After every attack by Islamic terrorists, we hear what’s become a rote response: “But those aren’t real Muslims. Islam teaches peace. No real Muslim would murder civilians.” This optimistic-but-empty platitude is repeated by everyone from horrified peaceful Muslims to naïve college students to jihad apologists deliberately lying about the attackers’ intentions. It’s so common and so wrong it may as well be titled the “No True Muslim Fallacy”.

After the Benghazi attack and “Innocence of Muslims” video that didn’t spark it, Dr. Zahid Bukhari, President of the Islamic Circle of North America, wrote, “No practicing Muslim would advocate violence in any form in response to cartoons or films, no matter how offensive.” After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Piers Morgan wanted Muslims “To denounce [the attackers]  as non-Muslims, to urge REAL Muslims – the vast majority who loathe these extremists as much as we do – to rise up against them, alienate and marginalize them, root them out of their society.” Islamweb.net informs us, “if any Muslim kills an innocent person, that Muslim has committed a grave sin, and the action cannot be claimed to have been committed ‘in the name of Islam.'”

So apparently thousands of people who mistakenly think they’re Muslim have been shooting, beheading, burning, or blowing their enemies up lately. These non-Muslims-who-think-they’re-Muslims have killed over 50,000 people, mostly “real” Muslims, in the last two years. Somehow these people, most of whom were raised Muslim from birth, have misunderstood Islam so badly that they’re doing exactly the opposite of what Islam says.

See this terrorist? His name is Moner Mohammad Abusalha. Dr. Bukhara, Piers Morgan and others might think he’s not really Muslim, but in fact, he is. Or at least, he was. He blew himself up in a suicide attack on a restaurant in Syria.

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He was Muslim because he believed in a certain type of Islam that’s existed for hundreds of years, and has been studied and validated by many religious scholars. Not every Muslim agrees with this version of Islam, but this guy did, and millions of other Muslims do.

You know how I know this guy was Muslim? He told us.

He didn’t care if you don’t think he was a “real” Muslim. He didn’t need your permission to call himself Muslim. He was positive he was Muslim, and he thought others Muslims who don’t massacre their enemies aren’t real Muslims. He was supported by millions of other Muslims who either directly armed, trained, fed and housed him, or gave tacit support to his actions. Whether or not you gave him the “real Muslim” stamp of approval made no difference to him. It probably never crossed his mind.

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By the way, Abusalha grew up in a gated community in Florida, graduated from high school and spent some time in college. All suicide bombers are poor and uneducated? Yeah, not so much.

In the end, denying his or any other terrorist’s religious faith is meaningless. Because our opinion about their faith means nothing, either literally or philosophically.

We need to realize something: we don’t get to decide what makes a “real” Muslim. Nobody needs our approval to label himself any religion he wants. Two western Christians (or atheists, or agnostics like me, or Muslims, or whatever) can argue for years about what makes a true Muslim. Who cares what they think? Do Christians need approval from Afghan Muslims before calling themselves true Christians? Do Baptists need approval from Catholics?

The definition of true Islam has been debated at least since the Sunni/Shia split in the 7th century. Sunnis and Shia have been killing each other for apostasy for 1400 years, and some Sunni extremists refer to Shia as  “rafidha (‘rejecters of the faith’) and majus (Zoroastrian or crypto-Persian)”. Other strains of Islam, like the Sufis, have risen and sometimes been brutally oppressed by more powerful Muslim sects. The “what is true Islam” debate has been violently raging among Muslims for over a thousand years; why does anyone, especially non-Muslims in the west with no real understanding of Islam, think they can smugly decide what a real Muslim is?

If I’m curious about an avowed jihadist’s religious affiliation, I might do something totally crazy: I’d ask him. Because, you know, he and his buddies are screaming to the world what their religious beliefs are.

I know, I know. Someone’s about to say it. Some people have probably been screaming it since the first paragraph. So go ahead and let it out.

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Now that you’ve shocked us with that newsflash, guess what? We already know that. Of course all Muslims aren’t terrorists. If I believed all Muslims were terrorists I wouldn’t have lived, worked and socialized with them in Kosovo, served in combat beside them in Afghanistan, invited them into my home, or taken one to a range to improve his pistol skills. Most Muslims are nothing like ISIS, and would rather kill an ISIS fighter than join him. You literally have to be stupid to believe that every last Muslim is a terrorist, or condones terrorism.

