General Question

funkdaddy's avatar

Would you rather police officers started wearing cameras or stopped carrying guns? (pick one)

Asked by funkdaddy (17765points) November 25th, 2014

It seems the high profile cases where an unarmed individual gets shot tend to unfold quickly and follow the pattern of

Someone (law enforcement, security, a concerned citizen) tries to stop minor crime -> that someone feels threatened by the response -> their reaction is to use their gun

There seem to be two lines of thought how to “fix” the problem. Less guns, or better information and accountability.

So, looking just at police officers for now, would you rather

1) police officers wear cameras while patrolling, knowing the additional information might bring clarity and accountability, but would still be primarily a tool for the police force

2) police officers did not normally carry guns while patrolling, knowing it might cause a slower response when one is needed.

And why?

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75 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

until the psychopaths and triggerhappy shitheads are weeded out of the police force, they
1. can not be trusted with lethal weaponry
2. must be under surveillance constantly to keep them in check.

Coloma's avatar

In this day and age I think both are appropriate, I cannot choose, both are important “tools” of law enforcement. If there is any small hint here tying into the Ferguson drama, well….he got what he deserved and the ignorant fucks rioting are too ignorant to see how ignorant they are.
Attack a cop, get shot, pretty much a 1+1 equation and a picture is worth a thousand words.

dina_didi's avatar

To begin with, no psychopath should be an officer. It would be very dangerous if policemen had no guns with them because they would be defenseless against criminals and they would have no way to protect other people when they have to. I believe that the solution is that every policeman should be psychologically tested. I choose cameras.

FutureMemory's avatar

Considering how many guns are on the street, I don’t think taking their guns away would work. Criminals would know they could simply shoot the cops if they ever tangled with them.

I’m 100% for wearable cameras though. I can’t believe this isn’t already mandatory. I also believe the footage from every camera should be scrutinized daily by an NGO.

tedibear's avatar

Wearable cameras with no ability to malfunction.

Coloma's avatar

@dina_didi They already do undergo psychological testing and evaluations prior to being hired as well as if there are any questions as to their behavior or emotional symptoms during their service.

jerv's avatar

I am all for the cameras. I think that the police have a legitimate need for guns (after all, criminals are well armed), but tamperproof cameras would give the oversight required to make sure those guns are not abused.

@Coloma I think that they are a little less stringent on those who are already in uniform.

marinelife's avatar

Cameras. It is not safe for police officers in this country with all its guns not to be armed.

Blackberry's avatar

The guns won’t ever go away in this country, so our best option is use the cameras, or you know….hope more law enforcement learn to use the escalation of force method. I know the kid who was killed in Ferguson wasn’t an actual kid and may have been quite threatening, but I would rather mace someone or beat them with a club as opposed to taking their life.

zenvelo's avatar

Disarm the police. Cameras don’t keep them from killing people, and they don’t do any good after the event.

syz's avatar

As long as the gun culture in this country means there are 300 million guns in the hands of the public, our police force will be armed.

bossob's avatar

Sending cops into gun fights armed with a baton and mace doesn’t make sense. There’s a reason it’s become mandatory for many LE personnel to wear to wear bullet-proof vests.

Cameras could become an advancement in the level of oversight and transparency. But to be effective , they first have to figure out a balance between the privacy rights of a citizen and the Freedom of Information Act.

dina_didi's avatar

@Coloma I know there are tests but if they are strict about these tests, how people with problems are becoming policemen? And are those test enough for people who could lose their minds when they are already on the force? Depriving officers from their weapons would be a real problem. There should be a way to control when they are using them and why. If this means cameras, which is extreme (imagine if someone watched you when you are at work), it is a solution. Not the best but it is still a solution. Better education is another great solution but it will take years and it is difficult to have.

Buttonstc's avatar

Hands down, my vote would be for cameras. The expense would be well worth it.

josie's avatar

Cameras are not a problem and technically simple. Why not.

But the real problem is this – Young black males actually believe that all cops want to kill them and cops, some of them young too, actually believe that all young black males want to kill them.

Fix that problem and, in my opinion, you won’t need to spend money on the cameras.

josie's avatar

I will amend my answer.

