Shoot/Don’t shoot. Shoot/Don’t shoot. I keep muttering that impossible choice as I watch scenes of violence inside the U.S. Capitol. I know this question was racing through the minds of the Capitol Police officers we saw surrounded by the mob on Jan. 6. Shoot/Don’t shoot. Some of them will be asking themselves that question for the rest of their lives.
They never should have been put in that position. The failure to prepare adequately for what was a very well-known and publicized protest and riot (people were openly talking about storming the Capitol with guns) made individuals out of what should have been a wall of officers.
I was a Capitol Police officer from 2001 to 2002 and even now remember the high quality of training. We were trained in what to do if gunmen tried to storm the Capitol, but we were not trained in what to do if hundreds of people decided to rush the building, not with an armed assault — although some had weapons — but with numbers. Huge numbers. Shoot/Don’t shoot.
Read complete article by Patrick Skinner, a police officer in Savannah, GA and former U.S. Capitol Police officer at the Washington Post.