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thomasquinn 32989 user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 25 Aug 12, 03:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/24/justice/new-york-empire-state/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

Some madman starts shooting at his ex-colleague. Evidently, the cops show up. They shoot and kill the guy who started shooting...and injure 9 innocent bystanders with their bullets. CNN takes the official route and reports that some police bullets hit objects that fragmented, injuring the bystanders. International media (including NOS, BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19372533)) report that all injured bystanders were hit by bullets. NY police confirms that none of the bullets fired by the gunman hit bystanders, thus we can safely assume that the bystanders were hit by the police, unless someone here has a different explanation that doesn't involve armed terrorists with a cloaking device.

Score: gunman - 1 fatality
            police - 1 fatality, 9 injuries

Yeah, the police make me feel a whole lot safer, thank you.


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Posted: 25 Aug 12, 06:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Notwithstanding my own personal experiences with police forces in 3 countries, in which I have never met one that helped me in any way or was not offhand, condescending, stupid or aggressive, in this case there are many scenarios that could have led to passers-by being hurt. Bullets go through people, for example. It's possible that ever shot fired by police hit the gunman, but went though him to hit other people. Faced with someone pointing a gun at them, they may have had little choice but to open fire, even if there were passers-by in the background, as otherwise they may have been shot themselves. Best not to judge until the full facts are available.


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Posted: 25 Aug 12, 08:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I am not the kind of person who is inclined to have much faith in the intelligence or integrity of police forces world wide. I agree that you can't just jump to conclusions, but the admitted facts being as follows:
- apart from the single fatality, no one was hit by the gunman
- the gunman and nine bystanders were hit by bullets fired by the police (BBC confirms that all victims suffered bullet wounds, not shrapnel trauma)

This doesn't *prove*, but it very seriously *implies* that the police were less than careful in their actions. At the very least, they fired 9 bullets (unless we're going to go into 'magic bullet' theories), which is quite a large volume of fire, considering they were using pistols, which are semi-automatic. The fact that the gunman did not fire any bullets other than those that hit his victim suggests that he wasn't targeting bystanders, and was thus less of a hazard than someone firing indiscriminately would be.

I get the feeling that the police acted rashly and used way more force than necessary. However, CNN reports the complete incident was caught on video from at least one angle, so I suppose this will be properly investigated.

Even considering that we can't be sure of the circumstances, you will have to admit that a gunman killing one and injuring none, where the police responding injure 9 bystanders, 3 of whom are seriously hurt, is not an example of a brilliant police operation.


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Posted: 25 Aug 12, 11:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W8cHwNuqH4&sns=em

We may need Holly to translate. I think she's speaking Belfast. Ha ha.

There was an incident in Montreal last year or the year before where police were responding to a report of a man strewing garbage around, vandalizing trash receptacles essentially. He was a mentally ill homeless man, 40 years old, wielding a knife. Police shot and killed both him and a completely innocent person cycling to work. To me that's a situation considerably more marginal in responsible judgement than this one, which nonetheless leaves one wondering not so much about the judgement of the NYC police, but their shooting skill. I understand the need for split second decisions, the terror of the reality of having a gun pointed at you no matter your training, the heightened vigilance and response to sudden violence in tourist areas of that city in particular - but it's harder to fathom why two trained police officers could not be a little more surgical in their shots. Kind of puts the standard NRA issue arguments for Joe Citizen heroes to be shooting up dangerous situations in their proper ill advised perspective.

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Posted: 25 Aug 12, 13:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

*shrug* So the cops took down the shooter and didn't kill any bystanders?

Win Win. You don't make an omelette without cracking some eggs first.


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Posted: 25 Aug 12, 13:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I really should add, though, that this is the clearest fucking argument yet against civilians taking part in a firefight. Just think how many more stray bullets there would've been if everyone on the street had a six shooter handy and thought, "here's my chance to be a hero!".


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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 03:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

So, the official version admits that two cops sprayed the gunman with 16 rounds, injuring nine bystanders, at least three of whom were hit by direct gunfire (i.e. not by fragments of bullets or by bullets ricochetting). And there's me thinking the police were trained to handle guns. By the sound of it, you'd be in less trouble if you were standing next to a mafia drive-by than if you happen to be in the same street as these gun-toting morons who are allowed to wear uniforms. Apparently (some) New York cops need more gun-training. A lot more of it.

@Zebonka; if you were one of the bystanders who "didn't get killed", we'd never hear the end of it.


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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 03:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Zebonka12 wrote: I really should add, though, that this is the clearest fucking argument yet against civilians taking part in a firefight. Just think how many more stray bullets there would've been if everyone on the street had a six shooter handy and thought, "here's my chance to be a hero!".

