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The difference between a toy gun and the real thing can be a moot point, as was demonstrated this week in California. A 13-year-old boy, Andy Lopez, was riddled with bullets by a veteran deputy of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office for carrying a toy assault rifle. Given a split-second to make a decision, the deputy with a couple of decades at the job under his belt shot eight times and inflicted seven bullet wounds on the boy. The deputy's rookie partner apparently didn't fire his weapon at all.

I wonder what the grieving family, the rookie cop...what the people of California will learn from the experience?

The brief story of the shooting, from the San Francisco Chronicle:

About 3 p.m. Tuesday, the deputy and a rookie deputy he was training spotted Andy walking on Moorland Avenue just west of Highway 101 with what appeared to be an assault rifle in his left hand, authorities said. The rookie deputy, who was driving, pulled behind Andy, who wore a blue hoodie and shorts.

According to the account from Santa Rosa police, both deputies got out of the car and took cover behind open doors. The veteran deputy twice shouted, "Put the gun down," before Andy turned to his right, authorities said.

The veteran deputy reported that he fired after fearing for his life because the rifle barrel was "rising up and turning in his direction," police said. At a news conference, officials displayed the replica rifle Andy carried - an air gun that shot plastic projectiles - alongside a real AK-47, saying the two looked similar.

Screen capture of CBS News video
Screen cap of police press conference
I know which one's the toy air gun, from researching the shooting. I doubt I would know, otherwise. The picture above is from a police press conference, a screen cap from a video posted by CBS. They also report on some witnesses who didn't recognize a 13-year-old boy when they see one, who thought they saw a weapon, and heard the police shout a warning twice before Andy Lopez turned and they shot him.
The boy's parents, Rodrigo and Sujey Lopez, said they can't believe their 13-year-old son, Andy, is gone. They said he was walking in his neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, returning the toy rifle to a friend, when two sheriff's deputies tried to detain him.

"A witness in the area reported that he heard the deputy shout two times, 'Put the gun down, put the gun down,'" said Lt. Paul Henry of the Santa Rose Police Department.

Andy's father told CBS News' Carter Evans that Andy always "respected" cops and he doesn't know why he would not have listened.

Possibly because at 13, he didn't realize what he was carrying could be mistaken for a gun and get him killed? I guess we'll never know. For the time being, I have mixed feelings about the shooting. It does seem hasty. But if the gun had been real, and the cops froze...I suppose we wouldn't be happy with that, either. In another article, the SF Chronicle spoke with a criminologist, Geoffrey Alpert.
"As long as an armed person appears to be a threat, you don't have time to look to see if it's a toy," Alpert said. "If it looks real, you've got to believe it's real. A perceived threat trumps age; it trumps mental abilities."
There are reasons, of course, why the police could make such a mistake, if it can be called one; I'm still skeptical of that. But one big problem here is that the air gun was so indistinguishable from the real thing -- at a distance, in a split-second. The Chronicle also points out one recent attempt to rectify the issue.
Some legislators have sought to impose restrictions on replica guns in an effort to make sure police don't mistake them for real ones. California law requires "imitation weapons" to look like playthings by being brightly colored or transparent.

But a state senator's proposal in 2011 to extend that requirement to air guns failed after manufacturers and retailers opposed it. The proposal stemmed from an officer's shooting of a 13-year-old boy in Los Angeles who turned out to be carrying a pellet gun.

So gun toy makers have more gravitas in the California legislature than the death of a teenager. And the worst part of this is that it's not even the first death people can point to, where a toy gun and trigger-happy cops come together to produce tragedy.

And yet, this also shows that it's already happened there; does any responsibility lie with the families who buy such toys for their children, knowing that it might just get them killed? Does it seem an acceptable, or minimal risk, until the cops roll up?

I suppose it's up to the people of California to choose what's more important. There's the profits of, not even gunmakers, but toy gun makers and sellers. Whether they should endure the hardship of having to produce toys that won't be mistaken for the real thing, less realistic toys that may not delight children quite as much. Or if the profit they enjoy is worth the occasional deaths of children.

Originally posted to The Tytalan Way on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Support the Dream Defenders, Shut Down the NRA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Firearms Law and Policy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Been pretty busy (15+ / 0-)

    but I did read about this the other day, and after reading some comments here, I felt the need to make the time. Thanks mahakali. I know the feeling, not having time to write...best I could do here.

    Guns don't kill people. People kill guns. -- this message brought to you by the Night Vale chapter of the N.R.A.

    by tytalus on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:02:13 AM PDT

  •  But But But (11+ / 0-)

    Swimming pools kill more !!!

