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  • Easy Shot

    Posted by Dan from Madison on April 23rd, 2013 (All posts by )

    One of the episodes that I am having a hard time making sense of in the chase for the Boston bombers is the shootout in Watertown. This website, if it is to be believed, seems to have photos of the shootout. I am sure that more photos and video will come out. But we aren’t at the point yet where I can actually put together the events of that shootout and compare them to what I think is an enormous amount of b.s. coming from the Watertown Police Chief.

    The more important question I have for you is this – can you go to jail for shooting known terrorists (or anyone) that are taking shots at the cops? In photo number one, that appears to be an extremely easy shot – I am certain I could have put one through at least one of their heads* at their distance, and since all you really need is a .22 to get it done (low flash/report), I am also fairly certain that the bad guys would have no real idea where the shot came from.

    If I were to take these bad guys out, would I be sitting in a jail cell today? I am guessing yes. Would I beat the rap? Hard to say.

    *with a .22 long gun, that has a decent scope

     

    39 Responses to “Easy Shot”

    1. chuck Says:

      I thought about this also. The thing I would worry about would be getting shot by the police. If you expose yourself and start shooting from the other side, how are they to know you aren’t shooting at them?

    2. Dan from Madison Says:

      Good point Chuck – although many of the houses and cars that weren’t involved in the shootout in the area had lots and lots of bullet holes in them anyway.

    3. Jonathan Says:

      The answers to your questions depend a great deal on where you are. In Texas you might be treated well, depending on what city you were in. In Israel you would probably be credited for doing your civic duty. In Boston or NYC? Who knows. The city/state might try to prosecute you to discourage “vigilantism”. Would you take that risk, knowing that the police already have a bead on the guys? Would you take that risk, knowing that the officers you were trying to protect would likely arrest you or even, in the confusion, shoot at you?

    4. Bill Brandt Says:

      I think – given this scenario – I would call 911 – tell them the situation – that I am in position – and make sure the cops know. Or hope that they patched you through.

      Bad shots that they are, when another shot is coming their first inclinatin would be to shoot first.

      Course we aren’t talking about your typical SWAT Team – which is a whole nother thing.

    5. Jim Treacher Says:

      Somehow I don’t think the left would give any of the credit to the NRA…

    6. Mike K Says:

      In general, the location, as Jonathan says, is the most important. A friend’s brother interrupted a burglary in his home in the Bay Area. He got his gun and shot at the burglar. He was OK until he shot at him as he was running away outside the house. That got him arrested and sued by the burglar who claimed he was an innocent bystander just walking by.

      The Boston case is different but I would not want to rely on that idiot Mayor or the Governor to use good judgement.

    7. Dan from Madison Says:

      I think Jonathan is right in this case, sad as it may be.

      Bill Brandt’s scenario is interesting food for thought, though. But I think that the situation would be too confusing/foggy to be able to coordinate with the cops. It would be nice to be able to be patched through to the police – I wonder if they would want you to take the shot.

    8. Percy Dovetonsils Says:

      I lean towards inexperience with a nighttime setting, a combat situation, adrenaline, and a cacophony of contradictory orders on police radios for this shootout being such a confused mess.

      I would hesitate to get anywhere near that. Cops on the ground seeing a muzzle flash above them are likely to return fire as a reflex.

      It would be very interesting to get a combat veteran’s view on this, to compare it to his or her first time under fire in a nighttime setting.

    9. PenGun Says:

      [Deleted by Dan]

    10. Cris Says:

      Sounds like a good way to get one’s self, and maybe some cops, killed.

    11. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Inserting yourself into a tactical situation always bears risks. That is a given. If you start shooting, someone will likely start shooting back. And the odds are that it would be the police, because there are more of them already firing. And they would not know which side you were on. If you decide to intervene, that is part of the risk you accept when you do it. Although, it must be noted that in the vicinity of any firefight, you are likely to be under fire even if you are just hunkering down. Police marksmanship under stress and adrenaline is not much better than civilian marksmanship under the same conditions [lots of examples of that around, and I know of some], especially with pistols which are being used at a range beyond their proper operational envelope. And Hollywood notwithstanding, bullets have a habit of keeping going beyond the point of aim, even if they hit something.

