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Author Topic: Should police officers be trained to recognize pellet guns?  (Read 4963 times)

Offline CliffordK

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There was recently an incident in Texas where a 15 yr old high school student (at school) apparently provoked a confrontation with the police.  Pointed a pellet gun at them.  Then was shot and killed by the police (including a bullet in the back of his head???)

I have to wonder if it was "suicide by cop", as the reports in the news make it sound almost staged by the kid.

I realize that some pellet guns can fire with essentially the force of a 22...  so they shouldn't be ignored as simple toys.  But, a facemask and riot gear should have been reasonable protection for the police had they been prepared, and  recognized the actual threat.

Don't police get training in negotiation?  With kids?  What about using rubber bullets, tazers, and non-lethal shots when approaching kids in school?

I am somewhat surprised that the modern toys are so damn realistic.  My BB gun from years ago would be hard to mistake for anything more than it was...  and it certainly wasn't very powerful either.  My Grandmother's pellet gun was supposed to be quite powerful if you gave it a few extra pumps, but also quite recognizable if one knew what one was looking at.  Anyway, I can't tell what the barrel of the gun in the incident looked like.  It should be made to be obvious that it was pellet-sized, but looking on the web, some pellet guns appear to have a large "false barrel" that would be confusing.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2012 09:01:00 by CliffordK »


 

Offline RD

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Not only are toy guns made to look real, real ones are made to look like toys ...



can anyone be expected to be able spot the difference ?, (particularly when viewed from a distance).

« Last Edit: 06/01/2012 12:54:58 by RD »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Thanks RD,
I guess I am having troubles with the idea of why one would wish to have a gun that looks like a toy.  Certainly one might loose some intimidation factor.  And, there would be a risk of a child not understanding what they are playing with.

People have decorated weapons in the past.  Chrome, various handle inlays, etc. 

I suppose this seems almost like using animated cartoons to advertize cigarettes.
 

Offline RD

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...  I am having troubles with the idea of why one would wish to have a gun that looks like a toy. 

I did hear hear of a drug-dealing* gangsta who spray-painted his gun day-glow orange.

I suspect the idea is that an armed opponent, (police officer / rival dealer), will think, "itís a nutter with a toy gun", making them slow to draw their own gun,  giving the gangsta an opportunity to fire first.

[* or maybe he had just sampled too much of his merchandise  :) ]
« Last Edit: 07/01/2012 00:59:32 by RD »
 

Offline Dr fitbm

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Yes they should be trained.
Bur first all people should be trained to use their gifts (minds) firstly and violence only as a last resort, when no other options exist.
No one is born or wants to be a drug dealer, etc. Not untill they are stripped of innocence.
If peoples talents are incubated, and education would focus on teaching something, as opposed to programmint, the world would be better.
 

Offline Don_1

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I think you have to put yourself in the shoes of the officer.

Even on close inspection, it can be difficult to tell a toy from the real thing. At a distance it may be impossible. Can you afford to take the chance? The result of a wrong decision could be the loss of many lives, including yours!

A single wounding shot could exacerbate the situation, leaving a wounded gunman firing indiscriminately into a panicking crowd.

There was an incident in the UK in which a man claiming to have a rifle wrapped in paper was shot by police when his actions were deemed to be a serious threat. In fact, the paper concealed nothing more harmless than a chair leg. But suppose he had had a concealed weapon and the police took no action until he had used it to kill? The fact is that the police are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Certainly there should be an investigation when police use firearms, but neither we nor the investigators should condemn an officer under such circumstances. You have to experience the situation to understand the officersí predicament, and that cannot be.

As for the fact that this suspect received a wound to the back of the head, I do not find this necessarily questionable. If multiple shots are fired and/or two or more officersí fire, I think this could be the reason for unusual bullet entry points.

The first shot may well cause another officer to open fire a split second later, either because he cannot determine who has opened fire, or because upon hearing his partner open fire, may believe his partner to have seen something he has missed. Also the sound of gun fire may trigger an automatic reaction. If the officers are aiming at the chest region, the first bullet to strike may send the target spinning to the ground. A subsequent shot, just a fraction of a second later, also aimed at the chest region, may now enter where the chest was, but the head is now.