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

    by indycam on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:06:01 AM PDT

  •  more unfortunate is the missing blaze orange (14+ / 0-)

    muzzle extension sold on all airsoft-type replica guns - that is routinely removed by purchasers who want more "realism"(sic)

    for example:
    http://images.hobbytron.com/...

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:08:45 AM PDT

  •  This is such a tragic story. We can go over the.. (9+ / 0-)

    "if only" s until we are blue in face, nothing will undo what has been done.

    The only lesson that can be learned from this is for parents to be sure that toy they buy their child looks like a toy.  If it doesn't when it comes out of the box, make it so, if it means painting "TOY" in big red letters on the side.

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:14:10 AM PDT

    •  Could just as easily be (8+ / 0-)

      someone else's toy, in fact I think it was -- the stories I read indicated that Andy was returning it. The CBS link mentions this.

      The boy's parents, Rodrigo and Sujey Lopez, said they can't believe their 13-year-old son, Andy, is gone. They said he was walking in his neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, returning the toy rifle to a friend, when two sheriff's deputies tried to detain him.

      Guns don't kill people. People kill guns. -- this message brought to you by the Night Vale chapter of the N.R.A.

      by tytalus on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:22:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I bet this will be counted as a (12+ / 0-)

    defensive gun use .
    Can't be accidental gun use because as we have been informed over and over and over ,

    The accidental death rate from firearms is
    extremely low (less than 0.2 per 100,000), putting it significantly below cars, falls, poisoning, choking, drowning and fire.
    And I'm sure the parents of this dead child will be greatly comforted by that .

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

    by indycam on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:17:21 AM PDT

    •  Accidental deaths from shooting is extremely low, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theatre goon, BlackSheep1

      the statement in your blockquote is 100% accurate.

      Perhaps you should tell the parents of the far more children killed by motor vehicles, drowning, choking, poisoning or fire that they are rare......or perhaps you can come up with an argument based on facts.

      In either case it is telling that you are using an instance of a cop killing a child because of a toy to try and further your Bloomberg viewpoints on guns.

      Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

      by FrankRose on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:48:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You called it, indycam (11+ / 0-)

        fill in that bingo card.

        But But But (1+ / 0-)

        Swimming pools kill more !!!

        "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

        by indycam on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:06:01 AM MST

        Guns don't kill people. People kill guns. -- this message brought to you by the Night Vale chapter of the N.R.A.

        by tytalus on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:52:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Drowning is responsible for far more accidental (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          theatre goon

          deaths than firearms are.

          You can continue to 'call' that I will point out facts.
          It is telling that they are so inconvenient for you.

          Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

          by FrankRose on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:54:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Apparently... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankRose, Kasoru, Miggles, BlackSheep1

            ...facts are of no interest, in some circles.

            Good of you to try, though.

            "No amount of belief makes something a fact." --James Randi

            by theatre goon on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 12:02:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  right here on "fact-based" DKos, and this diary (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theatre goon, FrankRose

              is a great example.

              Not only does the initial report of the incident QUOTE the parents as saying the boy who died did not own the airsoft gun in question, so do backup QUOTES.

              Which stops nobody from suggesting the parents are to blame for

              this also shows that it's already happened there; does any responsibility lie with the families who buy such toys for their children, knowing that it might just get them killed? Does it seem an acceptable, or minimal risk, until the cops roll up?
              Augh.

              The irrational fear/hatred of inanimate objects grows logarithmically.

              Those two Sheriff's Deputies, however, need to be UNEMPLOYED. And lose whatever the state-spec equivalent of their TCLEOSE certifications FOR LIFE.

              Part of being a competent LEO is exercising good judgment. These, particularly the shooter, did not.

              LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

              by BlackSheep1 on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 03:21:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Speaking of rational argument (4+ / 0-)

                Some of us did have some, thanks, and the fact that Andy was returning the toy gun in question already came up.

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                Could just as easily be (5+ / 0-)

                someone else's toy, in fact I think it was -- the stories I read indicated that Andy was returning it. The CBS link mentions this.

                The boy's parents, Rodrigo and Sujey Lopez, said they can't believe their 13-year-old son, Andy, is gone. They said he was walking in his neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, returning the toy rifle to a friend, when two sheriff's deputies tried to detain him.
                Guns don't kill people. People kill guns. -- this message brought to you by the Night Vale chapter of the N.R.A.

                by tytalus on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:22:28 AM MST

                But that was hours ago; I can't expect gun enthusiasts to pay attention. The gunfail series teaches us that.

