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THE VIEW FROM THE DOORWAY: BOTH SIDES, PART II — 40 Comments

  1. YO Mas: As always your wisdom, street smarts and good ole common sense, with a life time of Police Experience…tell it all! Lead On,perhaps you should run for the Supreme Court!?

    At lease we would have one Honest Jurist On Duty!

    Blessings and Stay Safe, A proud former student, who is a helluva lot smarter from your classes!

  2. To make matters worse, the news media are cutting what is, most likely, going to be a lengthy investigation into 30 second sound bites.

    By the way, I don’t travel overnight a lot but I’ve had the wrong room key given to me three times. Once did result in a peaceful confrontation with a trucker. Both of us were armed and both of us were “disturbed” that the management messed up. I’ve adopted the practice of knocking first and letting my family laugh at my actions.

  3. Valid points as usual, Mas. As you stated, we don’t know the exact circumstances of this tragic event.

    That said, as a just-forced to retire LEO and trainer, I have considered the possibility of incorporating home burglary issues into police survival training. While we hopefully prepare officers into how to respond if they are robbed or even involved in a dispute off duty, I don’t know of anyone training for encountering a burglar in their home.

    While a LEO’s response is likely to attempt a lock up, the wiser decision may be to tell the bad guy to run. That is what I would tell a citizen to do. Unless the burglary is a home invasion or an targeted attack om the LEO, why not? It’s the safer thing to do from a tactical and legal viewpoint. Granted, it goes against the grain, but all LEO’s experience that thought.

    • Agreed, John. Few police academies spend a lot of time on teaching officers to deal with off-duty situations, and fewer still address home defense issues. The first LE agency to do so to my knowledge was the San Bernardino, California Sheriff’s Academy. I’ve been out of touch with them for a while and don’t know if they still do that or not.

      • I’d go one further. I had a recently-retired officer in a license to carry class recently, and the deeper I got into the situational tactics we teach, the more he was frowning. After class, I asked him about it. He said he was just realizing that he no longer had the duties, authority, and backup of a sworn officer, and needed to adjust his thinking about self-defense accordingly.

        I’d love to see retiring officers get a “You aren’t a cop any more” class.

      • Larry-That would be an excellent class for all cops before they retire. I was not prepared for it when I retired in late 2012. I was doing PI work right after retirement, so it still felt pretty similar but after our stupid NY Governor enacted the “SAFE” Act, and a 7 round mag limit, I had to remove a round from the gun I carried at the time. Then it hit me that I really wasn’t a cop anymore. I actually mentioned something similar to your idea to my wife back then, saying that retiring cops need to get their head right for retirement and that there should be a mandatory class for that. Now I try to keep the mantra I first heard from Greg Ellifritz in my head, “Not my people, not my problem.”

      • Larry, two good courses for retired cops are Andrew Branca’s Law of Self-Defense (lawofselfdefense.com) and my own MAG-20 Armed Citizens Rules of Engagement (http://massadayoobgroup.com). You should be able to find one or the other within striking distance of you this year or next.

    • John, I think Mas referred to this as the “Get Out Option” many years ago; I would far rather exercise this than pull the trigger if at all possible, and safe to so. I’m sorry to hear you were forced into retirement, so many good officers have been so victimized recently.

  4. “…none of us therefore have the tools to properly judge the ultimate issue of guilt or innocence”

    What you are speaking of here is FAIRNESS. The mindset that one should wait until the facts are known, to the extent that they can be known, before making a judgment.

    Unfortunately, FAIRNESS is being squeezed out of mainstream American culture by a number of powerful factors. Among these factors are:

    1) The tendency of the media to always desire to cast every story in pure good/evil terms. The media has always wanted to break every story down into such simple concepts. The media has never wanted to admit that shades of grey exist.
    2) The tendency of the legacy media to become strongly dominated by left-Wing ideology in recent decades. This, combined with 1) above, leads them to spin stories that are not only “Good” versus “Evil” but to always equate the party most in-line with Leftist ideology as the “Good Guys” and the party identified as Non-Leftist or Conservative as always being the “Bad Guys”.
    3) The tendency of the Left-wing controlled education system to no longer teach “Critical Thinking” skills. Rather, the current education system simply indoctrinates their students into Left-Wing ideology. Considering that Left-Wing ideology is solely based upon such concepts as “Identity” and on not hurting others “feeling” but has no basis in rational thought, critical thinking is heretical to Left-Wing ideology and is, quite naturally, suppressed and discouraged by modern leftist educators.

