The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep…
Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, “Baa.”
Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.
-LTC Dave Grossman On Killing
May 30, 2020, was a Saturday, and downtown Seattle was a war zone. Mobs of protesters incensed over the murder of George Floyd while in police custody had metastasized into rioters burning vehicles, attacking cops, and looting buildings. Such chaos was undeniably newsworthy.
Brandi Kruse, a television reporter for Fox News affiliate Q13, was heading into the war zone with her cameraman in tow. Knowing that it would be dangerous, they had contracted with a former Marine Infantryman to provide security. At 1600 hours local time things got real.
The security contractor did what we all hope we would do. He ran to the sound of gunfire, took charge of the chaos, and risked his own life to save others. His story is fraught with life lessons for armed Americans.
In the immediate aftermath the man requested anonymity. In the Information Age, however, anonymity is a fleeting target. His name is John Carughi. That’s no great revelation. He’s all over the Internet now.
The Internet is awash with fascinating interviews with John. Today’s intent is not a rehash. To understand the philosophy of the thing, however, you do need to know the story.
Tasked with protecting Brandi and her cameraman, John therefore dressed like a protester in a hoodie and surgical mask. He carried a nondescript Vertx daypack. He shouted the same vapid slogans as the protesters to maintain his cover.
That the Seattle cops ultimately surrendered a precinct station to the rioters was a tactical decision that somebody will have to live with. Along the way, however, they also lost several police vehicles along with a pair of AR15 patrol rifles.
The rioters discovered the two guns as they dismembered the police SUVs. One anarchist retrieved a weapon and began firing. John directed his charges to a safe position behind a heavy planter, drew his Glock 19 9mm pistol, and purposefully moved toward the shooter.
John approached the first armed rioter from behind. He snatched the weapon free from the criminal and demanded he leave at gunpoint. He immediately dropped the magazine from the rifle and cleared the chamber. John then removed the charging handle and bolt carrier group. He slung the weapon before dropping these components into his pocket for safekeeping. Then another thug retrieved the second rifle.
Starkly illuminated by flames, John pushed across the street toward the rioter, his G19 at the ready. There was a pregnant moment when their eyes met, and the situation really could have gone either way. Had the rioter raised the stolen weapon John would have undoubtedly killed him. As it was, however, he snatched the second rifle, directed the thug to beat feet, and similarly disabled it. Here’s the clip:
The two Seattle Police Department patrol rifles were fairly typical nicely accessorized AR15’s. The furniture was from Magpul, the optic appeared to be an Aimpoint Micro T2, and the magazines were P-Mags. Both guns had mounted forearm lights.
The militarization of police that has the protesters so agitated is undeniably a real thing. Typical American police officers once wore ties and funny hats while packing a revolver along with a speedloader or two. Nowadays many to most Law Enforcement Officers dress more like Delta Force operators. However, threats have evolved considerably of late.
Long guns in police cruisers were once a source of tremendous controversy. Civilian leadership strived to keep the image of the neighborhood cop low key and non-threatening. We’re pretty much past that now. Patrol rifles now provide the individual officer on the beat an advantage against heavily armed threats or multiple attackers.
John Carughi’s handgun was an unremarkable Gen 5 Glock 19. His Glock had a stippling job undertaken by Red Bear Stippling but was otherwise stock. It carried a Surefire weaponlight.
John packed his pistol off-body in his Vertx daypack. This gave him quick access to the gun without the danger of printing among the crowd. Amidst hundreds of violent anarchists anonymity was clearly his most powerful tool.
Gaston Glock debuted the original Glock 17 handgun in 1982 as a replacement for the Walther P38 in Austrian Army service. Despite extensive experience in industrial manufacturing and engineering, Glock had never before built a firearm. This left him with few preconceptions.
Glock’s revolutionary striker-fired action offers a consistent crisp trigger pull from the first round to the last. The indestructible polymer frame also helps mitigate recoil. The Glock’s only external safety is a blade located in the trigger face.
The Glock is not the most accurate handgun in the world, but it is quite likely the most reliable. You can limp wrist a Glock to failure, but it takes effort. Some 65% of American cops pack Glock pistols.
As I type these words I am kicked back in my favorite chair. I slept well last night and recently shared a great meal with my bride. I am currently content, comfortable, happy, and safe. I am therefore in no position to second guess any of the players in this sordid little drama. However, there are definitely some lessons to be learned.
It’s tough to justify leaving weapons unsecured in a vehicle, particularly in that environment. When I was on active duty this was the unpardonable sin. I have seen an entire Infantry Battalion spend three days in the field searching for an M16 that fell out of the bottom of a CH47D helicopter while returning from a grueling month-long field problem.
The kid who dropped that weapon fell asleep on the ride home. He had to be placed in protective custody. In the Seattle case, somebody obviously should have either taken the weapons along initially or formed a group and pushed back to the truck to retrieve them. However, I acknowledge that it is easy for me to say that. I wasn’t there.
John has served as a security contractor downrange in Iraq and did pretty much everything right. During his drive into the city that afternoon he used the time to get acquainted with the situation on the ground via news reports. Despite their broad gulf in ideologies, John acknowledged in interviews that the anarchists were still Americans. He went to great lengths to avoid hurting any of his countrymen, despite their stupidity, irresponsibility, violent proclivities, and misguided ideals.
Carrying off body was obviously a good call, but John had to stick his Glock into his pants pocket to clear the rifles. Shoving a hot striker-fired pistol into your crotch in the midst of a riot was a necessary though suboptimal solution. However, given the circumstances, he did a simply fantastic job.
The Rest of the Story
John got his team to safety and returned the weapons to the cops. He made cool, logical decisions with untold hundreds of enraged Mogadishu-grade rioters hot of his heels. In the end, he prevailed throughout some unimaginably difficult circumstances. I’d give you the details, but somebody will undoubtedly make a movie about it. Just keep an eye on Netflix.
John Carughi is the classic reluctant hero. His interviews illustrate a well-grounded professional who is a product of his background and training. The Marine ethos obviously drives his worldview, and his skills as an Infantryman, security contractor, and firearms instructor are what got him through that chaotic night in Seattle.
So what would any of us do in similar circumstances? I would hope to make the same solid choices and remain just as cool. However, I honestly have no idea. You can’t know until you’re there.
There are still places in the world where women can be beaten for walking around with their heads uncovered and homosexuals are executed. However, here Americans are venting their hatred against America. While we certainly have our warts, our nation is a reliable beacon of freedom around the world. That’s why most everybody on the planet wants to come here.
Derek Chauvin, the loser police officer who killed George Floyd, will rightfully never again breathe free air. In the aftermath of this senseless murder, however, we seem to have lost our collective minds. I suspect most who are kneeling, protesting, and rioting have not actually seen a great deal of the rest of the world.
The former Marine Corporal John Carughi has since monetized his experience into a tidy business. Good for him. I might even buy a t-shirt myself.