This was posted to Twitter:
Jacksonville FL deputy shoots Kevin Mahan while he's holding an axe.
— Mrgunsngear (@Mrgunsngear) December 10, 2022
I believe this was a bad shoot.
I said so and I have taken a lot of abuse on the bird app for it.
The pro-good shoot people have really settled on three arguments:
The gut refused to drop thr ax after three warnings.
Thr guy could have thrown the ax. Emphasis on could.
I’m a stupid, pro-criminal, armchair quarterback who is too much of a pussy to be a cop.
The last one seems to have taken over and insults and ad hominem have become their primary talking point.
Regardless, I’m going to explain why I believe it’s a bad shoot.
First, I must acknowledge some points.
I am not squeamish about a cop needing to take a shot when the situation demands it. Readers of this blog should know how much I critical I was of the Broward County Sheriff and Uvalde Police for not responding immediately.
I have cataloged cases and stated over and over again how the proper response to an active shooter is to go in and take him out as fast as possible.
But that is not this scenario.
The whole situation unfolded in less than a minute.
The man with the ax did not rush as it charge the officer.
Yes, he did say “no” when told to drop the ax, but a verbal refusal of an officer’s order is not justification to shoot.
Yes, the man did raise his arm holding the ax.
It did not appear that he had cocked his arm to throw it.
No “advance” by the aggressor is required in order for someone to lawfully defend themselves against a deadly force projectile. The projectile itself is the imminent “advance.”
You’re not very good at this. https://t.co/875GqMzhNO
— Law of Self Defense (@LawSelfDefense) December 13, 2022
An ax is not a projectile weapon. It can be thrown, but there has to be a reasonable understanding of the accuracy and distance over which that is a possibility.
What is that distance, 20, maybe 25 yards?
Now I would understand if this man had an ax in a crowded area where there were potential victims in close proximity. It would have been a good shoot in defense of a third party.
But this was a isolated and open area.
There didn’t appear to be anyone else nearby.
There was lots of potential room for the officer to maintain a safe distance, call for backup, and attempt to de-escalate.
This was not a hostage situation, this was not an active shooter, and it was the officer, not the guy with thr ax who closed the distance to danger close.
This officer went in cranked to 11 and shot the guy in the head in under a minute.
From a safe distance, had the man with the ax become aggressive, has he closed the distance with the officer, yes it would be justified and I wouldn’t be arguing against it.
I don’t think I’m the bad guy for believing that police response should be situationally dependent and that SOP should be towards less violent action.
Across the country, there have been a number of tragic cases of police shooting elderly people with dementia or suffering from a diabetic crisis.
Swatting has also been a major concern for the last few years.
In this case, the 911 call apparently included the information that this man was mentally ill.
I’m not in the camp of “defund the police, send in social workers.”
But there has to be a middle ground between an inept response and blowing a guy’s brains out in under a minute.
Yes, police do deserve the right to go home at the end of the day, but so do suspects.
Actually they do, the 4th through 8th Ammendments enumerate the rights of the accused. Arguably, given that, law enforcement should err on the side of preserving the lives of suspects until absolutely necessary.
I don’t believe that a guy raising his arm holding an ax at 20 yards met that level of necessity.
Do I think this officer will be charged and convicted? Doubtful.
But it should be a lesson in developing a better SOP and an example of what not to do.
I refuse to accept that I’m the problem because I believe cops should take a few moments and try a little harder to preserve life when they have the opportunity to, instead of going in blasting.