Saturday, 30 July 2011

A look back at Norway

I didn't comment on the Norway massacre. One tends to find oneself repeating previous comments on similar incidents almost ad nauseum; But in my profile I do mention that I spent many years as a tactical firearms team officer and I was an instructor and tactical adviser, so here I go again:

A good shot with a humble .22 sporting rifle (found in thousands of country homes up and down the UK) and pockets full of easily carried ammunition, could kill and maim dozens and dozens, including the responding police, be they armed response vehicle crew or the unarmed 99%,  just as Ryan did in Hungerford and he had an AK47 military rifle. Isn't a .22 tiny? Relative to full bore ammunition, yes, but its a bit like asking which bullet will kill you best. Range of a .22? If he could see you, he could hit you, its as simple as that. Once contained he'd continue to be extremely dangerous to the police who would do well to keep him contained and either starve him or let the negotiators bore him to suicide or surrender.
There are no police teams sat waiting to be deployed to such incidents in a Chinook helicopter or any other helicopter, anywhere in the world, as far as I know. If we want to improve the impression that we take public and officer safety seriously, we could provide quicker access to long arms for the non tactical firearms trained police, but its no cure and would require a big chunk of money (not that this is reason not to). Thats the way we live.


Anonymous said...

I used to love the comments I got when I was on firearms and then as a bronze/silver commander. 'It's only a shotgun'was frequently heard and from a senior officer ' Do you have to use such big guns?'. In response to the second I would usually reply 'Do you tell the underwater search unit what flippers to use?'
From my public order, firearms and CBRN cadre days I am convinced that a lone gunman or even worse a team of trained gunmen would inflict far more harm in a crowded place than most IED's. I am not convinced by the argument that if the public were allowed to carry guns for self defense this would not happen.
As an aside when you were in firearms did you notice that every time you went to do a dig out the neighbours would always say something along the lines of 'He's ex SAS/Marines/Paras/Foreign legion but got chucked out because he was too tough for them. What we normally dragged out was a ten stone stick insect saying 'I'm tougher than you lot'.
Do I miss it? No.

Suz said...

The bottom line is, these things happen because some people are just plain nuts. A well-trained, armed population may or may not be a deterrent, and may or may not be able to stop an active shooter sooner (the armed bystanders in the Gabrielle Giffords shooting were unable to use their guns.)

The police response probably would have been faster in the U.S; that is the upside to the war-on-drugs/war-on-terror, which also has a huge downside: the hyper-militarization of our police. Ask Jose Guerena's widow how well that's working.

In the end, Mr. Psycho was stopped by a handful of unarmed, trained, and THINKING kids, who had the good sense to use the resources at hand. A good solution to a bad problem.

I'm a proponent of gun rights, but I don't see this as a gun issue. The gun was merely a tool in the hands of a man determined to kill, as was the bomb.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Anon ex: I concur and, yes, I experienced all of that old guff! Strangely, one of my biggest concerns wasn't the armed blaggers but the lone gunman with a .22 rifle, who knew how to use it. The two men I had in my unit who really were `Hereford` never told a soul (and one of them was a 10 stone racing snake). As for the helpful intel from the divisionals, that made me chuckle. The last one who told me the `X` only had a .410 or a .22 "used for killing rats", got treated to our wound ballistics photo gallery. One Supt at a briefing even asked me if we could make the first round in our mags a blank!!!

Suz: How wise your comments are. "Unarmed, trained, thinking kids" using "good sense and resources" resolves most issues. Sadly, those virtues were in short supply in the senior ranks during my latter days in the police. To echo Anon ex above, `do I miss it? The worst dream I have these days is the one where I think I'm still in the job.

TonyF said...

I used to like the SLR. Hide behind a wall sir? No point 'cos I can still shoot you, through the wall.

A .22 air rifle can kill. Actually, a .177 can too.

What is always forgotten in such cases is that the 'pundits' measure everyone else by their own morals/experience. In the case of a lone madman (Insane perhaps, but not incapable)he only has to be lucky once. In Spamland, even if everyone had been armed, 9/11 would still have happened. In Norway, the murderer made a plan. A good plan. He used his knowledge and did the maximum damage, and survived. Imagine what the rabid godbotherers are now thinking? They don't event want to survive.

CI-Roller Dude said...

My thoughts after studing this sort of thing for many years, and teaching college, school staff and police officers how to respond to such insande events...
We don't need gun control, we need mental health control. In most but not all cases, the shooter was a known mental case. We need to better train cops and the public to see the danger signs with these nuts.
And, My Opinion, in the US...we need to allow more good honest citizens to carry concealed weapons for such events. One well trained citizen with a good pistol could have ended many of these incidents. (in most cases in the US, the nut has already killed many, then kills themselves before the cops arrive.)