      But moving back to:

      The more important question I have for you is this – can you go to jail for shooting known terrorists (or anyone) that are taking shots at the cops?

      This is Massachusetts. Granting that as one of the barbarians in flyover country I have a somewhat jaundiced view of those from Blue states who consider themselves to be our betters; but the Massachusetts of today is far from the Massachusetts of 1775. For at least two generations, the cultural, societal, and legal parameters to allow self-reliance and voluntary defense of the Polis have not existed. Firearms ownership and possession are tightly restricted [unless you are a criminal or a member of a protected class] and any use of them that implies less than total submission to the Blue state will be punished.

      They would be piping you sunlight on alternate Shrove Tuesdays.

      But if you ever made it to a free state …

      Subotai Bahadur

    12. Dan from Madison Says:

      “Although, it must be noted that in the vicinity of any firefight, you are likely to be under fire even if you are just hunkering down. Police marksmanship under stress and adrenaline is not much better than civilian marksmanship under the same conditions [lots of examples of that around, and I know of some], especially with pistols which are being used at a range beyond their proper operational envelope.”

      There are a LOT of photos of this neighborhood completely shot up, from houses to cars to everything else. I am not sure that taking the shot would have gotten you sprayed with any more lead than just sitting there already did. On top of this, there is probably very little flash that comes out of my .22 long guns, but I should take it outside and shoot it at night sometime to see. The report is minimal (relatively speaking), of course.

      I also agree that it appears that the cops pistols were used WAY out of effective range. I am sure it will eventually come out, but I am guessing as of now that the ratio of shots fired to hits on bad guys will be in the low single digits. I think one cop got hit, but I have yet to hear if that was from friendly fire, or the terrorists.

    13. T.K. Tortch Says:

      I wondered what would happen if you transplanted the Boston bombing and ensuing events to Atlanta. There are a lot of neighborhoods here where the Bombers might have been subjected to withering close-quarters flanking fire.

      I live close to the center of town; my neighbors are a mix of Black and White families and the tattooed hipster set. I know for a fact most of them are armed, including those ironic hipsters.

      If the Bombers just showed up on the street, most people would call the cops, grab their guns, and sit tight. But with the public outrage and manhunt, if the bombers started a shootout with the cops I can easily see a civilian going after them. You wouldn’t have to leave your house.

      The Police here know this. How do you handle that situation? As a matter of principle cops here have no problem with civilians protecting themselves with guns. But in a Bomber-style shootout scenario it could be a nightmare of confusion for them if third parties started popping off.

      Interesting times. Let’s hope such events don’t become so common we have to develop doctrine to deal with it. I can imagine the PSA’s — “When It’s Okay To Join Police In A Shootout With Terrorists”!

    14. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      As far as civilian aid to law enforcement, I just remembered an incident that took place a few decades ago. [I came into the aftermath, since I had to respond from well out of town.] Extremely dangerous state inmate escaped from the courthouse into town, and the alarm went out to the town on the local radio station, including description [he was wearing an orange jumpsuit]. Here in the west, we have irrigation ditches that are the size of good sized creeks back east, and they pre-exist many built up areas. One ran through what is now an upscale part of town. The inmate was spotted walking inside the bank of the ditch. All the locals came out, including some of the nearby upscale residents. Armed. With bloody everything. including at least one black powder pistol [Colt replica] and one hunting bow. The large and growing crowd held him at gun, and arrow, point until LEO’s got there. The joke afterwards was to the effect that if he had farted, they would have been mining lead out of the bank of the ditch for years.

      Out here, we consider it a sign of good civilian-police relations.

