I often consider Teddy Roosevelt’s famous “Man in the Arena” quote;
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
True, but we still learn from mistakes.
Those of us in the protection arena have the responsibility to observe mistakes made and lessons learned from tactical operations of ourselves and others. Neither you, me or anyone else is above correction. Especially not if we die in the process. In our arena, failure can be fatal. If I ever die in the protection arena, I will want others to learn from my mistakes.
This brings us to Monday June 21 in Arvada, Colorado.
Bad guy sets out to kill cops; starts by murdering officer Gordon Beesley. Good citizen Johnny Hurley kills bad guy. Police responding to the scene kill Hurley who is holding the bad guy’s gun.
First, there is one person to blame. The bad guy. Blame for this whole story is solely on him.
End of the blame discussion.
There are however, multiple overlapping lessons learned from the actions of officer Beesley and citizen Johnny Hurley. Neither of their deaths are in vein if we recognize their fatal errors.
Think About it
We cannot overstate the need for quality training of police and responsible citizen defenders.
- Always 720 degrees aware (full circle around, over & down; before, during and after action)
- Don’t touch evidence that is no longer endangering
- Train The Transition. Turning over to responding law-enforcement (sooner is always better) is a certainty. Train on that intentional process.
In the protection arena, everything you do is intentional. That doesn’t stop at the bang.