Monday, May 11, 2009

And where were the parents?

A teenagers' game in Palmdale, CA ended in a near-tragedy when a 15-year-old youth was shot by police for brandishing a toy pistol. He'd apparently been playing 'cops and robbers' - and someone called the police, thinking that the 'robbers' waving 'guns' around were the real deal.

This isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened, and I doubt very much whether it'll be the last. My question is: where the hell were the kids' parents, and why didn't they teach their kids some sense? If you wave a toy gun at a cop in America, of course he's going to feel threatened, and may very well shoot at you! I'd do the same, in his shoes!

However, instead of common sense, I daresay we'll have lawsuits and counter-suits flying around, and all sorts of emotional bleating about police overreaction. Sorry. I don't buy it. My sympathies to the police involved, who I'm sure feel at least as bad about it as anyone else: but no sympathy whatsoever to the doofus with the toy gun. His conduct was just begging for someone to hand him his ass. In this case, it was the police who obliged.

It could have been much worse. I know a man who was walking back to his home from the corner store a few years ago. Two youths jumped out from behind a car, pointed a real-looking gun at his head and shouted, "Stick 'em up!" He promptly drew his own firearm and shot them both. One died, the other was permanently disabled. Later, the injured youth swore to police that it was 'just a game', that they'd been doing it to others the same evening (which was confirmed by some other 'victims'). The shooter has felt terrible about it ever since, but I told him flatly that he'd done the right thing. In his place, I'd have done likewise. Guns aren't a 'game'.


Why can't parents teach their kids a bit more common sense?



Sevesteen said...

There was a story along these lines on one of the national gun forums a couple years ago--Carload of kids, one jumps out with a gun and advances on a guy in a jeep behind. Jeep driver jumps out, draws his gun...and the kid drops his and runs. Turns out the kid's gun was an Airsoft.

When the cops caught the kid not long after, he wanted to know if they had caught "the crazy guy who pulled a gun on me"...and was shocked to find that he could have been legally shot.

I've never thought to teach my kids "don't point guns at police, even toy guns".

Anonymous said...

At the risk of coming off as a little malicious, I think this is the result of putting too many warning labels on things; All the mouth-breathing morons who would otherwise have been filtered out are living long enough to get into trouble like this.


Anonymous said...

Fist problem you have is to FIND the parents for far too many of thewe wildlings.

Crucis said...

The list of Darwin Awards keep getting longer.

Anonymous said...

Guns can be a game just fine. Look at all of the gun games that are played, IDPA, IPSC, Steel, GSSF, Sporting Clays, Traps, Three Gun, and on and on. Then there's airsoft with skirmishes and competition style shoots, and there's paintball with scenario's, outlaw ball, speed ball, etc.

Acting stupid with guns is not a game, correct. But saying guns aren't a game seems to be ignoring what responsible people do with firearms.

Cliff Smith said...

Common sense is becomeing most uncommon anymore.

Peter said...

Tomcatshanger, I take your point, but I think I'd call those sports rather than games.

Andrea said...

It might even be a worse case of parental irresponsibility, Peter.

A couple of the local TV news stations are reporting that the boy was a "special needs" child. Nothing more specific than that, but the local CBS affiliate has a statement from the grandmother who said that the boy obeyed the deputies' commands before he was shot. She said her grandson is a special-education student.

So, we might have a situation of parents not supervising a kid with a toy gun who just didn't know any better. Poor kid. Poor deputy, too.