While looking for something on weaponsman.looserounds.com the other day I was reading the comments as I usually do. Kevin’s comment section was and is always excellent and is often as good as the posts. I ran across this comment from Kirk, who is more or less famous among readers of weaponsman for his comments. In this case he was talking about the 1986 Miami FBI shootout. It was classic Kirk. I decided it was good enough to share here as it’s own post. So below is Kirk’s thoughts in original unedited form. If you see Kirk on some other website commenting, please do ask him to join us here.
It’s not just the problems with weapons selection or in mindset, it’s baked into the culture of law enforcement in this country.
The problem actually begins well before the weapons selection even happens. All too many cops and FBI agents go into work every day expecting that it will be another routine of traffic stops, investigations, and shuffling paper. They do not, and we might perhaps be grateful for this, go into work expecting to have to fight for their lives. This mindset leads to a certain… Ah… Complacency? Disregard for the potentials, of meeting that lion-in-the-morning?
It goes to selection, it goes to training, it goes to preparation, and it goes to weapon selection. Most FBI agents, as proudly boasted by J. Edgar himself, start out as lawyers or accountants. It’s the rare guy who comes aboard from some semi-tactical realm, and that shows in the whole of the so-called “FBI shootout” in Miami. They knew that the subjects they were trying to stop were guys who had been conducting armed robberies of armored cars and banks, and yet their preparations were laughably inadequate for taking on a guy who’d been a Ranger in Vietnam. They did not know who they were targeting, that morning, and had not one clue that Platt was literally that “lion-in-the-morning”. They weren’t expecting the two to go “off-script”, and actually effectively return violent resistance with a rifle. Between the two of them, Matix and Platt damn near managed to eliminate 8 FBI agents that had surprised them, leaving only one unwounded, and nearly escaped from the situation. Whatever weapons were used were immaterial to the issue, because the whole thing was predicated on piss-poor training and unrealistic expectations. You can see similar issues arise in the North Hollywood situation–Nobody in US law enforcement is really expecting to find themselves dealing with these kinds of situations, and the few that are…?
Likely won’t encounter them. It’s probably a coincidence bordering on the miraculous that the San Bernardino shooters happened to flip out and make their attack only a few blocks away from an active training event that morning, and I think that made all the difference–All of the meat-eaters in the local area were concentrated and ready to go, already. Odds of that happening again? Probably fairly slim. Your typical cop or FBI agent has no visceral expectation that he’s going to find himself engaging with trained, effective, and properly-prepared opponents–And, it shows.
All too many of the police officers that I have encountered really have not a fucking clue about the realities of these things–The majority of the people they encounter are on-script, and even the criminals cooperate, to a degree. All it takes with most engagements is to display a weapon, fire a few times, and then call for either an ambulance or backup; rarely do they encounter truly effective tactical countermeasures to the routines they’ve been trained on.
One of these days, the US is going to experience a Beslan or Mumbai on US soil; the first responders to that are statistically likely to be in the same state of mental and physical unpreparedness for what they’re encountering that the FBI team was in on that morning in Miami. It’s damn near a “fer shure” thing, and it’s probably unavoidable.