Friday, February 1, 2008

Read: "Into the Kill Zone" by David Klinger

Read: Into the Kill Zone by David Klinger, 2004, 0787973750.

Pretty good. Klinger spoke with a cross section of officers who had been involved in shootings and collected their oral histories here. Incidents include hostage rescue, warrants, crazy dudes out of nowhere and suicide by cop.

Klinger groups the stories in order of applying for the job, initial training and realization that you may have to shoot someone, experience, close calls, shooting incidents, aftermath. The aftermath matches what I've read and been told about before. Officers in the book covered the extremes of never fully recovering to no lasting effect at all.

All the usual rules apply and the officers' experiences remind and reinforce what to do. Handguns are not guaranteed to put a guy down. Front sight focus. Distance equals safety. Time slowing down into slow motion during shooting. Tunnel vision. Auditory exclusion. So on. So forth.

Interesting tidbits:

Guy is shot and runs into a housing project and takes an ambush position. Officers do not follow on the judgement call of the senior officer who wants to check on the victim. Crook waits in ambush for a bit until a back-up unit arrives. Crook then starts walking off to collapse and bleed out.

One officer is kidnapped by an escaped prisoner and has his weapon taken. Second officer finds them in a clearing within a large, wooded area. First officer grabs his weapon (revolver) by the cylinder so convict cannot fire it. Second officer sprints across clearing and fires as he collides into the other two. Crook is a fat fuck and "the round had gone in at an angle on one side of his belly, traveled between the dermis of the skin and peritoneum, and went out the other side. It never entered his abdominal cavity, so it was basically just a superficial wound."

Two patrol officers respond to crazy woman with knife. Crazy woman is at her doorway and disappears inside. She comes back out waving a eight inch blade knife around. Lowers knife to her side, then raises it again, throws it and the knife sticks in the skull of one of the officers. Officer reminisces, "I was thinking, 'This is the most embarassing thing I've ever been in.' I mean, everyone was staring at me, and I've got a knife in my head. I felt like Friday the 13th or something."

Training officer and his probationary officer get in a fight for their lives at a traffic stop. Both officers are shot and seriously injured but recover. Training officer is recovered and out with a second probationary officer when a suspect runs. Suspect is caught under car and starts fighting with probationer cop. Training officer knocks suspect down, suspect grabs officer's weapon so officer fires shooting the crook in hand. Probationer yells, "I'm shot." Training officers thinks, "Oh, my God, here's another partner, another probationer, shot." Fired round went through crook's hand, off crook's head, into partner's hand.

Great thinking by SWAT cop during home invasion. Team enters house and contains crook and victims in kitchen. Officer is around the corner and steps onto a lower stairway step and braces his MP-5 against the wall at height of crook's head. Crook is taller than female hostage and wearing a blue ski mask. After a couple minutes of screaming the crook pokes his head around the corner, officer sees blue blur and crook gets two .40 rounds in the face.

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