One of the “third rails” of editorial here on PoliceOne is gun control, so I rarely — if ever — authorize my colleague who manages the news articles to write up things like this, which says, in essence, Canadian chiefs of police are “are generally uncomfortable with military-type firearms in public hands.” I’m not going to get deep into the weeds on the Second Amendment (although with a “NRA Lifetime Member” card in my wallet, you can probably guess where I stand on the matter of gun ownership), but the news piece from Canada immediately reminded me of a couple of hilarious videos I’d seen on YouTube a few months ago. Check ‘em out and then see the remainder of this column below.
Most Tactical Loadout... EVER!
Most Tactical AR-15... EVER!
In Humor, There is Truth It’s no secret that I’m a ‘guns guy’ and that I happen to really like the way 5.11 pants fit my skinny little frame, but truly, I’m not ‘that guy’ in the videos. For one thing, my rifle doesn’t weigh 40 pounds like the system he’s got, and for another I don’t make enough money to accumulate that volume of spent brass! However, I do have a patch from Mil-Spec Monkey that does, indeed, say, ‘That Guy.’ Gads.
As my good friend Dick Fairburn once wrote, “in humor there is truth.” In fact, when I shared those two videos with him, Fairburn immediately replied, “Those ‘tacti-cool’ videos are frighteningly close to the reality of some AR weapons I’ve seen in the hands of police officers who really should know better. The videos are living proof that if you paint it black and rig a way to mount it on an AR rifle, some fool will buy it — any more stuff and the rifle would need wheels instead of a third bipod.”
Hmmmm... wheels! It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if the next video these guys produce features an AR system mounted to a wheelbarrow. Double gads.
A Disclaimer, and a Thought... By the way of disclaimer, the guys who made those videos did so as a joke to poke fun of the “tacti-cool” gun crowd. In fact, they wrote in their description of the second video:
“Due to all the comments from people who STILL think this is real, I have officially lost all faith in humanity and gun owners around the world.”
Going one step further, I recently connected with Lance Henze, who is one of the two creators of those videos. “As the creator of the YouTube channel referenced in this article, I’m pleased that the humor implied in our two videos can be used in a constructive manner. It’s a nice thing seeing some common sense being used amongst the slew of morons that take these videos far too seriously.”
Henze said that none of the accessories on his “Most Tactical AR (MTAR)” were Airsoft replicas, but neither did he spend a fortune on gear just to make those videos.
“All the parts ...were taken off about three other rifles and combined into one,” Henze said. “This rifle ended up weighing about 18lbs if I remember correctly and was valued at over $4000 in total. I had hard time not laughing behind the camera and we still laugh thinking about how ridiculous this rifle was and how even more ridiculous some of the responses have been.”
All kidding aside for the moment, the broader issue of “tacti-cool” stuff in the hands of violators merits a moment of serious attention. As we have recently said here on PoliceOne, there are too many ways in which nefarious actors can obtain all the gear they need to make them appear like a law enforcer. A bad guy can get clothes, patches, badges, and even a vehicle that looks to an unwitting victim just like the real thing. In fact, I recently did a serious double-take when I saw a brand new Dodge Charger rolling slowly down my street. It looked exactly like an unmarked police car, and I wondered to myself whether SFPD had recently purchased some of those vehicles for their fleet. Then I laughed out loud at how silly a thought that was.
Remember, when he slaughtered dozens of young people on the island of Utøya, Anders Behring Breivik was masquerading as a police officer. Yeah, he had some serious firepower at his disposal, but just as concerning was his strategic decision to disguise himself as a police officer.
My friend and PoliceOne Contributor, Chief Joel Shults, put it thusly: “A quick look at the UCR homicide statistics will show you that more people are killed every year by being beaten with hands and feet than with any kind of rifle, “assault” or otherwise. Assault rifle bans are no more important to reducing firearms-related violence than banning scary leather gloves would be. The UCR doesn’t differentiate between ‘assault rifles’ or other non-shotgun long guns. Even in cases where high-capacity guns are used, the number of total shots fired isn’t a function of magazine capacity (in statistically significant numbers) but of the shooter’s disposition.”
