Friday, May 26, 2023

Never Get Out of the Boat

What Claude Werner would call a "negative outcome" occurred recently in the southwestern New Jersey town of Mantua.

The homeowner saw a couple of dudes rummaging around in his shed and his pickup truck, and one of them had a gun. He went outside to try and scare them off by, of all things, lobbing firecrackers at them. Then he went back in the house, retrieved what he told the 911 operator was a ".45" his grandfather had left him, and inexplicably went back outside to await the officer's arrival with sadly predictable results.
"In a five-minute call with two law enforcement officials on Sept. 14, 2021, Mr. Sharp told officers that he had spotted two men from his window at about 1 a.m. One was in his shed, holding a silver gun. The other was trying to get inside his truck.

He explained that he had thrown firecrackers toward the men to try to scare them away, but that had not worked. And he said that he owned a gun, passed down to him by his grandfather.

“I don’t know what I’m allowed to do with it,” he said in the recorded call. “So I threw a couple quarter sticks at them. Maybe that’s not the professional thing to do, but — ”

Then a burst of gunfire can be heard on the 911 recording.
That's right. The officer, amped up and primed to find a man with a gun in his hand, did in fact arrive and find a man with a gun in his hand.

He unassed his squad car and, without issuing a challenge or anything, shot Mr. Sharp dead right there in his yard.

Adding insult to fatal injury, the ".45" Mr. Sharp was holding was apparently a "detailed replica".

The officer is being criminally charged in the shooting, but that doesn't help poor, dead, Mr. Sharp any.

I know I've said this before, but:
Once the cops have been called, you don't need to be running around outside with a gun in your hand. The chances for a blue-on-blue shooting skyrocket in incidences like that. Plainclothes officers get shot all the damn time in similar circumstances. It's easy to tell who the responding officers are because they show up in a car with blinking lights and they're all dressed the same. You want to not be on the playing field wearing the other team's uniform when they show up.
And for heaven's sake, don't try to bluff or scare someone with a toy gun. You might put them in reasonable fear for their life.

Could you tell these were toys? From thirty feet away? In the dark?