It could be said that toy guns are the culprit here, but surely the real culprits are real guns. Without them, there would be no toy guns. OK, guns are an unfortunate necessity, but I can't help thinking that, in the USA the constitution has been misunderstood or misinterpreted. By some, with knowledge and disregard. As I understand it, the constitution provides for Americans to bear arms in defence of liberty, freedom and the nation, not to bear arms for the sake of bearing arms.

In some states it is far too easy to obtain a gun and some take full advantage of this fact. There are some who have arsenals sufficient to arm a small army with automatic weapons, rocket and grenade launchers, anti-tank weapons and heaven knows what else.

WHY?

Do these people hold the US armed forces in such low esteem that they believe the USA needs them to protect the nation? No, I donít think so. In fact I think these people are a significant risk to the USA. If they are mad enough to want such an arsenal or careless enough to let these weapons fall into the wrong hands, what damage could the right weapon used in the right circumstances do?

I shall not elucidate, though Iím sure terrorists would not need the likes of me to put ideas into their twisted minds.



Oh dear! I seem to have had more than my fare share of new year rants today. Perhaps I should go lay down in a darkened room for a while.
 

Offline RD

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There was an incident in the UK in which a man claiming to have a rifle wrapped in paper was shot by police when his actions were deemed to be a serious threat. In fact, the paper concealed nothing more harmless than a chair leg.

That must be the Harry Stanley case: someone else claimed the was an Irishman with a gun, when actually he was a Scotsman with a table leg , (although he did have form for armed robbery).
 

Offline CliffordK

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Ok...  A few more thoughts here.

The mark on the back of the student's head was apparently a scratch from the fall, and not a bullet wound.

Laws apparently require orange tips on the ends of the barrels of pellet guns, but consumers sometimes disable that feature.  Barrels for the pellet guns should also be smaller, but the designs of the guns often have a false barrel to mask this.  Personally I think there shouldn't be 100% realism in "toys", and features like false barrels should be prohibited.  I kind of scoff about the very paintball look of paintball guns..  But, perhaps that is better than get shot by someone who thinks you're carrying an UZI, or to keep people from bringing their UZIs to paintball tournaments.  Who knows what is going on in the heat of the moment of a battle.  Perhaps the fine differences of the guns isn't noticed. 

I do have to wonder if race was an issue.  Would the officers have been as quick to shoot a white student with deadly force as a Hispanic student?  Were Hispanic police officers involved?

The school was on full lockdown.  So, while the student was in the halls, he could not get back into any of the classrooms where other students were.  And, he apparently did not fire any shots before the police arrived.  It also would have made him feel very isolated, perhaps not the best for an already emotionally disturbed individual.  Were the parents called immediately?  While in a volatile situation, he apparently wasn't in a hunt and kill innocent bystanders mode as he wasn't firing shots.  He may have been moving some...  including some running from the police which would add an unpredictable element to the situation, but it is unclear the level of risk that the other students were in.

The police apparently fired 3 rounds, with only 2 hitting the student.  One ended up elsewhere.  Bullets, of course, are not stopped by sheetrock, so any shooting in a crowded building is not good.

Anyway, these police officers have to realize that they are in a school, dealing with children.  They needed to explore all non-lethal options including tasers and kinetic impact bullets before selecting a lethal option.  And, of course protecting themselves with proper field equipment and natural cover.  For example, while a sheetrock wall may give little protection, a corner gives much greater protection.
 

Offline CliffordK

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OK, guns are an unfortunate necessity, but I can't help thinking that, in the USA the constitution has been misunderstood or misinterpreted. By some, with knowledge and disregard. As I understand it, the constitution provides for Americans to bear arms in defence of liberty, freedom and the nation, not to bear arms for the sake of bearing arms.

In some states it is far too easy to obtain a gun and some take full advantage of this fact. There are some who have arsenals sufficient to arm a small army with automatic weapons, rocket and grenade launchers, anti-tank weapons and heaven knows what else.

WHY?

Do these people hold the US armed forces in such low esteem that they believe the USA needs them to protect the nation? No, I donít think so. In fact I think these people are a significant risk to the USA. If they are mad enough to want such an arsenal or careless enough to let these weapons fall into the wrong hands, what damage could the right weapon used in the right circumstances do?

I'm not sure that the constitution has been misunderstood.  Keep in mind that it was written shortly after a group of insurgent rebels took down the legitimate government (The Brits).

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
[...]
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,
[...]
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government,
Obviously times have changed between then and now.
However, controlling the people's ability to fight back is the fist step to control the people in a totalitarian regime.