    Therefore, left-wing ideological purity is valued far above FAIRNESS by those in the media, in education and by our current younger generation who have had the misfortune to have been raised under the tutelage of leftist educators.

    The result is that every news-worth occurrence is automatically cast in black and white terms (sometimes literally) with the participants most identifying with the leftist agenda automatically becoming righteous, with those they oppose being automatically cast as evil and with a generation of “Low Information” viewers who blindly swallow the story that they are spoon-fed because they lack the critical thinking skills to know better.

    The “Hot Stories” in the news all reflect this dynamic. In this case,for example, the police woman is automatically cast as the racist bad gal. The man who was shot in his own apartment, because he was black and an immigrant, is automatically cast as the “Good Guy”. The “Low Information” consumers of this story-line are told that there is no need to wait for the facts to come in because the facts don’t matter. Fairness doesn’t matter. Only ideological purity matters.

    Ideological purity demands that we believe that the police are automatically racists.

    In a similar fashion, ideological purity demands that we believe that all White Men are rapists and abusers of women. For that reason, we are also told that we must automatically find Judge Kavanaugh guilty and unfit to serve on the SCOTUS. He is not to be shown FAIRNESS. We are not to wait until all the facts are presented. The only standard in today’s media-driven world is ideological purity. To the Leftists, that is the only thing that matters.

    So, you see Mas, in today’s world, it simply does not matter whether or not we have the “tools to properly judge the ultimate issue of guilt or innocence.” I am afraid that you are very naive. Don’t you see, the side that is in lock-step with leftist ideology is automatically “innocence”? The side that opposes leftist ideology is automatically “guilty”.

    What need, therefore, do we have for any tools beyond those provided by “Political Correctness”. PC provides the tools necessary to allow the indoctrinated user to correctly identify the side with ideological purity. Once that is done, guilt or innocence automatically follow! 🙂

    • I might have finished reading your “tome” on FAIRNESS, if you hadn’t UNFAIRLY and INCORRECTLY started ranting against a phantom Leftist agenda.

      • Bob – Each person views the world through the lens of his or her own ideological worldview. Each person’s view of an event is different.

        Take the Zimmerman / Martin shooting for example. Some people are still convinced, even after the trial and acquittal, that Zimmerman is a murderer. Others view him as a man who should never have been charged in the first place.

        There are people today, you seem to be one, who feel that there is little or no left-wing bias in the media, in education or in politics. You say that it is UNFAIR and INCORRECT for me to make that claim. That the concept of a Leftist agenda is a phantom concept.

        To me, that is like saying that the sun is not bright. All I have to do is turn on CNN and the media bias and Leftist agenda come pouring off the TV screen. To deny such an obvious truth is amazing to me. I can only conclude that your own worldview is so far Left-wing that you do not see the bias in the media coverage. You see balanced reporting. You do not see a Leftist agenda. You only see policies that seem reasonable to you and that you support.

        Just be aware that not everyone is wearing Left-wing, rose-colored glasses as they look out upon the world. Some of us view the world through a clearer glass. We see the Marxist-Socialist Agenda of the American Left and we are deeply troubled by it. We are troubled because Marxist-Socialism is not compatible with the American Constitution and our form of Representative Republic. Therefore, for Marxist-Socialism to succeed, the American Constitution must fail. While some on the Left welcome such a failure and feel that it is long past due, I fear it. I fear it because, on the day that the Constitution falls, America falls.

    • TN_MAN,

      Leftist ideology claims that God does not exist, and yet, they are acting more and more like a religion. They worship man’s ideas and his ingenuity. In other words, they worship themselves. They believe they will eventually solve every problem. Their prophet is Karl Marx and their vision of heaven is illustrated in the lyric to John Lennon’s song, “Imagine.”

      Yes, they believe in ideological purity, and political correctness is their attempt to get us to obey their doctrines. The correct label for them is “Fabian Socialists.” Unlike Communists, they don’t want to use violence to advance their cause. They want to either convince us or fool us into following them.

      • @ Roger Wilco – Yes, the American Left (or as you call them, the Fabian Socialists) certainly do exist. Their influence can be plainly seen across America. Not only in politics, but in the media, in Hollywood films, in Silicon Valley and in the education system. I truly cannot understand those who dismiss their influence since it is currently so pervasive. Talk about having one’s “Head in the Sand”.

