, The Rifleman, Bonanza, The Lone Ranger, and the cheesy cop shows like TJ Hooker, Miami Vice and SWAT. They were fun but not real. Some of the newer shows are enjoyable but they lack the romance of the old shows, they exchange romance for grit and pseudo reality. Week after week one thing you can count on, however, is the bad guy being brought to justice.hqdefault

The gun toting leviathans of TV drama could turn, draw, shoot from the hip and always knock away the gun or knife from an assailant. Current shows display the awesome power of the stun gun; one slight ZAP to the neck and the “shock-ee” is down for the count, waking up in a fog sometime later. Damn I wish that world was real life how very simple it would be. The evil-doers would always get their day in court after a short hospital stint for a flesh wound or a minor ass-whooping. Simplicity at its finest and most pure……sadly, the real world is far more complex.

Which brings up again the never ending cry “Why didn’t they just shoot him in the leg, arm, hand…wherever?” Or another fan favorite “He was only armed with a knife.” It seems no matter how many times this topic comes up one side is never satisfied with the answer. Unsurprisingly its the same side who believes everyone gets a trophy, diversity is always good and giving away other people’s money will right the wrongs of the world. These same people have never had to fight for their lives against a crazed drug addict or a repeat criminal who does not want to go back to prison. These people can no more wrap their brain around true evil than I can the idea of “free government cell phones”. Look back at those pictures again and tell me it was “only a knife”.

Time and time again this argument comes and goes. Time after time it stays unresolved festering until the next incident when the cries begin like the slow wail of an angry child, building until their face turns red and they can squeeze out a few token tears to sell their case.

I wonder how many of these people have ever seen the result of a real knife wound, not the kind you get when your cutting your bagel and the kitchen knife slips. Not the kind you see in the movie when someone gets stabbed in the gut and not even the stunning visual effects of modern cinema. How many have seen the real honest result of a vicious knife attack?

I have, as have most cops. Its not pretty, its not clean and its not always survivable. Knife wounds
can leave massive disfiguring wounds, they can cause irreparable damage to soft tissue, they can cleave bone and destroy ligaments leaving a limb useless. The blood……the blood. How to describe the blood…..its everywhere. There is so much blood it is hard to describe, sure gunshot wounds bleed, some are worse than others it depends on many factors. Knife wounds however gush, spew and pump blood into a horrific mess worthy of a slasher movie.

A few years ago I responded to call for an injured person. One of my partners arrived first and discovered a car at a gas station. It was in this car where the wounded person was located, the interior of the car was literally bathed in blood and as we discovered there were actually two injured people in the car. I arrived on scene and helped get these guys out of the car as the medics arrived. They both had open lacerations on their upper arms and thighs, one had a large chunk of his upper arm missing. They claimed they had been attacked by a guy with a machete in a nearby apartment complex.

1024.Machete.ms.030413Soon we discovered a bloody machete in the backseat of the car, seems these guys had also participated in the knife play. I went to the apartment complex they described. I went to the end of a long complex with a couple of my other partners and I could see a guy on a metal chair slumped over and staring at the ground. As we approached I could see his right arm was filleted open down to the bone, he was bleeding heavily and a woman was bringing him a towel. The parking lot had blood everywhere and a short distance from where he was seated was another bloody machete and a back pack. The guy in the chair told me he had been jumped by two guys with machete’s. He managed to dis-arm one of them and gave as good as he got. All three of these guys were career criminals and while I don’t know the real reason for the fight I’m certain it involved money, drugs or both. The crazy part of the whole thing? The guy in the chair also had a handgun. He pulled it out when the the machete twins charged him and never got a shot off. Maybe he could’ve shot these dudes in the leg, or shot the blades from their hands. Surely, as the adage goes “never bring a knife to a gun fight”.  I guess someone never told these two wanna-be samurai

The mainstream media and the ever vocal politicians want to scream and yell of the evils and the dangers of guns and then in the same breath want to convince the world cops don’t really need to shoot people, we should talk things out or shoot to wound. I have seen many many articles and discussions about the 21 foot rule, and the speed with which an assailant can attack as well as the reaction time of a trained officer vs an armed assailant. The amazing thing is, the officer always is at a disadvantage. All the training, practicing and hours of scenario’s only serve to try and even the field. In the cold cruel world the reaction time of the an officer will never be faster than the action time of an assailant. When the bad guy makes up their mind to do something the cops will always be on the wrong end of the second hand.  Reaction times and distances are critical when dealing with the unknown, something illustrated very will in this article from Chicago Warrior.

