Is It Too Much To Expect?

imagesIs it too much to expect that police would develop less-than-lethal ways to take persons into custody who are threatening others with blunt or edged weapons?

I would expect by this time in our history we would have worked out some other method than having to kill people who are acting out in this way. We say we believe in the sanctity of life and the dignity of all human persons then we should think about improving our tactics. Would not trying to preserve a life in these situations be appropriate? (I believe it can be done without subjecting police officers to unnecessary danger if we think this through).

Last October, I wrote this blog about starting some creative thinking about this problem.

Here it is again! (And the offer I made still stands!)


Isn’t it about time that we quit killing people who are holding knives and fail to respond to police commands?

Aren’t there other methods we could use than shooting and killing them?

Quite frankly, I am appalled when incidents like these happen. It usually goes down like this: A man, usually deranged by alcohol or other drugs, or suffering from mental illness, runs amok with a knife. Police are called. The man, more often than not, is surrounded by police with guns drawn. The man fails to respond to police commands to put the knife down and surrender. Then something happens. And the man ends up dead.

Now, it’s hard to believe that some of our nation’s police don’t have other ideas about what to do in these tense situations. After all, most police don’t like having to take a life — even when we they are legally justified in doing so.

But the problem here is not what is legally justified, but rather what appears to be the right kind of actions to take. (If the victim is a member of your family you most likely would support any form of a “less-than-lethal” response.)

Here’s a video about what I am talking about. The man in the video was being pursued by 15 or more police officers, guns out, pointed, and at the ready. The man ended up dead; shot multiple times.

Now these are tough situations. A man with a knife if he is close can easily kill an unwary police officers. This I know.

During my years as a patrol officer I taught defensive tactics to both recruits and senior officers for a number of years. My background is in the Asian martial arts and I have expert ratings in a number of them.

But I don’t want to say here what I think should be done; instead, I have a proposal. I would like to hear from today’s working officers as to what alternatives could be instituted on a tactical basis — creative suggestions about other ways to handle these situations.

And there’s more — I have a prize ($25.00) for the best and most creative submission — plus a free (and autographed) copy of my new book sent directly to the winner in a plain brown wrapper!

Now let’s get the creative process going!



  1. I love this, and I love that the idea would come from officers out there on the street. Your view on “suicide-by-cop” is so, so accurate as well. It’s too easy to respond with the same language as the culprit, and sends the wrong message altogether. There is no way that a single man with a knife cannot be overpowered by 15 cops without arms, there must be other ways to deal with these situations. I really applaud your non-violent voice in these times where guns and “self defense” are used as synonyms.


    1. The video from Ukraine (Kiev) identifies in the title that the man has a “spoon.” Is it sharp? Nevertheless, they do a good job of controlling the situation without drawing their sidearms. At the conclusion the officers are applauded by those who have watched the arrest. In the New Orleans video it does describe what we were trying to do during those times. As I viewed the video I was wondering where all the black people were. New Orleans was hardly an all-white city then!


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