The Will to Survive

Greg Ellifritz writes up what he took from a lecture:

… by retired police Lieutenant Brian Murphy. Lt. Murphy [who] was the first officer on the scene of the Sikh temple active killer massacre in Wisconsin back in 2012. Lt. Murphy was shot FIFTEEN TIMES in the incident. He survived and created a lecture to share the lessons he learned during the challenging event.

While this comes from the context of law enforcement, this lecture contains vital lessons FOR EVERYONE. If you’re in law enforcement, certainly there are important lessons to take home and put into practice. If you are a private citizen, carry a gun, understand and take responsibility for your life and the lives of others (e.g. your family), there are important lessons here. And if you are a private citizen that hasn’t thought much about their own safety, other than perhaps that the police will save you, there are important lessons here as well.

For law enforcement, I’ll let Greg’s words stand for themselves. He’s a cop, I’m not. He can speak better to this end.

For private citizens that take responsibility for their own safety, especially if they carry a gun. I’ll just list a few points:

  • Even if you’re highly trained, you’re still human and shit still goes wrong.
  • There are no promises nor guarantees, and your fight is unlikely to proceed like your fantasies.
  • Knowing the two above points, you can and should plan, educate, and train accordingly. As well, be humble.
  • Greg’s point #7 – What’s important now – is a vital concept to adopt.
  • Greg’s point #8 — Survivors manage pain well. I think about the pain I was in at the gym this morning. I knew there’d be even more pain to proceed squatting 300# with the same crush-grip, but I did it anyways and pushed through. This isn’t to boast or show how manly I am, but for sure enduring hard times, pain, and agony in other areas of my life have helped me deal with pain in other areas of my life. Being strong (in all senses of the word) is useful.

And for those who haven’t thought much about their own personal safety and perhaps only count on the police and luck to keep them safe, a few points:

  • “In total, it took an extremely competent officer 33 seconds to deploy and fire his rifle. During that entire time period, the killer was firing more bullets into Murphy.” Thirty-three seconds is a very long time, and it’s a miracle Lt. Murphy survived.
  • “The killer in this incident shot two people outside the church and then went inside to shoot several more. While he was shooting people inside the church, several victims called 911. Lt. Murphy was closest to the location and arrived first. He saw two lifeless bodies on the front sidewalk, but he did not see the shooter” Lt. Murphy was the closest officer and fastest to arrive, yet many people still died – because it takes time for the problem to start, for people to recognize it, for people to gain the wherewithal to call 911, to relay the message, for the dispatcher to put out the call, for officers to respond and start to travel, then to arrive, then to be able to assess the scene and determine what to do, then start to do something about it. This all takes time. Precious time.
  • “For what it’s worth, the officers responding to this incident were better trained and equipped than 99% of police officers in the USA. They still made some very serious errors. Lt. Murphy was nearly killed. That happened to the best of the best. If you are working in a department that has no training and poor equipment, why do you think you would perform better?” While Greg’s comment is towards fellow LEO, think about that for a moment people – people have this (mis)conception that police are highly trained, elite fighting squads. The horrible reality is, they aren’t. Even if they are, there’s no guarantee the event will resolve like a Hollywood hero.

But for me, the biggest thing from this?

Lt. Murphy survived.

He didn’t give up.

He fought.

He lived.