                Guns don't kill people. People kill guns. -- this message brought to you by the Night Vale chapter of the N.R.A.

                by tytalus on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 04:13:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Because you say so ? (14+ / 0-)
        Accidental deaths from shooting is extremely low,
        Its interesting that you down play the reality .
        It says a great deal about you as a human being .

        Death from Polio in the U.S. is extremely low these days ,
        accidental deaths from shootings are not .

        Please tell me how many have to die before you stop saying

        Accidental deaths from shooting is extremely low,
        If there was someone you cared about and they were shot dead , would your statement
        Accidental deaths from shooting is extremely low,
        make any difference at all ? Would you be thankful that they didn't die by
        motor vehicles, drowning, choking, poisoning or fire

        Would you say thanks because they were not killed via

        motor vehicles, drowning, choking, poisoning or fire
        when they were shot dead ?

        "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

        by indycam on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 12:34:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How many? (4+ / 0-)
          Death from Polio in the U.S. is extremely low these days, accidental deaths from shootings are not.
          Good thing you picked something relevant to the United States of the 21st century to compare it to. You would have looked silly if you had compared to something that had been largely eradicated before you were even born.
          Please tell me how many have to die before you stop saying
          Accidental deaths from shooting is extremely low,
          I think if you assigned a level of importance to accidental deaths appropriate to the level of risk or number of fatalities, he might stop saying it for a while.

          But that would require ethical consistency on your part, so I don't see him staying quiet about it anytime soon.

          According to the CDC, there were 606 deaths due to accidental firearms discharge in 2010. There were 3,782 drownings, 2,782 fire-related deaths, 33,041 fatal poisonings and 35,332 fatalities in motor vehicle accidents.

          So, since the number of accidental firearms deaths is 1/5th of the smallest of these and 1/60th of the largest, I think the assessment of risk as "extremely low" compared to them is entirely accurate.

          Unlike your perception of said risk.

          •  I said this elsewhere, but it bears repeating. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Miggles, FrankRose, BlackSheep1

            Apparently, facts are of no interest, in some circles.

            Good of you to try, though.

            "No amount of belief makes something a fact." --James Randi

            by theatre goon on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 02:07:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Questioning someone's ethics (8+ / 0-)

            instead of answering their questions. Celebrated, of course, by the gun lobby. That sort of trollish behavior is their response to someone concerned about people dying and your pals trying to minimize and dismiss death and suffering. And yet they wonder how it is their liberal bonafides come into question.

            Guns don't kill people. People kill guns. -- this message brought to you by the Night Vale chapter of the N.R.A.

            by tytalus on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 02:31:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Why is it that in every comment you have to (5+ / 0-)

            make it personal, questioning the ethics of those on the other side of the debate?  I have noticed this pattern with you for quite some time.  Don't let yourself be consumed by fanaticism.

            •  Not questioning his ethics at all (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FrankRose, theatre goon

              He wants to reduce gun violence. So do I. What I am questioning is his ethical consistency. Items of equal risk ought to deserve equal treatment under the law, I would think. And something several times more risky or harmful ought to be subject to more scrutiny, not less. My approach to reducing preventable risk is proportionate to the risk. Is that such an awful thing to ask for? Apparently so.

              The victims of any of these causes of death are no less dead than those from any other cause. To focus on one particular set is no lapse of ethics, we each have things we consider important. Someone out there is dedicated to making swimming pools safer. Someone else is designing better childproof caps for household chemicals. Good for them.

              But to insist that your particular set is deserving of extra-special extra-severe regulation because it extra-special important to you is bias. In extreme cases of irrationality, one might even say they are "consumed by fanaticism".

              As far as "making it personal" goes, when you propose a law or regulation or change of status that directly affects me or my family, that is personal, and it does not matter if it is about guns, sexual orientation, faith (or lack thereof) or whatever. Your "right" to be free of fear of blacks gays muslims immigrants secular humanists guns is something that comes from within, from a rational assessment of risk, not by demanding the government restrict everyone else.

          •  Well now , how interesting (7+ / 0-)
            largely eradicated
            lets do the very same for guns . Lets largely eradicate the harm done to human beings by firearms .
            I think if you assigned a level of importance to accidental deaths
            100% importance . Next .
            So, since the number of accidental firearms deaths is 1/5th of the smallest of these and 1/60th of the largest, I think the assessment of risk as "extremely low" compared to them is entirely accurate.
            Doing funny math is such fun .
            Heart disease: 597,689
            So by your logic the death by drowning risk is extremely low .
            In fact the risk , by your logic , of "Diabetes: 69,071" or "Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097" is extremely low .

