19 Oct 13

Anyone who has ever read the “manual” that comes with guns, chainsaws, lawnmowers, aspirin, toasters, or anything else dangerous, knows that new owners are highly discouraged from ever using the product at all, under any circumstance, and are further informed that, when anything bad happens as a result of such use, all conceivable liability is entirely born by the owner/user, leaving the designer, manufacturer, evaluator, distributor, retailer, promoter, et al innocent as driven snow!

Of course, and not surprisingly, lawyers who write all that impossible mumbo-jumbo are hired by, and paid by, jittery manufacturers. It is for their benefit, not yours!

Police department “policy” falls largely into the same category, and is written by the same people. Impossible “standards” are established, standards that no reasonable person could ever aspire to, nor would want to in many cases. Everyone knows it is mostly BS, and, to no one’s surprise, “work-arounds” are quickly adopted by individual officers, and groups of officers, the purpose of which is to radiate the appearance of compliance, while, out of sight, blatantly violating the policy when good sense, and personal safety, demand it. SOP in many big departments. Of course, those up the food-chain piously pretend to know nothing of all this!

Such “accepted fraud,” is widespread as noted, and has been necessitated by our litigaphobic society, where personal-injury attorneys are constantly on the prowl for cash-generating torts, real or imaginary, that are somewhere connected to a deep-pocket. “Justice” has, long since, been forgotten entirely!

“Tort-reform” is talked about constantly, but is unlikely, because there are too many benefitting from our flawed System as it is, and thus want it to never change.

On the subject of guns, admonitions like “… and never load your gun until an instant prior to wanting to shoot it,” and “… never store guns and ammunition in the same zip code,” ad nauseam are, of course, ridiculous on their face, but one can read it, and similar nonsense, all day long. For people constantly frightened of lawyers, honesty and truth are always the first casualties.

“What if I want to carry my gun routinely for personal protection?” “Shouldn’t it be loaded and ready to fire all the time?”

Questions like that are “subject-non-grata” for manual-writers. Seldom will one find anything close even mentioned, despite the fact that many consumers buy guns for precisely that purpose.

Similarly, “policy” that categorically prohibits any police officers from being armed during certain kinds of training, never even address the subject of keeping defenseless instructors and trainees safe from criminals. Nor, does it address the subject of how, nor where, officers are to “secure” live guns, nor how, when, and where they are to re-arm themselves, nor, as mentioned above, who protects them in the interim. All are “subjects-non-grata!” It is cynically left to individual instructors and officers to “… work all that out.”

To no one’s surprise, when it all goes in the toilet, those up the food-chain scurry around looking for suitable scapegoats, while simultaneously, and oh-so self-righteously, declaring their own “astonishment” and, of course, innocense! Interviews predictably start with, “… and no one was more surprised than I …,” ad nauseam.

It is left to trainers, like me, who don’t have political agendas to protect, to tell students the real truth, straight-out, agenda-free, and unembellished.

Understandably, students are concerned with risks, from both directions, so I usually conclude my lecture with this:

“Imagine you are murdered in the line of duty, and the chief goes to your widow’s home in order to give her the news. He concludes with, ‘… however, at the instant your husband took his last breath, he was in full compliance with all our regulations.’ I’m sure she’ll find that fact oh-so comforting!”

There is a point where policy, rules, regulations, et al end, and just plain people and common sense begin. We forget at our peril!

“Sometimes, we must not do what is expected. We must do what is right.”