This is the reason cops are often heavily criticized for “heavy-handed” tactics. When you watch the video from your cozy living room and see two of three cops jump on a guy for “no good reason” you yell those guys should be fired, that poor young man was just talking. What people fail to understand is part of the training and practice to even the reaction table is also learning and looking for indicators. Experience is the best teacher, if you get enough chances. Every patrol cop out there can remember the first time they knew a guy was going to run before he did. Why? because of the the other ones who exhibited a behavior (which the officer missed) and the dude cut and ran. “Shit”, I’ll know better next time. The experience builds and soon experienced officers develop, well a “Spidey-sense” of sorts.

I have been a training officer in the field, I have watched new patrol officers miss the little details, the minor tremors of muscles, the twitch of an eye right before a guy gets ready to run. The tell-tale movements of a guy who is going to fight. The solution? Act first, act fast and act decisive, overwhelm the subject and live to learn. It doesn’t always mean shooting or beating someone, but it does mean making a choice and making it NOW. It means moving before you are reacting, I already told you if the bad guy moves first, the cop is already behind, it works both ways it just isn’t TV show pretty in real life. It is messy and awkward, but we don’t send officers out into the streets to be slaughtered. Just look back the pictures posted here, this is what happens when you are on the wrong end of the reaction equation. I don’t know the story of any of these officers, but one thing is sure, they were on the wrong end of the the game.

This is a knife wound story, this is what a knife will do, this is why cops don’t shoot to wound or shoot weapons free. The equation is very simple, shoot center mass and shoot to stop the threat…..the threat that will allow me and my partners to go home at night, the threat that will allow others to remain blissfully unaware of what goes on in the dark corners of the night, and the threat that allows others to criticize and second guess everything we do based on a TV script and special effects.

Stay safe, and make sure you go home every day!

-Doc

Doc
Doc comes from a strange mix of teachers and cops which sounds a little like oil and water, but it works. This weird mix allows him a certain kind of balance when he looks at some of the absurd situations this job brings. Law enforcement is his second career. He started a little later than some but has been on the job for 14 years.
  • Andy Teal

    So the takeaway is “knives are dangerous.” Well, that certainly puts all my qualms about firearm use to rest.

    • For a guy trying to sound smart and witty, you missed the very simple “takeaway”

      • Andy Teal

        Did I sound witty? Gosh, thanks.

        Well, if you say so. It appears to me that this was predicated upon the idea that anyone could believe knives weren’t especially dangerous. The implication that the danger of bladed weapons one way or another has any impact on how we should regard firearm use seems subtly manipulative to me.

        • mikeb112

          nope, you sound stupid

    • islandwoman2

      To anyone in an altered state anything can be a weapon.

  • Jeanne M. P. Nickelson

    I can happily say I never saw the result of a knife fight during my LE career, and now I’m glad, because those are some gruesome photos (and much cleaned up, I’m sure).
    So much in there to discuss, but you said it well.
    Great article, Doc!

  • Clive

    Too many people in the concealed carry circles actually believe the “never bring a knife to a gunfight” rule.

    That said, and since you brought it up, this is still no excuse for cases of genuine police brutality or over-reactions. You’ll find more Americans will be accepting of the not so nice parts of your job when you stop defending the pieces of trash who give all you a bad name.

    BTDT, by the way.

    • Exactly which cases of “genuine police brutality or over reactions” are we defending? Please be careful making such broad sweeping condemnations, especially when you are accusing people who have many times, in writing, here on this very website, have condemned the very actions you speak of.

      • MichaelZWilliamson

        Well, the one a couple of days ago where a white cop rolled into a scene already under control by two other officers, and shot the black guy…who was off duty and out of uniform.

        And then the STL department claimed he was “shot in a crossfire.”

