A Martial Arts Moment:
I was thinking about some knife based Martial Arts, mostly Filipino based, that entertain the concept of “biomechanical cutting”. There can be some confusion with the term depending on the art or the practitioner, but the essence of the concept is the intentional cutting of muscles and connective tissues in the limbs so as to cause loss of function. Some artists have taken the idea as far as employing a blade as an almost “less than lethal” tool in a self-defense situation. They think they can use a knife to disable limbs while not killing…or intending to kill…an opponent.
In theory, I have nothing against “biomechanical cutting”; if your defensive techniques feature limb attacks and those cuts actually do disable limbs in a self-defense situation so much the better. But I question it’s efficiency as a “primary technique”…I will cut up his limbs so I wont have to kill him. That seems to assume an almost “fantasy level” of technical and physical dominance in a fight where you felt you had to employ a knife.
If you are going to argue that you were in such fear for your life that you had to draw a blade and you then went on to fillet the guy at will….I could see an attorney attacking that.
I see stabs as the analog of center of mass firearms hits and “slashes” like limb hits. Sometimes you may shoot at a limb intentionally because that’s the only target you have. If you are shooting from under a car and disable a guy with leg hits great…it was all you had and it worked. Developing a firearms technique that intentionally focuses on limbs as a “less lethal option” is fraught with issues. A gun is NOT a “less lethal” tool no matter where you shoot someone. Think otherwise and I think we start to wander into the “why did you kill him? Couldn’t you have shot him in the leg or something?” territory.
A knife is a deadly force weapon. I don’t know if I’d be willing to be a test subject for a legal argument that it can be employed as a “less lethal” tool. Even limb slashes can kill via exsanguination.
In conclusion, my personal opinion on knives as a “defensive tool” is that if I have to use one its going to be in a “kill or be killed” situation, and the best way to survive such a threat and sustain a legal defense, is to employ it as such.
I have been considering all of the changes I have seen in training and philosophy regarding law enforcement response to active shooter situations and Boston Bomber/Mumbai style terror attacks over the course of my career. I recall that the Post Analysis of the Boston Bombing response was critical about Command and Control and the fire discipline of the officers involved in some of the shootouts. In a nutshell, there was an implication that LE responded in more of a disorganized “swarm” than they did a nice…orderly… “OP”.
Well, from an LEO response end of things, I’m tending to see a successful American LE response to “shitters” like Boston or Mumbai being more of a “swarming” than an organized “operation”.
I once sat through a debrief of the Navy Yard Shooting (the real one) and the critique was that tons of cops from everywhere swarmed the area (like in Boston) with little coordination or communication. Nobody responded to staging areas, nobody awaited orders, most responders “self-deployed”.
I say…that’s why a days long Mumbai event won’t likely happen here. Sure cops may wind up shooting in all directions, but to some extent that’s going to be the reality of an effective response. Cops are going to respond from everywhere, with guns, and things are going to resolve in relatively short order. Certainly, it’s not going to look like a cut-scene from Call of Duty, and there will most likely be some stray rounds and friendly fire incidents. Smooth and organized rapid deployments are things of TV…not reality.
I make an analogy to the para-drops on D-day. Cops will likely self-organize into small units and go hunting. That’s what ultimately happened at the Navy Yard. It took some time and wasn’t pretty, but a small mixed unit finally hunted the shooter down and killed him.
Sitting around waiting for it all “to go as planned” ain’t gonna happen.
And that isn’t a “failure” IMO.
What I think law enforcement planners and trainers should start doing is “planning for imperfection”. Instead of insisting on more and more exercises and tabletops expecting cops to respond to staging areas to await deployment in “real world”, they need to start considering what is most likely going to happen in reality and develop tactics and strategies accordingly.