        In my opinion, because it is so pervasive and because it is so incompatible with the American Constitution and our system of government, this version of Left-Wing ideology represents THE GREATEST THREAT to America today. The threat posed by the American Left is far, far, far more dangerous than anything that the Russians, the Chinese or the religious fanatics of the Middle East might threaten.

        Why is the American Left the most dangerous threat? To answer that, all I need to do is quote Will Durant: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within”.

        The actions of the American Left represent a powerful internal threat. One that is capable of destroying America from within. If the Leftist Agenda succeeds, America will be internally destroyed. Then, our conquest from external enemies will swiftly follow.

  5. Your reference to Pete Seeger’s “ticky tacky houses(that) all look just the same” is both nostalgic and an excellent teaching point.
    The people who lived in those “cloned-condos” often did whatever they could to personalize their own homes, not so much, necessarily, to make theirs stand-out as to make their own readily recognizable.
    For any of your readers who find themselves living in such a situation I would suggest placing a piece of artwork, nature or whatever on your own door so, should you find yourself coming home late, tired or tipsy you will easily recognize your own door from all the others.
    Can’t do much about hotels….

  6. Interestingly enough, here in Maryland this past week, agents for a drug task force were shot by a home owner with a shotgun. Seems they had the wrong address when they conducted the raid. At the time of this writing, it is my understanding he will not be charged. The agents survived the the blasts from the shotgun, fortunately. The home owner believed it was a home invasion and took the correct actions to stop the “perps” who were breaking in.

    It has been reported that all drug raids are suspended until an analysis is conducted to never make this mistake again. Also, this isn’t the only incident where a raid took place on the wrong address either. Three years ago a family was terrorized and their 6 year old lab was shot to death due to an unfortunate “mix up”. No one was held accountable in that tragedy.

    In the case of this LEO in Texas. Sad, sad, sad, on both sides of the door.

    Stay safe.

    • Seem to Recall this type of thing has been going on Since the Collinsville Raids, back in 1970s, when a Task Force Kicked in the door of a poor fellow named Ballew, who likewise though it was a Home Invasion, and tried to defend himself, and his wife with an old Replica Cap & Ball Revolver!

      The upshot of that “Wrong Door Raid” was the Agents shot, & paralyzed Ballew, who was Charged with “Something” to cover the Agents Asses, while BATF Blamed it all on the “Untrained Local” Agents participating in the Task Force!!

      Paul

  7. Knocking before entering a hotel room seems like an excellent practice. It also occurred to me that travelers could take a sign – perhaps made of cloth, able to be draped over the top of the door – stating that the room is occupied, and requesting that individuals knock. Then the occupant knows that a person trying to enter without knocking has disregarded a reasonable request.

    Homeowners, of course, should invest in a sturdy door with a reinforced jamb, and a bar or anti-kick device for delaying forced entry, and for preventing inadvertent entry.

  8. To your point about not knowing the details (as always at this stage) we even get contradictory reports this early. I’ve seen reported both that her key didn’t work and Jean opened the door AND that her key worked, unlocking Jean’s door (won’t that be a can of worms for the apartment management if so). Time and investigation will tell.

    • I’ve also seen one rendition that had the door unlocked/open before she approached it.

      No reports have been definitively corroborated at this point, so the truth could be any of them, or even none of them (i.e. some other version that hasn’t yet been aired in public).

      As to the key working in the wrong door: it’s not nearly as unlikely as we’d like to think. Mass-produced locks (especially budget-priced ones, like those you might find in “contractor packs” for large building projects) often only have a few dozen available pin/tumbler combinations. It’s not impossible that two doors were keyed the same.

      I’m not saying that’s what happened (see uncorroborated versions in my first paragraph AND the first version in Steve’s comment), but it’s a possibility.

  9. Why this apparent fixation of what happened at the door? It didn’t happen inside a bubble. As Aesop pointed out, Guyger would have walked past maybe ten apartments from the garage to Jean’s apt. and each of those would have the well lit address at the door. This is not to mention the parking garage probably indicates the level.

    This was not a mix up by the desk clerk, this was not an errant key. It was the culmination of multiple missed cues.

    Too, since Guyger lost a previous battle to retain her taser and it is said that event should be factored, it could very well be said that event has rendered this small female prone to a hair trigger.

    Anyway, the truth is, this fixation on what happened at the door is a nonstarter as it foists the opinion it could happen to anyone of us. That is just rubbish. It is crafting an alternative narrative, aka leading.

