Matutinal Mayhem in Midtown Manhattan

Friday, August 24, 2012

Matutinal Mayhem in Midtown Manhattan

(Credit for the snappy alliterative title goes to Tim de Illy.)

I haven't spend so much time glued to the TV set since April 19, 1994, when our Federal Government willfully incinerated 75 male, female and youth off-shoot Protestants in an ef­fort to get one pedophile to surrender.

(It was the largest number of murders by fire since The Bronx' Happy Land arson four years earlier.)

As most now know, shots were fired in midtown Big Apple at 9:03 am today, and television viewers in the tri-state area were suddenly deprived of their morning fixes of "The Price is Right" and "Let's Make a Deal."

Many hundreds of thousands of other viewers were ser­iously inconvenienced, but not me... anything I wanted to watch I'd DVR'd from last night, so I was good to go.

But when I got my mind around what had happened an hour earlier, I was unable to do anything other than sit there and flip back-and-forth between Channels 2, 4, 5, 7 and MSNBC.

What struck me most was how much the media types were able to say without telling us much of anything, because not only didn't they know anything, but anything they did report was revised within the next 15-20 minutes.

How many were dead... that stayed pretty constant at two from 10:07 am forward... how many were additionally wounded... eight or nine... and by whom... the suspected shooter or police... and what was it all about?

Had the suspect... dead on the sidewalk under a sheet... been fired yesterday, 2½ years ago or last year, and was he age 53 or 59?

Equally fascinating was the amound of on-scene video captured, not by news cameras, but cell' 'phones.

By 10:20 am, the future brother-in-law of one Summer resident of Westhampton Beach had sold his video "exclu­sively" to The New York Post probably for enough money to finance his upcoming honeymoon.

(Watch it... the quality wouldn't have passed muster with Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour. Not that The Post is the ne plus tultra of journalism, but this is what the craft has become today.)

At this writing, the only thing I want to know is how many bystanders were struck by "friendly fire." NYPD traditionally has some of the worst marksmanship in American law enforcement.

Each year SOP9, the "Uniform Annual Firearms Discharge Report," is released later and later because it takes that much longer for those who prepare it to massage the num­bers ("Hit Percentile") into double digits.

That's right, anything less than 10% and it's sent back for more work... in the early '90s, NYPD began including police officer suicides, usually but not always "one shot, one hit," to im­prove the official figures.


1. Rob F. said...

NY Post reports that perp's pistol malfunctioned when he tried to fire on cops and that all nine bystanders were hit by NYPD gunfire.

I am not surprised... can't wait to see how this is reported in next year's SOP9! Depending on the total number of NYPD rounds discharged, bystanders may consider themselves lucky.

O, and remember, "friendly fire" isn't!

2. Champ19 said...

Years ago I witnessed an example of how difficult it is to hit a target with a handgun when the shooter is not otherwise standing in the controlled confines of a shooting range.

Stopping behind two automobiles at a traffic light at midnight in a quiet neighborhood on a calm night, my passenger and I wondered aloud why the two vehicles did not move when the light turned green. There was no other traffic. The light turned red again at which point two males exited their respective cars. Soon, toe-to-toe, a shoving match ensued. Suddenly, one man reaches into his waist and pulls out a revolver. Then, amazingy, the other man pulls out a revolver. The man on my left fires one round. The man on my right fires four rounds and the man on the left crumples. At this point I had seen enough, and I split the scene. The next morning I called a friend who was an ADA and told him what happened and I wanted to give a witness statement. When I walked into the DA's office, I was surprised to see the man who fired the four shots sitting in the office as well. It seems he was an off-duty police officer who was in charge of firearms training at the local PD. He was no more than six/seven feet from a man with a revolver who had just shot at him and hit him with a total of one round. The other fellow missed completely with his shot.

Five shots fired, seven feet apart, one hit by a trained professional.

If you are in NYC and an officer feels necessary to fire his weapon, be prepared for a fusilade and take cover if you can. Obviously these folks yesterday did not have that option.

I had access to several years of SOP9s in the mid-90s... they made your hair stand on end, the number of rounds flying around a neighborhood.

Several I recall vividly, one in particular, a running "gun battle" along Queens Boulevard in which "MOS fired 241 X 0. No injuries reported." Translation: Members of the Service (NYPD) discharged 241 rounds with zero hits.

That event was ultimately excluded from that year's SOP9 with the explanation that the high round count was "anomalous."

In other words, there was no way the statistics wonks at #1PP could cook the books enough to bring the "hit percentile," even rounding up, to 10%.

3. Paramarine said...

I don't intend to sound like an armchair quarterback, but the motto Train Like You Fight, Fight Like You Train comes to mind.

I know it doesn't run in your family, Para, but if you wanna turn your hair white before your time, read any given year's SOP9!

4. Tim de Illy said...

The Associated Press reports that all nine of the bystanders were shot by police. One officer fired seven rounds, the other fired nine for a total of 16 rounds fired. AP also reports that shooter Johnson had "10 bullet wounds in his chest, arms and legs."

16 minus 10 leaves six rounds to account for nine wounded bystanders.

Looks like MOS fired 16X16 on this one.

Yeah, they could have done better. But it was an impossible situation. They could have done much, much worse. And they did get the shooter.

I have a hard time faulting them on this one.

You are not taking into account "grazing wounds" and perforating ones, Tim. The math doesn't always work.

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