Thursday, June 14, 2007

S.W.A.T. Experience

This isn't an art related entry but I recently had an experience worth writing about. I was asked by a friend of mine to participate as a "bad guy" in a S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) team training exercise. All in all, there were two bad guys and 4 victims/hostages against the team as we ran through a variety of scenarios in an abandoned two story office building here in my hometown. What really made this interesting and fun was that we were armed with Airsoft guns. These guns shoot actual plastic bb's that will cause a welt when making contact with bare skin. While I had a spring loaded handgun the SWAT team had what looked to be semi-automatic pistols with lights on them and fully automatic machine guns.

In the fist scenario, I had two victims with me downstairs in the back of the office and the other bad guy had two victims with him upstairs. The lights were off, and watching the S.W.A.T. team methodically and purposefully work their way down the hallway looking for me, was a bit unnerving. I had the freedom to react any way I chose - and I chose to jump out and shoot. What a bad move! I was immediately answered with what seemed like hundreds of bbs ricocheting all around the wall indentation that I ducked back into. The only thing I had a chance to see were numerous flashlights (which are built in to their guns) taking positions. Feeling brave and determined to continue the fight, I poked my head out and fired another shot so I could get a better bearing on where they were. I was met with a barrage of gunfire including a couple right to my face mask. Instant Death. Scenario over.

After each scenario was "cleared", the team met to evaluate their procedures. All told we went through 5 or 6 situations including a botched bank robbery and a drug house raid. Some were gunfights and others weren't. I know this for sure - who ever would want to challenge a S.W.A.T. team has to be certifiably insane. They are professional, quick, relentless, armed, protected and experienced. They can be stealthy and they can be forceful depending on what the situation presents. All in all it was an incredible experience and I only got a few welts.

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