    • As a pharmacist I once left work after a long and busy day. Riding my motorcycle along a route I took every day. Suddenly I realized I was concentrating so hard on something that happened at work that I nearly drove by my exit. Fortunately I caught myself and leaned sharply into the turn for the ramp. Unfortunately, I hit some sand. Thankfully no one died, not even my cycle. It would seem far to many would profess to have never lost situational awareness. I suspect many would claim they did so only under acceptable circumstances (like in an unknown environment). Sure. Let’s go with that. smh

    • When I’m in the hallways\stairwells of the building I work in I’ve routinely had to take a second to find the cues that tell me if I’m in the N, S, E or W wings of the building. So I believe it is possible for someone to do this. If the door was in fact open it wouldn’t be a dead giveaway either as she may have thought she had a break-in. On the flip side. I would have thought a polics officer would have better situational awareness then parking on the wrong floor and continuing on without noticing. She is young so maybe her head was burried in her phone. As Mas said though, we don’t have all of the evidence and judgement should always be held until all the facts are clear. Something I wish the media was forced to adhere to.

    • When I’m situationally aware in a garage I’ll be concentrating a lot more on what may be behind a column than the number on it. Likewise, traversing a corridor, I’m not going to be fixating on the numbers on the doors.

      Being an editor, I also note that it’s easy to read what you expect to see rather than what’s actually there. Particularly true in an apartment corridor, where you tend to focus on the last digits of an apartment number rather than the first one.

  10. Chiming in late but excellent point Larry. When I retired in 2012 I had no idea what I was in for. I was doing PI work so it still felt cop-like to some degree but when our idiot Governor in NY enacted a 7 round limit for handguns and I had to remove a round from the gun I carried at the time, it hit me pretty hard that I was no longer a cop. A “you’re not a cop anymore class” would have been perfect for me. I actually said to my wife back then that there should be a class before you retire about being prepared for the mental change, etc. On more than one occasion while we were out and about and I’d see somebody doing something suspicious she has said, “you’re not a cop anymore.” I try to keep in my head the mantra I first read from Greg Ellifritz, “not my people, not my problem”.

  11. SOOOO… the implication is that the Deceased Victim ( whom the Uniformed Killer made that way ) is at fault because he did not have a security chain on his door, in case the incompetent cop from the floor below his showed up?
    There is NO valid comparison between you story of being given the key to an already occupied hotel room, and the Deceased victim being shot to death in his own apartment by a uniformed officer who claimed she couldn’t tell the difference between his apartment and her own. MORE obvious distraction and misdirection. By no measure, would anyone who is impartial look at the facts known and say, yes, the uniformed killer was justified in killing a man in his own residence, doing nothing more than going about his normal non-criminal activities, just as countless other non-uniformed people do everyday in every city. Time to stop attempting to justify the unjustifiable by making invalid comparisons. Again, anyone expecting an impartial investigation from those who share the tarnished badges of that department, really is too naive to walking about with guidance.

    • You are giving the lie to your username, sir. The comparisons were to show how easy it is to find oneself at the wrong door in a cookie-cutter architecture situation. You seem to be a classic case of “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts.” No one here said the victim in this case deserved to die. We are looking at understanding how this tragic event might have come to pass, and how to prevent it from being repeated in the future.

  12. Mas, I really enjoy your take on most any situation/ incident. I listen to you on the “ GUNTALK show wt Tom Gresham. You are spot on wt wise insight on court cases. Thanks for helping good folks think clearly. I do own a few of your books….
    Manofmiles

  13. What stands out about this particular situation is that, had Botham Jean shot Amber Guyger out of reasonable fear that she was an armed home invader, he would have been justified as well—Mas Ayoob pointed out situations in which police have been shot by homeowners even though (with the benefit of hindsight) they had done nothing criminally wrong by responding to or being dispatched to the wrong house. It reminds me of the situation in the movie Crimson Tide, in which a ballistic missile submarine’s executive officer refused his superior’s command to launch missiles at Russia. The captain and executive officer were told afterward by the board of inquiry, “You were both right—and you were both wrong” according to the Navy’s procedures, which did not cover the situation in question.

    When two people can be both right and wrong about a nuclear launch situation, there is a big problem with the procedures (system), and the same principle extends to situations in which both parties can be right (under the “reasonable fear” standard) and wrong (with the benefit of hindsight) over the use of deadly force. Even if this shooting turns out to be an “excusable homicide,” that does not mean the incident should not initiate widespread corrective action to prevent a recurrence—anywhere.

