I was in Berkeley on Sunday and I was having a conversation with a man and wife on other topics and that conversation led into the topics of personal safety and crime against people by homeless, malicious and/or other deranged persons.
As we began that topic, I asked, “Have you heard of the Tueller distance, Tueller studies or the 21-foot rule?”
The answer, for this seemingly well educated and well adjusted couple, was no. No, they had not, they said.
They had not remembered hearing of it until I began to explain it to them and then their vague recollection of it came back to the husband.
If I have a knife or other weapon, or even my arms and fists, and if I am 5 feet away from a police officer and I have malice towards me and desire to beat him up or stab him or whatever, can I get to him before he can perceive, decide, draw aim and fire accurately and stop me?
If his handgun is in his holster and he is not expecting an attack that instant, the answer is yes, easily. If I have a knife and I am faster or stronger than he is, he is probably going to be dead at 3 feet, 5 feet and 7 feet away, or at the least, he is going to the hospital with wounds.
He might even be dead at 10 feet away and slightly more and if we expect him to perceive, decide, draw and aim and fire accurately, he may well need 15 to 25 feet of starting distance to successfully stop an evildoer.
At 3 feet the guy goes down and at 5 feet the guy very probably goes down, competing against a knife, club or even, if needed, a fist or palm strike by someone who knows what he is doing.
In one of the movies from the time of the Depression or the 20s and Prohibition, some of the organized crime groups of Chicago hire a professional boxer to accompany them on some trips.
Police stop the car and are chatting with them and the boxer takes the guy out in a fraction of a second. Man is knocked out. Bad guys drive away.
Many people do not realize that decreasing the distance increases the danger or they are not consciously thinking about it in many situations, including, it seems, jury deliberations.
I was represented by a lawyer who did not explain these things much, if at all.
Oh, please note that various groups of police have latch on their holster which makes it a little more difficult for some bad guys to grab a gun from the holster of the police, but this latch may also slightly delay the process of perceive, decide, draw, aim and fire accurately. Anyway, supposedly, for a trained police officer, or for many of them, even with training, it takes about 1.5 seconds to do all this . . . and a person with malice and motivation can run 20 feet or more in that time.
People are also forgetting that many people do carry knives with them. One of my doctors carries a knife when out in public, routinely . . . and there are people who disregard the local Seattle law and carry fixed blade knives.
The fellow in the video below has no extra latch and he is expecting to have to perceive, draw, aim and fire, which is in fact giving him an advantage.