“When You See The Muzzle Flash, It’s Too Late”

Many videos have allowed distant eyes to learn that a police officer killed a person for no good reason, ending our slavery to conflicting statements about what happened and facile rationalizations of how it couldn’t be helped.  Before then, we could pick a side and believe or not, but we could never know.

The increasing availability of video has fundamentally altered the equation of mindlessly siding with probability by conclusively proving that police are sometimes wrong, and when they are, they tend to lie about it or manufacture absurd justifications to excuse their wrongs.  And people are increasingly unwilling to believe them no matter what our lying eyes tell us.

Then comes a video like the dash cam that captured the shooting of 70-year-old Bobby Canipe by York County, South Carolina, Deputy Terrance Knox.

Most cops will tell you that car stops are scary.  A killer can forget to register his car just as well as a Sunday school teacher, and when a car is pulled over, the cop has no idea which one will be the driver.

Bobby Canipe was pulled over for expired plates on his pickup, a trivial offense to be sure.  And the press conference following the shooting muddied the waters with the usual lily-gilding:

Prior to the shooting Knox does not sound like he said anything specific to Canpie, except a “hey, sir, sir” that gets louder and turns into an “ohhh” that indicates Knox believed Canipe had reached for a gun. This appears to contradict what police said at a press conference after the shooting, that Canipe exited his vehicle despite being told not to. An order not to exit the vehicle is not heard in the dashcam video.

But what is seen and heard is that Canipe got out of his truck, reached into its bed as Knox tried to get his attention, and pulled out something long, which was then pointed in Knox’s direction.

As critical as I’ve been in the past toward cops who put the First Rule above all else, pulling the trigger based on ignorance rather than justifiable fear of harm, this video is different.  York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant defended Knox.

“I would have had to take the same action he did,” Bryant told reporters.

“You can’t wait to see a muzzle flash before you take action because when you see the muzzle flash, it’s too late,” he said.

Sadly, he’s right. It’s a fine line sometimes between reacting mindlessly and shooting someone who posed no rational threat, and committing suicide.  This time, the deputy’s reaction was warranted, even if it was mistaken.

It’s helped, of course, by the fact that Knox’s post-shooting conduct makes clear his regret for having mistakenly shot Canipe, the sincerity of his error.  But the justification for the decision to shoot exists at the moment it happens, not based on how the officer felt about it afterward.

Unlike the shooting of the teen with a Wii controller in his hand when he answered the door, for which there is no takeaway that could have improved the situation or prevented a child from being shot, Canipe’s “good guy” decision to get his cane from the truck bed violated a basic rule of interaction with police during a car stop.

While Canipe might have realized that he posed no threat, and while it might have made perfect sense to him, as he decided not to sit in his truck awaiting directions, but rather to walk to the cruiser, and while the use of a cane was necessary for Canipe to walk the distance, this was all avoidable using reasonable discretion and a bit of patience.

No, the police are not entitled to shoot people for no reason, the First Rule of Policing notwithstanding.  But they are also not expected to commit suicide when someone pulls a long, slender object from the back of a pickup truck and points it toward them.  There is no duty to die to protect people from the consequences of foolish behavior. Not even if they’re old, or crippled, or don’t realize that their “good guy” grasp of propriety isn’t shared by all.

43 thoughts on ““When You See The Muzzle Flash, It’s Too Late”

  1. John Barleycorn

    Call me an anarchist but this unnecessary confrontation is another tragic example that I should include in my, “In support of mail order policing”, going fishing for a legislative sponsor packet.

    IMHO, vehicular “violations” that don’t threaten other drivers safety on the roadway (such as expired tab$) should not rise to the level of primary offenses that allow our fine law officiating and enforcement personal to inquire about how Johnny citizens day is going via a full blown blue light trance inducing traffic stop.

    There is a long list including:

    Seat belt use

    Tinted windows

    Tax or emission stickers

    Just to name a few of the more obvious.

    There are also several suggestions currently under study at top secret locations throughout the country such as:

    Driving less than 20 mph over the posted speed limit in zones posted at 55 mpg or more.

    Substituting the middle finger for an affirmative positive response from the driver when asked at inland boarder check points if he/she is a citizen.

    To name just two of the more interesting studies being conducted.

    Please feel free to leave any other suggestions for inclusion or study for the “In support of mail order policing” packet.