But you have to be even stupider than that to think none of them are, or that it’s just a tiny handful. The suicide bomber threat isn’t over because the suicide bomber I mentioned earlier was the only one ever. ISIS isn’t a small organization, and it’s funded by many Muslims all over the world.

Even our government tacitly admits jihadists are Muslims. Our President might be loathe to use the term “Islamic terrorism” (his people apparently even censored French President Francois Hollande’s use of the term at a White House meeting), and politicians like Cory Booker might outright refuse to even say the words.

But if our elected representatives truly didn’t believe jihadists were Muslims, they wouldn’t have terrorists like Osama bin Laden buried according to Islamic law. The military wouldn’t have temporarily banned female guards at Guantanamo from offending a war crime suspect’s Islamic beliefs by touching him while moving him from the prison to legal appointments. And if the rest of the Muslim world didn’t believe those terrorists were real Muslims, Muslim scholars wouldn’t have complained that bin Laden’s burial at sea violated sharia law and warned that Muslims would attack Americans in retaliation. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)  wouldn’t have complained of guards at Guantanamo Bay force-feeding prisoners on hunger strikes during Ramadan. If nobody believed bin Laden or terrorists at Gitmo were real Muslims, why would our government, Muslim scholars and CAIR be so worried about offending their Islamic sensibilities?

Everyone knows not all Muslims are jihadists, but everyone with an understanding of reality knows jihadists are actually Muslims. So please, stop claiming you know what all real Muslims think. Nobody cares. At least, the Muslims who believe Islam commands them to slaughter people don’t. If you’re positive you know what “real” Islam is, find your nearest ISIS fighter and argue with him about it. Because wasting time trying to convince me that “real Muslims would never be terrorists” doesn’t stop your so-called fake Muslims from murdering people.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).


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A few months ago, a woman sitting next to me on an airplane started a friendly conversation. When she found out I was an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, she asked about something that was obviously bothering her.

“My daughter’s friend is an Iraq veteran,” she said. “He wasn’t in combat, but he’s disabled by PTSD. He was a medic, and he says the enemy was always trying to capture medics. On missions they wouldn’t let him out of the Humvee because he was in so much danger. He says his PTSD is from being scared of being captured.”

The woman was almost embarrassed to tell the story. Her expression betrayed obvious doubts about this veteran’s “trauma”. But like most of the public, she didn’t feel justified questioning any PTSD claim, from any veteran, for any reason. When I told her I never heard of medics being targeted more than anyone else (especially since they don’t dress or look different than other troops), that riding in a Humvee in Iraq isn’t so scary as to disable someone for life, and that he was probably milking the system for free money, she seemed relieved. She suspected the same thing, but didn’t feel right saying so.

It’s fair to say most of us combat veterans have suspicions about PTSD claims. We’ve been frustrated by stories of horrible, disabling PTSD from people we know were never in combat. We’ve heard of troops coming home from deployments to peaceful countries, never hearing a shot fired, but immediately claiming PTSD. We know that in the War on Terror only a small percentage of troops actually faced an enemy, and many of those relished the experience. We have the nagging feeling most PTSD claims are more about free money than healing and recovery. Some of us have become so skeptical, we automatically throw a mental BS flag when we hear someone talk about having PTSD.

But most of us doubters aren’t psychologists. We’re not trained. We don’t know what transpires between a veteran claiming PTSD and his VA counselor. We know PTSD doesn’t require combat experience, and understand not everyone has the same resistance to trauma, but still wonder if veterans really get disability payments for being yelled at in basic training. We hear assurances that PTSD disability isn’t handed out like candy, that claimed trauma is investigated rather than blindly accepted, and that the “tiny number” of scammers are quickly identified and booted from the system. Maybe our suspicion that the VA PTSD system is corrupt and overrun with liars, scammers and thieves is off base.

