Sunday, July 31, 2005

Day of the Evil Drawstring

FOX 12 OREGON Drawstring blamed for deputy's accidental shooting

It's official.

Marion County (Salem, Oregon) Sheriff's Deputy Steven Cooper was not mishandling his sidearm when it accidentally discharged, striking him in the leg.

Instead, it was the drawstring on the waistband of his jacket which somehow, mysteriously, for no apparent reason but with obvious malice aforethought worked its evil way into his holster and around the trigger of his service pistol.

When he raised his arm to open the door of the car in which he was riding, this increased the tension on the drawstring, which fired into his leg.

Rube Goldberg, move over!

The story, if true, is the most preposterous excuse I have ever heard to account for an accidental discharge. And Deputy Steven Cooper is either the biggest storyteller most creative unfortunate self-victim I have ever heard of, or the unluckiest police officer.

This is a clear case for drawstring control.

If a million gang-bangers can manage drive-by shooting without shooting holes in their legs (have you seen the hooded sweatshirts? They have drawstrings at their waistbands!), why can't professional Law Enforcement Officers exercise the same Drawstring Control?

People don't shoot people. Drawstrings do.
This is what I write when I don't know what I'm talking about. Please see the correction, and my apology on Day of the Evil Drawstring Part II.
UPDATE: 13-JUL-2008
This article contains broken links. For the complete story, see "Day of the Evil Drawstring - Part III".


Anonymous said...

Hello: I did a google on my incident and I guess it should not surprise me that there our those who doubt. I must say I would have the same doubts in your shoes. For the record I had no idea what happened and was convinced one of my fellow deputies had shot me. There were a total of 21 witnesses, 3 of whom where in the same car as me so it would be difficult for me to lie about this. I was wearing a drop holster designed to accomodate a tactical light thus the holster has about a 1/4 inch gap at the top around the tigger guard. Since the conclusion of the investigation many have had no problem duplicating the accident with the same gear. I've been shooting guns since I was 8 years old, spent 9 years in the military (infantry) and 10 years as a cop and never had an AD (not even with a blank). What I thought would never happen to me did. My lesson learned is pay close attention to your equipment and make sure your holster protects the tigger. I'm my own worst critic but I honestly don't blame myself. I really don't blame anyone although I will not go back to the same holster without some modifications. Live and learn. (ps. Gang bangers shoot themselves in the leg all the time. They will ussually blame a rival gang.)

Jerry The Geek said...

Deputy Cooper, you deserve an apology from me. I've given it in a separate post, so everybody will be able to see it without having to work their down through archived articles.

I apologize. I was clearly in the wrong, and I should not have trivialized your experience.

Anonymous said...

Here's an observation from an old harness bull.

Why drop holsters? Why does every cop think he/she has to wear tactical clothing and use tactical equipment now? If you read up on the history of the BDU (which most police tactical clothing is modeled after), you will see references to overburdened infantrymen, the need to carry pounds of gear in pockets, etc.

Police on patrol have no such need. All your tactical gear will fit on your gunbelt, which should be worn about the waist. If wearing a service pistol at the waist causes problems, the solution is a gunbelt suspender system, not a drop holster. Drop holsters were designed for snipers who needed to crawl a lot and be able to roll on the ground. Wearing the pistol low allows you to swing your legs out of the way while rolling. If you don't so a lot of ground creeping and rolling, you don't need a drop holster.

The use of a weapon-attached light may also be an issue in this accident. In my old SO, we had a deputy in the narcs fitting a light to his service pistol, and he had a discharge (through the floor, just missing his commander, below). Wear a tactical light on the gunbelt, and practice with the crossed-wrist stance that lights the target and steadies the pistol at the same time.

It's all water over the dam now, but the wearing of tactical uniforms and equipment as opposed to the basic and traditional police uniform and gunbelt is counter-productive with citizen contact anyway, as well as being hazardous to the officer's health, and this type of AD just goes to prove it.


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