      1. John Barleycorn

        Since you asked…

        A brief synopsis in boilerplate format has already been sent out via snail mail on the backs of empty cardboard PBR twelve packs and thumb drives to the judiciary committees of ever state legislature in the land.

        However, it has been confirmed by imbedded staffers that judiciary committees as of March first in all but two states have been forwarding any mail (with the black flag in the jaws of the smiling purple dragonfly wax seal on the package) directly to the FBI without reading it first.

        So, considering it is Monday and seeing as though some of your readers have unique skill sets that could undoubtedly add to the technical merits and content of the final scrolls as well as potentially assist my legal department with constitutional interpretations of the new delivery system, I figured it couldn’t hurt to solicit them for suggestions.

        The final fishing for legislative sponsors “In Support of Mail Order Policing” scrolls after adding any worthy content and being edited for brevity by my goats shall be delivered (if approved by legal) via lemons with smiling purple dragonflies tattooed in purple ink on them floating to the ground under black parachutes at all fifty state capitols simultaneously sometime next year after the Canadians finish my guns.

        Fifty sets of one-hundred mole skin polished PVC potato mortar guns that will be sliding on festively colored Lego block carriages ought to keep the Yukon Territories placer miners busy this upcoming winter.

    1. Lurker

      While this is an interesting idea, I would say that the alternative is worse. You are not suggesting that these laws be not enforced. You just say that they should not be enforced by stopping a vehicle. Let ys yhink about alternative enforcement methods.

      With current technology, all these laws could be enforced automatically, with the police having a camera running, an OCR software reading licence plates and a program generating warrant requests, citations and summons automatically every time there is a car speeding, an lapsed-registration vehicle or similar event. As a result, the person driving that vehicle will never get any chance to explain the mitigating factors of his conduct to a policeman conducting the traffic stop. If the police deliver the citation by hand to the person’s door, the danger of casualties is also very real. So, I would prefer human interaction, with all its faults. It is still better than having justice automated.

  2. Rick Horowitz

    That was, indeed, hard to watch.

    I’m very glad Mr. Canipe survived. I can’t help but wonder, from the sounds on the video, about how this is going to affect the officer.

    Seeing so many stories, and videos, of officers abusing their positions sometimes makes it hard to remember that they are people, and subject to making mistakes just like everyone else.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    1. SHG Post author

      You can’t help but think this was not a cop who wanted to hurt anyone. Thankfully, Canipe didn’t die, for all involved.

  3. Jim March

    The handgun sights that police use today are known as “target focus” types – the officer is supposed to be focused on his front sight. This leaves his view of the target blurry.

    I for one don’t like that doctrine and it may have been a factor here. The Amadeu Diallo shooting in New York is another possible example. Bad shoots of this sort are not common thank the deity of your choice, but I strongly suspect they happen.

    One solution is to go to optical “red dot” sights that allow “target focus” shooting – you can tell the difference between a wallet and a gun or a cane and a shotgun in the instant before shooting. But that adds batteries, wires, glass to the top of the gun and not only reduces reliability, it means the gun will no longer fit the “retention holsters” that are mandated in most US law enforcement agencies.

    There’s an “iron sight” out there (no glass, batteries or wires) that allows target-focus shooting but it’s not yet popular. I use that and love it. It uses a hexagonal rear aperture (hole you look through) and a post front, and through weird optical illusions it’s accurate despite the front and rear sights both being blurry.

      1. Jim March

        Hold a fingertip out at arm’s length. Focus on it. Notice you can’t make out any details in the background 10 feet or more out until you re-focus.

        Still sure this wasn’t an issue?

        Remember, while this was night the spotlight was dead on the guy with the cane, who wasn’t evading the light at all. He was completely visible. =>But the cop was taught to de-focus on the target.<=

        How is that a good thing, if there are alternatives available?

        1. SHG Post author

          I understand your point about the focal point, but am not at all persuaded that anyone, cop or not, would have been capable of seeing and processing quickly enough to have determined it was a cane and not a gun before the muzzle flash. You address one factor, the focus. You neglect numerous others, such as human processing speed. So no, I am not at all persuaded.

          1. Jim March

            Ever been in an emergency where it feels like the world slows down? You can process info pretty dang quick once things get to that point.

            I dunno. I don’t like the front-sight-focus doctrine. It can’t possibly help sort out a situation like this.

