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?