Lessons we can learn from dash-cam footage of a knife-wielding assailant

Take a look at this dashcam footage of a guy pulling out a knife and attacking a deputy during a traffic stop.

There’s much we can learn from this.

First, take a read of PoliceOne’s examination of the footage (and another video of it). (h/t Karl)

Situational awareness. The Deputy was aware of his situation, tho it’s arguable he could have been better aware. I’m guessing the assailant was walking down the road towards the traffic stop, out of view of the dashcam. Then… out of nowhere he goes crazy, pulls the knife, and attacks. It was good that 1. the assailant hesitated (suicide by cop? act of a crazed loon?), 2. the Deputy did see him when he did. You can see how quickly things unfold, how quickly things can go south and the flag can fly. We aren’t supermen… we will fall into “condition white”, we will fail at being situationally aware. We’re human. We can only strive to do our best.

The Deputy moved. It’s better to not get shot (or stabbed) than it is to shoot. As soon as the Deputy registered what was going on (as soon as his OODA loop kicked in on this), he moved. He “got off the X”. While going backwards is not ideal, it’s all he could do with a car on his right and unknown traffic to his left. That was good situational awareness — he knew where he had to go, and went there. Moving bought him time, time enough to draw his gun.

3 yards, 3 seconds, 1 shot. So, lower than the statistical average by 2 shots, but still… there’s your average.

What was this guy’s motive? Who knows… and who cares. Well, in the aftermath we care as the legal system does what it needs to do. But in the moment? Who cares. It doesn’t matter WHY someone is attacking you, just that they are attacking you and you need to get them to stop. Don’t worry about the why… worry about keeping yourself alive and stopping the attack, so you can be around later to ask why.

The Deputy shot “right”. That is, he shot to stop the assailant. No “shoot to kill”. He shot, the attack stopped, that was it.

For those that wish to ban guns or look down on guns for self-defense, I ask you what you would do in this situation. I reckon the attacker had something against police, given the history the videos tell us. But so what? Maybe the attacker will have something against women… or against blacks… or against gays… or against you just because you look funny. Or maybe they’ll have no rational reason at all, which seems possible given this video. So someone gets up close to you, pulls a knife, and lunges at you. What are you going to do? If you think violence is wrong, then you’re dead. If you think fighting back is wrong, then you’re dead. If you think shouting “NO!” is going to make him stop, then you’re dead…. because if I’m close enough to palm strike him in the nose, he’s close enough to stab me. Sometimes violence is the right answer (it took me years to accept that). Sometimes a gun is the right technological solution — it overcomes distance, which is my friend when being attacked by someone with a knife; it gets people to stop doing what they’re doing, which is attacking me.

There’s a lot we can learn from this video. Watch it over and over. Learn what you can.

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