            I reject your funny math .
            As for your claim

            But that would require ethical consistency on your part,
            I laugh at you .

            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

            by indycam on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 05:46:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's your only option (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FrankRose
              I laugh at you.
              Since you lack the ability to either formulate a coherent rebuttal or quit while you're behind, I guess laughing is one of the few choices you have left.

              And please, leave the snark and condescension to professionals. Go find an elementary school playground where you can practice, and don't come back until you can at least hold your own against the average 5th grader. A good measure will be when your comments start making enough sense that coquiero stops rec'ing them.

              •  You are so smart (5+ / 0-)

                that you feel free to be insulting ?
                Your advice is worth the paper its written on and not a grain of sand more . I'm still laughing at you and your comments , they are so very very worthless .

                against the average 5th grader.
                You do think highly of yourself don't you . I'd say you aren't up to an average 5th grader , but what you claim must be true .

                You want to be insulting , go for it , insults from the gutter are humorous to me , keep on keeping on .

                "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

                by indycam on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 08:24:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Oh check this out ! (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                coquiero, earlybird

                http://www.dailykos.com/...
                In a reply to Laurence Lewis you ever so brilliantly commented  

                Lawrence, go back under your bridge
                but you're just being a troll
                http://www.dkosopedia.com/...
                Featured Writers

                    Adam Bonin (username Adam B)
                    Bill Harnsberger (username Bill in Portland Maine)
                    brooklynbadboy
                    Dante Atkins (formerly hekebolos)
                    Kris Froland (username exmearden, RIP)
                    Laurence Lewis (formerly Turkana)

                 

                Your judgement on everything and anything can be completely , totally and permanently be disregarded as nothing of valve or substance . You have shown yourself thoroughly unworthy of even the slightest concern from any thinking , feeling , human .

                "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

                by indycam on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 08:36:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, that settles it (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FrankRose, Kasoru, theatre goon

                  I disagree with those who speak for Daily Kos, therefore my judgement on anything and everything can be completely, totally and permanently disregarded as nothing of value or substance. I guess I'll have to go join a political philosophy that values diversity over lockstep adherence to ideology.

                  Oh wait...

                  •  Not "disagree" (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    coquiero, earlybird

                    you called him a troll . You failed miserably there to even get close to the truth . You actually said to a Featured Writer

                    go back under your bridge
                    Its so F'ing funny ! You got it 100% backwards . You flung your little tiny worthless insults and everyone with any clue can see you failed completely to even get close to hitting the mark . Glock leg is the only thing that even comes close to what you did .

                    You are hilarious !

                    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

                    by indycam on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 08:54:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I thought that (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  theatre goon

                  digging up shit from old diaries was HR'able and not allowed. What a dick move.

                  •  It's a dick move, as you point out... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Kasoru

                    ...but, unfortunately, is not listed as a violation according to the new site guidelines.

                    Personally, I find that unfortunate, because now there seems to be no recourse against such clearly poor behavior.

                    That said, it doesn't appear that the new guidelines really takes the place of the myriad of random rules that have been written by various people at various times, if one is to pay attention to what gets HRed when people feel like HRing it -- it looks like we're still in the same old situation of whatever rules someone wants to enforce are enforced, and others are ignored when it suits...

                    "No amount of belief makes something a fact." --James Randi

                    by theatre goon on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 03:10:47 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You don't have a leg to stand on (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      coquiero

                      your insult is a dick move all of its own , you are in violation of the rules yourself .

                      "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

                      by indycam on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:11:49 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Nonsense. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        FrankRose

                        I leveled no insult at anyone, which is quite clear to anyone who actually read my posting.

                        My legs are just fine, by the way, but I think you for your interest.

                        "No amount of belief makes something a fact." --James Randi

                        by theatre goon on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:18:31 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Oh really ? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          coquiero

                          What a dick move you are trying to pull off !

                          My legs are just fine, by the way, but I think you for your interest.
                          Do you not understand the phrase ? Do you need it explained to you ?

                          http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/...

                          not have a leg to stand on
                          to be in a situation where you cannot prove something
                          http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/...
                          not have a leg to stand on
                          Fig. [for an argument or a case] to have no support.
                          You already admitted that you don't have a leg to stand on .
                          unfortunately, is not listed as a violation according to the new site guidelines.

                          "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

                          by indycam on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:27:46 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes, I know what it means. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            FrankRose

                            It was rather silly and irrelevant in this context, so I treated it as such.