Breivik is a case study in precisely what Shults is talking about, and Breivik is exactly the type of dangerous predator our officers must be training to counter.
Meanwhile, Back in Canada... I connected yesterday afternoon with my friend and PoliceOne colleague Dan Marcou. When he saw the news item from Canada he said, “I appreciate the fact that Chiefs are paying attention to the weapons that their officers might be facing on the street, but the best way to deal with potential threats is to prepare their officers for those threats with the best training and tactics available. The courts have drawn a bright line as of late as to the issue of the constitutionality of gun ownership. You might say restricting legal gun ownership is a ship that has sailed.”
Fairburn added, “Our brothers and sisters north of the border have always had a semi-British view of guns. In 1981, I attended a 250-level handgun class at Jeff Cooper’s Gunsite ranch and a Calgary PD firearms instructor had to borrow a .38 revolver in order to attend the class because he wasn’t allowed to take his duty revolver out of Canada.”
“The camel’s nose under the tent for gun control is the mythical scourge of assault rifles,” added Chief Shults. “If the feds decided to legislate another Clinton-era gun control law that limits magazine capacity and assault rifles, let’s just be honest and call it the ‘Scary Gun and Duct Tape’ law ...This debate is similar to the debate on concealed carry. I never worried about more people carrying concealed weapons. For one thing I assume everybody is armed and wants to kill me so that hasn’t changed. The other is that I know carrying concealed is a pain in the butt and most people would get tired of it pretty quick. I suspect the same is true of ‘badass tacti-toys.’ I’m frankly not as worried about civilians being fascinated with these things as I am about cops being uber-fascinated with them. Cops get quickly intoxicated by anything painted black that makes awesome clicking noises and comes with a leather or black nylon holster.”
Marcou added, “I’ve run across suspects who have presented threats with nunchucks, shotguns, revolvers, semi-automatic pistols, buck knives, and even a baseball bat in one case. I was lucky enough to have perceived the intent of the bearer and had the training to have options in each and every case. Those Chiefs are well intentioned, but there is no way to legislate a safe world. Police officers can not be there for everyone in their moment of desperate need. Officers have to indeed be aware of the trend that more good people are choosing to legally arm themselves, because those good people read the papers. Chiefs should concentrate their efforts toward training their officers for the trend and preparing them for the moment when in an instant their officers have to identify, the weapon, determine the intent of the person carrying it so they do not fall victim, when a suspect activates his/her delivery system.”
This morning I connected with one more person whose thoughts I wanted to include in this column — my friend and PoliceOne colleague Chuck Remsberg.
“When you see some jag-off on YouTube who’s eating snacks out of a compartment in the stock of his fad firearm, you know you’re looking at a spoof,” Remsberg said. “But this video lampoon also offers a valuable lesson: It’s easy to dismiss the civilian ‘black rifle’ crowd as nincompoops. But somewhere, under some circumstances, an officer is going to face extraordinary weaponry in a hostile confrontation. Then, tactical competence had better trump tacti-cool, or more ‘blue’ blood will senselessly flow. When you’re tempted to slack off on training, remember this firepower. Better still, remember these words from Muhammad Ali...
The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
One Final Thing... Okay, I got into some pretty serious stuff here, and I realize that any column with the word ‘humor’ in the title should probably end with something at least somewhat amusing, so here you go.
This is my sandwich bag, photographed on my desk as I wrote this column. Now, that’s tacti-cool!!!
Hey, it saves me money on ziplocks! I picked it up at the Italian American festival (I was a major interloper — I’m actually Scottish and Irish!) in San Diego last month. They’re made by this little “mom-and-pop” outfit called Re-Pac. Great stuff!
...And yes, my keyboard really does have a 'panic button' on it. Not sure exactly what that does because I've never pressed it...
About the author
Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 800 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.
Read more articles by PoliceOne Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie by clicking here.