November 29, 2008

HMM: Mumbai photographer: I wish I’d had a gun, not a camera. Armed police would not fire back. “At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, ‘Shoot them, they’re sitting ducks!’ but they just didn’t shoot back.” This whole unwillingness to shoot business is becoming a problem. On a related note, see my earlier thoughts on this situation here.

UPDATE: Reader Jeff Brown emails:

Having a lot of people in a group carrying would increase the odds of having an armed person who is willing to engage the terrorists. This would not only provide resistance but also spur others, i.e., frozen police officers, to engage. In an emergency, the first person to engage is the catalyst to move the crowd from onlookers frozen by indecision to action, either to provide assistance or in situation such as Mumbai, to confront.

Force Science Institute research at Minnesota State University found that even naive shooters are effective in mid to close combat ranges that such an attack would entail. Their research covered police engagements with inexperienced shooters but it has relevance here. Even a complete neophyte can be effective in a gun fight. What is needed is a willingness to engage.

This should come as no surprise to readers of Jeff Cooper. Or even Robert Heinlein. I suspect the problem is that the Indian police were trained, or at least acculturated, not to shoot without orders. That’s an approach that doesn’t work in fast-moving situations like this one.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Related thoughts from SayUncle.

MORE: For those who didn’t get the Heinlein reference — shocking that such folk exist, but what can you do? — it’s this: “Get a shot off fast. This upsets him long enough to let you make your second shot perfect.”