This point I wholeheartedly support.


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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 06:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"if you were one of the bystanders who "didn't get killed", we'd never hear the end of it"

But I am! We all are - in this world, if one person can get shot in the street, then we all can. If the alternative is to let an armed guy walk down the street unassailed, then fuck that - I say let the cops have their fun. In hindsight, it might've been more tactical for the bystanders to have hit the ground instead of staying on their feet and running, but people aren't really at their most practical when they're in such a hostile situation.

The whole thing's awful. I'm very much against gun ownership and I think there isn't any kind of lawmaking that can't be achieved with a can of mace and a big stick, but that's not where we are right now. The cops have guns, there was a shooter. He's gone now - case closed. Best wishes to the wounded bystanders, I hope they heal up nicely, and that this kind of thing happens as little as possible.

I think that's everything. Haha.


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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 10:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Zebonka12 wrote:
I really should add, though, that this is the clearest fucking argument yet against civilians taking part in a firefight. Just think how many more stray bullets there would've been if everyone on the street had a six shooter handy and thought, "here's my chance to be a hero!".

Yet these people would see this as a clear argument in favour of gun ownership. The gun owner just wants to protect *themselves*, not everybody else. It's *their* right to bear arms for *their* own safety.

Don't confuse gun laws with altruism. Most gun owners don't know what that word means.



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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 11:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Real Wizard wrote:
Yet these people would see this as a clear argument in favour of gun ownership. The gun owner just wants to protect *themselves*, not everybody else. It's *their* right to bear arms for *their* own safety.
Don't confuse gun laws with altruism. Most gun owners don't know what that word means.


It's not about selfishness though I don't think. There is a deep bent to self sufficiency and being master of your own destiny in the American psyche. In a pure and perfect form it would be as good a philosophy as any other, but reality and complexity intrude on it just as they intrude on more collective societies. The cost of largely surrendering your personal safety and the ability to deploy lethal force to the state is that we are then dependent on the competence and priorities of that state. This topic specifically seeks to point out that the state is imperfect in this regard. So while I personally firmly believe in strict gun control and am happy with the policies of my own country I wouldn't reduce the argument to something as simple and inflexible as an attack on American altruism or whatever. I think both the statistics and the degree to which the pro gun arguments are steeped in a culture of disproportionate fear and aggression speak for themselves, but it's less that the ideals are intrinsicly corrupt and more that they broadly just don't seem to work.

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Posted: 28 Aug 12, 03:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as responsible gun use. Evidently, those trained intensively in the use of guns (and in when not to use them) still screw up a lot more often than we'd like (soldiers, policement, security guards), and despite the fact that society has such people, psychopaths can still arm themselves and go on a killing spree. This happens in countries with strict gun-control laws (e.g. Belgium, The Netherlands), but it happens a *lot* more often in countries where guns are more readily accessible, like the U.S.

The statistic I find most shocking is the following: according to research by celebrated historian Charles Tilly, the rate of suicides as compared to homicides is between 8 - 12 to 1 in most countries in the 'Western World' (the book was written shortly after the end of the Cold War). In the U.S., it is about 1.5 - 2 to 1.

I don't know the causes, but I am sure that the accessibility of guns is a considerable part of the problem.




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Posted: 28 Aug 12, 15:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

GratefulFan wrote:
There is a deep bent to self sufficiency and being master of your own destiny in the American psyche. In a pure and perfect form it would be as good a philosophy as any other, but reality and complexity intrude on it just as they intrude on more collective societies.

Very well put. Once again, you should be a writer.

But I would amend this to say one can't view the toll this would take on American society as being somehow equal to any other. You're essentially painting them all with the same brush, when the reality is they couldn't be much more different.


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Posted: 28 Aug 12, 17:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Times have changed since Thomas Jefferson had his own theories about gun ownership and the necessity of knowing how to handle a gun. He predicted that there might be a point in the future that things would change (degrade) in society so this would no longer be practical and he was right. Guns in rural areas still make sense I think (self sufficiency and protecting of property) but in crowded cities on the street, they do not. Maybe there will be more metal detectors in our future and no-gun zones. Or citizen volunteers with another safer method of taking someone down without killing them. It would just be a matter of changing the constitution. And treating cities more like airports or concert venues with check points. There would still be violence though ... until we can figure out how to prevent violent ideas.

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Posted: 30 Aug 12, 10:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The right to bear arms was historically connected to the militia laws. When the militias were superseded by the national guard, gun laws started becoming the tool for gun nuts they are today.


