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Broward County deputies look untrained to me

Posted by John T. Reed on

On the Broward County tactics in Parkland:
I was reluctant to call the on-campus deputy a coward initially. I needed more info. We now have a lot more.
I still do not care for the word cowardice here. In both the military and tackle football, you have to teach the people what to do and drill them so it becomes a Pavlovian habit. Untrained people do not charge at men who are shooting at them. Just putting on a police uniform or a military uniform does not make you a guy who does that.
You have to say, when there is a shooter is a school, you have to charge into the school and shoot him immediately. Then you have to rehearse doing exactly that. Maybe at a paintball range for at least some of the reps.
Soldiers in combat, even rookies, fall back on their training. So do 14-year old boys who have never played tackle football before. You have to tell them exactly what to do, walk them through it, run them through it, do it against resistance, and finally do it in a full-dress rehearsal.
In the 2005 freshman season at my last team, the first game was against a predominantly black team where the head coach, who was the former varsity head coach at that school, emphasized hard hitting above all. Our predominantly white kids who had never played football were at first stunned by the violence. They had never encountered such a thing in their lives, never even imagined it.
I though we were toast. I did not emphasize hitting hard. I emphasized doing your job—preventing your defender from making the tackles on offense, taking care of your area on defense. You could see the kids get brain lock for a play of two at the beginning of the game. Then you could see what happened in their brains.
1. Holy @#$%!
2. What’d I do to him?
3. Oh, I’m in a football game. He’s supposed to do that to me. I need to hit him, too.
4. But wait, hitting is not my job. Preventing my guy from making the tackle is.
Given it was their first game, I would have settled for my guys just rising up and hitting the other team as hard or harder as they were getting hit. But we got much better. They fell back on their training and stuck to their job, not a who-can-hit-harder contest.
We won the game.
When I look at the Parkland video and listen to the radio talk, I see a group who was never taught to charge into the building where the shooter was, or might be, and certainly never rehearsed it so it became automatic.
One of the things we were taught to do automatically in the Army was when you got shot at you immediately shot back. In World War II they found a ton of soldiers reacted to being shot at by hiding. That natural reaction had to be trained out of them and it is not especially hard to do that.
But you must get the “When X happens, you must do Y” instruction and then the reps of doing it until it becomes automatic. I do not see that the Broward County deputies got that training, nor did I see any leadership who had any clue as to what to do or how.
They seemed to see the incident as a car accident where you set up traffic direction to get cars to go around the accident. Such accidents are over when cops arrive. But in Parkland, their job was to end the incident, not arrive after it was over, and they showed no interest in anything other than cleaning up after the crime was over.

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