The Shoot Down Drill:
A Fairy Tale

Tough Job Toughnutz
86

Once upon a time on a faraway world very much like our own, there was a teeny-tiny nation surrounded by bigger, bitter enemies. On one side of it lapped an azure sea, but it otherwise kinda sat there like a chocolate fudge nut brownie on the edge of a ping-pong table. And all the giant Ping- Pongers wanted to smash that brownie an’ sweep it off onto the floor.

The Pingers tried to sweep it off with conventional novelties like tanks, artillery and bombs, but they failed. The Pingers had the numbers and the ordnance, but the Brownies had D&D: Determination and Desperation. See, when the Pingers lost, they could go home, award each other shiny medal, and re-equip. If the Brownies lost, they would be exterminated.

Then the Pongers jumped in, and they were less conventional. They selected some less-than-stellar Pongs not noted for their joie de vive, wrapped ’em on the outside with high explosives, and filled ’em on the inside with painkillers, stimulants and some really toxic stuff called “death-dogma.” Then they’d send these Pong-Bombs out among the Brownies, to their bus stations, grocery stores, schools and movie theaters — even their weddings — to blast as many Brownies as they could.

These Pongs were told to look and act inconspicuous — to move within crowds, and whenever possible, to stick to older, even ancient areas where passageways were narrow and numerous, so they could slip along to their targets like fishies in weedy waters. Then all the Pongs had to do was pull a loop, punch a button or squeeze a little squeezie-thingie, and Bang! — their job was done. Detecting, closing with, and intercepting the Pongs was a really tough job, but there were some really smart, tough nuts in that brownie.

"It’s not enough to shoot a guy until you think he’s dead. You gotta shoot him until he thinks he’s dead." - The Tao of Connor

The TufNutz had to spot the Pongs by such miniscule clues as head and eye movement, subliminal behaviors, a neck and jaw that wasn’t quite fleshy enough to match a Pong’s waistline, compulsively touching the same place on their clothing and stuff like that. Then they had to move in, locking on their targets like heat-seeking missiles, never losin’ sight of ’em for a second or they might escape — and “escape” wouldn’t mean escape — it would just mean moving a mass murder to another location. Pong-Bombs could not be allowed to get away.

All of this had to be done while moving around obstacles, threading through swirling throngs of people, hustling over cobbly, uneven surfaces, not shooting if it could be avoided at all, absolutely controlling every shot, and — neutralizing a Pong who might be soaked in a painkilling chemical cocktail. Too, as soon as the TufNutz engaged, people would do crazy stuff like freeze, scream, fall down, run the wrong direction and even reach out and grab at the TufNutz, like “Save me!” — makin’ it much harder to save ’em. Easy, huh?

TufNutz were mostly commandos, intelligence wizards and cop-types. But this job wasn’t much like regular soldiering, or regular police work, or even like tactical counterterrorist team operations. It was more like plainclothes execution of high-risk felony fugitive warrants on armed and dangerous psycho druggie-crooks in a metropolitan environment. So, they got some help from cop-friends called “Yanx” in a far-off country who had sorta “been there and done that,” and were combat vets besides.

The TufNutz had to suppress a lot they’d been taught, like fire-and maneuver doctrine and classical shooting positions, and learn things like tuckin’ their weapons, arms and elbows in close and centered, adopting an “agile crab” rapid but stable scuttle, hip-checking an’ stiffarming people outta the way; hearing, seeing, and feeling peripheral dangers and interference without reacting to them unless they threatened loss of focus on that one monstrously dangerous, all-important Pong target — and lots more; too much to tell here. And there was another problem to deal with.

The Shoot-Down Drill

Even if a Pong — especially a “medicated” one — took a solid hit, after a few seconds, he could frequently recover enough control and dexterity to “punch his button.” Two Yanx and some TufNutz had even seen guys take wounds that good sense and medical experts would term fatal, but they remained briefly functional, as though “science says he’s dead, but he didn’t get the message.”

One of the Yanx observed that the TufNutz were shooting tightly controlled single shots and some doubletaps. He had been taught to “shoot ’em where they’re biggest, and do it more than once,” and his own “evolved practice” had become “shoot ’em where they’re biggest lots and lotsa times, until there ain’t no threat anymore.”

Several who had observed this phenomenon agreed a man who is receiving a steady, unrelenting series of impacts, spaced, let’s say, a tad less than a second apart, will be virtually unable to do anything but involuntarily react to those continuing impacts. Man being essentially a big wet sack of electrical connections, the response is like timed low voltage shocks, or mechanically, like a boxer taking a rapid volley of punches: The first couple of blows may only stun and shock him, but he is prevented from coordinated reaction, and the disabling effect only increases and deepens as he is hammered all the way to the canvas and into oblivion.

The TufNutz technique changed: No more single shots; no more double-taps — just absolute focus on timed, continuous, accurate fire; and it wasn’t at all about “shooting to kill,” but about “shooting to zero-threat.” It worked.

The Yanx went home, and one scribbled a new chapter in his little book of “Evolved Practices.” He called it, The Shoot-Down Drill.

Connor OUT

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