Thursday, October 15, 2020

Taking My Lickin' -- Learning From The Past

Rich Grassi had a recent post at the Tactical Wire titled "Learning from Old Resources". He begins his article:

    Found on YouTube in the Periscope Film account, Officer Down Code Three is a training film, released in 1975, an adaptation of the book written by Pierce R. Brooks. Of course, it’s of little relevance today because we know so much more, right?  
    Or perhaps we’ve simply forgotten. I saw the “okay boomer” comments that cops sure were lazy and careless in the 1970s. They didn’t look back on the Officer Down Memorial Page or they’d note that officers were apparently “lazy and careless” in the 1960s, the fifties, and before – back into the 19th Century. Of course, it’s easy for the keyboard commando to judge those who’ve gone before us.

    As an occupational group, we got heavily invested in what came to be known as the officer survival movement after fiascos like Newhall, amplified by events like Norco, FBI-Miami, North Hollywood and more. Now the mating cry of the clueless is “militarized police” or “cops assume the risk.” The latter is something not uttered when a violent criminal offender, already dying of an opioid overdose, passes away in custody; his name is stenciled onto the brain buckets of seven-figure game players.

    A look back, taken honestly with intent to learn, can provide lessons helpful for today.

The rest of the article has a good summary of some hard learned lessons from past incidents. 

    Perhaps I'm being vain, but I can't help but wonder if his comments were partially directed at me. Why do I think that? Because the photo at the beginning of Grassi's post is the cover of Bill Jordan's No Second Place Winner and the comment: "While it's not mentioned below, it's one of those 'dated' resources with valuable information. Learn what you can." I had linked to an online copy of that book on October 1 with a throwaway comment that the book would probably mostly be of interest to the historian because it illustrates older pistol fighting techniques. In my defense, I would point out that I generally only have time to quickly look at the table of contents and, perhaps, read only a bit, from the books that go into my E-Book Resources posts--otherwise, if I read each entry in its entirety, you would still be waiting for the first post to go up. And it was long ago, from a book called Stress Fire by a young upstart named Massad Ayoob, that I was taught why the old hip shooting was a terrible method for most people to use in defensive shooting. I read the first chapter of Jordan's book, looked at the table of contents, and skimmed the photographs in the book, but I didn't look to see if there was more than just how to shoot from the hip.

    Grassi is right: there are lessons to be learned from those that came before us, even if styles and techniques have change. And some past incidents, such as the Newhall shooting and the Miami shootout, fundamentally changed defensive shooting tactics and equipment and have been incorporated in the institutional wisdom of police and concealed carry trainers, and law enforcement agencies. I've discussed or, at least, mentioned those and other famous shootings because we can learn from them--much in the same way that modern military cadets and officers learn from studying past battles.


  1. Jordan's book is full of nuggets.
    As you read it, sift for them.
    The man was there and had plenty of shooting events on the river.
    You know, "been there, done that!" Just like Jim Cirillo.
    Hard learned lessons. Today's PC pols and money grubbing lawyers would have a field day with the aftermath of some of their shootings.

    1. Thanks. I'm going to print it up this weekend.

    2. Jordan was also in the USMC WWII.