This is Sparta! (aka: Don’t Bring a Foot to a Gun Fight)
On Thursday of last week we had an interesting experience at Artemis. One of our corporate clients was here for a very specialized form of training. These guys take CEOs and other “captains of industry” who are having issues in their personal lives and puts them through a sort of “boot camp for manliness”. One of the evolutions involves coming to Artemis and going through a scenario on the 300.
These guys have absolutely no idea what they are about to experience. They are literally brought in blind, given a lecture about making hard choices, and then one at a time brought into the lab. There, one of our instructors puts a holster on them and instructs them that he is putting a “weapon” into the holster with a round loaded in the chamber. Some of these guys have never been in the same room with a weapon before. Nervous and scared, they are brought onto the 300 and told their wives is being held hostage when suddenly a scenario starts with a woman being held hostage and a bad guy pointing a gun at her head.
The reactions are interesting.
Some immediately go for their gun and successfully stop the threat. Some freeze and watch in horror as their “loved one” is executed in front of them… a direct result of their failure to act.
Then we have the guy from Thursday.
Knowing full well that he had a gun on his hip, he chose, instead, to physically attack the video projection… putting his foot through the drywall on the 300.
(In case you are wondering… this was not an effective method for saving the hostage.)
The 300 was easy to repair… but it did bring up an interesting philosophical point that I want to discuss: the immorality of less than lethal. Yes… there may be times when the choice to use less than lethal is actually an immoral act.
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First off, there is never a legal duty to intervene. Failure to engage, even for law enforcement, has no legal consequences. That is not to say that there may not be employment-related consequences, psychological consequences, and certainly philosophical consequences… but there will never be criminal culpability imputed to the individual who fails to use deadly force.
That said, failure to act, or worse, an action that is undertaken for the express purpose of attempting to preserve the life of the assailant may be immoral.
Let me explain:
The subject encounters a victim who is about to be executed by a criminal. The subject is in possession of a firearm. Rather than shoot the criminal, thereby saving the life of the victim, he chooses to use physical combatives. Worse… he tries to shoot the criminal in the arm or leg, in an attempt to preserve the criminal’s life.
We can all agree that the victim has a 100% “right to exist”. That right is being threatened by the criminal who is prepared to execute the victim. The subject, not wanting to take the life of another, attempts to shoot the criminal in the leg, figuring that both victim and criminal can now survive the experience.
But what is really going on here?
We agree that the victim has a 100% right to exist… and by shooting the criminal in the largest target possible (center mass) he has, let’s say a 90% chance of successfully stopping the threat. (I am specifically avoiding the discussion of shutting down the neural pathway by taking out the medulla oblongata… suffice to say for the purposes of this discussion, a center mass shot affords the highest probability of success.) Instead, the subject goes for the leg, a smaller target, and one that decreases the possibility of a successful stopping shot. Let's say, for the purposes of academic discussion, the center mass shot has a 90% chance of success, and the leg shot has a 70% chance of success. The third alternative… doing nothing or going physical, has a 50% chance of success.
So… while the victim has a 100% right to continued existence, the subject is prepared to take that right away, and give it directly to the criminal for his benefit.
The formula goes like this: Take 20% away from the victim, and give it directly to the criminal by shooting the leg instead of center mass.
So… in order to ensure the criminal has the highest potential of survival….the subject is going to rob the victim of a percentage of his chance of surviving the experience.
Again… this is being done for the sole and pure benefit of the criminal… and the victim suffers the increased risk as a result of this.
Fundamentally, that is an immoral act.
(It also damages our equipment.)