A couple of follow-ups on Dogs and Domestics

First, Dogs:

rabid_dogOne of our commenters suggested that a policeman need not fear death to have legitimate fear of a dog. We understand that, to an extent. But we encourage officers to tangle with dogs as need be., rather than to use the tool you have (firearm). OC spray is ineffective on canids, and Tasers are hit or miss (if the electrodes stick, Fido’s going down. If not, Fido will not be deterred).  Here’s our reasoning:

  • First, we don’t think cops know that, for all the yowling and snapping, there’s essentially zero cases of non-rabid dogs killing cops, ever; and zero of rabid dogs since the New Deal (and more to the point, effective post-bite vaccines). We think that’s an important data point that most cops, most people for that matter, don’t know. Yes, dogs can hurt you; but they’re generally not going to, and they’re definitely not going to kill you.
  • Second, the commenter makes a great point that a dog can inflict serious injury that’s quite severe enough without actually inflicting death. But we went looking for cases and just didn’t find many (most dog bite fatalities and crippling injuries are to children). Instead we found a few cases like this one in Woonsocket, RI. The story’s a tangled mess — what do you expect, it was a domestic, and a tense and fraught one at that — but the upshot is, even though a cop got bit, the officers didn’t overreact, the suspect’s husband got the dogs under control, and at the end of the shift everyone was safe at home, except the suspect who was in the jug. By the standards enunciated in Commerce, CO or Hawthorne, CA recently, those Woonsocket cops would have been justified in blowing the squabbling couple’s aggressive pit bulls into the middle of next week. And bringing the (probably undeserved) wrath of 100 million dog lovers down on the poor department. Yes, the Woonsocket cops could have shot the dogs, but there’s a difference between what one can do and what one does do. That difference is the consequence of morals and, especially, judgment. The Woonsocket cops, Chris Bouvier and Pat Greeno, showed good judgment, and that’s why the story of their tense night only ever ran in the tiny Woonsocket Patch newspaper (and now, here in Weaponsman.com) instead of becoming the global you-tube sensation that the Commerce and Hawthorne dog shootings became.

We have a friend who develops training curricula for the airline industry. Somewhere over the decades he picked up a pithy aphorism: “Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment!” Wonder where those Woonsocket POs picked up their good judgment? — bet there’s a story in that.

Finally, we’ve mentioned in the past that video is a net plus — dashcams in particular have cleared a hell of a lot more officers than they’ve condemned. J. Lee Weems, a police chief in Georgia, says the same thing and encourages officers to let the video roll — let them capture you doing the right thing.

Second, Domestics

This morning we told the story of a woman who called 911 some eleven minutes after her husband had bonded out from jail. The cops couldn’t get there in the four minutes’ grace that her doors exterior and interior bought her. Fortunately, she had a firearm and lived to tell the tale.

In the New Yorker a woman gushes about a different way to prevent domestics: an intricate Massachusetts program that tightens  up on known abusers. Hey, it’s almost as if crimes are committed by criminals, and not their guns (or knives, or touy guns or any of the other things banned in the Bay Nanny State.But the program goes a step farther; the general idea seem to be disabling these crimibals from committing further crimes by locking them up.

In Salon, Amanda Marcotte, a throwback to the man-hating feminism of the 70s, is cool with that. She’s all excited about the possibility of some Department of Pre-Crime bagging those yet undiscovered mopes who haven’t committed the crime yet, but are thinking about it.

Remember the case we cited this morning? Eleven minutes after the revolving door of justice put one abuser back on the street, he was kicking down the door of his wife’s place. The cops were on the way when he broke down a second door.

She shot him dead. Funny how recidivism goes to zero when you let the sisters handle it for themselves.

3 thoughts on “A couple of follow-ups on Dogs and Domestics

  1. Y.

    That Masshole program is actually somewhat sensible.
    I mean, backing restraining orders with GPS alarm bracelets – good.
    Punishing people who violate restraining orders seem okay.
    From what I’ve read, to be locked up the offenders have to be really uncooperative.

    There’s an SF book in which approach to criminals is pretty simple.

    They’re given a somewhat intelligent robot minder which follows them everywhere, and if they try to hurt anyone they get stunned.

    10-15 years from now, it should be pretty cheap and easy to design an always-on gizmo lower-level criminals could wear that’d always ‘snitch’ on them- where they are, what are they looking at, what have they said etc. Would make criminality pretty hard to get away with.

  2. Aesop


    What happens when a guy on probabtion for arson tries to light his fireplace, or stove?
    What happens when a car thief gets stunned just as he pulls into traffic?

    How about when the electronic snitch outs a guy for plotting a crime, and it turns out the box recorded him watching a rerun of Columbo or Heat? That’ll be good for a lot of laughs around the D.A.’s water cooler, just before the massive lawsuit.

    Suppose I’m a clerk selling widgets at a mall kiosk,, and I tell Mr. Convicted Crook (and his helpful SnitchBox2025) “This is a steal!” and “Let me help you with that”; won’t explaining myself after the SWAT team kicks my door down at 3AM and drags me to the local detectives’ rubber hose room be a fun chat all around?

    In a nation where we can’t even rely on red light cameras, the last thing I want to do is put my civil liberty in the hands of a programmable box.

    All I can see, besides the nightmares of hundreds of sci fi writers, 200 million civil libertarians, and the press officer at the ACLU, is a scene reminiscent of the failed police droid in Robocop.

    1. Y.

      What happens when a guy on probabtion for arson tries to light his fireplace, or stove?
      What happens when a car thief gets stunned just as he pulls into traffic?

      a) telling apart voice is a pretty easy task, software wise. So I wouldn’t worry about that.

      b) you’re putting together two concepts. The ‘slap-drone’ from a pretty unrealistic though fun SF series and a monitoring bracelet that’s very likely going to happen simply because it’s going to be much cheaper than putting every non-serious offender into a prison so they can learn more criminal skills from other crims..

      “This is a steal!” and “Let me help you with that”; won’t explaining myself after the SWAT team kicks my door down at 3AM and drags me to the local detectives’ rubber hose room be a fun chat all around?

      Police beat crooks in the US? I thought these days only Russkies, Arabs and such were up for it.
      Anyway, not an issue, since I’d imagine thieves fitted with such would only get invited for questioning in the case their movements coincided with places where stuff has been stolen.

      I also suspect in 20 years’ time, electronic gizmos won’t get stolen easily.

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