"You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."
Ronald Reagan

Sunday, June 24, 2012


A friend passed along the following clipping this morning(6/22/2012), the aftermath of a police officer’s rescue of a hostage in New Jersey:

She was grabbed by a desperate parolee and who held her with a knife to her throat in Woodbridge Center Mall until a police officer shot and killed the man.

Now the woman, Ellen Shane, 62, of Carteret, plans to sue the township for $5 million, claiming it failed to protect public safety and that she was injured as a result of the officers acts.

Both Shane and her husband, Ronald Shane, “are suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and both have been dramatized from this incident,” according to the tort claim notice filed by their lawyer, David Corrigan of Eatontown.
Wow. Just wow. Her attacker is dragging her by the hair with one hand and holding a knife to her throat with the other. Probably not a good candidate for verbal negotiation, which requires rational people who think normally to be on BOTH sides of said negotiation. A cool-headed, highly competent police officer saved her life from nearly ten paces, according to one account, by performing the indicated response. A 230 grain dose of Pb, intra-cranially injected, relaxed the muscles of the hostage-taker instantly with no postagonal response.

The remote control injection that saved the woman’s life, I’m told, was performed from nearly 30 feet away, and the mechanism of injection was a Heckler and Koch .45 caliber service pistol. The bullet struck exactly the right part of the brain to prevent “death throes.”

Didn’t people used to express gratitude when their lives were saved? Instead, the newspaper’s comment section was filled with people who excoriated the cops for not preventing the man from grabbing her in the first place. Ironically, it was ten years ago yesterday that “Minority Report” first appeared in movie theaters…but cops who can arrest you before you commit a crime remain, thankfully, in the world of fiction.

Some were upset with the officer for not attempting to reason with someone obviously bereft of reason. Some expected a disarm: From thirty feet away, it would have taken about two seconds to get close enough to grab the knife, ample time for the hostage taker to slash his victim’s throat or stab her so many times her corpse would look like a pin cushion.

Did the plaintiff’s lawyer say “dramatized” when he meant to say “traumatized,” or did the person who wrote it up have either a Freudian slip or a wonderful sense of humor? I dunno…but the choice of words as printed seems absolutely appropriate to such a travesty of the civil lawsuit process.

Massad Ayoob

Massad F. Ayoob is an internationally known firearms and self-defense instructor.
Massad Ayoob has authored several books and more than 1,000 articles on firearms, combat techniques, self-defense, and legal issues, and has served in an editorial capacity for Guns Magazine, American Handgunner, Gun Week, and Combat Handguns.
Massad Ayoob was former Vice Chairman of the Forensic Evidence Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), and is believed to be the only non-attorney ever to hold this position.


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