"They're out there!" Like a line from a scary B-movie about violent creatures bent on the destruction of the good guys, "they" (violent criminal suspects) are indeed out there--ready and willing to attack and kill us--unless we prepare and train.
This year has not been kind to law enforcement. Officers killed in action by violent suspects have exceeded years past going back to the 1970s.
Craig W. Floyd, Chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund states, "we are now seeing a spike in fatal shootings of officers...cases which have generally been declining in recent years." The NLEOMF reports that "preliminary data indicate 101 local, state and federal law enforcement officers were killed between January 1 and June 30, 2007, an increase from the 70 officers who lost their lives during the same period of 2006. The last time the mid-year total was that high was 1978, when there were 105 officer deaths. By year-end that year, 213 officers had been killed in the line of duty. In 2006, the year-end total was 145."
America's Most Violent
Recently multiple officers have been shot and killed by hyper-violent offenders. Armed with police-equivalent weaponry and no hesitation to shoot, these offenders must be the new paradigm that we need to train for. As trainer Tony Blauer states on the theory of "presumed compliance," "Don't presume the suspect will comply; presume they will not comply."
Examples of hyper-violent offenders are the prison gangs that inundate the corrections system. Whether it's the Mexican Mafia, Nazi Low Riders, MS-13 or the Aryan Brotherhood, these suspects train and school at prisons, the modern equivalent of Gladiatorial schools, are intensely violent whether on the inside of our most secure state and federal prisons, or out on the street when they are released upon society. Recently while watching the History Channel(tm) I saw a special about the Aryan Brotherhood (AB). With a motto of "blood in/blood out" (referring to the requirement to commit murder to get into it and being the victim yourself if you try to quit), this gang has wreaked havoc and mayhem on the penal system. Michael Thompson, according to both the History Channel and a video from National Geographic you can view on YouTube.com, was one of the worst of the AB. Thompson, by his own admission, has killed 22 men inside prison walls. Says Thompson, "I'm probably one of the most violent individuals you'd ever meet in your life. No brag, just fact, it's that simple. I'm not the kind of man you want to underestimate." Truer words could not be spoken, but how do you prepare to meet and defeat these suspects when you come into violent contact with them?
No Opportunity for Surprise
Predators like Thompson and others of his ilk are sociopaths that live out a parasitic existence on society. And although you can't (and hopefully wouldn't want to, if you could) think like a sociopath, you can develop a warrior mindset and condition your awareness and perception abilities to their fullest. Gavin De Becker in his book The Gift of Fear talks about survival signals, those subconscious gut instincts that tell you something is amiss, even though your logical conscious mind is insisting that everything is okay. We need to understand and listen to this sixth sense cop instinct, and enable it by constantly scanning our environment and be aware of what is going on around us. What is that suspect telling you when they are not responding to your commands? What is that body language telling you about his state of readiness and attack preparation? What is the stance and attitude of those suspects on the street telling you as you approach to check them out? In poker, from what I understand, a "tell" is a subconscious action that a player manifests that you can read to your benefit. On the street, what are the "tells," and how can you read them? Remember, as someone once said, "Life is a 360 degree live-fire environment."