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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How Many Shots Are Too Much? (Part II)

In an editorial today, the NY Times, like everyone else, is focusing on the number of shot fired. They write: "One [police officer] emptied his gun, a 9mm semiautomatic, reloaded and emptied it again, accounting for 31 rounds." Of course they fail to mention that you can fire 31 shots in a matter of seconds.

They also note that "Police rules mandate that an officer pause after firing three rounds to assess the situation. If the shooters had followed procedures, they might have seen there was no threat before it was too late." I've never heard of that regulation before, but even if it's true, I'm not sure why it's relevant. All it takes is one shot to the head or chest and you're a deadman. 3 unjustified shots are 3 too many, and there is no limit on the number of shots in a justified shooting. You keep shooting until the threat has been neutralized.


Honestly, I think the focus on the shots is just a cheap shot (pun intended) to sway opinion in a certain direction. I am sure NY Times editorial writers could contact any number of legal consultants when spinning out an article. There's a reason for the sudden interest in the dramatic circumstance. It's just a public policy appeal, I'm sure.
It was reported that bullets went through windows in surrounding houses and apartments. I think that is the problem with so many shots, that it seems frenzied and not a situation that the policemen behaved calmly in. Then again, if they felt in danger, who would be calm? On the other hand, there are plenty of lawmen found in much more serious situations who are able to keep their cool.

When one officer fires, there is often a psychological reaction and the rest of them start too. This in my opinion is not that wise.
I usually like to give the police the benefit of the doubt until all the facts are out.
You said yourself:

"All it takes is one shot to the head or chest and you're a deadman."

If so, than why the need for 50+ shots? I think part of the reason that people are focusing on the number of bullets fired is because every shot fired has the potential to strike an innocent bystander. As mevaseretzion said, "it seems frenzied and not a situation that the policemen behaved calmly in."

I generally like to give police the benefit of the doubt as well. I don't think for one second that the officers had malicious intent. But there is an old military adage: In a crisis, you sink to the level of your training.

Did these policemen panic? Maybe, maybe not. We still don't know all the facts. But it would take a heckuva lot to convince me 51 (!) shots were fired from something other than a state of panic.

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