An off-duty Baltimore policeman on Saturday shot and killed a man he says appeared to be holding him at gunpoint in the suburbs of Linthicum Heights. But when Anne Arudnel County detectives surveyed the crime scene, they realized the would-be robber was wielding a toy gun.
Amid national debate over US gun laws, some think banning fake guns is a no-brainer.
By Story Hinckley, Staff DECEMBER 21, 2015
I agree, I think banning fake guns is is a no-brainer.
As in: anyone who thinks banning fake guns has no brain cells worth preserving.
Don't blame the "gun"; blame the actors who precipitate the tragedy. (Often the person who gave a kid a realistic-looking toy gun. See below.)
We read a couple of stories a year about someone getting shot (usually by a police officer) because they are brandishing a toy gun. Sometimes that is a tool which a person is using to commit a crime, as in this case.
Sometimes it is a toy which a child waves at a policeman, thinking it a harmless joke; it never is.
It's too often a tragedy:
See: Tamir Rice
See: Andy Lopez
In the child's case, they needed to be taught by their parent, guardian, responsible adult or that weird 'uncle' who shows up to talk to mamma .... that it is never a good idea to threaten someone with a toy, even as a joke. That's Lesson Number One in Responsible Gun Ownership (and if you don't think kids learn how to be responsible when they get their first toy gun, you are part of the problem.)
In the case of a hold-up, life is like a box of chawk-uh-lahts; you never know what you're going to get when you're trying to strong-arm an armed cop ... or citizen.
Why would a hold-up man (or boy) try to rob a stranger using a toy gun?
- he's very new to the game and can't afford a real gun;
- or because he keeps buying dope with the money he's stolen before and forgets to buy a gun;
- or because he's trying to avoid being charged with Armed Robbery in case he gets busted;
- or because he is desperate;
- or because he doesn't REALLY want to shoot someone, and figures the worst that can happen is he gets the crap beat out of him:
- or because he is stupid. (Well, that much is reliably assumable, right from the get-go!)
The thing is, the cop doesn't know it's a toy. He has to assume it's a real gun, and he's about to get shot. It's that thing about decision-making, judgement, confusion, Situational Awareness and Rule Number One (see below).
Boys love toys, and kids love guns, and I had a lot of guns as a child and I managed to not get shot or to rob anyone. So it can be done.
Give the kids their toy guns; it's a learning tool.