        Or when they rolled up on a 12 year old with a pellet gun, jumped out 5 feet away and shot him, and the officer in question lied (and was caught lying by his driver) that he’d given the kid warning.

        Or the Muzzie officer in Buffalo who’s shot, IIRC, 28 dogs.

        Stop being a gang in uniform, pretending you’re not, and lying about it, and perhaps you’ll regain the respect you used to have.

        • Josh Zimmerman

          Wow… You’ve managed to point out 3 instances (the one with the dogs I won’t even touch because that’s just fucked up) but two other instances, one of which is under investigation and the other which was investigated at least 4 separate times by internal and external law enforcement and citizen organizations but because YOU say it was excessive, all of a sudden you’re allowed to include it in an anecdote about what you perceive to be rampant police corruption. And even still, 3 instances out of 700,000 sworn law enforcement officers in America does not a rampant problem make. Go ahead and research how many people died last year as a result of medical malpractice. Doctors swear an oath. Doctors are trusted and pay a ton of money to INSURE themselves against accidentally killing someone and they get to keep their license. The respect they once had??? Do you understand how frequently cops would just beat the shit out of people who were resisting arrest or doing other stupid shit? There was a saying from the 80s that there was a flight of stairs in the back of every cruiser… But there were no cameras. No phones. Never before have cops been more regulated. More restrained. More scrutinized. And more neutered than they are. Everyone expects them to be perfect 100% of the time and to solve the unsolvable without error… And they do. 99.9% of the time. But don’t mistake your OPINION for anything close to reality. Police work is ugly sometimes. Very fucking ugly. And if it wasn’t for every Worldstar motherfucker on the street, you’d never know about most of it. You’d keep living your happy little life just satisfied that no one killed, raped, or robbed you or anyone you love today. You’re an unoriginal attention whore who bitches and whines and moans but is currently contributing NOTHING to society while men and women far more brave and honorable than you do a job you wouldn’t be fit to do even if you wanted to.

    • DarlaS

      I am by no measure macho enough for a so called fair fight when I am attacked; especially if the attackers have an edged weapon. If I cannot escape, and I’m not that fast, I will definitely shoot. I will continue to shoot until I perceive the threat as being gone. One shot or 60 shots. If forced into that situation it really matters not to me.

  • pushprogressivesintheSea

    Police should never ride solo they need to be in groups of three that way there’s always eyes on your 6

    • While I will never complain about having more cops on the street, that is not only financially unfeasible for many jurisdictions, but most cop cars only can hold 2 non-arrestees.

  • Death Porky

    Here is a video of edged weapon awareness enjoy 😀

  • islandwoman2

    @Clive, I am a 74 yr old woman located in a town that can be 45 min from law enforcement. Thugs , druggies and illegals jumping the fence every day. I will protect myself. Some days that carry isn’t concealed,experience some reality young man.

  • Great story!

  • SkivMarine

    I feel it’s necessary to point this out. Salty Dad’s poster doesn’t contain photos of Police Officers, those are photographs of convicts who were attacked by other inmates who used home made prison knives. So, calling them “officers” is an insult to actual police officers.
    However, that being said, the point is still taken.

    • Joe Melas

      NO, the point IS NOT still taken, because this is bullshit propaganda, perpetrated by those that wish to perpetuate the string of police brutality against the citizens they are sworn to serve, and justify these trigger happy cops shooting and killing.

      • SkivMarine

        My, you are the standard “angry young man” aren’t you.
        I’ve seen your kind for years, and years, and years. We will never run out of you. You are in constant supply. Always think you are the first to come up with wisdom that was thought of thousands of years and thousands of times ago. But, of course, you have the answers and know everything. You don’t need to be taught anything. You just know it all because your mind is far to sharp for us mortals.
        I am shaking my head over you, and wondering how long it will take you to realize that you are totally wrong. Not just wrong, but WRONG. And if you’re as smart as you think you are, you’ll be able to figure out what that means.
        Have a nice day junior.

        • Joey Coco

          How you come to all of THAT, is baffling to me!
          With that said, I thought I was confirming what you pointed out in your initial post, that this photo is bogus in trying to present this as police having been attacked by gun wielding assailants. I just do not give the perpetrator of this bullshit a pass, as you seem to be willing to do.