            1. SHG Post author

              Yes, the slow mo thing happens sometimes. It’s not, however, a law of physics upon which we can rely.

  4. anonymouse

    Maybe the LEO rule? requiring officers to leap out of the relative safety of their vehicle the moment
    a person steps out of their vehicle, should be relaxed. Jumping out of the copmobile seems totally
    unnecessary when the alleged offense is an expired tag or sticker.

    Since few cars that are driveable today are UNsafe, SAFETY inspections should no longer be required,
    and the two beneficiaries of that racket, employees of the DMV should be made redundant or else
    given new duties — funded by stricter enforcement of the only traffic law necessary: RECKLESS DRIVING.
    The corporate beneficiaries – auto shops etc. who do safety inspections for a fee and the chance to tell you that your car’s life expectancy is dubious unless you get your radiator replaced TNT or at least
    flushed, and either way, you’ll get a bumper sticker that says: Hope YOU Make it Home Okay — would
    just have to rely on “legitimately-needed” repair work and services.

    1. SHG Post author

      A new car becomes a ten your old car in ten years. You’re grasping at straws. The problem here wasn’t expired registration, and in any event, it is the law now.

  5. Canvasback

    I dunno. He’s 10 yards away (count the running officer’s steps) and he can’t tell the difference between a cane and a long gun? Those shots came quick, like he was ready to shoot; and even after he shot he yelled at the guy to “Drop the gun.” They see what they’re expecting to see.

    1. SHG Post author

      So any excuse to blame the cop, no matter how absurd? The distinction between people who are skeptical of police and those who are flaming nutjobs, who will come up with any rationalization so the cop is at fault no matter what, are comments like yours. If that’s what you are, then you have no business here.

      1. Canvasback

        Well, I was just going by what I saw in the video. He’s responsible for what happens every time he pulls the trigger. That’s firearm safety 101. Cop or no cop . You may have gone from curmudgeon to something more crotchety. Again, just by what I see.

        1. SHG Post author

          And I’m just going by what I saw in your comment. Don’t blame my curmudgeonliness for your grasping at any excuse to blame a cop.

          And if you think I’m too curmudgeonly, feel free to go elsewhere. I have no intention of letting SJ become home to nutjobs. Am I being clear?

      2. Tim B

        I understand your reluctance to “blame the cop” in a situation that was somewhat ambiguous, especially given that we all know how dangerous police work is in comparison with any other professional pursuit today. The officer observed a developing situation, determined that a probable serious risk to his life was presenting, and acted accordingly. The problem is, he was WRONG, and wound up shooting and elderly, unarmed man. He has demonstrated that he does not have the requisite judgement to continue as an armed LEO interacting in possibly confrontational situations with the public in general.

        We seem to have forgotten that there is, and always has been, more to the job of policing than merely “following the book”, even though NOT following “the book” is anathema to the modern police officer in that it opens him and his department up for relatively massive lawsuits. Good judgement, nay, superior judgement, is not only called for, it is critically important. We used to look for that quality in recruits, and not hire them if there wasn’t some indication of it. Problem is, judgement is not something that is easily quantified or measurable in front of a jury…so we got rid of it and tried to just write the book so line cops wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore and we wouldn’t get sued as much. It’s cases like this that point up the fact that a major mistake was made there. Long past time to reverse course on this issue.

        Another crucial question is, does this officer have a military background, especially with experience in combat? If so, he does not belong on a city police force. A soldiers job is to break things and kill people. That is not a criticism, it’s just an observation. Our American boys, bless their hearts, do that job better than any other bunch in the world. When it comes to police officers though, I don’t think we want people walking around with guns and overwhelming legal advantages combined with an attitude that breaking things and killing people is what they were hired to do. There’s already way too much of that coming down from the top echelons, complicated by the fact that many of THEM are ex-military as well, and have been encouraged to view police work as some kind of war.

        I don’t WANT to view my cops as “the enemy”, or to be forced to view every police contact I’m involved in as a possible life threatening situation because the guy in uniform already views himself as an occupier in hostile territory. Ultimately, that way lies disaster for all of us.

        1. SHG Post author

          We no more judge the propriety of what a cop does solely by outcome than we do of a defendant. Your argument reminds me of how they used to throw witches in the lake, and if they drowned, it proved they weren’t a witch.

