August 25, 2012

IF AN ARMED CITIZEN HAD DONE THIS, BLOOMBERG WOULD BE SQUEALING IN OUTRAGE: Police Decision To Shoot In Midtown Left 9 Wounded. “As the two officers confronted a gunman in front of the Empire State Building on a busy Friday morning, they had to make a snap decision: Do they open fire in the middle of Midtown? From a distance of less than 10 feet, the officers, Craig Matthews and Robert Sinishtaj, answered in unison; one shot nine times and the other seven. Investigators believe at least 7 of those 16 bullets struck the gunman, said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman. But the officers also struck some, if not all, of the nine bystanders who were wounded.”

I’m not saying they did the wrong thing, because I don’t think they did. I’m just saying that if it had been a private citizen, rather than a pair of government employees with government guns, this would be treated very differently by Bloomberg and the press.

UPDATE: I’m getting a lot of email here suggesting that NYPD can’t shoot. That may or may not be true, but I don’t think this incident proves anything. From a distance of “less than 10 feet” (the NYT story says 8 feet, but it’s not like anyone was measuring) I can put 16 out of 16 rounds into the x-ring pretty much every time, even one-handed with my left hand. But that’s at the range, with nobody shooting at me. Being out and about, with your blood pumping, and facing someone else who’s pointing a gun at you, it’s a whole different story.

That said, I’ve seen a fair number of “trained law enforcement professionals” shoot, and generally speaking their skills aren’t particularly impressive.

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