          • SkivMarine

            Reread your own statement re: “trigger happy cops”.
            Then ask yourself; “how close to I want someone with a knife to get to me before I take defensive action?” 50 feet? 30 feet? 20 feet? 10 feet? 5 feet?
            The standard minimum is 20 to 21 feet. An assailant can still kill you with a knife within that space even if shot up to 6 or 7 times.
            No, not “trigger happy”. Not at all.

        • Joey Coco

          Also, I am a 54 year old retire United States Marine…far from your young man or junior.

          • SkivMarine

            Sorry about the young man thing. I’m a 59 year old Marine. The rest of my comment remains as stated.

      • Mike Hanson

        In a police officer’s oath, NOWHERE does the word SERVE appear. The oath pledges to uphold the constitution of the United States of America and the laws of the state in which you work. No serve anywhere in sight.

  • Michael James

    It’s always best to have the upper hand because it makes you feel comfortable but unless you have the necessary common sense and discipline to recognize and navigate an encounter or situation, your comfort can delude you and instantly become your demise. The real gun is in the mind that tells the hand to pull the trigger.

  • MichaelZWilliamson

    Very odd. I served 25 years in the military. I was never told my first duty was to “come home safe.” My first duty was to “accomplish the mission,” and “come home safe if at all possible.” But duty ranked first.

    This is the difference between the military and civilians. Cops are civilians.

    And apparently they use a somewhat watered down definition of “Serve.”

    • Mike Hanson

      That would actually be because it was never the intention for police to SERVE. Somewhere, somehow, this misconception began. If to SERVE were actually the true calling, then the SCOTUS would have upheld that it was the responsibility of the police to protect and serve ever citizen at all times. In other words to have your own personal cop at beck and call.The police duty is investigate crimes, apprehend criminals, and enforce the law. The SERVE part is because of polticians and citizens who are too lazy to raise their own kids and want the police to do it for them, the politicians who want the police to be the mental therapists for the mentally ill because they run their mouths at election time that their administration will take care of the mental cases. The self impressed ten cent millionaires that want the homeless harassed and moved out of their neighborhoods, because, well it is lowering our property values. THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE POLICE FOLKS! IT IS THE PEOPLE WHO CODDLE CRIMINALS, MAKING THEM INTO VICTIMS. In some cases they are victims. They are victims of the criminal parents who birthed them and never instilled proper respect for laws, because those are not “our laws.” It is the people who turn a blind eye to the crime in their own neighborhoods and allow refuge to the criminal element when the are hiding from the PO-PO. It is the people who file false claims against officers, looking for that tax payer deep pocket for a free payday. Are there bad cops? Damn betcha there are. Police officers are not in combat zones. Their “enemies” don’t wear a different uniform or generally walk around on the streets with AK-47s and RPGs. Police officers patrol neighborhoods in alleged peaceful places. COMBAT COMES TO THEM in the form of any number of radio runs and or on street contacts.
      As far as accomplishing the mission, you were given objectives and told to use your rifles, grenades, napalm, drones, etc. to get it done. Should the police, as a rule, when given the objective of ridding the neighborhoods of crime, simply just confront and kill, at will, all known criminals. When you were in the military, were you not allowed to use deadly force when confronted by deadly force? Police now-a-days are accused of being too militaristic, and yet you want them to be more militaristic. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  • Chance Johnson

    Funny all these guys defending criminal bebavior against cops as if they were actually there in every incident….no one is perfect…but it’s ok knife killers…just make sure you kill all those cops because they are all bad…..you guys need a life off the conputer and go live….nothing justifies this behavior….nothing

  • Jason Reel

    Some of the ignorance that spews from key boards of those who have never walked a mile in a cop’s shoes never ceases to amaze me. Nobody like to be told what to do. Especially men without discipline. I would love to see all LEO’s in this country just go on strike for a couple of months & see what happens when there is nothing to keep the wolves at bay. Then you who condemn would be begging for their return.

  • Nick Nightmare

    Top left is from a polar bear stumbling into a camp, getting caught in a tent, and mauling 4 or 5 people to death. Don’t take my word for it, look it up. This is fake news.