Young black males actually believe that all WHITE cops want to kill them and WHITE cops, some of them young too, actually believe that all young black males want to kill them.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’d rather they carried cameras. We’ve had five citizens shot by police in the last three? months in Queensland.

As a coincidence, I was having a conversation about why the police are armed here in Australia. I realise the situation is quite different in the US because of your gun laws. However, I started doing some very general research. In the UK since 1900, 249 police officers have died while trying to stop, prevent or solve crimes (Wikipedia), I put the Wiki table into Excel and broke this down further. Of those 249, 70 were shot. Of those 70, 41 were shot prior to 1970, 23 between 1970 and 2000, and only 6 police officers have been shot in the UK since the year 2000.

According to this BBC article, 82% of British police officers want to remain unarmed. Despite 17,209 authorised operations where police officers used firearms, they only discharged a firearm three times between 2010–2011.

The data below is from the same BBC article.

Police use of firearms 2010–11

Authorised in 17,209 operations, says Home Office figures for England and Wales – a decrease of 1,347 (7%) on previous year
6,653 authorised firearms officers – (5% decrease)
13,346 operations involving armed response vehicles (6% decrease)
Three incidents in which police discharged a conventional firearm (down from six incidents)
Breakdown by region (Home Office PDF)

Given Australia’s gun laws (as in the UK, we do have gun crime but we have very strict gun laws), I’d prefer to see our police officers carrying cameras than guns. If the British bobby, with their 65 million (last time I checked) population can manage to police without carrying guns, why can’t ours do the same with our 23 million population and similarly strict gun laws. The five people killed were not carrying guns to my knowledge. The officers did feel they were threatened.

Coloma's avatar

@dina_didi I advocate both guns and cameras, and sure, a couple of bad cops can always sneak through regardless, just like criminals that have been released by their psychiatrists and go on a killing spree that same day. I, personally am not a fan of firearms in general, but they are a necessary evil for law enforcement, especially.

ibstubro's avatar

Start at about page 206 (p.12), if you’re not taken there directly, @Blackberry. I read pages and pages today. Compelling.

The cop in Ferguson was pinned in his vehicle, sitting on his baton, unable to assess his mace and unable to access the face of the man that was beating him in the face while wrestling over the officer’s gun.

I’m with the “Too dangerous to put the police out there without guns in the US, but lets have untamperable sound and video whenever possible” crowd.

ibstubro's avatar

@dina_didi we get bad cops for the same reason we get bad teachers: generally under appreciated, under paid and over worked.

A source.

$28,000 works out to about $13 an hour for a 40 hour work-week. There are states with minimum wage increases of $10+ already on the books.

Police Officer in Ferguson, MO—$28,000

kritiper's avatar

Wearing cameras.

zenvelo's avatar

The last five years, in the State of Utah, more than drug dealers, gangs, and child abuse murders, about the most common way to get killed, other than by an intimate partner, is shot by the police.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Both cameras and guns. While we are at it lets raise their pay, educational standards, fitness for duty (including a full psychological profile) and training requirements. Most of them now are just a step above burger flipper or store clerk in pay and in credentials. That’s just sad I.M.O. We need our best out there doing this work. Without higher standards, higher pay and careful weeding you get misfits, psychopaths and control freaks serving as police. They are not generally the majority and there are some good cops out there but unless I know them personally I’m not very trusting. I have known several and even though they will never admit it they get kind of fucked up in the head from working in their profession.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Firearms and cameras.

Why is there even a debate?

prairierose's avatar

Wearing cameras would be a good idea, that way there would be some first hand evidence as to what actually happened in incidents, such as the one in Missouri.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@dina_didi People with problems are becoming police men and women because it’s not only people with mental illnesses that are capable committing murder and other horrible things. Any one of us could pass a full psychological evaluation and still be capable of killing someone.

That said, it should be absolutely mandatory that they all wear cameras, for their protection as well as the protection of citizens. Police are people, as much as anyone else. Blind trust for any stranger is ridiculous and stupid – no matter how many psychological evaluations, background checks, or how much training they’ve undergone. Blind trust is especially stupid when those people are carrying guns and they believe in their hearts and minds that it is their duty to uphold the law. That mindset alone is enough to cause concern, especially knowing how individualistic opinions of what it means to “uphold the law” can be from person to person.

