“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Close calls.

Unlike many traditional stories, this one won't start with "once upon a time," or "we were drinking and," or even "no shit, there I was." Instead, I'll just relay bits from yesterday's fun.

We were running the Academy recruits through a tactical stress course day. It's one of the last things we do in the Academy - basically bringing together all the shooting skills from their prior training, along with decision making, physical exertion, and as much stress as we can put them under - trying to replicate to at least a fraction what a real-life situation may be like to them. Obviously, given the live ammo and stress we keep a very close eye on them for the safety of everyone involved.

This Academy has one recruit who has been an issue the entire time. No firearms skills, folds under the slightest bit of stress to include crying and just locking up, poor officer safety, and just a general lack of effort to fix these problems. To the point of several memos are already in the chain of command addressing whether she needs to continue being here or not - but this is always a big fight, as the upper staff wants to give them a chance and attempt to fill the holes we have in our manning.

Well, she gets to my station yesterday - the second in the series of 7 - and she's already losing it I can see. The drill involved loading a shotgun and engaging various targets at a short range - just combining basic weapon functions with some situational awareness under stress. And she is completely lost - can't figure out what to do, can't load the weapon, can't function it, and every second is just getting worse as we continue to stress her. It finally reaches the point of two of us stop yelling at her and are trying to at least walk her through the simple bits to do anything here, when she has a bit of an incident - while putting a round in the chamber she's swinging the shotgun around, and just as I'm able to block it from swinging further she has her finger on the trigger and fires it unintentionally.

Fortunately we had the close eye on her, and I had caught things in time - I missed being hit in the leg by about 12" as the shot hit the ground ten feet in front of us. No one was injured, and we quickly let her know that she needed to get her head at least partially working very quickly. Unfortunately, her performance stayed at about the same level the rest of the course.

The results of all of it? The class as a whole got a significant re-lecturing on the importance of the four safety rules, and why we stress them from day one. A few of them may have learned some new words in the specific moment as I emphasized my point. I got to write a lengthy memo on the situation, which from what I'm told is pretty much the final straw into her packing her bags next week & being gone before she does hurt someone.

It also gave me something to think about last night as I was discussing it at home - in that, while I have nice first aid stuff on my vests I use for bomb calls and tactical stuff, and a good first aid kit in the back of the truck, I don't carry anything with me when I'm on the line teaching at the range. Where I was is about 100 yards from where I was parked - and no first aid stuff was any closer. Had I taken the round at basically contact distance it could have made a difference - so I'll be acquiring one or two things and keeping them on myself when I'm teaching like this, just in case. Like everything else we do to prepare - I may never need it, but it's better to carry it and not need it than the other alternative.

Stay safe out there.