If our suspicions were confirmed, that would be pretty depressing. Know what would be even more depressing? Being told by two VA psychologists that the system is even more corrupt and full of liars, scammers and thieves than we thought.

Not long ago I wrote an article about two “combat” vets and their attempts to paint veterans as pitiful victims of PTSD. A VA psychologist read the article and contacted me. He can’t speak publicly because he still works at a large VA center, but I verified his identity and work. I’ll call him John.

John has treated over 700 veterans for PTSD. He estimates 75% of his patients are either outright fabricating trauma, or twisting benign experiences into supposed trauma in order to qualify for disability benefits. “Of all patients referred to me in 2015 for PTSD evaluation, 25% (estimated generously) had a real trauma-related condition,” John wrote. “And the majority of the remainder were obviously feigning PTSD symptoms.”

Few of John’s patients were actual combat veterans. “Only 10% had documentation (CIB/CAB/CAR/Purple Heart/Bronze Star, etc.) indicating substantial combat exposure,” John said. “Yet just over half were receiving VA disability payments for PTSD. All who weren’t yet on disability for PTSD were applying for it, and most on disability were appealing to increase their disability rating.”

Read the rest at BreachBangClear.com.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and Iron Mike magazine and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).


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I’ve finally released my third novel, Safe From the War, as an ebook on Amazon. Print and audio versions to follow (hopefully soon). This book is the prequel to Line in the Valley, and explains what my protagonist Jerry Nunez experienced in Houston before he was sent to fight on the Texas border.

In one day it’s received a few five-star reviews. Not a bad start. 🙂

Short excerpt:

“Nunez approached the door, watching the window closely for shadows against the glass, eyes peering through blinds, anything. He saw and heard nothing. The door had no windows, and dirt was streaked across it at waist level.

Everything else was clean. Dirt on the door didn’t fit. Nunez pulled the flashlight from his belt and strobed the door with it.

The streaks were drying blood, not dirt. It looked like someone had reached for the door with bloody fingers, smearing it from their hands as they were pulled inside. Nunez strobed again, looking at the doorstep this time.

Blood. Lots of it. Not in a pool but scattered in large spots, each several inches across. Dozens of smaller drops dotted the doorstep. Red footprints covered the gaps between larger spots of blood. The random pattern of the drops suggested a violent struggle at the doorstep.

Looks like that little thug was telling the truth, Nunez thought. But the suspect was stabbing her, not punching her.

The blood was dark and thick. Nunez recognized it as venous blood, what most untrained observers thought was arterial blood. Nunez knew from previous experience on the street, and more than one bad incident in Afghanistan, that the girl was hurt bad. He reached for his radio shoulder mike and lifted his eyes from the doorstep.

Fingers were inside the window, separating the cheap Venetian blinds. Dark eyes behind them stared hatefully at Nunez. If the other hand held a gun, Nunez was fucked.”

If you should read it, please leave a brutally honest review. Thanks and I hope y’all enjoy it.

Chris

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).


Sometimes it makes sense to carry a .380. Twenty years ago I wouldn’t have said that, but with today’s advances in ammunition technology the .380 has become a viable self-defense round. I’m a cop and don’t carry purely for self defense; it’s my job to advance toward a threat, not cover my and my family’s retreat. After hearing opinions from two very skilled tactical trainers, and spending enough range time with a Glock 42, I would have the confidence to advance on a threat with a .380. Yes, I’d likely be at more of a disadvantage than I’d be with a larger pistol, I’d have to get much closer to make effective shots, and I’d probably need to put more rounds on target to stop a bad guy (which is why I never go with less than three spare mags when I carry my G42). But I could win a gunfight with a .380.

Now that I’ve explained why I sometimes carry a .380, the next question is, what’s the best way to carry it?

One extremely low-profile way to carry a small pistol is in a pocket holster. When I have to dress up and tuck in my shirt, pocket carry is great. But for EDC, it has a significant drawback: it’s not ambidextrous. If the first indication I’m in a gunfight is a disabling wound to my right hand, and I’m pocket carrying, I’ve got problems. The same concern applies to strong-side IWB carry. I don’t carry a gun in case nothing goes wrong, I carry in case everything goes wrong. And one way everything could go wrong is having to engage in a gunfight with only my weak hand. My weapon generally has to be accessible with either hand.

