The Importance Of Vision
Taken from Franconia New Hampshire Police Cpl. Bruce McKay's cruiser, a dash cam video shows the May 11 confrontation that led to the police officer's death and that of the driver he had just stopped, Liko Kenney. After shooting the law enforcement officer, Kenney twice drove over his body. Kenney is subsequently shot and killed by a citizen, Gregory W. Floyd, who grabbed the officer's sidearm while coming to his aid.
It starts with the first of two traffic stops on Route 116. McKay pulls over a small car for speeding and having an expired registration. Two heads are visible through the car's rear window. The driver appears to be talking to the officer. Two minutes later the coupe pulls away, followed quickly by McKay's police sport utility vehicle.
A mile and a half down the road, McKay overtakes Kenney, crossing the double yellow line, backing up and turning several times until the cars are nose to nose. Kenney reaches out and points, as if asking McKay to back up. A pickup truck behind them has stopped in the road. Kenney backs into a dirt driveway, but McKay doesn't stop. He drives the SUV into the coupe, bumping and pushing it into a gravel parking area backed by farm equipment and fields. Kenney's hands are up now, and the video, mostly silent, blares suddenly with the sound of a siren.
Events then happen quickly. Kenney leans his head and arm out of the window and waves. McKay walks into view toward the faded blue coupe. He sprays mace at the driver, confidently turns his back and walks out of view of the camera. Kenney leans out again, a firearm now in his hand, and rapidly fires seven shots, striking Officer McKay four times.
Kenney tried to escape. He drove over McKay's body twice, but did not get far. He was shot dead moments later by Gregory W. Floyd, a discharged Marine who seized up McKay's gun in a bid to protect him. In a summary report, prosecutors declared Officer McKay was justified in using non-deadly force on Kenney, partly because of a violent confrontation between the two men four years earlier. The attorney general also ruled that the shooting of Kenney by Floyd was justified.
As tragic as this murder is, there is much to be learned, or at least reinforced. What was the overriding mistake that Officer McKay made as he went about his duties? He underestimated his adversary. He had a history with this individual. He thought he knew what to expect. He sprayed Kenney with mace, and then he turned his back on his adversary. By turning his back, McKay gave Kenney the opportunity to pull a gun and fire it again and again, unopposed. McKay was cocky. You can see it in his last movements. He was complacent. He gave up the initiative. He thought he had resolved the encounter. He learned too late that he was wrong. He died as a result.
Seize the initiative. Never give it up. Never underestimate your adversary. Never, never take your eyes off your adversary. When you do so, you make yourself defenseless to his attack. Your first line of defense is your vision. Use it. You cannot react to what you do not see. By the time you hear the gunshots behind you, it's too late.
Labels: Self Defense