It’s not realistic at this point in America to expect that police walk around without guns. There are simply too many guns in existence in this country for that to be safe for anyone. But there are definitely a lot of problems with most polices forces in this country, and many things need to change.

ibstubro's avatar

Wow. I can’t believe I’m taking serious issue with @DrasticDreamer.

”’s not only people with mental illnesses that are capable of committing murder and other horrible things.”

I believe the opposite. That mental illness is much like physical illness, in that a pimple may look like cancer, but is not. I will kill a mole in my yard without thought, but I’d never willingly kill a human.

Re-reading your post, I might be talking with you, rather than to them?

Aethelwine's avatar

I would prefer they have cameras. Cameras hold everyone accountable for their actions.

Guns are not the problem. The majority of white policemen do not get a kick out of killing young adult black men.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@ibstubro You might not, right now, be willing to ever kill a human being, but it doesn’t mean that you aren’t capable. I’ve used it as an example before, and I’ll bring it up here, too. There are parents who, if they saw their child being raped, would kill the person doing it. That’s only one example, but I’m not comfortable saying that those people are mentally ill.

funkdaddy's avatar

I like the camera idea better as well, but two things I haven’t seen mentioned

1) The cameras would be police property. The video would presumably be police property and kept with all other equipment. You can request a video in some areas, but you have to know it exists and be specific in your request. Ultimately almost all the video would be used internally, and any investigations into wrongdoing by the police would still be performed by the police.

2) Not having guns would force officers to consider other options. Getting your ass beat? Maybe drive away for the 90 seconds it’s going to take for another 2–4 police officers to be on the scene? Maybe taze the guy in Walmart who’s on his cell phone, leaning on a BB gun and doesn’t hear you tell him to get down? Maybe you can think of another way to determine if that 12 year old on the swings has a real gun. Like you know, ask him? Right now the gun seems to be the first option instead of the last.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@funkdaddy I was actually thinking similar things about cameras. The only way it would work is to have whatever was being recorded automatically uploaded to servers somewhere that had nothing to do, directly, with the police. Like a separate… memory bank, or something…

cheebdragon's avatar

Lmfao you think mental evaluations would weed out the psychopaths? Cops are worse than 85% of the people they arrest.

Misspegasister28's avatar

Cameras, for sure! I mean, if the cop isn’t doing anything wrong… why must wearing a camera be an issue?

rojo's avatar

I would go with the cameras.

rojo's avatar

But then again, I am not a police officer.

AshlynM's avatar


Darth_Algar's avatar

There should be cameras in all police vehicles and the wearable camera is a great idea. And since it’s been mentioned: you have no right to, nor expectation of privacy while on the job.

funkdaddy's avatar

but do people on the other side? Police come in people’s homes, they see people at their worst sometimes.

bossob's avatar

Privacy of citizens regarding police body cameras is already a legal issue.
Seattle PD 1
Seattle PD 2

osoraro's avatar

It amazes me that the first reaction of people when they’re protesting police officers is to suggest giving them more power over you. Giving police officers cameras gives them permission to record you without your permission and have those records scrutinized at any time. It’s a gross violation of civil liberties and just another small step towards a full surveillance police state.

cheebdragon's avatar

@osoraro yeah, because not being able to see what they do has been working pretty fucking well so far.~

funkdaddy's avatar

@bossob – thanks for the links. I’m not sure about most places, but here in Texas I believe they’ll try to fill open records requests as long as they’re “reasonable” and I know you can’t just request “everything” here and expect to receive it. So I’m not sure how long that sort of request would hold as a roadblock. It would be ideal if some third party handled the video storage, but that pretty much sets up a conflict of interests on both sides. I’m not sure what the right solution is.

@osoraro – not in public. They, or anyone else, can record you. And it’s been upheld that you can record the police as well. Things like security cameras, dash cams, cell phone cameras, and google glass are only going to become more plentiful.