      Subotai Bahadur

    15. Jonathan Says:

      IIRC, in the Texas tower sniper incident in the 1960s armed citizens pinned down the sniper with gunfire, allowing police to approach his position.

      But, of course, the culture of police and ordinary citizens was different then from today’s Boston.

    16. Dan from Madison Says:

      “I can imagine the PSA’s — “When It’s Okay To Join Police In A Shootout With Terrorists”!” – now that is funny.

    17. Mike K Says:

      Subotai, no muzzle flash from a cross bow. I once operated on a cross bow shot through the heart. A land lady in an argument with a tenant. Close range, though.

    18. Dan from Madison Says:

      Jonathan – I think that is correct. If memory serves, the police in that incident only had pistols and shotguns.

    19. T.K. Tortch Says:

      There are a LOT of photos of this neighborhood completely shot up, from houses to cars to everything else.

      No kidding. People seem to be noticing this. Maybe they were thinking in terms of “suppressing fire” to keep the Bombers pinned down, though maybe not a good idea in a civilian neighborhood. More likely they just got excited and started blazing away.

      I also agree that it appears that the cops pistols were used WAY out of effective range.

      Gee, the squads of assault-rifle armed special police forces* must have been gnashing their teeth they weren’t on the scene. All that gear gone to waste.

      I have been disgusted for years now with the widespread adoption of quasi-military gear and outfits by various law enforcement agencies. I am skeptical that such gear has improved law enforcement or increased protection of law enforcement officers outside special duty units. It wouldn’t surprise me if this shootout gets used by municipalities all over the Country as an excuse to up-arm the local police.

      *Q: Are the rifles carried by such units select-fire or just semi-auto?

    20. Dan from Madison Says:

      “More likely they just got excited and started blazing away.” – I think that this is true. They are very lucky that they didn’t wound any civilians.

      I would guess that most of the cop rifles are select fire.

    21. Mike K Says:

      ““More likely they just got excited and started blazing away.” – I think that this is true. They are very lucky that they didn’t wound any civilians. ”

      Unlike the LAPD which went after two ladies in a pickup truck like it was Pearl Harbor or something.

    22. VXXC Says:

      May I ask how in this situation the bumbling incompetent police don’t know you’re the terrorists backup?

      Mind you I don’t think they’re bumbling or incompetent. Even from an soldiers perspective – mine. However the deadly people here apparently do.

      I think if the police are on the scene you don’t go sticking guns, crossbows, Compound bows out the window. If you do your life is forfeit.

      They wanted him alive. So he is.

      What happened around here? At Chicago Boyz? I mean I realize you want blood like all Red Blooded Americans justly do…but seriously? And don’t misdirect rage at the police. Good Heavens. They don’t elect the politicians. We do. And the Midwest can talk about it’s values all day long, when it comes pocketbook/election time you send us…Obama. I can run through a slew of issues. You wanna get vigilante why don’t you start in Chicago?

      I’m all for Deus Volt on the Takfiri and pretty damn reactionary [minus the racism, because I’m not going to be what Chris Matthews wants. At all].

      I’m sure the police would love to turn this cutie pie in Beth Israel [love it] inside out then pop him, which BTW is what the Iraqi cops did with the darlings we released. But when your own side will put you in jail and all conservatives really do is bitch, why should the Cops go to jail?

      We either allowed or elected a predatory government that has us as the game on a Jihad Safari reserve. It was the same in Iraq except we could shoot back – sort of. Under certain conditions.

      I am mindful we were born under this government but we haven’t done anything decisive about it.

      The Great Question as I put it is on a banner at the top of this page. Well, they DO TREAD ON YE. So now what?

    23. VXXC Says:

      They Tread on Ye. They ground their feet out on you and laugh. They burn our flag, piss and shit on our holy icons. They bring in foreigners to hunt you on Safari and degrade you strutting around in Abaya and other Mufti. They mock and insult your very parentage, implying ye are retarded progeny of incest. So now what? Molon Labe? They have an excellent chance of doing very exactly that…Molon Labe is merely words.

