14 October 2016

Somewhat rambling discussion of shooting aspects of the Lindt Cafe siege

Intriguing paragraph on Wikipedia:
Mitchell McAlister, who was a tactical assaulter with 2nd Commando Tactical Assault Group questioned the police use of M4A1 carbines with 5.56mm NATO rounds that could have "dangerous effects in a dense and enclosed environment."[71] It was also unclear why 22 shots were fired by police, of which 13 hit Monis.[62][72][73][74]
I am interested that something I have been wondering - I am in no way an expert - also wondered by someone who is an expert.

I question why counterterrorism police, supposedly world class etc. etc. - would use M4s firing .223. I could imagine that they might use a larger calibre with very light loads, or, more likely that they would use submachine guns firing pistol rounds. But to use .223 - incidentally firing what I suspect were loads way too hot for the job - I think would be the anti-sweet-spot. If I, armchair amateur that I am, were put on the spot and told to arm the counterterrorism police today, I would go with a submachine gun - long enough to supply accuracy but firing a pistol bullet, which is at least as large but more likely much larger but simultaneously much lower-powered. Of course, pistol bullets have their own problems - there is no guarantee they will put their man down, unlike, I would previously have said, a rifle bullet. (However we see that Monis required anywhere between 4 and 13 rifle bullets to put him down, not counting the bullets that missed.)

The bullets that missed - the police seem to supply us with more and more of them every day - are another intriguing thing. Before I begin, let me say that I am glad I was not one of those police officers. Let me also point out that shooting is a highly mental exercise and pressure has a huge influence on one's ability to shoot accurately: I know that the slightest pressure, such as from having made a poor shot previously, wreaks havoc on my shooting, and these guys were under the ultimate amount of pressure. To continue, however: these guys were not shooting pistols but rifles, and at ultra-short range. I can't imagine why they'd miss so many times. Once, sure. But 9-18 times?

Speaking of missing, apart from the one shot that killed poor Tori Johnson, every single shot fired by Monis missed.

This is possibly my all-time favourite piece of footage. A few incidental notes: 1. How far apart are some of the escapees? Actually if you look at all the escaped hostages, they seem miles apart. How does this happen? 2. How would you like to have been the woman at the back? She was pregnant, btw. 3. Don't you love it when the people in front of you can't run as fast as you? 4. The mental processes of the hostages in making the decision to run is fascinating. While I in no way blame them, and they should under no circumstances blame themselves, their escape it seems was the direct cause of Monis executing Johnson, triggering the police to enter, and the subsequent killing of Katrina Dawson. Actually, if you examine the psychology of the escapees, their escape was triggered by the fact that Jieun Bae and Elly Chen had opened the door and escaped and left the door closed bu unlocked, so it was their escape that could be said to have triggered the crisis. In the end, however, they did what the police couldn't bring themselves to do: bring the crisis to a head. One lesson I draw from this: The importance of keeping the hostages' spirits up. For this reason and others, this means that negotiating and being seen to negotiate is a vital thing to do, and the once thing the police really failed to do, or so it seems to me. Indeed, I would have thought that participating in negotiations would have been a vital plank of a containment strategy.

More importantly, this goes to show how important it is to practice shooting. I am told the police (regular police, not TOU) shoot 60 rounds per year in practice. 60 rounds is what a sporting shooter shoots in a single match. If a sporting shooter shot so few rounds a year, he would lose his licence, and rightly so. Yet "only the police should have guns". Who says the police are safe? We will examine that question in greater detail when we examine the Hornsby shooting.


Quote by the same McAlister:

"The siege was isolated to the confines of the Lindt Cafe, which had me wondering why a weapon system such as an M4A1 was favoured over, say, the H&K MP5 or H&K MP5 variants."


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