          One of the huge problems that we have in trying to change police culture to be less hostile and violent toward people is that they complain that non-police can never understand what they do. Arguments that blame the cop here support the police position, as people don’t just expect “sound” judgment, or even “superior” judgment, but perfect judgment of cops. That’s too much to expect of any human being.

          While people can forgive Bobby Canipe for his monumentally stupid conduct, they condemn the cop for the outcome and come up with ridiculous reasons to find fault. This is why cops don’t care about what people think. The more ridiculous their detractors are, the stronger and more justified their resistance to change. So if you don’t “WANT” to view cops as “the enemy,” don’t make them the enemy in every instance.

        2. onlymom

          tim why do you want to bring up this line of bull.

          “especially given that we all know how dangerous police work is in comparison with any other professional pursuit today.”

          There are plenty of jobs out there today that are more dangerous than law enforcement and kill a lot of people in the performance of them.

          1. SHG Post author

            Yes, police work is not the “most dangerous occupation” (it is not a profession), but the line tempered his view rather than justified it, just as your reply to it is correct, yet adds nothing to the point.

          2. Tim B

            Sorry, I forgot to turn on the sarcasm flag. My point there was that cops today are taught and conditioned to believe that, by virtue of their job, they are in more danger of getting killed than anybody else, and the most danger comes from the public at large…us…you and me. If you stand in public and look around you expecting to see lethal threats, you will see them. If you are taught and conditioned to respond to lethal threats with lethal violence, you will do so. That puts cops and non-cops at each others throats automatically. There have been several cases where “civilians” have shot and killed police who drew on them without cause or warning and were acquitted in court due to the lethal threat nature of the police action, and a complete lack of justifying contact/warning/what-have-you leading up to the shoot. I don’t think many officers get reminded of these cases officially very often, if at all.

  6. AlphaCentauri

    Do we know how old the cop was? There are significant age-related changes in a person’s ability to view details in this type of glaring light at night, yet cops don’t retire at age 40.

    Two people at a scene could draw very different conclusions, and a third seeing the video could draw yet another. In this case, it seems easy to see how the cop made the error, but most situations aren’t so cut and dried.

    1. SHG Post author

      From his voice, he sounds quite young, but don’t fall into the trap of fabricating excuses to blame the cop. Whether the cop was 25 or 50, no cop is going to, or expected to, stand there to make absolutely certain that the gun-like object taken from the bed of the truck at night for no apparent reason and contrary to directions, and pointed in his direction, before firing.

      1. AlphaCentauri

        Not blaming him, but it just seems like this type of situation in this type of lighting must happen all the time. I’ve never heard about any studies of how aging affects what it looks like to the cop making the life and death decisions.

        You know how you get “red-eye” in some flash photos? Have you noticed that it doesn’t happen with older subjects? Years before significant cataracts, the lens begins to scatter enough light to prevent the “red reflex.” That scattering really messes with night vision.

        1. SHG Post author

          It doesn’t happen all the time. While evening, lighting, age are all completely normal, people don’t do what Canipe did. Otherwise, the streets would be littered with dead old guys. They’re not.

  7. Stan

    This is pure speculation on my part, but this sounds like a situation where someone who had little experience dealing with the police did something that might have been fine 40 years ago; getting out of his vehicle after being pulled over; and ran into modern police expectations: that anyone getting out of their vehicle is possible trouble. When I was a kid in the 60s, the few times I was ever pulled over, I got out of my car and walked up to greet the officer in a frinedly manner and it always seemed to work out well. If I had not been reading this blog and others that deal with the current police expectations at traffic stops, I could easily see myself still doing the same this as this poor gentleman. It seems that police have a set of rules for how they expect people to act, but many of us haven’t read that script and don’t know our lines. Can’t say I know of a solution, though, except perhaps to make it part of driver’s ed.

    1. SHG Post author

      When I write about the good guy curve, it refers to the way in which nice, normal folk interact with police. They are ill-equipped to do so safely, as they have no reason to anticipate anything other than kind, polite treatment. This gives rise to a great many potential problems, some of which can be deadly.

      Whether he behaved in a way that would have been considered perfectly ordinary 40 years ago, or was just a bonehead, it doesn’t change normal police expectations, training and conduct exists today. And one clue for Canipe would to be to heed the officer’s warning to drop what he was holding. Forty years ago, people did as cops directed, because they didn’t want to get in trouble, including being shot. Most of us still don’t.

