Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Shoot/Don't Shoot"

That's the common term for law enforcement firearms training scenarios, where cops have to decide if they are justified with using lethal force. It also accurately describes the roller coaster we experienced today, 24 hours prior to a police combat shooting competition our office was entered in. Our team, with me included, consisted of five agents, and an MP Captain from Battalion.

A number of factors combined to make this competition projected to be less fun than we initially thought:
First, the weather here changed from mild and mostly sunny to rainy and windy...and the real heavy stuff is predicted for this weekend. No matter how much fun getting to shoot government ammo at targets (which aren't shooting back at you!) usually is, when doing so outside in a monsoon, that quickly sucks pretty much most of the enjoyment out of it.
Second, this event is planned, organized and will be carried out by the U.S. Army, which by Army Regulations is required to obliterate any remaining chance of fun. From the looks of the briefing powerpoint slides I saw, they accomplished that mission with room to spare.

The final factor leading to our team's ultimate "Don't Shoot" decision was when the rest of the agents on the squad ended up with "duty calls" (CID-speak for reported crimes requiring immediate investigation) last night. They were expecting to be working long past midnight, which left only me (I am exempt from stuff not directly related to my task force assignment) and the Captain. I gave him a call, and it took little convincing for him to throw in the towel. He notified the competition's organizers that we were withdrawing, and that was that.

UPDATE:  The next morning, right about the time we would have been going through the first course of fire, the heavens opened up, dumping what the weather reporters claimed was over two inches of rain in less than three hours. This deluge was coupled with wind gusts of up to 40 mph. None of us felt any guilt over bailing out, though it looks like I may be stuck with a case of shotgun shells.

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