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Monday, November 27, 2006

How Many Shots Are Too Much?

I'm extremely puzzled as to the reaction by citizens and officials to Saturday's groom shooting.
Everyone seems to be focused on the number of shots fired. I'm not sure that this is at all relevant. What if only one shot was fired and the guy was killed? Would it be any less of a tragedy? OTOH, if it turns out that the shooting was justified, who cares how many shots were fired? It only takes a few seconds to empty a 9mm semi-automatic, and a second or two reload. Multiply that by 5 officers, and in 20 seconds you a can easily have 50 shots fired.

So I really don't understand it when Bloomberg says "I can tell you that it is to me unacceptable or inexplicable how you can have 50-odd shots fired...", I can't take him seriously. My guess is he's just trying to placate Sharpton, and seems to be doing a decent job doing it.

Unless Sharpton or anyone else has proof that the cops deliberately were targeting the guy, let's all shut-up and wait for the investigation. Calling for Police Commissioner Kelley to step down is just stupid.


Malcom Gladwell in Blink has a very good explanation of how you get 50-odd shots fired. (Writing about the Diallo shooting, and then it was 45, but I think only four guys).

Your point is correct: it takes close to no time to empty a 9mm clip, which holds 14 bullets, IIRC. Once the shooting starts, the number of bullets is irrelevant. The only relevant inquiry is why the shooting started.
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.

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