Rule Four, Learn it and Use it

Being sure of your target before shooting it is the fourth rule of firearm safety. It seems some police officers aren’t away of that rule as they shot and killed a man who was spraying his garden with a hose:

A father shot dead by two police officers had pointed a pistol-style garden hose at them and not a gun, the department chief admitted yesterday.

The police are claiming he aimed it at them in a two handed posture:

They opened fire on him when he pointed the black metal-tipped object at them in a two-handed posture, Long Island Police Chief Jim McDonnell said in an emotional news conference marked by sobs from the victim’s relatives.

You know what? I don’t buy it. What I would believe is the officers coming up behind the guy, yelling at him to drop the gun, and the man with the hose turning around in surprise with the garden sprayer aimed in their direction. Likewise seeing the long green hose coming off of the nozzle in addition to the guy being in a fucking garden should have been a good indicator that maybe he was holding a garden hose.

The family is taking legal action. Of course the only thing they’ll be winning is tax money so basically they would be looking to get a tax refund in exchange for the death of their family member.

One thought on “Rule Four, Learn it and Use it”

  1. I have two disagreements here, one major and another a quibble. 1. Maybe the cops could have established 90% certainty on what the object was, given ideal circumstances and the luxury of time. I don’t think we can hold cops or really any citizen to an absolute certainty standard. I’ve not done the work to check precedent but in the case of people (stupidly) pointing gun-like objects at cops and (tragically) being killed, I think that the officers are in the least, legally exonerated. I don’t believe we can responsibly force law enforcement (or citizens) to wait for total proof of what object someone is pointing at them in a threatening manner. Obviously, there is an obligation to attempt to establish the veracity of threats. The investigation will determine if there was actual negligence involved, but aside from that, we shouldn’t chain officers or citizens to an impossible standard of certainty in waiting to defend themselves. On your final point, I read the article and watched the statement by the police and no where did they actually mention a hose being connected to the nozzle, which in for my $0.02 looks dangerous and might cause me to be threatened, especially if you turn and point it at me in a two handed grip.

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