The vast majority of American AR-15 owners don’t use their rifle(s) to kill people or commit crimes. What was true before the Clinton-era Assault Weapons Ban—most criminals use handguns for concealability—is true now. So demonizing the black modern home sporting self-defense sporting rifle requires a complete commitment to fact distortion. Here’s an example we didn’t see coming [via lvrj.com]: “See if you can spot anything troublesome with these three deadly police shootings . . .
■ Feb. 28, 2003: Unarmed African-American Orlando Barlow, a convicted felon, is on his knees and flanked by police officers when he’s shot in the back and killed by Metro Officer Bryan Hartman. Weapon of choice: AR-15 assault rifle.
■ June 11, 2010: Unarmed African-American Trevon Cole, a suspected marijuana dealer, is on his knees and flanked by arresting Metro officers when he is shot in the face and killed by Detective Bryan Yant. Weapon of choice: AR-15 assault rifle.
■ Dec. 12, 2011: Unarmed African-American Stanley Gibson, a disabled war veteran, is in his car blocked in by Metro black-and-whites and surrounded by police when he’s shot and killed by Officer Jesus Arevalo. Weapon of choice: AR-15 assault rifle.
Troublesome eh? The fact that writer cherry-picked three out of twelve incidents in which all three suspects were African-American? The phrase “weapon of choice”? It makes it sound like the Nevada PD face a smorgasbord of firearms every morning and choose the most deadly of them all.
I know! The assumption that the “weapon of choice” has anything to do with whether or not the incidents in question were “good shoots.” Especially as the three men pushing up the daisies seem to have been shot at point blank range. What was that Nick likes to say about causation and correlation?
Set aside for a moment that the DOJ will want to look at the number of unarmed minorities who have wound up in Metro’s cross hairs in recent years. Attention also must be paid to the troubling recurring theme of the officers’ use and obvious misuse of the AR-15 assault rifle.
Perhaps it’s a training issue. Metro SWAT officers, for instance, train almost constantly to prepare for complex calls. The rest of the department does not, yet its officers have ready access to semi-automatic rifles. Hitting the practice range two-to-four times a year might not be enough.
But it’s not just a training issue. It’s also a question of judgment and leadership.
” . . . I don’t see how we don’t look at the AR-15 and its utilization. That weapon and its introduction into policing, you could get people on both sides of that in regards to its effectiveness in an urban environment.”
It’s well past time to start asking hard questions about the AR-15’s use by police on the streets of Las Vegas.
Damn! He almost had it. Something about training and judgement and leadership and, I’m thinking, the increasing militarization of America’s police force. Or maybe it’s nothing at all. Just statistically insignificant (if deeply tragic and perhaps preventable) collateral damage in the war on crime/drugs, where bad things happen to bad people and, sometimes, good ones too.
But one thing’s for sure. It’s not the gun’s fault.