      Like Don’t Tread on Me.

      Talk.

    24. Dan from Madison Says:

      VXXC you do have some good points and I appreciate the comments – I just wish the good stuff wasn’t embedded in ten tons of crap.

    25. VXXC Says:

      Dan. Since apparently I can’t tell, what were the good points in above? As opposed to crap. Paragraph 2 was the brutal truth.

      Paragraph 1 reflects my admitted irritation that 1. People dump on cops and 2. People are advocating joining a police shootout in progress, and if you do you’d better hope they show restraint…a restraint that seems to be the chief complaint.

      They took little Jahil [ignorant] alive because they needed him to talk. Not because they missed.

      He’s probably regretting he’s alive as well, which is some comfort.

      As regards Blue States – I live in one – we all were born under this government. What we do about it is up to us.

    26. tyouth Says:

      I don’t think they “took him alive” VXXC, he was just one lucky SOB. Hmmm, come to think of it I could be wrong….maybe there’s some non-lethal rounds one can put through fiberglass boats that….nah, he’s lucky.

      Dan, that shot looks like it’s less than 100 feet, don’t you think? I’m not a particularly good shot but I think I could hit a cantaloupe 9 out of 10 times at that range without a scope with my 22′, withstanding the shaking hands, of course.

    27. Anonymous Says:

      Dan, I believe that VXXC is essentially correct about this, absent most of the rhetoric.

      Once the police are on scene, civilians should go. In Subotai Bahadur’s example, that’s what happened. Before they arrive, holding the guy makes sense. But for every well trained, careful civilian, there are several ill-trained, well-intentioned “guys with guns”. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of them in your life. If they start shooting, someone is going to get hurt, and in all likelihood they will be, too.

      In the Boston situation, I’m sure law enforcement wanted him alive, and if they had wanted him dead, he would be dead.

      My own opinion, for what it’s worth, is that local law enforcement personnel have been given too many military weapons and equipment. When you have these things, there’s a great amount of self-justification and pressure to use them. SWAT teams abound, when a smaller number of highly trained units would do a better job. Witness the many “mistakes” involving no-knock raids. A person I know very well was a sniper on a county SWAT team. He was highly qualified to do this, as he was a sniper in the Army and a weapons instructor at Ft. Carson. If only all SWAT members were so qualified. In any group of professionals, no matter what the profession, you have a bell shaped curve of levels of expertise. The police are no exception. You are a professional at what you do, and I’ll bet that within the group of people that you know who do the same work, you know some that you believe don’t measure up. In a deal like Boston, ALL the law enforcement types are going to be out there, so it’s no surprise that everyone with a gun wasn’t a sharpshooter.

    28. Mike Doughty Says:

      Sorry, that 7:58 comment was me.

    29. Kirk Parker Says:

      Inserting yourself into a tactical situation always bears risks. That is a given. If you start shooting, someone will likely start shooting back. And the odds are that it would be the police, because there are more of them already firing. And they would not know which side you were on.

      Yes, in general that’s very much the case. Police needing to thus insert themselves into incidents already in progress is exactly why police have a higher rate of shooting-the-wrong-guy than non-police do.

      But… did y’all see pictures before they were taken down? They were taken from the 3rd floor of this guy’s house–a very advantageous overlook position–looking at the terrorists from almost a 90 degree angle. The cops were out in the middle of the street at least half a block away, if not further. Depending on how the window opened, you might have been able to manage the shot while keeping the muzzle fully inside. Any muzzle flash the cops might have seen would have been fairly attenuated and transitory (ok, unless you were using your Mosin.) As for the jehadis, the one you hit wouldn’t have heard anything, of course, but the other guy–and even your target, if you missed–might not have seen any flash at all either because it was pretty far around in their peripheral vision. Certainly not enough to make a quick 90 degree turn and accurately locate you.

