Friday, February 8, 2013

Safety Rule Four in SoCal: The affair of the blue trucks



Rule Four of the Four Rules of Gun Safety requires that you "Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target."

Police of Los Angeles and Torrance, California appear not to know that one. They have shot up two different blue trucks that resemble the truck of a suspect they are seeking, a suspect who has them very much on edge. Neither was the right truck. Two innocents were wounded in one of the trucks. No one was hit in the other. The point is, of course, that being sure of your target includes making sure you have the right one. Being on the lookout for a blue pickup is not an open season to shoot up any blue pickup that comes along. The callous disregard for the public's safety disturbs me.

The L.A. Times story offers the following:

Two women who were shot by Los Angeles police in Torrance early Thursday during a massive manhunt for an ex-LAPD officer were delivering newspapers, sources said.
The women, shot in the 19500 block of Redbeam Avenue, were taken to area hospitals, Torrance police Lt. Devin Chase said...
A second shooting, involving Torrance police officers, occurred about 5:45 a.m. at Flagler Lane and Beryl Street in Torrance. No injuries were reported in that incident.
Chase said that in both instances police came across vehicles they thought were similar to the one Dorner [the suspect] is believed to be driving. Neither vehicle was Dorner's.
"Now it appears neither of them are directly related," Chase said. "In both of them, officers believed they were at the time."

Not directly related? Not related at all, that I can see, beyond being vaguely the same sort of vehicle as the one sought. The Times let the above remarks pass without comment, as if they were natural and reasonable things to say. What I hear in them is an utter breakdown of firing discipline that makes me very uneasy about how cops view public safety, as opposed to perceived threats to their own safety. If you live in southern California and drive a blue pickup, it might be a good idea to take the bus until the cops catch the guy they are looking for. The suspect's truck is a Nissan. The cops' shooting score so far is one Toyota and one Honda.

Update: Police later found the suspect's truck, abandoned and set afire. You might want to wait a while for word of that to get around to all of the cops, before you venture onto the streets in a blue truck.

Of course I understand why the cops are on edge about this suspect. It appears that he has killed three people, one of them a cop, and has promised to kill more cops. He has also wounded two cops. The suspect is a former cop himself. Serious as the situation is, though, that does not justify disregard for basic gun safety on public streets.

Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target.

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