There was a small study done and complaints against officers dropped significantly when they had cameras. I don’t know if that’s because they were better behaved, or because people knew there was a recording, but probably a bit of both.

So I’m more worried about when they’re in people’s homes, or even businesses. And if having camera footage becomes the norm, would people expect it for other public services as well. Does CPS need to record all interactions? How about EMS crews? Records retention is already pretty crazy in the public sector, video could take that to a whole other level.

bossob's avatar

From an employer’s perspective, body cams provide improved management oversight of employees who work without direct supervision. Body cams could become a normal part of the ‘uniform’ in many types of businesses, private and public. Privacy issues will continue to escalate.

I think it’s conceivable that in the near future we could all be wearing body cameras. No more he said vs. she said scenarios. It will be his video vs. her video.

Darth_Algar's avatar


There is no expectation of privacy when one is out in public.

andgemvicdyl's avatar

I guess I can not honestly have a opinion on this or choose one or the other. Living in the UK and thankfully at that , I truly sympathise with those Americans who has fell foal of the Gun culture in your country weather they be police officers , gang members , common criminals and innocent law abiding citizens for example students in your schools are gunned down by a fellow pupils for gods sake or a bystander in a store shot by accident (being in the wrong place at the wrong time) what’s that all about ???? CRAZINESS !! From an outsiders point of view if you are interested ? CAMERAS with the use/carry guns and Tighter laws & regulations on the sales of GUNS

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I definitely think police officers wearing cameras is a win-win for citizens and officers.

I’ve been reading more and many police officers in Australia now wear body-mounted cameras. This and this gives an indication of what they look like. The police union support the move because it provides protection for officers. This is video from recordings during their use.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Despite careful selection and the best possible training, officers are strongly influenced by the culture of the force and the expectations and beliefs they end up carrying with them on the streets.

Wearing video cameras would keep them continuously aware that what they do is always available for review and critique. That alone should help them to adhere to the expectations society holds for their conduct. This should enhance trust and respect for officers and the police force.

cheebdragon's avatar

Fuck it, let’s just put cameras on guns.

Buttonstc's avatar

The only problem with that is that it would only show at whom the gun is firing; not necessrily who is actually pulling the trigger.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Not to mention it wouldn’t pick up violent acts involving a Taser, or fists, or a baton or the person who attacks the officer with a gun, piece of 2×4, a knife or whatever they choose.

andgemvicdyl's avatar

Ok I have seen reports on TV over here about police being trigger happy and unarmed people being shot by the same , please help me out here ! From the reports we see of the gun culture in USA if the police do shoot a unarmed person then the same “Unarmed Criminal” perhaps should not of been committing any criminal activity knowing the risk .
What is the statistics — unarmed and shot by Police compared to say students , family members as examples , that are shot by someone they know ,

Darth_Algar's avatar

@andgemvicdyl “From the reports we see of the gun culture in USA if the police do shoot a unarmed person then the same “Unarmed Criminal” perhaps should not of been committing any criminal activity knowing the risk .”

In the US there are only two crimes which are punishable by death – 1st degree murder and treason. and those charges are for a judge and jury, not a police officer, to decide.

andgemvicdyl's avatar

Darth_Algar I totally understand & agree with your answer , all I know is I am glad I do not live in a country where guns can be bought on the high street , it just seems a lot of people have major problems with the fact that there are occasions when a Police officer has made bad judgement / Critical error. Camera’s are a good way off recording that moment in which the officer makes he judgement it will be beneficial for officer and public .

Darth_Algar's avatar


What do guns being “bought on the high street” have to do with police shooting unarmed suspects?

ragingloli's avatar

Firearms being so freely available with barely any oversight basically forces the pigs to assume that everone is armed and dangerous.
Plus the fact that they are all animals.
Just recently, the pigs murdered a 12 year old child because it was carrying a toy gun.
They have no restraint, no common sense, and no compassion.

cheebdragon's avatar

Even my 8 year old son knows not to take a toy gun outside, so I’d have to say the 12 year old taking a toy gun to the park was really more of a “natural selection” situation.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I love how people constantly misunderstand and misuse the term “natural selection”.

ragingloli's avatar

so what you are saying is that he was “asking for it”?

cheebdragon's avatar

Natural selection – “the process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring. The theory of
its action was first fully expounded by Charles Darwin and is now believed to be the main process that brings about evolution.”

