Granted, the Japanese aren’t making ninjas like they used to — the new ninjas who are apparently attacking receptionists all over corporate Japan seem slow-footed and indecisive — but still …
From the NYT:
In response to high-profile shootings of people with mental illness, police departments around the country are turning to crisis intervention training.
By ERICA GOODE APRIL 25, 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. — The 911 caller had reported a man with a samurai sword, lunging at people on the waterfront.
It was evening, and when the police arrived, they saw the man pacing the beach and called to him. He responded by throwing a rock at the embankment where they stood.
They shouted to him from a sheriff’s boat; he threw another rock. They told him to drop the sword; he said he would kill them. He started to leave the beach, and after warning him, they shot him in the leg with a beanbag gun. He turned back, still carrying the four-foot blade.
In another city — or in Portland itself not that long ago — the next step would almost certainly have been a direct confrontation and, had the man not put down the weapon, the use of lethal force.
But the Portland Police Bureau, prodded in part by the 2012 findings of a Justice Department investigation, has spent years putting in place an intensive training program and protocols for how officers deal with people with mental illness.
At a time when police behavior is under intense scrutiny — a series of fatal shootings by police officers have focused national attention on issues of race and mental illness — Portland’s approach has served as a model for other law enforcement agencies around the country.
And on that Sunday last summer, the police here chose a different course.
At 2:30 a.m., after spending hours trying to engage the man, the officers decided to “disengage,” and they withdrew, leaving the man on the beach. A search at daylight found no signs of him.
I think there has to be some kind of intelligent middle course between just shooting the poor bastard like the cops tend to do in inept Albuquerque because they can’t think of anything else to do, and letting him wander off, sword in hand, like in mellow Portland.
How about having the cops pull back and sit in their car and watch him? He’ll get hungry and thirsty after awhile, so how about offering him a can of beer (which happens to be a special cop can of Budweiser that has a powerful sedative in it?)
Why not technological solutions for dealing with potentially dangerous maniacs? If naturalists can sedate 1000 pound polar bears to put radio collars on them, cops ought to be able to take into custody 200 pound lunatics. In southeast Asia, where “running amok” with a machete is a time-honored tradition, villages in the 19th century were required to maintain poles and ropes for subduing amok runners. Here are cops in Thailand using a fishing net and poles to take down a guy running amok:
Today, you could provide the police with tranquilizer dart guns or weighted nets or some kind of Spider-Man style sticky gunk shooter for dealing with edged weapon-wielding lunatics. Cops increasingly drive SUVs, which have room for carrying all sorts of equipment, even exotic stuff that would only be used rarely.
That still leaves the problem of lunatics with guns.
By the way, here’s a pepper spray weapon that’s being marketed as a sort of Gay Gun (seriously):