      1. Fubar

        And one clue for Canipe would to be to heed the officer’s warning to drop what he was holding.

        I have watched that video and listened carefully many times now, at various times of day. I have yet to hear Knox tell Canipe to “drop the gun”, or anything remotely close to that, before he opened fire.

        As Canipe was getting out of the truck, Knox was talking to dispatch or to someone in his car. Upon seeing Canipe reach for something in the bed of the truck, Knox shouted “Hey Sir! Sir! Sir! Ho! Ho! Hey! Hey! Hey!”. Those words were followed by gunshots.

        Immediately after firing at Canipe, Knox said “Shots fired! Drop the gun! Drop the gun!”.

        1. SHG Post author

          You’re correct. And so it was ““Hey Sir! Sir! Sir! Ho! Ho! Hey! Hey! Hey!” Does this suggest he was out to shoot an old man? Does this suggest the old man should continue his conduct unabated? Had he said nothing, would Canipe’s actions still be appropriate under the circumstances?

          1. Fubar

            Does this suggest he was out to shoot an old man?

            It suggests as a matter of fact that Canipe had no clear spoken or shouted command or order to drop anything before Knox began firing.

            Does this suggest the old man should continue his conduct unabated?

            It suggests that Canipe looking toward Knox with some surprise and confusion was a very ordinary human reaction to Knox’ shouts. In fact that is what Canipe appeared to do. Canipe appears to raise his head to look toward Knox as he (Canipe) lifts his cane from the truck bed, holding one end with one hand, and places its other end on the ground near his foot, in one continuous sweep. That sweep, unfortunately, included a fraction of a second with one end of his cane pointed in Knox’ general direction. By the time Knox began firing, Canipe’s cane was vertical, with one end on the ground near his foot, the other held in his hand.

            Had he said nothing, would Canipe’s actions still be appropriate under the circumstances?

            Others in this discussion have proffered that initially exiting one’s vehicle slowly during a traffic stop was at least considered the polite thing to do at one time. On that point I am agnostic.

            What I do perceive from the video is that Knox panicked very quickly, in a fraction of a second, and began firing. Whether during that time he also had to draw his gun, or whether he was holding his gun in preparation to approach Canipe’s vehicle, is not visible on the video.

            What is clear is that Knox shouted (presumably to dispatcher) “Shots fired! Drop the gun! Drop the gun!” immediately after he fired at Canipe.

            1. SHG Post author

              What I do perceive from the video is that Knox panicked very quickly, in a fraction of a second, and began firing.

              That’s kinda the point of the title. You’ve chosen to use the word “panicked,” which is a bit loaded. A cop might pick the word “reacted.” Either way, you suggest that he must await the muzzle flash. Few would call me a cop apologist, but at the same time, there is a line where expectations of cops go beyond the reasonable. It’s not that excuses can’t be found, but are no longer reasonable and won’t work. Be careful of myopia. It kills people.

            2. Fubar

              Either way, you suggest that he must await the muzzle flash. … Be careful of myopia. It kills people.

              I suggest no such thing, though I can understand why you might infer that.

              Maybe I am myopic. But I have been shot at on two occasions, as an unarmed civilian. The muzzle report and the whir of Pb flying by is very distinct. Yes, some hunters have been known to be criminally stupid.

              On two other entirely separate occasions I have seen a gun muzzle pointed in my direction without firing.

              On all occasions I was closer to Knox’ age than Canipe’s. I am now nearer Canipe’s age.

              My first reaction (and very immediate) on all those occasions was to dive or duck behind what cover was possible. My second was to shout, relatively coherent words to the effect that “You are shooting at me! Stop!”

              Had I been armed, I don’t think my first reaction would have been to shout incoherent words and begin firing. Cover, whether bullet-proof or merely obscuring the shooter’s view, is the most effective means of safety. That is why I characterized Knox’ response as “panicked”.

              Standing in full view and shooting at someone who has a gun pointed at you ready to fire is a very high risk response. Unless your first shot makes it impossible for the shooter to squeeze the trigger (an extremely unlikely event), he can still send a bullet or more in your direction even if mortally wounded.

              Quick draw, or shooting from the hip, are the stuff of Hollywood movies, but worse than poor methods for survival in real life. I doubt (and certainly hope) that they are not rudiments of police training.

