Me and my family’s prayers go out to all the families who lost loved ones and have loved ones seriously injured due to the cowardly terror attack yesterday at the Waukesha Christmas Parade.
Due to the severity of the on-going threat, I thought it pertinent to review an article from the Archives (2016) regarding Counter-Measures to Vehicle Threats.
With the recent terror attack in Nice, France we saw yet again how a determined jihadi with a relatively simple attack plan and using a vehicle as a weapon wreaked absolute havoc and carnage on a group of innocent civilians, killing 84 and wounding 202.
Terrorist Using Vehicles as Weapons is of course nothing new, but it begs the question to Law Enforcement First and the Civilian Operator Second:
How do you Stop a Vehicle Like This once all other security measures have failed?
As I have sad before, when we talk about these types of dynamic scenarios we always have to remember that STOPPING this POS is not our primary job, it is Law Enforcement’s.
Our Primary Job is to SURVIVE!
That being said, SELF-SUFFICIENCY, not DEPENDENCY on the “AUTHORITIES” to “SAVE US” is something that is at the core of what the Civilian Operator practices and preaches.
So to make it simple, let’s put it this way: Your First Obligation is the Safety of Your Family and Yourself. And if you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know what I am going to say next. You first duty (and weapon) under that obligation is to be SITUATIONALLY AWARE.
At the tragedy in Nice, the majority of the victims were distracted by watching a fireworks show. The last thing they had on their minds was some maniac coming to plow them over with a truck. But as I said in my POST yesterday, if we expect to be smarter than our enemies, we have to LEARN from these tragedies, not just MOURN them. That means from now on, wherever we are, whether we are at the park with our kids or an outdoor concert with our wife, we HAVE TO BE consciously aware of what is going on around us, regardless of the festivities/entertainment taking place. Vigilance is not only the price of liberty, but also the price of our SAFETY as well.
So let’s just say your AWARENESS pays off and you recognize the threat before he is able to make you into a human hood ornament. Now what? Easy Answer: Get the Hell out of the kill box! He has a vehicle that at minimum, weighs a ton or more, you are on foot with a handgun with possibly VIP’s in tow (Family/Friends/Significant Others). Bottom line: a vehicle trumps a pistol so RUN.
But let’s just say for the sake of argument you are put in a position where this maniac is NOT going to let you escape to a place of SAFETY, and for whatever reason, you are going to have to FIGHT TO ESCAPE. In that case, here is a rough sketch of an action plan.
First, Place any VIP’s behind you and/or somewhere with hard cover and out of harms way. Secondly, if you have not done so already, Call 911. Give the dispatcher all the pertinent information you have. Make sure to tell the dispatcher you are legally armed so she can relay that to the responding officers. If possible, stay on the line with the dispatcher to create an audio record of the incident in the event you have to go to court to explain your actions.
Now as far as “tactics” go in this situation, I am not going to be able to tell you specifically “do this or do that”. I mean you have some maniac in a vehicle trying to run you over, I think you get the ideal what you have to do!
As far as when it comes time to shoot, some basic things to remember:
If you are in a crowded venue, there will be innocent bystanders around, Only take the shot if it is Clean and you have a safe background. I tell you this like you will have all the time in the world to make this decision, but in reality this decision will have to be made in a heartbeat.
Things will be moving fast, and you may only get one chance to take out this maniac, so make your shots count, but do not hesitate to fire multiple rounds. In a situation like this, the more volume of fire you place into that vehicle cab the more likelihood you will score a good hit.
When we examine the picture above which shows the truck that was used in the Nice attack, we see the majority of the bullet holes on the left side of the cab, with a few rounds on the right side. In France, they drive on the right side of the road just like us, which means the terrorist was sitting on the right side. With the majority of the bullet holes on the left side, this means the police were firing at the driver from the front/left flank, angling their shots left to right as the vehicle moved. Dean Weingarten at Gun Watch did an excellent overview of this subject which you can read about HERE.
I know some of you may be asking yourself..”Well, shouldn’t I try to disable the vehicle first by shooting the tires or radiator before I try to take out the driver?” To this I answer unequivocally: NO! This maniac has already run over or ATTEMPTED to run over you and other people, so he has already demonstrated all the requirements the Law needs for you to use Lethal Force to stop him.
Having said all of that, you still need a “Plan B” to immobilize the vehicle in the event you cannot neutralize the driver right away for whatever reason. This of course means taking out the tires and the radiator/engine block if possible.
As a side note, it might behoove you guys to go back and review an article I did a while back on Bullet Behavior. I talk about how bullets behave though all types of mediums, including vehicle glass.
Speaking of shooting through vehicle glass, I would be remiss if I did not mention two things:
Carry Bonded Ammo when you suspect you might be shooting in or around vehicles or through glass. Bonded rounds are superior at maintaining their weight retention when fired through glass or other mediums.
When firing through Glass at a bad guy, HEAVY Volume of Fire directed at the same POINT is key to making solid hits.
Ultimately, the thing you have to remember is that these kind of scenarios are always going to be dynamic and unpredictable, and as a CO, you have to be ready to adapt right along with them. If you are forced to shoot at this guy and your rounds are not effective for whatever reason, transition right over to shooting out the tires and trying to pierce his radiator/engine block. Some of the newer model of vehicles will automatically shut down if the battery or electronics are disabled, so again, volume of fire is key.
There is no perfect answer for these types of scenarios, but there are answers; and those answers are ALWAYS going to involve ACTION on your part in some form or fashion.
I always remember this old Army adage from WWII:
“You can get Killed doing a lot of things in Life including NOTHING.”