Instead Of Swat
From Brasscheck <>
There have been four generations of law enforcement in my family from my great grandfather Patrick who walked a beat in New York City armed with only a billy club, to my cousin Danny who is a detective with the Suffolk County Police. So, far from being a knee jerk critic of law enforcement, I am probably more sensitive than most civilians about the hazards of the profession.
Law enforcement is hazardous not only physically, but also psychologically. Because of the nature of the work, line officers are often commanded to assume roles and do things that put them at odds with the public, and even their own consciences, for example disrupting legal demonstrations, arresting people for trivial offenses, and, sadly in this corrupt time of ours, looking the other way when their superiors (i.e. politicians) are violating the law.
It is for this reason that I believe police officers should receive more vacation time than the typical civil service job and more thorough training. Police work, after all, is a paramilitary profession. In the military training is constant, and rightly so. Unfortunately, in police work training is minimal at best and serious, ongoing training is the exception, not the rule. Given the demands of the job, it wouldn't be excessive for the average police officer to receive at least one month or more of training per year in addition to generous vacation time in which to recharge their batteries.
I am not talking, by the way, about SWAT training. Law enforcement experts who know more about the subject than I do, tell me there is already more than enough of that going on and some of it is quite badly done. Certainly the performance of SWAT teams nationwide is nothing to brag about. In addition to the cost of maintaining 30,000 SWAT teams (yes, that is how many of them there are now), they have been involved in many gruesome "accidents", in which poorly trained and supervised SWAT units have invaded wrong addresses and even killed innocent people. There was even a case recently in California in which a heavily armed 12 man SWAT team raided an empty apartment to serve a summons and managed to kill one of its own members.
No, the training our police need and deserve is in solid, common sense police work: dealing with the public, handling domestic disputes, operating their weapons and other equipment safely, conducting investigations, restraining distraught people without injuring them, using force other than armed force with a high level of skill. I'm talking here about well designed, challenging, and interesting training, by the way, not mind numbing training forced on officers merely to fill bureaucratic requirements. One way to insure quality would be to allow the private sector to offer trainings and give officers vouchers to pay for them as well as the time "off" needed to need to take it. Let the officers chose their trainers and the good, effective training will drive out the bad very quickly. And if the best training happens to be in places like Hawaii or Florida, so be it. Politicians and judges get these kind of perks all the time. Why not our law enforcement people?
I was shocked to read about New York police officers recently shooting and killing a mentally unbalanced man who was armed only with a hammer. Taking a hammer away from mental patient is almost as easy as taking candy from a baby, and the more wildly he swings it, the easier it is to do. Any police officer who needs a firearm to deal with such a situation is in desperate need of some very basic martial arts instruction. It's a hazard to the public and to the officers themselves not to be well trained in such skills.
Like it or not, police work, by its very nature, is not a "normal" profession. It puts extreme demands on the officers and their families. Not much can be done about this fact of life. We should be glad that so many decent people are attracted to the work and are willing to pay the price. One thing we can do, however, is insure that police have access to all the training they need, that continuous, meaningful training be a prerequisite for staying in the profession, and that the officers and their families get generous "time outs" so they can enjoy large blocks of time living the way "normal" people do.
This program would cost some money, yes, but we'll have a better, more effective police force for it. Our society needs this far more than we need more Pentagon surplus weaponry and half baked SWAT team dramatics. There are a lot of good people in law enforcement and it only makes sense to give them our full support in reaching a state of excellence at what they signed up to do: to serve and protect.
Brass Check -
From hobans < To Ken McCarthy < 2-21-00
You are correct that it is relatively easy to take an object away from someone who is swinging it wildly, but relatively covers a lot of area.
Police Officers are not given effective Martial Arts training in most districts because of the liability involved. Moving non-compliant subjects who are passively resisting is what most of law enforcement "Defensive Tactics" consists of.
Also mental subjects are often extremely difficult to handle even if proper leverage and force is applied. There is one subject that comes to mind that nearly killed 4 officers here in WA state. His weapon? Nothing. He with no martial arts training and no other weapons battered two police cruisers, literally totaling one of them, and the 4 officers. 3 of whom were hospitalized. He died of heart failure after collapsing after his hours long berserk frenzy. Another case you may have heard of was the two professional wrestlers who nearly killed and did permanently disable two veteran police officers again with their bare hands.
Even with proper training a hammer can and will kill you. There are a number of non-lethal restraint methods available however the brass are afraid of liability again and lawyers and civil libertarians find them to be cruel and intrusive.
If you believe you can take away a club, hammer, gun or knife from a subject, without either of you getting injured in the real world, write about it in Hollywood and make a movie. Even experienced and careful martial artists when facing an armed subject are often injured or killed, that's why Samurai carried swords instead of walking around like Kwai Chang Caine. Incidentally even the Shaolin usually carried a staff when venturing out.
How do I know this, because I am a martial artist with over 30 years of experience and a police officer. I have had to disarm subjects armed with clubs and knives on several occasions and I am lucky enough to be alive. With anything less than several years of training you will not find anyone who can take a weapon away from a subject without injuring either of you. What looks good in a Dojo or Do Jang doesn't always work. I have sustained cuts, abrasions and serious bruising in the line of duty however. And if an officer becomes a casualty, who has he helped?
From: Ken McCarthy <
Re: Martial Arts training and Police Officers
Here I am advocating more vacation time and more paid training time for police and I get a letter like yours.
I was talking about a hammer wielded by a skinny lunatic. Not a club, or a knife, or a car, or two professional wrestlers.
There is no reason to shoot a deranged man threatening you (not attacking you) with a hammer. If I did, I'd go to jail. These morons do it and the mayor goes on the 7 PM news defending them. The question is why these guys can't do their job without killing people. Please don't muddle the issue by throwing it all sorts of irrelevant issues.
