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Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Toy guns and real cops



They're not a good mix, but last week, a teenager in Troy was
extremely lucky
.
The situation came out this week, as a Troy police officer fired a
shot from his firearm at a 17-year-old who had been holding a very
real-looking toy gun, an Airsoft gun. The teen had been playing with
a group of other children and teenagers.
Some have questioned the officer for firing the shot, but I don't see
how he could have done anything else.
He was responding to a 9-1-1 call from a motorist, who had reported
seeing someone pointing a gun at a child.
A police officer cannot go to a scene, automatically suspicious of
the called in report.
So he arrives at the scene quickly and sees a teenager pointing a gun
at someone. He yells to drop the gun and the teen turns (saying later
that he thought the officer was one of the participants) and the gun
is in the direction of the officer. He shoots.
Luckily, he misses.
However, missing may be the only thing the officer did wrong. If he
thought that was a real gun and the holder of the gun refused to drop
it and instead turned, the officer had to fire. And police officers
don't shoot in the air as a warning or aim for legs or arms. They
shoot to kill when they perceive danger to the public or themselves.
That is the way it has to be, or we would have even more dead or
wounded officers.
Now, I'm not saying the citizen's report was at fault. He or she
thought it was a gun pointed at a child, and if you see that, you
must call the police and report it.
If the caller had reported that some kids were horsing around and
making too much noise or getting into the road while playing with toy
guns, the officer would not have arrived and pulled his gun.
But when the goal of play is to use realistic looking guns, people
not involved are going to assume they're real.
I'm not one to think that toy guns should be outlawed, it's just that
common sense would make bright-colored guns more acceptable. A little
red tip just isn't going to cut it.
It's too easy for people to blame the officer, but I remember the
Hazel Park officer who was responding to a simple nuisance dog
complaint made by a neighbor. She was looking out for a dog when a
drunken homeowner blasted a shotgun from the porch, killing her.
This recent incident was almost a perfect storm for a disaster.
Perhaps, the officer missed due to a subconscious last-second doubt
about the situation.
The teen is lucky and really has nothing to complain about.
PHOTOS: The top photo compares real guns with the Airsoft guns recovered from the teenagers. The bottom one is the complete haul from the teens. See, some of them had colored guns.

6 Comments:

Blogger Al said...

I agree with most of your post, but to say the officer did something wrong is jumping to a conclusion that may not be correct. The officer may have been trying to take cover when he took the shot, and missed.

June 15, 2009 at 10:40 AM 
Blogger Stephen Frye said...

Yeah, Al, I agree. We don't know what happened, but I think if he was called to the carpet by superiors, the only valid question they could have is, why did you miss? It's easy to Monday morning quarterback, but I read this media release as being a two-to-three second incident. Can you imagine the stress one would feel after the active part of this ended and one realized what was going on? Whew.

June 15, 2009 at 11:17 AM 
Anonymous Replica Guns Direct said...

great blog i really did think the teen would go to jail

August 14, 2009 at 6:32 AM 
Blogger ovei bardhan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 12, 2013 at 3:53 PM 
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September 13, 2013 at 4:46 PM 
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May 25, 2014 at 8:40 PM 

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