The kid didnt survive long enough to reproduce because either his parents or himself weren’t smart enough to figure out that maybe it wasn’t such a smart idea to play with an airsoft gun in public. A death caused by ignorance Seems to fit the definition of natural selection.
If you try to run across the freeway at 7am and you get hit by a car, its your own damn fault.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Congrats, you can quote it but you still don’t get it.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

A 12-year-old wasn’t smart enough to survive? Really? In a culture that constantly glorifies violence and saturates people with it from the time they’re toddlers? It’s so ingrained in our society that most parents don’t think twice about getting their kids those brightly colored water guns – which are designed to look like actual guns, minus the color. Or cap guns. Or any other toy guns, and they’re everywhere.

Maybe “stupid” kids shouldn’t be taught to associate guns with playtime in the first place. Maybe our society is so ignorant that people blame 12-year-olds for getting shot to death for playing with a toy that adults created. A toy gun that was given to a child. A “toy” that adults aren’t bothering to ban.

Buttonstc's avatar


Altho I agree with you about the prevalence of guns in our culture (both toy and real) the fact remains that either the child or his parents chose to remove the bright orange safety indicator.

This has been placed on airguns by the manufacturer specifically to prevent cases like this so that police know instantly that this product does not shoot bullets.

Likewise, as you mentioned, they make water guns in a rainbow of various bright colors so that they are not confused with real guns.

Has anyone taken a look at a pic of this gun? It was all over Twitter for the last several days. It’s not hard to find. I was shocked to see how much It looks identical to a real weapon that shoots bullets.

How on earth can we reasonably expect a police officer to know it isn’t real (especially when, in defiance of a clearly stated command) it’s pointed straight at him?

It’s not like the cops saw him just walking around holding it and shot him. That’s clearly not what happened.

And this attention-grabbing behavior of his of repeatedly drawing the gun and provocatively pointing it directly at people is precisely the behavior which prompted the 911 call which resulted in the police going there to begin with.

Are the police magically endowed with a special type of ESP to distinguish between real guns and those that merely look like it? Of course that’s ridiculous.

Would you allow your kid to take the bright orange safety indicator off the gun? As a parent, would you take that off the gun yourself? Would you allow your kid out of the house with a modified gun absent the orange safety indicator?

I know that I sure as hell would not. And if I were a parent of a black male child living in this country, I certainly would have had “the talk” with him prior to age 12.

What is “the talk”? It’s where any intelligent parent of a black male child informs him of the necessity of not doing anything to unnecessarily antagonize or provoke a police officer since it could mean the difference between life and death.

Even Henry Louis Gates (who clearly didnt live in the ghetto) mentioned this following the incident which happened to him. And there have been numerous references made to “the talk” by various parents (even rich celebrity ones) of black male children. It’s a well known phrase.

So, clearly there was a failure somewhere along the line with this kid’s parents, either for not telling him how stupid it is to point a gun at a policeman or for allowing him out of the house with a modified gun without a safety identifier to begin with. Why the hell would you allow a gun like that to begin with? They purposely include an unmistakable identification feature and it’s removed? WTH ? are you nuts?

I don’t see how any reasonable person can blame the police for acting according to their training.

rojo's avatar

Rather than cops wearing cameras, why don’t we equip everyone with one?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Buttonstc It’s not about whether or not the police in this case thought the gun was real – because as you said, with the orange tip taken off, it would have been nearly impossible to tell if the gun was real or not. That wasn’t my point, though.

My point was that it’s ludicrous to blame a 12-year-old for not “knowing better” (or to call them stupid) when we live in a culture that teaches kids that guns are toys in the first place.

funkdaddy's avatar

@Buttonstc – the caller who called in to 911 thought it was reasonable to mention the gun was probably fake. So that person was cautious, even though they weren’t making life and death decisions.