    In this case, somebody was shot because somebody else entered the wrong apartment, and there have been situations in which people could have been shot for entering the wrong hotel room (thus causing the occupant to reasonably take them for invaders even though they had no criminal intentions). This sounds like a strong argument for changing building codes, and condominium association codes, to ensure that apartments, hotel rooms, and condominium doors do not look alike. Many condo associations, in fact, require that doors all be the same color, and maybe this is not a good idea—especially in safe neighborhoods where people often do not lock their doors. Perhaps numbers on apartments and hotel rooms should have different colored backgrounds to make it immediately obvious that somebody has come to the wrong door. Perhaps keys to hotel rooms (where they still use keys instead of electronic cards) should not be capable of opening the deadbolt if it is locked from inside. This is not my area of expertise, but the fact that people have in fact been shot both rightly (due to reasonable fear on the part of the shooter) but also wrongly (with the benefit of hindsight), and there have been numerous near-misses of this nature, suggests that some kind of widespread action is necessary to make these situations as close to impossible as can be achieved.

    • Similarly, in many hotels I’ve stayed in over the years – not to mention office buildings where I’ve worked – each floor’s hallway is done up with different-colored decor and carpet. Parking garages, too, paint the pillars with the “level” numbers different colors. Ergo, if you’re staying/working on the 4th floor with its red carpet, you probably won’t accidentally get off the elevator at the 3rd with its blue carpet.

      It’s not mandatory (so far as I’m aware) that hotels and offices do this, but it does seem to mitigate the “wrong room/office” mistakes, especially in cookie-cutter construction (“little boxes made of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same”) where each room and floor are laid out exactly like all the rest.

      Since the Dallas incident was a building full of condominiums, I would be pushing to incorporate this idea into building guidelines (not mandated codes, but guidelines) in the future.

      In the meantime, although I have heard that in one version of events in Dallas, the door was open/unlocked (so the officer should have known it wasn’t her apartment before entering), that hasn’t been corroborated. I’m not ruling it out, but at this point I’m not hanging my conclusions on it, either. Just one more potential data point.

  14. I see you could not handle the truth of being called out again for your use of distraction and misdirection by using false comparisons. No matter. I read today that the Uniformed ( accused, to be fair! ) Murderer is now the FORMERLY uniformed ( accused ) murderer; apparently, despite it’s best efforts, her former employer decided you really cannot pick up a piece of feces by the clean end, and polish it.
    There may be justice for the man wrongfully killed yet, though he will obviously not see it.
    You REALLY should think before the next time you end up digging a hole out of which you cannot climb. To think I actually own a couple of your books! That fact , at this point, may well end up being used against me if I should ever have to defend myself with lethal means

    • Instead of OWNING my books, you would have been better advised to READ them. You might then grasp the difference between homicide and murder, and perhaps learned a little about analytical and critical thinking.

      • Mas,

        I have met many a thinking man so intent on their own paradigm they could not see they were not thinking. Or consider much less be aware of their own prejudicial treatment of the facts and possibilities (as in discard anything not consistent with their preconceptions).

        I generally agree with your take on things. Someday I will get time to take up the hallway shooting in Vegas with you. (Walk backward vs crawl? Really?)

        I guess when I have time to waste I will have to review ‘thinkingman’s’ comments to get a sense of his quality of thought. So far, based on a couple recent comments, I am not impressed.

      • You mean the Mesa shooting, Paul? I wouldn’t have ordered a suspect to crawl toward me with ankles crossed, either. However, that command was given at the scene by the sergeant in charge, and the patrolman on trial — whose acquittal I was trying to explain to the readers — was not responsible for that. Those not familiar with the incident can find my article on it here: https://americanhandgunner.com/youre-f-ed-a-shooting-in-mesa/ .

      • That would be great advice IF thinkingman was actually interested in learning. Clearly the agenda is to smear the reputation of police officers and that of Mr. Ayoob. Such aggression is all too common these days and should not be tolerated. This behavior adds nothing to this forum- and will likely do nothing to ameliorate his apparent anger.

  15. I don’t care who you are, how many years you were a cop, how many articles you’ve written, how many trials you’ve testified in or anything else you use to try to justify an unjustifiable situation in order to defend a cop.

    Your first reaction to ANY situation IS NOT TO OPEN FIRE!

    I’ve heard this, hopefully by now, former cop is facing some degree of a murder charge. GOOD! I hope she spends many years behind bars contemplating her rash decision to gun down an innocent man. I further hope her situation is driven home to other officers who seem to view the general public as the enemy and that she is ruined both financially and emotionally.

    What is it you cops always say? “Well, I guess you should have thought of that first.”