I hate to be the one to break the news to you… but everything you see about guns on television, in movies, and video games is a lie. EVERYTHING!
Television and movie stories are born in the writer’s mind and are designed to spin a tale that compels you to buy a ticket or stay-tuned to see the commercials. Actors portray the story on the screen. Rarely do the writers or actors have any experience with guns, the military, or police work – other than getting a ticket or being arrested. So, how DO they get it wrong?
Empty Holster Syndrome
Pick any police show on TV in the last ten years. Every time the good cop shoots the bad guy, the cop gets back in the car and goes right back to work chasing other bad guys while someone else cleans up the mess. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The real-life cop is met by the first responding supervisor who takes the cop’s gun away and leaving him standing there, all alone, with an empty holster. The location of the incident is now a crime scene and the officer is the suspect in an investigation that may take several months to conclude. Every police department, large or small, has written procedures for dealing with use of deadly force and none of them involve putting the officer involved back on the street the same day. The State Police, District Attorney’s office, maybe even the U.S. Attorney and private consulting firms will take at least a month to review every aspect of a decision the cop made in a split second, all while the cop on administrative leave. Oh, and the scripts conveniently leave out the part about the cop having to hire a lawyer to protect his house, savings, and retirement from the wrongful death lawsuit that is guaranteed to be brought by the deceased’s family.
I’ve never met a cop that went to work hoping to shoot someone – they are weeded out in the psych exams. Most are men and women wanting to do a job they consider valuable, and who hope to just go home safely at the end of their shift.
Rules of Engagement
TV and movie “soldiers” fast rope from helicopters into impossibly dangerous situations where they always shoot the enemy before the bad guy gets off a shot. Then the heroes silently enter a building to kill all the other bad guys without hurting the hostages. Every mission is a success and the stars come home secret heroes because, of course, their missions are top secret.
Reality is quite different. Soldiers follow ”Rules of Engagement” defining when force may be used. They must be defending themselves or innocents before firing on the enemy and in some cases “lawyers” make the call while watching a mission unfold on a drone feed. Many veterans who’ve engaged in close quarters battle are deeply affected and will carry those emotional scars for life.
So, if you are thinking about carrying a gun for personal protection don’t use TV or movie examples as your model. You also need to need to wrap your head around what happens if, God forbid, you are ever forced to use it. I’ve known six police officers who had to use deadly force to save their own or other’s lives. All were very deeply affected, they became Police Academy instructors so others could learn from their experience and learn how to effectively deal with the aftermath.
In a deadly force incident everyone loses, and you’ll never see THAT on TV or in a movie.