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“Drop Your Weapon! You have 3/10ths of a Second!” Bang.

Written by Gary North on December 17, 2014

This man refused to obey in the allotted time, so he was shot dead by a cop.

According to a “database of useful biological numbers” maintained by Harvard University, it takes us human beings between 0.10 and 0.40 seconds to blink our eyes. According to a lawsuit filed by John Crawford, the 22-year-old black man killed in a Beavercreek, Ohio, Walmart in August, the police responding to the call of a gunman inside that Walmart shot Crawford 0.36 seconds after asking him to drop his gun.

That gun, as we know now was a pellet rifle. Crawford had reportedly picked it up from a shelf inside the store. It was clear already to anybody who had seen the video of Crawford being shot by police that he wasn’t given much time to respond to the police. But 0.36 seconds? Is that all he got?

I was trained in combat handgunning by Col. Jeff Cooper. In his week-long course, students were trained to draw, unlock, and fire a .45 in two seconds or less. The student had to hit a man-sized target 21 feet away. It was not hard to do after a week’s training by Cooper.

Here is what Cooper told us.

If someone is pointing a gun at you, he has decided not to shoot you yet. If you can draw and fire, and kill him in three seconds, he will not pull the trigger. Something is holding him back. Unless he is a professional killer, he will not be able to respond in less than three seconds.

To draw, fire, and hit a target in .36 seconds is a skill possessed by few men. It is a useless skill under most scenarios, other than as a trick shooter. It would take constant practice. It would take a huge budget. The ability to make literally split-second decisions on a consistent basis in this field cannot be tested well. To make life-and-death split-second decisions takes practice. There is no way to get such practice. Shooting paper targets that cannot shoot back is trying. I have done it. But it is not the same as risking your life.

I cannot imagine what kind of skill it would take to make this kind of decision, even if I were holding a gun on someone. But I would know this. The likelihood that anyone could draw, fire, and take me down in under .36 seconds is remote.

We live at the mercy of the police.

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