by Ian Smithson
Recently the case of 12 year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland. This is the case where this child pulled a gun on two Cleveland cops in a park and was then shot to death by them and recently found it was justified.
Let’s look at a few of the facts: The Rice child was fairly large for his age (looks more adult than he was in a few seconds of visual contact). He presented to the responding cops a pellet gun that looks identical to a Colt 1911 .45ACP even by trained eyes – and under the life and death pressure the cops slightly hopped up on adrenaline on their way to a potential gun fight they reacted as their training dictated.
The responding cops were NOT told it appeared to be a toy gun in the 911 alert. Upon arrival in winter overcast lower light (black and white conditions) they pulled their car in close (an error in my opinion) to the kid and he produced a dead on real looking semi-automatic pistol – they shot him and he died.
Recently while visiting my daughter and her son (a 12 year old who stands 5’6″) he produced a plastic Beretta 92 pistol so realistically detailed that for a few seconds from a foot away (before I held it) I even thought it was real. He used it to play cops and robbers around their apartment complex.
I know guns, I shoot a lot! I have fired a million or two rounds of ammunition in my lifetime, have trained SWAT, shot competitively and was in the Army. I noticed that the orange plastic toy gun indicator on the barrel had been painted black to make it look more real (he is a kid and back in my day I would have done that too). I nearly crapped and took the gun away. I explained that he will get shot by a citizen or police officer if they see him with that gun. His mom put it away forever, I hope. Then I told them of other shooting cases of kids with guns. The Rice incident had not happened yet but at that time (2013) a kid with a full size real looking toy AK-47 got killed by police in California when he pointed it at the cops.
These plastic toy and pellet guns are absolutely dead on identical in appearance to real guns and that includes rifles and semis like ARs and AKs. When cops are told someone with a gun is on the loose in an area (especially nowadays) they must prepare for a life and death encounter-what the hell would be your thought?
When the cops pull up and the guy with the gun does not instantly respond to their demands and then turns towards them or raises the gun they must and will shoot – if they wait around and the gun is real it will be too late for them and bystanders in the area. In incidents like this all law enforcement including the Secret Service are trained to look at hands FIRST and if those hands have a gun…they will deal with it quickly–they have to!
Kids do not think and react like adults, I was once one, I know, how about you? A kid may well raise a gun to show the cops it is not real (time to shoot).
Cops do not shoot to kill or wound. First they are not the best of shots–most are rather poor marksmen. The silly idea of shoot to wound is great in the old cowboy movies but not in real life-the target (leg, hand, arm) is small it is moving and again, they are not highly-practiced competition shooters especially if the target may or is going to actually shoot back at them.
Cops are trained to shoot at the center of the target (center of mass) and any wounding is a result of a bad (or lucky) shot. They are also trained to keep shooting until there is no longer a threat (something I have also trained both cops and civilians to do).
Last, there is the contagion of fire phenomenon. This is where two or more cops are facing off with a potential shooter, knife holder, etc. and someone farts (for example) and that noise or any weird movement startles a cop to flinch-fire (my term). Then his shot going off startles the others (who are all wired up) to fire and they fire and keep it up. This is a lack of professional fire discipline when we see a person shot at 40 times by a dozen cops and hit just a few times. There is a tactical solution for this foolishness though…
Read the conclusion of this article online at the Man Talk Blog.
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