A recent, tragic shooting incident in California found a 13 year old boy dead at the hands of local police. His crime? Being armed with a very realistic-looking AK-47 air rifle and a plastic pistol. The rifle did not have any markings or colored parts to distinguish it from a real gun. The boy was wearing a hoodie and turned towards the cops when ordered to drop the gun resulting in his death.
The comments that come from the ignorant about defensive shooting never ceases to amaze me. There are so many "experts" out there, some that don't even own guns, that seem to have all the answers when it comes to what someone would or should do under the stress of a deadly force situation. "Why didn't he fire a warning shot first?", "Why didn't the officer shoot him in the leg?", "Why did he shoot to kill?".
The "shoot to kill" issue has been an issue since guns were invented and people that have never had any professional defensive firearms training just don't get it. Police, like civilians, are taught to shoot to stop, not shoot to kill. Unfortunately, the largest and easiest target to hit under stress is the torso or "center mass" as some like to call it. Unknowledgable people often ask, "Why couldn't they have just shot him in the leg/shoulder?" or (I love this one) "Couldn't you just shoot the gun out of his hand?". Um, no. It is virtually impossible to do either under the stress of a lethal force scenario, whether real or perceived. I've seen dozens of people fall apart and make the wrong decisions even under the stress of a training.
Listen, I'm one of the most vocal opponents of the many jack-booted thugs out there. I also strongly support those peace officers that uphold their oath. One has only to listen to my radio show once to figure out where I stand on this kind of thing. However, I am also a professional defensive firearms trainer and have been involved in several altercations involving firearms throughout my life. The time factor involved between making initial contact with a gun-wielding individual and having to make that decision to shoot often is only a few seconds. The person with the gun is generally an adult and knows what he is doing. That person has only 2 choices; drop the gun instantly on command or test his skills and speed against one or more LEO's that probably already have their gun drawn, on target and their finger on the trigger. Unless you are exceeding well trained and experienced, you have little chance of surviving that scenario.
Unfortunately, a child sees his toy gun for what it is and that command may be confusing to him as he turns to face the sound of the command. Unlike most movies and the fantasy world that liberals live in, a cop or a civilian in a self-defense scenario doesn't have all day to figure out all the details of what the person they are facing is actually doing. Viewing a 13 year old with a hood over his head with a realistic-looking gun is his hands from the rear doesn't really offer much information. When that individual turns towards the cop, the cop at that point has maybe 2 seconds MAX to make the decision to shoot or not. In this day and age, the chances of encountering a real threat vastly out-weigh the chances of encountering some stupid kid with a real-looking gun. Crass as it may sound, the cop or the armed civilian sometimes has to instantly process a minimal amount of information and then play the odds. Sometimes, they make the wrong choice. Usually, there is no way determine that until its too late.
Having not been there, I will not speculate on what the cops COULD have done but I know what the kid SHOULD have done. Having not been there and only a news article to go by, the cop made the only reasonable choice that he could. When it comes down to it, I blame the parents. What kind of a moron would allow their kid to walk around in Kalifornia carrying a real-looking illegal weapon with a hood on his head nowadays? As I said earlier, in some areas you might get away with it but with the liberal mindset of the average person in KA, I really wouldn't have expected this to turn out any other way.
Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)
Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona
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