Have you seen the video? The cop shot the young boy within a second of getting there, the car wasn’t even stopped. Seems like maybe there were some other options available, especially considering no crime had been committed and no one was hurt, until the police arrived.

The guns, once again, were the first option.

calling it natural selection is just cruel, hopefully everyone has better luck with their own children

Buttonstc's avatar

I’d just like to make it clear that I don’t support the “natural selection” crack. That’s making light of a serious situation and just doesn’t add anything meaningful to the dialogue.


Unfortunately the dispatcher chose to leave out the caller’s guess that the gun was probably fake so the police were unaware of that salient point.

Plus, their fiirst description over the radio described him as a 20 yr. old male, so presumably he was a 12 yr. old who hit his growth spurt sooner than average.

I didn’t watch the specific link you posted because I’ve already watched several on YouTube. I watched one that was preceded by the police spokesman stating that the video had been compressed for time so I don’t know how accurate it is to say that he was shot “within a second” of their arrival.

They obviously had time to clearly instruct him to raise his hands, whereupon he chose instead to lift up his jacket to reach for the gun tucked into his waistband.

Now, since I don’t know this kid, I’m not going to call him stupid, but I will point put that what he did was most certainly not smart. As a matter of fact it was extremely stupid.

I don’t care how old you are. If you’ve got a gun that you know has no bullets up against cops with real ones, why would you reach for the gun instead of putting up your empty hands. That makes no sense at all.

And as much as our media and culture glorifies guns, at least one thing is really clear. In EVERY movie or TV show where the cops tell a suspect to raise their hands and instead they reach for a gun, they immediately go down in a hail of bullets. And they don’t get up again. It’s pretty damn clear that they’re dead.

So, yes, what that kid chose to do was supremely stupid.

Does he deserve to die for it? No, of course not.

I’ve heard interviews with other cops who have stated that the training officer (who was driving) should have stayed back and waited for backup rather than driving up that close.

The shooter was the rookie who in all likelihood was simply following his training because he lacked any experience of a scenario like this. And what they are trained to do if someone reaches for a gun (when clearly instructed to show empty hands) is to shoot them before they have a chance to shoot you.

And do you honestly think this cop is overflowing with joy after finding out it was a 12 yr. old with a fake gun? I’m sure this will haunt him for the rest of his life.

This entire incident is so sad for everybody involved and there are multiple failures on both sides.

But the biggest failure which strikes me is a MAJOR fail of parental responsibility. This above everything else is what got their child killed.

Would you, as a parent, allow your kid to have a modified gun which appears real? Would you ever allow your kid out of the house carrying that gun?

I suppose one could say that the parents didn’t know he had the gun. Well, they SHOULD HAVE. And they should have told their kid how to behave regarding the police NUMEROUS times.

They were quite frankly negligent in several important ways.

Could the police have not been so quick on the trigger? Yes. The more experienced cop should have known to wait for backup or a trained negotiator instead of just rolling right up that quickly.

But, once the command was given to show hands, it was the beginning of the end. There was no turning back then because his reaching for the gun was the tipping point.

If a cop ever ignores a suspect’s failure to show hands and reaching for a gun, he could well end up to be the one in a coffin.

That’s just the way it is (as Loli pointed out above) when there’s no way to know if a gun is real. It’s really unfortunate all the way around.

ragingloli's avatar

“If a cop ever ignores a suspect’s failure to show hands and reaching for a gun, he could well end up to be the one in a coffin.”
occupational hazard.

funkdaddy's avatar

The video is timestamped in the lower right. “compressed for time” in this case just means they took out the parts that nothing is going on. It has low frame rate because it’s security footage and that saves storage space.

You’re going awful deep into the boy’s parents, the officer’s histories and roles, the gun, his actions, the information given. You’ve excused the officer’s actions by saying he gave clear directions which weren’t followed. I understand they’re all complicated humans and no one wanted to kill anyone that day.

I’m trying to make 2 points

1 – The kid was shot so quickly it was as if it was on instinct. Whether it was half a second or a second and a half, it was an immediate reaction. No other options were explored.