For that reason, among many others, I’ve switched to Appendix In Waist Band (AIWB) carry. And Big Stick Defense (http://www.bigstickholsters.com), run by fellow Texan Levi Ralston, makes a pretty good AIWB holster.

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This is MY holster, before Big Stick shipped it over.

Tons of Kydex benders are making holsters. But Big Stick’s “Fat Boy” stands out among others for two reasons. Big Stick only advertises one major feature for the Fat Boy, but the second and third really grabbed my attention. (Note: the Fat Boy isn’t only for appendix carry, I just use it solely for that purpose.)

The Fat Boy’s “signature feature” is a raised sweat guard that cover the entire body side of the weapon; none of the weapon touches your abdomen. This prevents rust, and helps avoid “holster bite” when you holster your pistol. Holster bite doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for middle-aged guys fighting a beer belly (like me), getting the crap pinched out of your stomach every time you holster becomes kind of a pain. The Fat Boy eliminates the bite problem.

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The second feature is the Fat Boy’s “control channel”. The channel keeps Kydex off the slide release, which prevents the possibility the slide release will catch or drag during the draw. An associated feature is a pronounced shroud that prevents accidental mag release. One time, with one holster, I drew my weapon and discovered my mag was popped. That was during a very intense training exercise, I was moving around a lot and hitting the deck repeatedly, and don’t know if the mag released because I leaned on it or if I failed to seat it before holstering. It only happened once, so I’m more inclined to think it was my fault rather than the holster’s. But that incident made me very aware of the possibility that a holster could cause me to lose my magazine. In a gunfight, that would just be embarrassing. I don’t have to worry about that happening if I’m using a Fat Boy.

The Fat Boy’s third and most-important-yet-unlisted feature is retention. I’ve used a lot of AIWB holsters, but this is the only one the pistol actually snaps into, the only one I can hold upside down and shake without having the weapon fall out, and the only one I could wear in a fistfight or wrestling match without worrying about losing my weapon. I can think of any number of holsters, including some very popular minimalist holsters, that I would be terrified to have in my waistband during a physical confrontation or even during significant physical exertion (i.e., running through a panicked crowd toward a potential threat). Having a loaded pistol floating around loose in your pants during a life-and-death crisis would kinda suck, but I wouldn’t worry about it if I was wearing a Fat Boy. With the G42 Fat Boy the weapon does “pop” as it’s drawn, which could be a problem if you’re trying to draw quietly, but training and awareness keep that under control. The G43 version is just as secure but has a much quieter draw.

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A one-off holster, made for a Jericho.

Based on my experience with the Fat Boy, Big Stick Defense seems to make good stuff. They offer a lifetime warranty on their gear, and if you buy a Big Stick holster and really wear it out they’ll pretty it up for you free of charge. If you’re in the market for a Glock 42 AIWB holster (or for any of the weapons listed below), Big Stick is a good place to start.

G42
G43
G26/27
G19/g17
G21
G34
Fullsize or commander 1911 W/ rail
Beretta PX4 storm
Plus many other commonly carried pistols

And if you’re near Brownwood, Texas, have a one-off weapon that’s not on the list and want a Big Stick holster, feel free to visit Big Stick Defense and let Levi use your weapon to custom make a holster for your pistol. Check out their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/bigstickdefense/?fref=ts, for more information.

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P.S. I don’t have any business association or interest with Big Stick Holsters. I just like their products and enjoy helping a Texas businessman who believes in the 2nd Amendment.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).


This was published yesterday on Breach Bang Clear. If you love fake combat vets as much as I do, please click the link below and check it out. Thanks,

Chris

I Heart Fake Combat Vets

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).


This was published Sunday on Breach Bang Clear. Rather than posting part of it here and asking you to follow the link and finish reading it on Breach Bang Clear, I’ll just post the link.

Explaining the Unexplainable; The Tamir Rice Shooting

Please let me know what you think. Thanks guys.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).


