Among the current foolishness over the Ferguson, Missouri shooting is the allegation that the officer did not “shoot to wound.” In the age of modern, formalized law enforcement training, police are taught to aim for center-mass which translates into the middle of the human torso. We must understand that police practice disallows “shooting to kill,” in favor of shooting to “stop the immediate threat.” Bullet wounds to the body are much more likely to stop a charge than are wounds to the extremities. According to the CDC, about sixty percent of gunshot victims survive. According to FBI statistics, about 6 out of 10 police shots miss their target. Those misses occur while intending to strike the middle of the torso, making arm and leg shots a practical impossibility. Fear, adrenaline, injury, movement, and diminished control over fine motor skills make defensive shooting difficult. “Shooting to wound” is not a realistic possibility for peace officers. Officer Wilson fired at Mister Brown about a dozen times, striking him with about half those rounds (beating the national average). Since the stopping round was the last one fired we may deduce that all previous rounds which struck Mister Brown were insufficient to stop the threat. Our police certainly need better and more frequent training but training will never end the practical problems associated with these shootings. It is the job of local law enforcement to educate the communities they serve concerning the lawful use of deadly force–a job at which they are currently failing.

The Author
Al
Albert League is a former Marine and law enforcement firearm instructor who consults on a variety of security topics.