Many “games’ll getcha killed” arguments are based on the Newhall Incident and they are even more false than the commonly mis-told story behind the actual incident. This is stupid and possibly dangerous on many fronts.

  1. It is disturbing how much tactical “fact” will be accepted blindly based only on popular myth. A story repeated enough times becomes “truth” even though it is wrong or based on an incident that never occurred.
  2. Any actual or claimed training problems at Newhall were incurred during tactical (police) training and not from participation in anything else.
  3. It’s arguable that Officer Pence did nothing wrong. Fighting is dangerous. Even skilled people performing well can still be killed.
  4. The incident didn’t even happen as is often quoted.
  5. As poorly reported as the Newhall Incident is, at least there was an actual incident that occurred even if the repeated story about it is wrong. “Games’ll getcha killed” arguments are NOT based on any actual incidents or facts at all. There are ZERO actual incidents where competition shooters used “match tactics” in a fight and were shot or killed because of it.

This report from PoliceOne shows how the commonly accepted story of the Newhall Incident is mostly fabrication.

Setting the record straight on the Newhall Incident
by Mark Schraer

http://www.policeone.com/Officer-Safety/articles/5504658-Setting-the-record-straight-on-the-Newhall-Incident/

In April 1970, four California Highway Patrol Officers were murdered in a tragedy that became known across the nation as “The Newhall Incident.” These murders served as a wakeup call for law enforcement training nationwide. In fact, many of the tactics that officers still use today originated from this terrible event.

However, I recently learned that one of the most notorious “facts” about this incident is not true. As one of the countless officers and instructors who accepted and repeated this myth, I would like to do what I can to help set the record straight.

For more than forty years it has been alleged that Officer James Pence — one of the two back-up officers and the last of the four to be murdered — wasted time placing spent casings into his jacket pocket during the gunfight. This allegation included specific details such as how these casings were found in his jacket by the coroner; as well as information on where Pence developed this costly habit.

Pence allegedly reverted back to the habit of “catching his brass” in order to avoid picking up casings from the ground at the end of training. It was also alleged that this habit was common in the CHP at the time.

However, this story — as well as all of the details surrounding it — is just that, a story. The truth is that Pence dumped his expended casings on the ground and, despite being shot several times and sustaining a lower leg fracture, reloaded his revolver just prior to being murdered. But an even more important truth is that Pence did the best he could with the training and equipment he brought to this fight and he deserves better in death than to have his heroic efforts colored by a story that is untrue.

I only learned that this story was not true last September after writing an article which was published in the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors’ (IALEFI) magazine. I referenced the Newhall Incident, and Officer Pence’s alleged habit, to stress my belief that although police tactics have advanced significantly in the past 40 years, law enforcement firearms training has not.

A retired California Highway Patrol Officer contacted the magazine claiming that one detail in my article — Pence pocketing spent casings — was not true.

Having known about the Newhall Incident for thirty years, I was confident in my claim.

However, I decided to contact Sheriff John Anderson of the Madera County, California Sheriff’s Department to confirm my facts. Sheriff Anderson served for more than thirty years with the California Highway Patrol and co-authored the book The Newhall Incident.

I was confident that Sheriff Anderson would confirm what I — and almost every American law enforcement officer — had been told about this tragedy. Instead, and obviously to my surprise, Sheriff Anderson confirmed the claim made by the retired officer.

Anderson told me that the myth about Pence’s actions started in the aftermath of the Newhall murders as the agency tried to learn from this tragedy. While CHP management ordered instructors to no longer allow officers to pocket their brass, this order was just one of a number of post-Newhall improvements to training.

The order had nothing to do with any action taken or decision made by Officer Pence. Unfortunately, because the order came out in response to the Newhall murders, someone within the CHP made up a very believable story about spent casings being found in Pence’s jacket pocket.

The rumor took years to dispel within the CHP, but continued to be accepted around the country.

Years later — like many instructors from my generation — I referred to Newhall, particularly the story of pocketed brass, in my courses. While I was always respectful of Officer Pence’s efforts that night, I referenced his alleged actions to stress the need to not only train frequently, but to also train correctly. I had heard this rumor from so many sources, and over so many years, that it never crossed my mind that the story was not true.

While few instructors nowadays refer to the Newhall Incident in their courses, officers around the country still believe the myth about Pence’s actions that night. I have taught in ten states since speaking to Sheriff Anderson, including several classes on the East Coast. In every one of these courses I have found several officers who recalled the story of Newhall. While no one knew of Pence by name, all knew about the officer who placed spent casings in his pocket in the middle of a gunfight.

Many “games’ll getcha killed” arguments are based on the Newhall Incident and they are even more false than the commonly mis-told story behind the actual incident. This is stupid and possibly dangerous on many fronts.

  1. It is disturbing how much tactical “fact” will be accepted blindly based only on popular myth. A story repeated enough times becomes “truth” even though it is wrong or based on an incident that never occurred.
  2. Any actual or claimed training problems at Newhall were incurred during tactical (police) training and not from participation in anything else.
  3. It’s arguable that Officer Pence did nothing wrong. Fighting is dangerous. Even skilled people performing well can still be killed.
  4. The incident didn’t even happen as is often quoted.
  5. As poorly reported as the Newhall Incident is, at least there was an actual incident that occurred even if the repeated story about it is wrong. “Games’ll getcha killed” arguments are NOT based on any actual incidents or facts at all. There are ZERO actual incidents where competition shooters used “match tactics” in a fight and were shot or killed because of it.

More here:
http://www.gunnuts.net/2013/07/22/tactical-mythbusting-revolver-brass-in-the-pocket/

Advertisements