      VXXC,

      You think you’re defending the police, but if your explanation is accurate it makes it even worse. If they weren’t trying to stop the threat represented by the brothers shooting at them, why were they expending any rounds at all? Sounds like reckless endangerment or no justified use of force in that case.

    30. Mike K Says:

      The web site has now deleted the photos so there is no point in pursuing the matter.

    31. Skeptic Says:

      photos still on Yahoo cache at the moment.

      I’ve not taken the time or effort to build a timeline from information available to me, but my surmise is that the transit policeman injured in the shootout was the driver of the police SUV that crashed in the driveway of this house. It is plausible that no aid could get to him from the later-arriving police until the suspects were incapacitated.

      NRA-ILA has lists of armed citizens assisting police in a similar way, but they seem to be largely from more than a generation ago and in regions of the USA culturally different from New England. The most recent is Vic Stacy in Early, TX. from last year.

    32. Cris Says:

      This is the dumbest conversation I have seen on this blog. How many of you graduated from the Ag school?

    33. Dan from Madison Says:

      Cris – I think this conversation is actually quite informative and one that is needed. Some people think you could and can help the police in this situation, and some disagree. What is wrong with that?

      Tyouth – I also agree with you – with this amount of rounds fired, the surviving terrorist was pretty lucky, and the dead one got pretty much what he deserved. How that guy actually died is up for debate – like I said earlier, I am having an extremely hard time believing the Watertown police chief’s version of the events.

      Also, that shot was maybe 100 feet at worst, and like in the title of the post, a very easy shot to their heads with a .22 with a scope. Most of the flash would have been hidden, since like you said, the house was at a 90 degree angle from the cops.

      But the pros and cons of taking this type of action, especially in Massachusetts, are evident from the comment thread.

    34. Dan from Madison Says:

      I wonder if the owner of the photos took them down due to some sort of pressure by the cops. But they internet is forever, as they say, and if they aren’t cached somewhere, they will show up again.

    35. Mike K Says:

      “Cris Says:
      April 24th, 2013 at 5:13 am

      This is the dumbest conversation I have seen on this blog.”

      Well, since people began deleting PenGun’s comments, you haven’t much of a point.

    36. TMLutas Says:

      What you all are doing is describing an information problem, how do the police know that a new entrant into a volatile situation is friend or foe. In the heat of the moment, you can’t. If you prepare ahead of time, you can.
      1. Establish a police/civilian communications channel for volunteers. Yes, you can make an app for that.
      2. Establish standards for how good you have to be. Gun qualifications, hand to hand combat qualifications, observational skills and tactical awareness qualifications, it certainly would be a lot more socially useful than Farmville and probably more fun.

      So once a program like this is established, you end up showing up for your neighborhood crime watch and the local cops give you a flyer and you download the app and get qualified and are included in an extended web of trust. *Then* when you happen to be in the right spot at the right time, you can do something more productive than create a youtube video. Without all the preliminaries, the chances of things ending up badly go way up. I don’t even think that deep red jurisdictions are doing this sort of thing, though. We’re just not thinking in those directions at present.

    37. Robin Goodfellow Says:

      I’m going to sidestep the conversation here and focus on this one point,

      VXXC said “They wanted him alive. So he is.”

      This is a post-hoc fallacy. Listen to the video of the final confrontation with Johar, the cops unloaded guns on him. And they shot him in the neck. The fact that he lived is just sheer luck and has nothing to do with the actions of the police. There is no such thing as a non-lethal disabling gun shot to the neck. I’m imagining an officer giving orders: “we want him alive, aim for the neck!” it’s just ridiculous.

    38. Cris Says:

      Mike-Good point, and not too much sting. Thank you for only riposting to wound.

    39. Dan from Madison Says:

      Robin Goodfellow – I heard this morning for the first time on Bloomberg news that Johar was found in the boat unarmed. So much for that “self inflicted gunshot wound in the neck” nonsense that we have been hearing. I think that over time that a LOT of very embarrassing information will be found out on the performance of the police.