2 – There are two people who ultimately determined the outcome. One is a 12-year old boy, the other is an adult professional who is trained to handle situations like this. Who should keep their cool? Can you imagine any other professional claiming the 12-year old freaked out on them, so they had to react with full force? Imagine this same scenario with a teacher or a doctor. Would you be ok with a teacher shooting that kid in the park? If not, is it an officer’s job to shoot people?

Buttonstc's avatar


In point #2, you are assuming that they knew they were dealing with a 12 yr. old. THEY DID NOT KNOW THIS.

They thought they were dealing with a 20 yr. old ARMED male. That’ a totally different scenario altogether.

And they rookie did respond precisely as he was trained. He instructed the gunman to raise his empty hands. Instead he went for the gun in his waistband. That left no room for any negotiations after that point.

(remember, they had NO WAY to know that it was not a real gun capable of killing people) so when he went for the gun, he was shot center mass. And that is what they are trained to do.

(I’m confused by exactly what you mean by the kid “freaked out”. It’s not like he was having a temper tantrum or acting crazy or anything else associated with freaking out.

He went for his gun instead of showing his hands empty. The standard response trained into them is to shoot him before he has the chance to shoot and kill you.

And prior to all this, he had been repeatedly drawing on random passerby, apparently rather deliberately not “freaking out”.

And hypothetically, if one of those passerby had been a teacher who also had a gun and shot him in self defense, it would be the same thing.

If you were referring to a teacher dealing with students in his own class with whom he is familiar, that’s a totally different scenario altogether and can’t really be used as a comparison because the teacher would know this child and thus his actual age and immaturity.

But what the hell is an inner city kid doing with a pellet gun to begin with? What possible good can come from this?

I know that way out in the country there are kids with BB or pellet guns who use it to keep varmints off the property, but in the city there’s not much room for shooting without causing major property damage. It just makes no sense for a city kid to have a pellet gun.

(Years ago when my teenage nephew bought a BB gun without his parents permission, even tho they lived in the suburbs, they gave him holy hell about it. They took him straight back to the store and made him return it. They said if he ever did that again, he would be grounded for six months. It was nothing but a recipe for trouble. Period.

Under what theory of responsible parenting did this kid have a pellet gun to begin with?

Clearly someone was asleep at the switch.

One last question for you. Had this kid complied with the police instruction to raise his hands empty, do you think he still would have been shot?

Or would that have given the cops time to talk to him and get a more accurate picture of what was really going on? Namely a kid being stupid trying to scare people with a fake gun.

At that point he would likely have had the gun confiscated, been given a stern lecture about why this was a really bad idea, taken to the station and his parents called to pick him up (because by then they would have known they were dealing with 12 yr. old stupidity rather than 20 yr. old menace)

Hindsight is always more accurate because all the facts are known.

cheebdragon's avatar

@Darth_Algar by all means, skippy, please elaborate….

Did I miss the part of the news reports where they said anything at all suggesting how intelligent the kid must have been to take that gun to the park? Did they mention all of the benefits of purchasing a bb gun that looks just like a hand gun, for a 12 year old?

funkdaddy's avatar

@Buttonstc – The kid is around 4 and half feet tall, under 100 pounds. No one mistakes 12 year olds for 20 year olds on sight. That’s 6th and 7th graders. For comparison, how many of these kids would you let into a bar? It just doesn’t happen.

We could probably go back and forth regarding the facts a dozen times and I’m not big on that. I’m not sure this is the particular officer you want to back, but respect what you’re trying to say. We just disagree.

If we’re comfortable having armed officers (and it seems most are) then this sort of thing is going to happen. It just keeps happening to the same demographic so maybe we can do something about that.

@cheebdragon – No, I haven’t seen anyone questioning or praising the child’s intelligence. Maybe it’s a sign when your argument makes the general media look extremely classy in comparison.

cheebdragon's avatar

The truth isn’t always classy.

Darth_Algar's avatar


“Natural selection” has fuck all to do with this situation. The term refers to the success or failure of a given species based on how well suited or adaptable that species is to its environment. And any individual of any species, no matter how strong, how swift, how adaptable or how intelligent, can have an accident, fall upon the wrong side of circumstance or have a moment of poor judgement.

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