A new “less lethal” option has been proposed for law enforcement to use. So now in addition to a firearm, mace, taser, flashlight, beanbag shotgun, etc., there is this thing.
Some people have stated “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” in regards to self-defense, meaning; If all you have is a gun, your only option is lethal force. This is true. But in a time of stress, while being assaulted, I don’t need to be faced with a decision of what item to use from whatever I happen to have on my Bat-belt at the time. Batman, from the campy show in the 70’s starring Adam West and Burt Ward, seemed to have the perfect solution to whatever situation he was in handy on his belt. The episode that sticks out the most in my mind was when Batman told Robin to get out his Bat-Shark repellent. Yeah, I carry shark repellent with me everywhere I go. You know, just in case.
I don’t carry pepper spray, or mace. Not that there is anything wrong with carrying it, I just want to limit my options so that if I am faced with some kind of threat, my decision making process is that much easier. I won’t have to fumble for something while I try to decide which level of force is appropriate to stop the threat facing me. I also don’t carry a utility belt like the police do or Batman did.
It seems that if we keep going down this path that eventually we will have so many options for attempting to deal with a situation that the laws around them will become just as confusing.
“We know you were defending yourself, but you used the wrong marker color in the gel-pack for the taser for Thursdays in March, and it didn’t match the incident confetti found at the scene, so because of this, we are going to have to charge you with assault and the person assaulting you that day is free to go. By the way, his family is suing you for mental anguish….”
Do we really want to go down that road? As a concealed carrier, if I am faced with a threat I don’t need a larger decision tree; I need a smaller one. I’m sure our law enforcement types could use a smaller decision tree too. My decision tree is very basic, and has to do with distance. I don’t carry anything that is “non-lethal” or “less-lethal.” I have a knife, and a gun. That’s it. My interactions with the public however are going to be very limited. I’m not a police officer. I don’t have to deal with some guy off his meds with a baby in a pappoose carrier holding a hatchet and threatening to kill all of the dogs in the neighborhood. I can walk away from that guy. The only members of the public I am absolutely forced to deal with, are proprietors of businesses, and I think it’s a fairly safe bet they don’t want to hurt me.
A police officer’s decision tree doesn’t need to have 137 options to deal with situations that they are forced to encounter. I think three options are plenty and can fall into three categories of use; Discouragement, Disablement, and Deadly force. Pepper spray or OC spray or mace or whatever you want to call it doesn’t really disable anyone. It is a discouragement tool, and that’s about it. A level up from there, would be a taser as a disabling tool. While it isn’t perfect, it can be an effective tool. And then if the situation warrants it, deadly force. In layman’s terms, a gun.
That’s three things on an officer’s utility belt, now add a radio, spare magazines, handcuffs, flashlight, and possibly a tiny first aid kit and you’ve pretty much filled up that officer’s Bat-belt and there isn’t any room to add shark repellent, or some stupid bozo bullet attachment thing, or any other harebrained idea for “less lethal” devices.
I think our officer’s have enough to deal with, trying to delicately handle the meth addict mom at the home improvement store who has decided that aisle 17 and the restroom look close enough to be interchangeable, and has 7 kids in tow while she uses the facility on display. Adding more “options” for them to have to decide through is not going to be helpful to anyone. Instead of dictating what our officers have to use, why don’t we let them decide what tools work the best. They are the ones doing the damn job after all.
(Disclaimer: I am not law enforcement. I never have been law enforcement. I am friends with several people in law enforcement and I do not envy the crap that they have to deal with on a daily basis.)