Early last Thanksgiving morning, a longtime troublemaker tore out of a bar parking lot in Paradise, California. His headlights were off and he almost hit several bar patrons as he sped away. The troublemaker was, not surprisingly, drunk. Paradise police officer Patrick Feaster was parked near the bar, saw the drunk flee the parking lot, turned on his overheads and tried to stop him. Not surprisingly, the drunk, Andrew Thomas, didn’t stop. Instead, he rolled his SUV. His wife was ejected and died. Officer Feaster pulled up to the accident seconds later.

None of this is unusual. Drunks drive stupid, run from police, and kill innocent people every day in America. But what happened next was completely out of the ordinary: the officer, for no apparent reason, shot the driver. And he wasn’t charged for it.

I’ve been a cop for two decades, have written about why the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri was justified, and have spent many frustrating hours trying to explain to police critics that the real world is nothing like the TV shows they think are real. I’m extremely jaded about criticism of police tactics from people who know literally nothing about real-world lethal force encounters. When I first saw Facebook posts about the Paradise shooting, after the DA announced the officer wouldn’t be charged, I figured the posts were routine “guys who know nothing about police work making stupid comments” nonsense.

Then I watched the video.

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I watched as, after the accident, Officer Feaster reported the rollover to dispatch. I watched him get out of his patrol vehicle and seem to casually walk toward the wrecked SUV, which had come to rest on its driver’s side. I watched Andrew Thomas begin to climb out of the SUV’s window. Both his hands were visible, and there was no obvious indication of a weapon. I watched Officer Feaster casually draw his weapon, casually point it at Thomas, casually fire one shot, stop walking briefly as Thomas falls back into the SUV, and casually reholster. I watched him saunter to the SUV, look into the window toward Thomas, and report on the radio that “I’ve got an unresponsive female, I’ve got a male in the car refusing to get out.”

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Feaster shooting Andrew Thomas

I watched backup arrive. Feaster doesn’t mention he had shot the driver. I saw more backup arrive. Feaster still doesn’t say anything. As other officers check on the ejected woman and Thomas, I watched Feaster search the area he had been when he fired the shot (most likely looking for his spent shell).

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Feaster appearing to look for his spent shell

The video ended before EMS arrived, but reports I read said Feaster still didn’t say he had shot Thomas. It wasn’t until EMS pulled Thomas out and saw the gunshot wound that Feaster finally admitted he “might have” shot him. And Feaster didn’t actually say anything until his supervisor told an officer to go back to the bar and find out if Thomas had been shot there.

Eleven minutes passed between the moment Feaster shot Thomas and the moment he finally told someone about it. Eleven minutes Thomas could have bled out. And Feaster didn’t say a word, to anyone, until he basically got caught.

Feaster claimed the shooting was accidental. Thomas was paralyzed from the waist down. Feaster was immediately suspended, and the incident was referred to a grand jury. On December 10th, the District Attorney announced Feaster wouldn’t face criminal charges for the shooting.

As I watched the video, after I read that Feaster wouldn’t be charged, I had a “What the f**k?” moment. Don’t get me wrong; I understood why Officer Feaster drew his weapon, and I understand why he pointed it. Thomas was a felon who had just fled an officer, and drawing your weapon is normal during a felony stop. It’s also normal to point your weapon at a felon to force compliance. It’s not normal to put your finger on the trigger if you don’t see an immediate lethal threat, and it’s not normal to shoot an apparently unarmed man who presents no threat. From the video, I saw no reason the officer should have fired. It just didn’t make sense, and Feaster appeared to have done it intentionally.

But Feaster said it was an accident. The DA believed that, based on two very flimsy pieces of “evidence”:

  • Feaster fired in mid-stride, jerked his head sideways and “stutter-stepped” after firing, which the DA believes indicated surprise; and
  • Feaster fired only one shot, but officers are trained to fire at least twice.

The DA’s statement to the Paradise PD Chief says, “The dashcam video also shows Officer Feaster was not prepared for and was surprised by the gun’ s firing. The pistol discharges in mid stride and the officer both flinches his head to the right and does a ‘stutter step’ indicative of an officer not prepared for nor intentionally firing his pistol. Additionally officers normally train to fire a minimum of two shots when they intentionally fire their sidearms at training.”

