Letter: Boy Shot in Cleveland

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Hugh,

I don’t have much experience with how the police works, considering I am only a few years older than the kid in the article. However, as a person who plays airsoft, paintball, and likes guns, I am interested in the article and your opinion.

  1. I recognize the fact that the kid had taken off the orange tip on the gun, and a good rule of thumb is to leave it on (unless you like to mod weapons like me; then you can’t help it.)
  2. Did the police have any right to shoot the kid? Come on! He is 12 and wasn’t acting aggressively toward them. Guns are a fascination of the youth.

What is your perspective. NJA

o o o

Hugh responds: It really is far too early in the investigation cycle to have a definitive opinion on this one. However, my preliminary thoughts are that this will probably be ruled a justifiable shooting. Tensions are running very high across the nation. We are being bombarded by media encouraging the racists issues and emphasizing, perhaps even magnifying, the conflict between the general populace and authorities. It doesn’t help that many police adopt a militarized attitude of “us vs them”. Cops must make split second decisions, and the emphasized tensions (no matter who is causing them) put tremendous pressure on them. While this child may not have had a “real” gun on him, the airsoft guns are VERY realistic, especially when modified to remove the orange tips. It would be nice to tell the police to step back and take a breather to lower the tensions, but the garbage pouring fourth out of Ferguson is enough to keep that from happening.

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