Author Topic: A Sad Anniversery  (Read 847 times)

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A Sad Anniversery
« on: April 15, 2016, 05:26:02 AM »
Massad Ayoob

Posted: 11 Apr 2016 07:07 AM PDT

Thirty years ago today – April 11, 1986 – what may have been the most studied gunfight of the Twentieth Century took place in Dade County, Florida. Eight FBI agents on a rolling stakeout engaged two well-armed robbery/murder suspects. Circumstances allowed the bad guys to get the first move, and minutes later, both perpetrators were dead…but so were Special Agents Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove. Ed Mireles, John Hanlon, and Supervisory Special Agent Gordon McNeill suffered wounds that would impair them for life, and Special Agents Gilbert Orrantia and Richard Manauzzi sustained wounds from which they would recover.

The lessons learned from this would profoundly change law enforcement training and weaponry, and to some extent, that of law-abiding armed citizens. For the 25th anniversary of the event I did an interview with survivor John Hanlon, still downloadable from the ProArms Podcast.  A few short weeks after the shootout, I was teaching at the Metro-Dade Police Academy and my old friend Dr. Joe Davis, the legendary chief medical examiner of Dade County, was kind enough to come over and give us all a full insider briefing. As the years went on I was able to interview some of the survivors. My take on it, based on that research, can be found in the “Ayoob Files” archives at

Some of the lessons:
◾The killer who shot first had a Ruger Mini-14 .223 rifle, which proved to be a terribly efficient force multiplier. He used this gun to inflict every serious wound suffered by the good guys. This incident, probably more than any other, gave impetus to make the .223 patrol rifle the almost universal standard issue for police patrol that it is today. Only two of the agents even had a shotgun, and only one was able to deploy it.
◾At that time, only the agents assigned to FBI SWAT had semiautomatic pistols; the remainder were armed with revolvers. Two of the good guys, McNeill and Hanlon, were permanently injured while they were hopelessly trying to reload their empty revolvers after having sustained wounds to their gun hands or arms. By the early 1990s, most American police had switched to higher capacity, faster-reloading service pistols from the traditional service revolver.
◾Early in the fight, a bullet from Dove’s 9mm pistol pierced the opposing rifleman’s arm and into his chest, slicing an artery and inflicting a “fatal, but not immediately neutralizing” hit when it stopped short of his heart. It was after that, that he inflicted most of the deadly damage. FBI subsequently adopted a standard requirement that their handgun ammo penetrate a minimum of 12” into muscle tissue-simulating ballistic gelatin, a standard most law enforcement and many lawfully armed citizens subsequently adopted.
◾Ben Grogan, said to be the best shot in the approximately 200-person Miami FBI office, would likely have been voted “most likely to dominate the gunfight.” Unfortunately, he was extremely myopic and lost his glasses in the car-ramming crash that preceded the shootout, and this undoubtedly hampered his performance. He died at the scene. Prior to that, this writer had occasionally shot with uncorrected vision; for the last 30 years, I’ve made a point of shooting at least one qualification course a year that way.

There is much more to it, of course, but my space here is limited. Suffice to say that this is a day to remember the sacrifices of the heroes who ultimately won that terrible fight, but prevailed at a terrible cost. May those no longer with us rest in peace, and may the survivors remember that they and their brave colleagues did not suffer in vain that awful Friday morning thirty years ago. We will never know how many lives have been saved in the three decades since because of the lessons that emerged from this incident.

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Re: A Sad Anniversery
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2016, 07:14:17 AM »
The Miami shoot-out was indeed a game changer for law-enforcement. The video was shown in agencies across the nation and dictated better equipment and training for all LE agencies - even to the extent of militarizing police agencies.

No one was prepared for what took place that day, nor on a grander scale, what took place on 9/11.  There is an ever-growing threat that, while we say we are prepared for, the sad fact remains is that we are not.  We are not paying attention to what is happening abroad and what is happening here because of it.  Most folks are too interested in their Iphones, what the latest sports scores are, or the babble of politicians as they figure out better ways to deceive us. Way to much "Selfie" going on, in my opinion.  I am seeing way to much long-term negative progress and I am not sure if we can survive that progress. But, I digress and I am going to stop now.
The fact that the GOVERNMENT would even consider removing the natural right to bear arms is the very reason why the 2nd Amendment was written.