I don’t get the DA’s reasoning, and I can refute his points:

  • In the academy, officers don’t typically train to fire while walking. But many private instructors offer advanced training, including pretty basic “shooting while walking” drills. Some officers train together on their own, and incorporate advanced training they’ve received from various instructors. At the very least, the DA should investigate whether Feaster had ever been trained to shoot while walking;
  • Feaster’s head movement and stutter-step could indicate surprise, or could have been Feaster simply assessing his shot before deciding whether to fire again (by the way, I didn’t see a stutter-step, I just saw Feaster stop walking long enough to fire); and
  • Officers were historically trained to fire two shots and assess, but we also train to fire until the threat ceases. We’ve moved away from the brainless “two shots no matter what” training that has probably gotten officers killed. I know an officer who got shot at, drew and fired twice, reholstered, and then realized the suspect was still shooting at him. To avoid training officers to make that mistake we don’t teach a two-shot minimum, and we don’t teach officers to fire after the threat has been neutralized. There have been many recent, justified police shootings where the officer fired only one shot. And if Feaster was planning on shooting twice, he carrying a .45 which has significant recoil. It’s not unreasonable to ask whether Featser didn’t shoot twice because Thomas dropped out of sight too quickly for Feaster to get back on his sights for a second shot.

On that video, I don’t see the obvious indicators of an accidental discharge that DA Ramsey sees. And according to DA Ramsey, shooting someone accidentally but not killing them isn’t illegal in California.

“In examining Officer Feaster’s criminal liability, we note first that this, thankfully, is not a homicide case and we therefore only examine those Penal Code sections dealing with the discharge of a firearm. All of those sections, be it Penal Code section 245 (Assault with a Firearm), 246 (Discharge of Firearm at an Occupied Vehicle) or 246.3 (Discharge of a Firearm in a Grossly Negligent Manner), all require proof the trigger of the firearm was pulled ‘willfully’ or under circumstances in which the display of the gun was unreasonable. As noted in Penal Code section7, the word ‘willfully’ when ‘applied to the intent with which an act is done, implies simply a purpose or willingness to commit the act (i.e. pull the trigger)’. An unintentional or accidental pulling of the trigger, as long as the firearm was originally displayed in a legal and reasonable manner – i.e. an officer in the reasonable performance of his duty of making a felony vehicle stop – does not, under the law, allow for criminal charges.”

Again, I get why Feaster drew and pointed his weapon. I’m also all for using as much force as necessary, as soon as it’s necessary. I’ve been in plenty of confusing, dangerous situations where I came close to shooting people I later found out weren’t a threat, and I’m more than willing to give a cop the benefit of the doubt. I understand that good guys can make good-faith mistakes under stress, and I don’t want any cop trying to do his best punished for it. I also understand that we cops live in a grey area, where neat lines and classroom theory get beaten senseless by ugly reality. I can defend a good guy who made a bad call. But I’m not willing to stand up for an officer who blatantly shot someone for no reason, then didn’t even bother to tell other officers or paramedics.

In this job, we need the public’s trust. We don’t necessarily need the public’s approval; as in the Mike Brown case, there will be times an officer is completely justified and the public just won’t accept it. But in cases where the shooting is obviously not justified, the officer even admits it’s not justified, the DA says it’s not justified, and someone who’s a jerk but didn’t deserve to get shot gets shot and paralyzed anyway, the officer should be charged. In Texas, if I shot someone the way Feaster did, I’d at least be charged with felony Deadly Conduct. And I’d deserve it.

I don’t like criticizing another officer, and I don’t like calling for a cop to be charged. I can maybe accept that Feaster was so ill-suited to police work, so inept, that he accidentally fired but wasn’t sure he fired, and spent eleven critical minutes trying to convince himself he hadn’t fired. Maybe Feaster didn’t intend to shoot anyone, and was just a horrible cop. I think it’s more likely he intended to shoot, and realized immediately he had screwed up.

Either way, if we cops expect the public to view us as the good guys, we should call for Feaster’s prosecution.

P.S. Andrew Thomas died after DA Ramsey’s announcement of no charges. I’m waiting to see if he charges Feaster now that his actions did in fact result in Thomas’ death.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).