Force Myths

An article about myths in the use of force.

I must admit, back in my earlier days I believed the myths. I mean, the media keeps feeding this stuff to us and the media never lies or distorts or furthers an agenda, right? They always present well-researched, correct, unbiased, and factual information, right?

The Demonstrative Bullet Fallacy

Hollywood is in large part to blame for this one. Thankfully some parts of Hollywood, like The Mythbusters, have busted a bunch of these myths.

The one that got me the most was “number of bullets fired.”  You hear about it all the time, that X number of bullets were fired with the implication that the more the bullets fired the worse the shooting was. Maybe, maybe not. But to me it now begs the question: if there’s a line to cross that says “too many” this implies there’s “just the right number”. So pray tell, what is that right number? Hint: one-shot stops are unrealistic.

The Code of the West

This one gets me as well. When you are fighting for your life, there are no rules, there is no code of honor to follow. If it’s a sport, if it’s a game, even if it’s two gentlemen dueling, sure there are rules and codes of conduct. But if someone is trying to harm me, my wife, my children… sorry, all things are fair, including cheating to win. Yes, this includes being “shot in the back”. I love how any time someone gets shot in the back it’s always pointed out in a news report. Why? If someone has put me in fear of my life and timing winds up such that they get a bullet in the back, that’s how it goes. There’s no sport here, there’s no gentlemanly agreement… they threw that out the door the moment they put me in fear of my, my wife, or my children’s lives.

So again, if there’s supposed to be some code of conduct in a life-or-death self-defense situation, someone please spell it out for me because evidently I’m unaware of it.

Violent Police – Violent Business

I never got into listening to police/fire/EMS scanners, but the few times I have listened I must admit, it’s kinda boring. Most things are so mundane. Furthermore, consider that you hear about some “big police matter” every so often. Consider there are hundreds of police on the street, every day, and there’s no big newsworthy event. What are the police doing at other times? Eating doughnuts I suppose, or maybe just going about normal business that involves no violence.


It’s a short article, but a worthwhile one to read as it works to dispell some common myths regarding use of force.

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