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Letter: Knives can make a situation unpredictable

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Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:00 am

Every time there is a story regarding peace officers shooting someone who had a knife, there are two groups of people who usually think two different things. The public wonders why, and peace officers everywhere think, “What will I do if I’m ever in that situation?”

Most people don’t understand that much of the training for firefighters and peace officers comes from mistakes that were made — mistakes that cost them their lives, or caused life-threatening, career-ending injuries.

In the law enforcement world, subjects with edged weapons are some of the most difficult situations to deal with, and many officers have paid the ultimate price for taking the situation lightly. It is human nature to think, “It’s only a knife,” and, “The person with the knife is too far away to be a danger.” Training for officers regarding subjects with knives has been derived from martial arts experts in the field of knife fighting.

With a gun in its holster, they have shown — and we proved it time and again in training classes — that a person with a knife 21 feet away can attack and stab you before you can shoot them. Even with a gun drawn, the subject can more than likely still get to you before you can incapacitate them. And trying to only “wound” someone attacking you is asking for trouble. If time (knowing ahead of time that someone has a knife), distance and some type of barrier are involved, you have a much better chance.

I don’t know the facts of the Lodi shooting case. Some have said the person was always peaceful during prior contacts. You never know what someone is going to do. A vet? I’m thankful, but now you have a knife in the hands of someone who knows how to use it.

Like I said, it’s not an easy decision. Although the officers involved are safe, I’m sure they would rather they never had to face that situation.

Ken Rohde


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Mike Adams posted at 7:03 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1574

    If this is the Ken Rhode I think it is, he knows about shooting a gun.

    As Ms. Welch points out, there are many cultural concerns that need to be adressed by responding officers. Of course, getting stabbed with a knife is not one of them.
    Maybe this will lead to a change in police response to calls such as this. After all, we aren't NYC and our police don't shoot at a man armed with a cell phone 41 times.
    I don't think our guys carry that much ammo. Maybe with a 15 rd mag in their G23s.

  • Ed Walters posted at 9:11 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    the old dog Posts: 641

    Paglia: I have fired every small armed weapon the Marine Corps has, One 30 cal. round will stop a person, providing the proper part of the body is hit. I have had more training than most police dept. have. If damage is needed, a 12 guage shot gun firing double oo buck will stop a train and tear a person to pieces. That is the weapon I carried when escourting prisnors, as I worked at the Brig at Pendelton. One round was a figure of speach, however, 14 rounds with only 3 hits, and these cops were qualified. Paglia, you don`t seem to get the picture, it would take a split second for a round to travel 21 ft. You ever fired a weapon or served your country? And just what do you know about police training, yes I know they put their lives on the line everyday, so do I when I drive in Stockton, I will attempt to get a CCW licence. Now lets put this to rest.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 2:36 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2115

    Mr. Walters, if you knew anything about police training you would know WHY more than your magical "one round" was fired. One round does not always stop a person, multiple rounds are fired to stop the attacker.

    As for the cops stopping him in 3 ft. Again shows how little you know. A distance of 21 feet can be covered a LOT faster than you give people credit for. IF the officers were charged and they had your attitude, then Lodi would be morning the death of an officer.

  • Christina Welch posted at 12:58 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Christina Welch Posts: 460

    Many questions remain and I think we are all awaiting the investigation's report. One thing that has been on my mind, however, is the possibility that this knife in question may have been a kirpan, which is a dagger, yes, but it is one of the articles of faith for the Sikh religion. All this talk about a knife; could it be that the knife was indeed just a symbol of his faith and was misunderstood by the police? I do not know. But I hope it is something that will be looked at.

  • Ed Walters posted at 11:29 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    the old dog Posts: 641

    Rohde: You evidently have never fired a weapon. To have the service weapon police carry and have it aimed at a subject, and believe the deranged person can cover 21 feet faster that a speeding bullet is toally folly. That round travels at 2,000 ft. a second, at 21 ft. that subject could have moved no more than 3 ft. if that. At that short of a distance, one round should have ended the confortation. Why so many, you will have to ask the officers on duty. One thing for sure, you never bring a knife to a gun fight.

  • Frank Gayaldo posted at 11:14 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Frank Gayaldo Posts: 26

    Mr. Rohde speaks from experience. Sadly, so do I. Knives can and do kill-quickly. The points made in his letter are spot on. It is a horrible tragedy, and how horrible that one of our cherished veterans died. I grieve for the victim and his innocent family. I also grieve for the officers, and I grieve for Lodi and our great nation. I have been wanting to write something similar, but I couldn't have put it any better than Mr. Rohde did. God Bless all involved.


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