And yes, I have taken a knife away from someone because I ascertained the guy was an idiot. And no I don't advise anyone else doing it and if attacked with a knife, I wouldn't blame a cop for using his sidearm.
Let me lay it out for you. I see so called police officers drunk on duty or so hung over and ravaged by alcohol abuse they're not worth a damn. I see others so out of shape they can barely climb a flight of stairs. Then there are the young ones who by their demeanor and bulk appear to all the world to be steroid abusers. Yet there are no drug tests for police.
I've seen police officers beat unarmed people who are offering no resistance. I've seen police alter accident reports (fatalities) to help out politically connected people. I recently assisted a 22 year old girl who was punched out by an officer for no reason except his bad mood. Protected by the lying public affairs office, this scumbag carried on a televised smear campaign against her. Until the witnesses showed up. Seven of them, including the vice president of a software company and a grandmother. His penalty? A $1500 judgement,n not a fine, which the city paid for him. Civil liberties advocates my ass. That's a fantasy. One of out 10,000 people ever sees justice when they are abused by police officers in this country. The families of entirely innocent people murdered in cold blood have to spend years in the courts to see any kind of compensation and most give up.
I've also seen police officers shoot pepper spray directly in the face of handcuffed people who showed no resistance. And don't get me started on the cowardly thugs who went berserk in Seattle during the WTO meeting (Read my report:
There was a time in this country's history when law officers would not participate in strike breaking or beating up peaceful demonstrators. Now without resistance, every urban force in this country is available to harass and brutalize strikers, not to mention peaceful demonstrators. It's a disgrace.
Please don't carry on about all the risks police officers face. Cab drivers are more likely to be killed in the line of duty and sanitation workers more likely to sustain a disabling injury. No one cries for them or hangs the flag at half mast when they die. "Cuts, abrasions and serious bruising" You have got to be pulling my leg. What the hell do you think you signed on for, ballroom dancing!
And this has got to be some kind of a joke:
"There are a number of non-lethal restraint methods available however the brass are afraid of liability again and lawyers and civil libertarians find them to be cruel and intrusive."
I have seen young women who were not violent put in restraints that would have gotten me thrown out (or probably beaten up) in any dojo in this country if I had tried them on a fellow student. Take a look at at a few examples:
And *years* to learn how to disarm someone with a hammer? How about a couple of hours. Well trained attendants in mental institutions have to do this kind of thing all the time and they do it for the most part without injuring or brutalizing people. And, they get bruised too, but I've never heard one of them moan about it. Maybe it's because they don't have politically connected unions that cover their asses no matter what evil or incompetent thing they do.
I'm calling for more training and training as a lifelong requirement to try to save the profession from becoming despised by the average citizen who is losing patience with the excuses and the arrogance.
How the hell can anyone seriously be arguing against this?
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 19:20:30 -0500
From: Brasscheck <
Subject: hammers and other hazards
I'm beginning to believe based on the mail I've gotten on this that the state of the art in unarmed fighting skills in this country is very, very low. I always thought I was a pretty lame fighter compared to some of my friends, but nothing could have prepared me for these responses.
hello ken, i was reading an article u had placed on the sightings website and saw one thing there i greatly disagree with, i, of course am not being critical of you or attempting to upset you, rather an adult disagreement, the part about the officer shooting the mentally disturbed person armed with a hammer, if you honestly feel this was no danger to the officer i will feel sorry for you if you are ever confronted with the same situation, that hammer will kill you as quickly as a gun, the fact that he was swinging it wildly makes it even more dangerous,
That's just not true. When he's waving a hammer, the guy only has one dangerous arm. There's a whole side of his body he can't cover effectively. You step to that side and clock him. There's nothing mystical about it. Yes, if you stand there and get beat on with a hammer you're in BIG trouble. That's why God gave us legs to step off the line of attack.
A hammer is a pathetic weapon. It's very short, the business end has no cutting or penetrating edge, you have to wind up to use it, it over-focuses you on one side. Of course, if someone is a trained killer, OK, you've got a problem. This guy wasn't.
i took ninjitsu from a local trainer and learned that martial arts training in the dojo has nothing to do with what happens on the street, my trainer was named joe crumly, he is now the district attorney in the area, he is an 8th dan from the grandmaster in japan, he is also a firearms instructor, he taught us if confronted our first option is to run,
What the heck kind of police officer would this be? And no you can't use whatever force you want. You have to use reasonable force. Shooting a nut with hammer is overkill. He hadn't hit anybody. He was just threatening.
if not possible to run then use whatever means neccessary to disable this armed man, a police officers job is not to get himself crippled for life or killed by an armed man, i myself am a well trained boxer
Well for goodness sakes, then you know better than anyone else that a one armed fighter is hamburger. Imagine a guy who keeps one arm by his side and waves the other one up and down. That's what a nut waving a hammer is. As a trained boxer, you can't do something with that?
and was told by more than one officer that in a confromtation with myself, given i assaulted them, myself unarmed, they would be justified in shooting me
at that time due to the threat to their health, i just want to beg you if you are ever confronted with a man wielding a hammer please do not attempt to disarm him empty handed, some things look good in the dojo but do not work in the street, thanks for your time, v
If confronted by a man with a hammer and I had to do something about it, I'd step to the side without the hammer and do any number of things to him. It's not brain surgery. This is one of the easier things to deal with. Try it out. You're a boxer. You've studied with a 8th dan ninjitsu whatever that is. Work on it with a partner and a plastic bottle. This is simply not as hard has you are making it out to be. If you think it's a big deal, give me $100 and I'll show you how it works. You can use a real hammer. It will be easier for me because you'll be unbalanced. Don't blame me if it only takes 10 minutes to learn what to do. .

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