AFTER THE SWAT TEAM class, the officers took us to the shooting range again. They put together unique shoot/no shoot scenarios for each of us to practice. I was given a pistol with 7 rounds, the bullets that hit but don’t hurt badly. The officer took me behind a wall and said, “You are a police officer and first to respond a 911 call where there is a guy in a park acting weird. Keep in mind you shoot if he puts you or others in danger.”
I was ready. No shaking. Focused.
As I walk to go behind another wall, I hear a guy yelling and cursing. I turn the corner and I see a man wearing a camouflage heavy long coat, army helmet and a mask shouting bad words and walking up and down. He carries a big shovel, with the metal up, like a weapon.
“Police!” I yell to cover the noise. “Drop that!”
The guy doesn’t even look at me, but approaches a man who was minding his own business. “Drop down!” I yell again as loud as I could.
The guy doesn’t care and lifts up the shovel above his head ready to strike the man. Then everything went on in a split of a second.
I shoot up in the air to get the guy’s attention, and yell “Stop!” The guy doesn’t listen. I hold my breath and shoot him in his arm. Nothing happens. Shovel still above his head. I yell, “Drop it!” He steps ahead to get the man. Then I go again for four times, until the man drops down. Arm, shoulder, leg. I had a very limited reach, only a couple of steps on a side, and I couldn’t get behind him.
I tell you, there are only a few seconds that make the difference between life and death. Idealistic, you want to shoot in the legs and preserve that life, but when the other party holds a weapon, a leg wound would not stop him/her from shooting you.
The officer patted my back. “Good job! You didn’t let him get you or that man. I have only one question. Why did you shoot up in the air? That bullet coming down may hurt someone.”
“I wanted that guy to know I was not kidding.” The officer looks proud of me.
I should have stopped there. But no, I had to continue, “This is what John Wayne does in his movies.”
The man looked at me to see if I was kidding. When he understood I wasn’t, he patted my back again. “Right.”