Why is this significant in a firearms column? Experts are only addressing the symptoms of violent crimes, not some of the social ills responsible for them. There is a cycle: people who attribute legal gun ownership to part of the crime problem push for more restrictions. Firearms become more restricted to persons who would acquire them legally. Crime statistics do not reflect the original intent of those who restricted ownership. People attribute legal gun ownership to part of the crime problem.
The policing issue that needs to be addressed here is a renewed application of social organization, which looks politically like an increase in social contracts. The basic principle of community policing is the fact that the police cannot solve the crime problem alone. The community has to partner with law enforcement and social institutions to reduce crime. The litmus test is when informal social institutions begin to work.
The problem with high crime areas? Informal institutions have to generally trust the government enough to partner with it, not rely on the government to resolve the problem. This collective efficacy has its most successful application under mayor Giuliani’s (and Chief William Bratton’s) massive social experiment, the application of Broken Windows (see the LET March 2010 article, “Zone Defense”). Although the uninspired have reduced this theory to “zero tolerance” the real power is collective efficacy.
Zombies, my favorite trend
My favorite trend has benefited civilian and law-enforcement firearms training alike. It seems that everyone has been preparing for a zombie invasion of one kind or another. This, of course, has been popularized by recent television shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead.
Reputable gun schools have taken this concept and added preparation for zombie invasion to their repertoire of classes. It makes perfect sense. Most zombie experts know that body shots are generally ineffective, but they have a tendency to slow down “walkers.” Therefore, training for the zombie invasion teaches students failure drills.
Some of the schools in my area have been using Zombie Industries’ reactive targets for some drills and their paper targets for others. This kind of stuff has added to the enthusiasm of target training, which adds to the pool of safe firearm users.
There are two schools of thought here. Some might find it distasteful to use zombie targets for training. Others find it to be a redirect from actually using human torso targets. Regardless, it has improved the overall efficacy of shooters and I think it is a viable trend.
The CDC has taken the zombie thing seriously, too. Recently, the Halo Corp. has been contracted to train about 1,000 military and governmental personnel in the coming zombie invasion. Although this could be taken as tongue-in-cheek, it is actually a serious multi-agency multi-hazard drill approach. Given the Halo Corporations reputation for excellent training, I would like to see this one myself. The CDC has even produced a novella called “Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic”. Anyone who wishes to read up on the zombie invasion, try the book “Surviving the Zombies: Things the CDC Didn’t Know” by Frank Borelli.
I guess the other benefit here is fitness. There are several sponsors who have produced some great fitness runs that include zombies, which runners must avoid. By this time, everyone knows that I am a believer in fitness and firearms training. After all, I do actually drive an official Zombie Escape Vehicle. The only difference between mine and the real thing is I got the one that will hold a full-size rifle.
I wish everyone the best for the holiday season. I’ll see you all at the 2013 SHOT Show.
Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer who teaches at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.