Hunting has also been, and remains important to many American people. 
Obviously one doesn't need a fully automatic weapon with a clip of 100 rounds on the quest to serve Bambi for dinner. 
Likewise, modern handguns are specialized to only hunt one type of prey.

Many states prohibit fully automatic weapons, large clips, bombs, and etc.  And, that is just fine.  I might also support the restriction of handguns.  Or, perhaps just stop making so damn many new ones.

But, at the same time, I don't want the police and military to be the only ones carrying the weapons.

Any way to keep countries including the USA from exporting so many weapons to other countries and terrorists?
The USA spent about a $1 Trillion to conquer Iraq...  and now has rearmed their not-so-stable government.   :-\
The USA has also spent about $Ĺ Trillion in a war in Afghanistan, largely caused by us arming the same terrorists30 years ago that we are now fighting!

Anyway, I don't foresee the USA becoming a totalitarian regime or military regime that would require the people to overthrow.  Nor, do I see the people as the primary defense against invasion.  However, the same principles do stand true.
 

Offline RD

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add hairdryers and cameras to the list.
« Last Edit: 11/01/2012 21:15:45 by RD »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Should police officers be trained to recognize pellet guns?
« Reply #10 on: 11/01/2012 21:30:47 »
add hairdryers
See what happens when you take guns away from the people.
The people start running around pretending that hairdryers are guns.
And the police can no longer tell the difference between some fun, and a real terrorist threat.

I hope the show's producers caught the interaction on camera  ;)  It would at least make a good filler for the bloopers they often play during the credits, or the extended features for the DVD release.

and cameras to the list.

Now, that is one wicked camera.
Is that the standard paparazzi gear in Britain nowdays?  That would even give me the heebie jeebies if someone was pointing it at me all the time.  Could you modify the camera to function as digital scope for a real firearm?
 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Should police officers be trained to recognize pellet guns?
« Reply #11 on: 12/01/2012 15:40:17 »

and cameras to the list.

Now, that is one wicked camera.
Is that the standard paparazzi gear in Britain nowdays?

Judging by some of the shots the paparazzi manage these days, I would think this is more like the kit they must be using:



Canon 5200mm f14 lens. Weight - 100kgs, size - 500mm x 600mm x 1890mm long. Min focus distance 120m. Price - around $45,000.00

In the red circle is the DSLR camera. You might have a spot of trouble fitting that into your Lowepro kit bag!
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Should police officers be trained to recognize pellet guns?
« Reply #12 on: 12/01/2012 17:39:15 »
You could make a super camera lens out of any telescope.

No wonder Princess D drove her car into a concrete embankment.
Haven't they enacted any "privacy" laws since her death?
 

Offline RD

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Re: Should police officers be trained to recognize pellet guns?
« Reply #13 on: 12/01/2012 20:02:28 »
Now, that is one wicked camera.
Is that the standard paparazzi gear in Britain nowdays?


That's a clunky old Russian made "photosniper" camera: very James Bond ...

« Last Edit: 12/01/2012 20:11:25 by RD »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Should police officers be trained to recognize pellet guns?
« Reply #14 on: 12/01/2012 20:38:08 »
You could make a super camera lens out of any telescope.

No wonder Princess D drove her car into a concrete embankment.
Haven't they enacted any "privacy" laws since her death?

They have, but not about that.
Whether you are married to the heir apparent or not, the law says  that if you don't want to be photographed doing something then you shouldn't do it where people can see you and take pictures.

There was a story on the radio today about the police scrambling a couple of helicopters to search for a "gunman" who had a photographic tripod over his shoulder.

Incidentally, Di was in the back seat so I rather doubt she was driving.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Should police officers be trained to recognize pellet guns?
« Reply #15 on: 13/01/2012 11:34:48 »
the law says  that if you don't want to be photographed doing something then you shouldn't do it where people can see you and take pictures.

I suppose if the British choose to pay someone £41.5M every year for essentially just inheriting a name....

Then perhaps they consider it also pays for the soap opera that comes with it.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Should police officers be trained to recognize pellet guns?
« Reply #16 on: 13/01/2012 18:02:18 »
"I suppose if the British choose to pay someone £41.5M every year for essentially just inheriting a name...."
I don't recall being offered a choice.
 

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Re: Should police officers be trained to recognize pellet guns?
« Reply #16 on: 13/01/2012 18:02:18 »

 

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