                            My apologies, if that wasn't obvious.  Perhaps I was being too subtle, in my humor.  Clearly, you didn't really follow along with the rest of my comment, either.

                            Either way, you have a fantastic day.

                            "No amount of belief makes something a fact." --James Randi

                            by theatre goon on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:33:36 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Subtle ? Humor ? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            coquiero

                            Laughable !!!

                            You don't have a leg to stand on and your dancing around only shows the truth of it .

                            Yes, I know what it means.
                            Then your reply was nothing but nothing , a ridiculous game . I have absolutely no concern for your leg/s , none what so ever . I have seen more than enough of your style from your comments to know that you are less than nobody to me . Your disregard for the truth and your fellow human beings makes you into a person I will never care about for even a moment . You have shown yourself over and over . You have made it quite clear for anyone to see . Your small little games are transparent and show the real you .

                            "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

                            by indycam on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 09:15:30 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  There should be a rule that says if you're in a (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        tytalus, TheFern, Glen The Plumber

                        diary you have to comment on the subject matter at least as much as you comment about your grave concerns about user behavior.

                        What do you call a troll who enters a diary only to comment on people's behavior?  Behavior troll?  HR troll?  Rule troll? Eternall aggrieved troll?

                        That's what appears to be happening here, as usual with this particular user.  His comments are 5% subject mater, 95% "you're not very nice"-type comments.

                        I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

                        by coquiero on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:41:37 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  FAQ pages are not random rules (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      coquiero
                      That said, it doesn't appear that the new guidelines really takes the place of the myriad of random rules that have been written by various people at various times,
                      Here is a nice little set written by Hunter .
                      I want to make one point especially clear. Do not rate based on which side of an issue someone is on. This is very important. A comment that should be hidden is a comment that should be hidden, regardless of which side of an issue it takes. If you are rating down comments from "the opposing side" of an issue, you had well better rate down similar comments if they come from your side of the issue. If you are giving positive ratings to insults hurled by your own side, thus rewarding obnoxious behavior, you are similarly sabotaging community moderation efforts. This "double standard" has been all too transparent, in candidate diaries: community moderation doesn't work if large portions of the community explicitly refuse to moderate themselves according to the same standards to which they hold others.

                      "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

                      by indycam on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:20:45 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  You are very mistaken . (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    coquiero, tytalus, Glen The Plumber

                    Hunter has said that it is allowable and not against the rules .
                    The dick move is all yours .

                    There isn't actually any site rule that says you can't quote hidden comments in order to make a point. You should still think carefully about doing it -- after all, they were hidden because we believe that they are so unrepresentative of the community as to be unworthy of display -- but there are valid reasons to bring them up, and it isn't against the rules to do so.
                    If you can find a rule stating what you claim to be the truth , go for it , otherwise you are just objecting and insulting for your own personal reasons .

                    I can show quotes pasted on the front page by front pagers that are quotes from old posts .

                    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. H.

                    by indycam on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 08:10:14 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Damn! He seems to yearn for the days when... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  coquiero, Glen The Plumber

                  ...you could order dynamite by the case from the sears catalogue.

                  Prior to the 1920's, you could order any gun you wanted through the mail, with no identity confirmation or background check. You could order dynamite by the case from the Sears catalog the same way. Doesn't seem much like the government was interested in restricting ownership of this sort of thing.
        •  Add listeria to the list (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coquiero, Glen The Plumber, WakeUpNeo

          Only a few hundred listeria fatalities per year. Hear! Hear!

          "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

          by LilithGardener on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 05:15:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's not accidental (8+ / 0-)

      This will likely be classified as 'legal intervention' by ICD code, I am sorry to say.
      http://www.icd10data.com/...

    •  This will unfortunately NOT be counted as an (7+ / 0-)

      unintentional shooting. It was explicitly intentional. It will be counted as justifiable homicide because the officers were in fear for their lives.

      This is where loose gun policy leads us.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 04:46:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wouldn't be able to tell the difference myself. (9+ / 0-)

    My gut reaction is that the cop could have handled things differently. Is it the policy that anybody with a gun should be taken out? Little boys - and girls - are running around with the real things in many parts of the country right now. In those states, those neighborhoods it is expected that a thirteen year old boy would have a real gun.
    And that is what is essentially wrong with the 2nd amendment today. Only some people, it seems, have the right to be armed. No little black or brown boy in Brooklyn or New Haven can be seen with a gun.
    As tragic as the killing of Andy is, this is not the first time this has happened.
    My heart goes out to the parents.
    RIP, little Andy.

    Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    by JoanMar on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:21:35 AM PDT

  •  I am curious, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener

    when they say 'in hand' do they mean he had his hand on the pistol grip and his finger near the trigger? Or was he carrying it some other way and just turned to see what the hell was going on behind him?

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 11:57:07 AM PDT

  •  Speaking from the cynic's bench (5+ / 0-)
    I wonder what the grieving family, the rookie cop...what the people of California will learn from the experience?
    They will likely learn that a policeman in California can do this and suffer no more than a slap on the wrist for it. At best.
    •  Turn that question around (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WakeUpNeo, earlybird

      What do you learn from this?

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 05:27:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Since this is probably the 4th time this Sheriff (6+ / 0-)

      has shot and killed someone now in about ten years, if I have the correct Sheriff identified, then perhaps that's a wee part of the problem and part of why he believes he can continue to shoot people and get away with it.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 10:46:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That story needs a diary, please nt (4+ / 0-)

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 01:17:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know if it's a good moment (4+ / 0-)

          to whistleblow. It's all going to come out, supposedly, within a week or so. But here I am, basically whistle-blowing.

          There are certainly threats being made against the officer's life. The community is not taking this well. I believe that's why the FBI has taken over. When the police killed Jeremiah Chass, I think that the community outrage was oddly more tempered since there were no witnesses other than his family, and also, since Chass was a little older (at the grand old age of sixteen). In this case, the child is barely even a teenager, and there were plenty of eyewitnesses, and the family immediately made some sort of appeal to the Mexican consulate, which suggests to me that Andy may have potentially been a Mexican citizen? That, I'm not clear on. But I do know that the Mexican consulate immediately hired a lawyer for the family, and that the whole thing has been very traumatic for the area.

          I am not sure what I could say in a diary, however, that wouldn't basically be hearsay? And what to do? I could talk about the history of law enforcement abuse in the area, which has been documented by the California Commission on civil rights as well as the DOJ in the past decade-ish. NAMI and the ACLU have also noted widespread problems. It is believed that the problems in area stem from the issue that this area is what is considered an immigrant "hub" and one of the largest in California, mainly comprised of migrants from Michoacan and Jalisco, by and large. In this way, it can be thought of a lot like Maricopa County, Arizona under Sheriff Arpaio. Previous community efforts to make inroads with area law enforcement have been widespread but ineffective.

          In terms of guns, the police here were ENCOURAGING children to touch and play with them just a few years (a must-read article):

          http://santarosa.towns.pressdemocrat.com/...

          Anyone who thinks that this is somehow strange should just take a look at that article, and the photo in there, and read more about...

          Santa Rosa Mayor Ernesto Olivares supports the decision by police to allow young children to handle fully automatic weapons during a recent community outreach event in the South Park neighborhood.

          The retired Santa Rosa police lieutenant said he helped organize the first such event three years ago and said it was “unfortunate” that critics have characterized the SWAT team display as inappropriate.

          “They’re way off base,” Olivares said of those who suggested allowing children to handle police weapons might foster a dangerous fascination with guns.

          So if you aren't from this area, this is the tone that the POLICE are setting. Right? But then they're flipping around claiming to be afraid of these guns? They're encouraging little kids to take up arms right there, and by the way, that then continued throughout the County, not just in Santa Rosa. Oh, and do you see an orange tip on that gun? I don't. It's real, so I guess that's why. Just saying that police here are fully paramilitarized, so this is the height of hypocrisy.

          Here's another article about that:

          http://www.watchsonomacounty.com/...

          Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm said the event gave officers a chance to make “nontraditional connections with the community.” The goal of the SWAT display was to show people that “these are some of the tools the police use to make this community safe,” he said.

          But Julie Combs said she felt the police had “confused community policing with irresponsible gun handling.” She noted that the parents of the children involved were never asked for their consent, and that little gun safety education took place at the event.

          Hm. What's that about the officer fearing for his life? Yeah. Not buying it. The guy is unstable and has an itchy trigger finger, and he's killed a little kid because of it. Why didn't his partner pull the trigger even once? He wasn't intimidated, obviously. That's why. And there were under ten seconds from the time that the order was given to turn around to the time that Andy Lopez, age 13, had eight bullets torn through his young, small body for the "crime" of carrying a fake gun in a non-threatening manner in the middle of the day in an area where the police, themselves, encourage gun use.

          I would encourage anyone who is in the California Bay Area to please come and march on Tuesday and Wednesday at noon.

          Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

          by mahakali overdrive on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 03:34:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Somewhat strange" is an understatement. (4+ / 0-)
            Anyone who thinks that this is somehow strange should just take a look at that article, and the photo in there, and read more about...
            •  Precisely (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              coquiero, tytalus, Glen The Plumber

              Law enforcement is engaged in a very silly game here. I realize people may not be aware of regional differences in gun culture attitudes, and that's from living around the country myself, but here, it is crystal clear that the law enforcement where Andy Lopez was shot have ENCOURAGED children to familiarize themselves with guns; to wit, this photo was taken perhaps one mile from where he was slain. Moreover, while I don't know if further articles appeared, law enforcement repeated this throughout the county without much to-do.

              A twenty-four year veteran cop in the area would be quite well-apprised of local gun use. The abandoned fields where these kids play are filled with cows and chickens. While Andy had walked past a dozen or more people on his route, none of them thought much of his toy gun, and one even told him to be careful to avoid being harassed by police for carrying it. But no one felt threatened. So for an officer to claim that is literally farcical. Whether or not it's the officer that I think it is, at that, since his sidekick deputy didn't ever lift his own weapon either. On top of which, even if Andy had been a 24-year old man on a murderous rampage, there is still no reason to shoot an already-dead corpse.

              So the whole thing is vile. I'm glad, and yet also sorry, that the children are leading this revolution and are not backing down here.

              Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

              by mahakali overdrive on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 05:17:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Some people refuse to listen or learn... (6+ / 0-)

    Offered without further comment, about an earlier incident that might easily have ended as tragically as this recent shooting:

    Updated - Game over: 14 Year Old Drops Gun at Basketball Game

    Some times a toy is a toy; sometimes not.

    Thank you, tytalus, for your diary.

  •  Another tragedy: another young life cut short; (9+ / 0-)

    another set of grieving and baffled parents; another group of relatives searching for an explanation; another group of young friends wondering if they'll always be walking around with a target on their own backs.
    Terrible loss. May this beloved young teenager, Andy Lopez, rest in peace. May those who love him find some comfort and some justice.

    Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 04:27:36 PM PDT

  •  This is what disturbs me: (6+ / 0-)

    From the criminologist:

    A perceived threat trumps age; it trumps mental abilities."
    I actually do get that cops have to make snap decisions sometimes, but what the hell ever happened to shooting people in the shoulder, or some other non-lethal part, rather than going for the kill?

    But the part that really gets me is the word "perceived".  That covers a WHOLE lot of ground.  The now fired cops in Texas who shot that mentally ill man standing with his hands by his side had a knife at one point.  They "perceived" a threat and shot him.

    Now those guys were fired, rightfully so, but I feel like the trend with cops these days is shoot first, ask questions later.

    We're going to end up with a lot more dead children, developmentally delayed and/or mentally ill people if this doesn't change.

    I will NEVER call the cops to come to my house for my child, I don't care how out of control she is (not that she would, but still).  Unless, of course, it's a cop I know personally, who I call personally.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 04:44:29 PM PDT

  •  Republished to Firearms Law and Policy (6+ / 0-)

    This unfortunate killing is a tragic consequence of our loose gun policy that only requires "I was in fear for my life!" or "I thought I saw him reaching for a gun!" to justify homicide.

    Realistic looking toy guns have been used in crimes and can be regulated just like any other toys. There is no protection under the second amendment to keep and bear realistic looking toy guns.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 04:56:30 PM PDT

  •  Here are some photos of real guns, courtesy of... (4+ / 0-)

    ...the Baltimore Police Department.

    http://publicintelligence.net/...

    Here's another photo of a real gun. Note the orange tip.

    http://nashvillecitypaper.com/...

    Parents need to realize that playing with toy guns can put their children's' lives in danger.

    Let kids pick up a stick and shoot each other with it, if that's what they need to do.

    Toy guns can be as dangerous to children as the real thing.

  •  This cop had killed other people: I know a lot (6+ / 0-)

    about this case... because I have personal ties to this family and also, I believe, past dealings with the officer involved.

    I cherish my anonymity on this board right now, in fact.

    I am going to diary on this matter.