            3. SHG Post author

              So anecdote? That’s not fair, since all the people whose stories cut the other way are too dead to tell about it.

              By the time the cop knows, with certainty, that it’s not a gun, the opportunity for the person to shoot (if it was a gun) had already presented itself. Hence, the muzzle flash. Not that he would have, but could have. That’s the line in the sand beyond which we cannot reasonably ask the cop to wait. That it turns out, in fact, not to be a gun, or the person doesn’t, in fact, shoot, doesn’t change the point.

              You don’t provide details of your experience, but it doesn’t appear that you feared they were trying to shoot you, but rather it was by accident. Do you think a cop during a traffic stop has a different, and reasonable, perspective?

            4. Fubar

              So anecdote? That’s not fair, since all the people whose stories cut the other way are too dead to tell about it.

              I allowed that I might be myopic.

              By the time the cop knows, with certainty, that it’s not a gun, the opportunity for the person to shoot (if it was a gun) had already presented itself. Hence, the muzzle flash.

              I did not intend to suggest that a cop, or anybody, wait for certainty. Maybe I am inarticulate as well as myopic.

              My point, put starkly: If one sees what one believes is a gun muzzle pointed at onself, the safest reaction is to dive or duck behind cover first. Once behind some cover where there is at least more safety than standing in the open, then make the decision of whether to communicate coherently, or to begin shooting.

              In the case of a traffic stop, officers have a car, behind or beneath which they can duck or dive as quickly as they can draw and fire a gun.

              I am not suggesting that Knox had bad intentions. I am suggesting that he panicked very quickly. If Canipe had a gun and had intended harm to Knox, Knox would likely have been shot before he panicked. Recall that Knox began firing after Canipe was holding the cane vertically, with its tip on the ground near his foot, and the other end in his hand.

              I understand panicked reactions. I have witnessed them in various situations in both others and myself, some of which were life threatening. I have received training in immediate reflexive response to certain situations entirely unrelated to those here. So I also know that panic, at least initial panic in response to some particular circumstances, can be diminished by training. Through such training, one’s more beneficial and often lifesaving initial reaction to the threatening situation becomes somewhat automatic, instead of panic.

              Many professions, and many skilled activities generally, do have training for specific situations that can occur within the normal course of performing those activities. I don’t think police training should be, or is, without such training.

            5. SHG Post author

              I understood. If someone pointed a gun at me, I too would duck for cover, but then I’m unarmed, disinclined to shoot anyone and, well, not a cop. But we’re talking about us, not about police. If it had been either of us, we wouldn’t be in a police cruiser pulling old men over in the evening in any event. Or at least I wouldn’t. And I surely wouldn’t be armed.

  8. ExCop-LawStudent

    I have a few comments and general observations to make.

    First, Scott is dead on in his evaluation of this. The sheriff was correct too, if you wait until you see the muzzle flash, you’ve waited too long and it is too late.

    Second, as Rick noted, this was a hard and sad video to watch.

    Third, for those focusing on what the officer said and when he said to drop the gun, there is no requirement to give a warning prior to using deadly force. The deputy was surprised, which should be apparent to any who value rational thinking. He perceived a deadly threat and fired. He did not have the opportunity to view this from his favorite armchair.

    Fourth, to Tim B specifically and to any other military haters (or those who do not think that veteran’s belong in a police force). Please take your bigotry elsewhere. Veterans have proven time and time again that they make good police officers. Or for that matter, any other career that they choose.

    Fifth, for those that note that the cane was almost vertical at the instant of the first shot. I don’t see it that way (it looks to me to be pointing directly at the officer at the first shot) and even if it was, so what? It’s called reaction time. Look it up.

    Sixth, I can almost guarantee that at that distance, the officer was not quick-draw shooting (actually it is called “instinct”), but had drawn his pistol and brought it up to eye-level. That is the uniform training standard across the nation. Also, if you don’t know what you are talking about, please don’t put in your two-cents about training officers in instinct shooting. At close ranges, instinct shooting is the best method in many cases and is still taught.

    Scott, my apologies if I went too far in my response.

    1. SHG Post author

      Not at all. I was hoping you would offer your view. I want to add one additional point with regard to veterans. My experience is they tend to make more reluctant shooters than non-veterans, less easily spooked and less inclined to take life unless they feel confident in the threat. They’ve seen worse. Few cops will see as much carnage as a soldier in a war zone.

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