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Posted: 31 Aug 12, 10:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Real Wizard wrote:
But I would amend this to say one can't view the toll this would take on American society as being somehow equal to any other. You're essentially painting them all with the same brush, when the reality is they couldn't be much more different.


I've been trying to work out what this means for two days. :) Can you expand?


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Posted: 31 Aug 12, 10:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Ha, that's almost flattering.

Putting every country on level playing field regarding changing gun laws isn't realistic. Adding the right to bear arms in Sweden, for instance, would not be nearly as drastic a chance as taking away the right to bear arms in the US.

In Sweden, most people would shrug their shoulders because guns aren't of great important to them in their comparatively progressive culture of equality and fairness. Guns would not be flying off the shelves.

The US, on the other hand, would likely launch into a civil war.



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Posted: 08 Sep 12, 01:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/07/us/new-york-mistaken-police-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

So, after gunning down 9 innocent bystanders before hitting one guilty man, a New York police officer has now shot and killed *the unarmed victim* of an armed robbery while he was trying to escape his assailants, not harming any of the culprits.

Is there a law prohibiting anyone with an IQ over 50 from joining the NYPD?


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Posted: 15 Sep 12, 07:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Several years ago, in Queens, NY, a guy and his buddies were at a strip club celebrating the man's last day of freedom - he was to be married in the morning. In the strip club, which was being investigated for something, were several undercover cops. These cops saw the groom-to-be and his buddies drink until they could barely stand...and they heard the groom and his friends talk about 'hitting' someone nearby. The last thing the cops heard, apparently, was one of the men calling for another to get his gun. The cops, justifiably, approached the groom as he prepared to drive off. The groom ignored him, brushing the cop's leg with the car as he pulled away. More cops arrived as the first cop, apparently seeing the invisible, yelled, "Gun!" In seconds, 50 police bullets were fired with 19 hitting the man in the passenger's seat, three hitting someone in the backseat and four hitting and killing the groom in the driver's seat. No weapon was found in the car. 50 bullets - 26 hits, 24 misses, 1 dead, unarmed man.

There are plenty of stories where police act responsibly. It's stories like the one which started this thread and the one I posted here that make the greatest headlines, and with good reason.

We're supposed to count on the police to maintain calm in moments of chaos. In these cases, though they had cause to intervene, their actions were over-the-top, dangerous and amateur. As was said here in this thread, cases like these are the perfect argument AGAINST gun ownership by regular citizens. If police, who are indeed trained to handle a weapon and to think rationally in split-decision moments, fail so monumentally, then how well would the average citizen - and by extension, average bystander - fare?

When US Representative Gabby Giffords and more than a dozen others were shot by one gunman last year, one of the survivors who was interviewed said he, himself, was a gun owner and had his weapon with him. He said, however, that when the bullets flew, he hit the ground and, while he thought to shoot, he was afraid how many more innocent people would be hurt. Arizona, where this occurred, is a gun-friendly state yet not one private citizen used his own weapon to take the gunman down. Instead, he was subdued the old fashioned way - bravely without regard for personal safety, with fists, chairs and other 'weapons' on hand.

A couple of months ago, in Colorado, another gun-friendly state, a man opened fired in a packed movie theater, killing several and injuring dozens. Cops got him in the parking lot after he left the theater on his own. Private gun-owning citizens, if any were present, did not stop the chaos. If any had tried, I think it's safe to say, more people would have been injured or killed.

Gun-lovers came out swinging after the Colorado incident with one government official asking where all the gun owners were. He went on to say this gunman could have been stopped - while wearing kevlar in a dark movie theater packed with people - if only someone was 'brave enough' to use his weapon.

It's an election year here in the states so the discussion about gun laws never took place.

In defense of the NYPD in the most recent situation, the man was armed, had just killed someone, had just pulled his gun on the cops, AND the area around the Empire State Building was packed with pedestrians - it was NYC, every street is packed with pedestrians. It would have been nearly impossible to avoid hitting/hurting at least one person other than the gunman. If anything, comparatively speaking, those cops showed much more restraint than other cops in other city shootings, but it's still a clear example of why NYC cops need more training and review, and why the average Joe should not be allowed to carry a loaded gun.

Gun activists, however, will fight every and any attempt to create and enforce stricter gun laws, and no amount of logic will ever outweigh the hefty backing of the NRA or the politicians that the NRA buys.

(btw - hi everyone. I've been away for a while, and thought I'd make up for lost time in one post. :-))


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Posted: 15 Sep 12, 07:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Holy samosa! How great to "see" you MFM! :) Strangely, I've been thinking about you lately, hoping all was well and thinking too that I missed your posts. Thanks for this thoughtful one on gun issues.