    But since I know a few things about this, and since I went to the vigil recently, and since I've lived in the community where this happened, let me say that there is nothing more common there than seeing kids play with airsoft rifles, nor is there anything not legal about it, nor do I believe for one minute that the officer was threatened given his history. You are talking about a fairly rural area where there are real guns on real gun racks, and where there are ranches just down the street. Gun ownership in this area is extremely high, probably well over the national average. It is where many immigrants come because there are jobs available for migrant workers on the farms and vineyards nearby: it's UFW country. I'm not clear about Andy's status, but his parents do not appear to be documented, nor do they speak English. Nonetheless, he was a popular young boy who was doing very well at school and had no history of disciplinary problems. Everyone loved him. He was, again, popular with his friends.

    Also, and this is public news, he shot Andy, a 13-year old boy, after he was already lying on the ground. Over and over and over again. Andy was in 8th Grade. A grown man and sworn officer of the law shot an already downed child REPEATEDLY with multiple eyewitnesses looking on. The FBI is now investigating this.

    If this issue is to be politicized, it should be politicized properly and as local Progressives and other Democrats have correctly framed it: that police shouldn't be so quick to shoot first and ask questions later.

    What happened is very similar to Trayvon Martin's situation in that Andy Lopez was declared, for wrongful reasons, to be suspicious by an officer who has a history of being trigger-happy and killing civilians, and yet he's still on the force since there has been no sufficient oversight or penalty for him. It's alarming and many people are keeping their kids home or on tight watch right now because they fear these police officers.

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 10:37:19 AM PDT

    •  No, the family should not be held responsible (6+ / 0-)

      I have met them. They are nice, hard-working people, Mexican migrants who do not speak English, who are working very hard and doing very well with few resources to have raised a very fine, well-mannered boy with good grades and good ethics in an area which is filled with a fair amount of drug use and gang banging crap: Andy was a kind of nerdy trumpet player who didn't even have a mustache yet.

      And I can think of a hundred times I have seen children playing with toy guns in the fields out there. Officers in area are well aware of this. Even if the gun had been real, they shouldn't have shot to kill. If there's a problem with that, then that's on California State and the fact that toy guns are entirely legal, but then again, so are real guns.

      Their parents are in Hell right now.

      The entire community is.

      And Andy did NOT point the weapon at anyone: he was just turning around, for anyone who wants to know what actually happened. Also, my understanding is that he was listening to his iPod and didn't hear the officers, but that's hearsay.

      The truth will come out in time, and this area has a long history of officers killing a high rate of civilians, so I can't really say that the problem seems to be "toy guns." I can say that the problem seems to be overzealous officers who seem to target minorities and the mentally ill.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 10:43:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for adding some of the details (6+ / 0-)

        Some folks here have decided that since I asked the question I must have an answer for it, but I don't.

        Since I don't exactly live in an awesome neighborhood myself, I question the desire to have a toy gun around when that's what can happen. I understand it wasn't even Andy's parents who had it (that other family must be suffering too). But kids will be kids and they shouldn't die for making choices like kids.

        Based on what you have to say here, though, I suspect all the parents are in hell now, and as for the police...may have to wait for a legal remedy there, if there ever is one. Thanks for filling us in on what the police are like there, and the shooter in particular. The town police chief was a mentor for me as I grew up, so it's possible I am biased in judging cops. I was trying to not pre-judge them.

        Guns don't kill people. People kill guns. -- this message brought to you by the Night Vale chapter of the N.R.A.

        by tytalus on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 11:15:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I work with future police daily (5+ / 0-)

          in my teaching.

          Toy gun in rural California? Pretty common. I'd wager that these officers had all played with them too, and also, that they were darned used to seeing them around this area since the kids play with them, period. This is all a powderkeg. You'll see how it turns out. There's never any justification for a grown man who is a sworn officer of the law to shoot a child, not only fatally, but to continue to shoot the child after he has fallen to the ground: that is an officer who is too emotionally/psychologically unstable to deal with wielding guns himself. Especially as a 24-year veteran officer with 7 years of field training experience, he sounds skittish. And for that, this boy was killed. A little boy.

          Look at this protest and note the age of the protesters (this is at the Santa Rosa Sheriff's Office yesterday):

          Children.

          Andy wouldn't have probably known he was even in danger. He was reported to have been a good kid and not very familiar with police at all, so he wouldn't have been threatened by them or any such thing. If anything, he likely trusted them. But his self-conception was that of a child. He was not even in high school yet. The man who killed him was a grown adult who had been sworn to protect the community, and who could have disarmed the boy countless other ways. Instead, he not only killed him, but he continued to shoot at the boy's corpse while horrified neighbors watched. Read that again.

          Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

          by mahakali overdrive on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 11:59:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  http://www.innocentdown.org/ (0+ / 0-)

    "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

    by Bisbonian on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 12:51:43 PM PDT

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