Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dude sez: Onlier Operatorers don' need no steenking Four Rules.

Quite a comment spectacle on one of David Codrea's Facebook posts, linking to one of his Examiner articles, which then became its own WoG entry.  The topic was originally of the "Look at the hypocrite Daniel Craig" genre, but commentary exploded into something else.

Among other things, David said:

"...and would like to see some corroboration from an official source."

At the very least.  Maybe it's just me, but this Facebook fella's whole argument seems reducible to "Onlier Ones gonna be Onlier, and they should be".  A sample, from the Facebook comment stream:

[W]with all due respect, at the SMU level, they don't care if you have your booger hooker on the bang switch, with your sidearm pointed at your leg. SOP at that level is to disregard Rule 3 entirely, whether they're in the shoothouse, on the range or hitting a target downrange. Furthermore, it's also SOP to keep your weapon on kill in all training and operational environments, in violation of Rule 4. Not to mention the fact that they don't care if you're flagging guys in training or on mission, because at that level, you're moving too fast NOT to flag your teammates, and they know for a fact that you're not gonna shoot your buddy. They also regularly have teammates sit next to "Tangos" during live fire runs through the kill House, especially considering the fact that IEHR inherently involves pointing your weapon directly at a hostage.

And finally, seeing as how they're expected to know the weapons condition that they're in at all times, drills like this one from my old unit at the 27 second mark, in direct violation of the first weapons safety rule, are extremely common at that level:

Oh, there's a lot more.  Of basically the same.  (Maybe you can find something impressive in that video.  I can't.)  And the "due respect" level takes a few dives from the above.

I've little reason to doubt that all this above-the-rules tacticaler-operatorer stuff may well be SOP for what Grigg might call "the anointed", but "SOP" doesn't automatically imply excellence, either.

Cooper wrote frequently enough about people who would boast of both marksmanship prowess and of gunhandling technique elevating them above safety concerns of the Mundanes.  His usual response was "Show me.  I have the range, and the time."  Now, of course, we have YouTube.

I admit, I simply do not believe that anyone, at whatever level, can be functionally faster by NOT observing The Golden Rule, than he can while observing it.  Or maybe I could phrase it this way:  I cannot believe that anyone can reliably align a weapon faster than he can engage the trigger from a Rule Three position.  Hey, perhaps I'm wrong.  So:  show me.  Then show me where it made a difference.

(No no, don't tell me, let me guess.  That would be classified.)

Look, for me at least, it's mostly the "above Rule Three" mention that really gets my goat.  Observance of Rule Three can prevent disasters even when being in an actual fight with real people means you must stretch Rule Two (or Four) to its limits.  And you can do any of this while still faithfully observing Rule One. 

Ultimately, I'm technically unconvinced.  At best, I can see what people are getting at by saying that some "in extremis" tasks may arguably require a foot-fault on Rule Two or Rule Four--and that's it.  But here what we seem to have (tell me if I'm wrong, here, 'cos it seems clear enough to me) is a loud-and-proud blanket statement that The Almighty Onliest (however you may care to define that) are simply above safety considerations designed for peons--they are simply too good for that, and won't make mistakes.  (They'll "bet your life on it", they will.)  It would have been one thing to note that, say, hostage rescue might get difficult and painfully cost/benefit with Rules Two and Four, but to simply and without offering any evidence (other than "SOP, QED, N.A.T.C.H.") state that they're above it because they must be, rises beyond the merely unconvincing.  It also sounds very familar to the logic offered by certain others that this fella would probably not appreciate being compared to.

It's well enough known that Hollywood, Bond certainly included, is famous for "nobody who knew what he was doing would ever do that" cinema.  The details are so common they're frankly boring.  I suppose it is at least a little more interesting to have someone of the special-ninja class (I'll presume veracity in that, 'cos I'm sporting that way) drop in to a public place and dish on about all the things We The Unwashed don't know and he can't tell us more about anyway. 

But just a little.  There's already plenty enough to do to deal with Only One arguments from traditional gungrabbers.


JoeJ said...

I call shenanigans on the alleged "operator." For exhibit A I point to a discussion of firearm safety by a retired US Navy Seal:

Kevin Wilmeth said...

I certainly wouldn't argue against you on that. Given that he never really went beyond the "trust me, it's super-secret-ninjitsu stuff that I can't tell you about" evidentiary standard, but somehow felt the need to pop up in a public place to let us all know how necessary it all is, I was reminded of another Jeff Cooper anecdote, in which he related his standard answer to the question of whether or not he was really in the spook business. IIRC, it went like this:

"No, I am not. And if I were, I would still say I am not, so what kind of a damn fool question is that?"

Indeed. That strikes me as the attitude of the competent. And I would think that anyone who could actually walk all that tacticaler-operatorer talk, would either eschew the talk entirely, or at least understand that "trust me, I'm Onlier than you" may not be the ironclad certainty it's so often presented as.