Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Officer William Scott Kern

 Officer William Kern (courtesy baltimore.cbslocal.com)

When anti-gunners argue that the police are OK to carry firearms that they’d ban from private use—because cops are trained to handle the responsibilityI just laugh. I think about the cops I’ve seen shooting at the gun range and I laugh and laugh until my sides are sore. Until my heart is sore, for all the Americans denied their gun rights. Law-abiding, peaceful, God fearing, taxpaying citizens left defenseless by power-crazed utopians who don’t or won’t understand that a disarmed populace is prey to tyrannical thugs who answer to no law except their own. People like . . . the Baltimore police . . .

The Baltimore police supervisor who shot a recruit during an unauthorized training exercise in Owings Mills was expected to have a live firearm, his lawyer says in court documents, while acknowledging that he meant to pick up and fire a practice pistol instead . . .

Simunitions training protocol mandates a double-checked sterile environment. No “live guns,” clearly marked Simunitions-enabled firearms, a range safety officer checking all firearms and enforcing standardized training procedure (e.g., retrieving all Simunitions-enabled guns after each training scenario), etc.

In fact, General Dynamics won’t sell a department their non-lethal ammo until the person in charge has completed a course detailing all the safety procedures. Which the Baltimore cops, in their infinite arrogance, felt free to ignore. And how.

[Officer William Scott Kern’s attorney, Shaun F.] Owens said in court documents his client was permitted to carry his live weapon, along with the simunition gun. The documents also say Kern was carrying his live weapon in a holster on his waistband and that simunition training guns may have been tucked into a pocket or waistband.

So Kern was carrying at least two guns: a live gun in his holster and one or two Simunitions guns in his waistband. Yeah, that’s a man who gives a damn about gun safety. As for meaning to shoot the Simunition gun at Maryland police recruit Raymond Gray’s head, rather than a gun with a bullet in the chamber, they weren’t even training at the time.

The court documents filed by the defense attorney do not say why Kern shot at the victim.

People with knowledge of the investigation have said Gray was peering through a window when Kern fired at him. They said the shot may not have been fired as part of the training exercise but that Kern playfully pointed his weapon without intent to harm anybody . . .

Gray was shot in the head and blinded in one eye; he was hospitalized for months.

I’m guessing Gray wasn’t wearing Simunition standard protective headgear when Officer Kern shot him in the noggin. His “mistake” was an attempt to shoot Gray in the face with a Siminution round—a grave threat to Gray’s eyesight if not his life. As any Simunition trainer would know. Speaking of which . . .

Who, exactly, “expected” Officer Kern to carry a live weapon into a Simunition exercise? Who “permitted” Officer Kern to carry a live weapon into a Simunition exercise? Chances are we’ll never know. Kern’s attorney will cut a deal with the County Prosecutor to spare his superiors embarrassment. Can you say ‘slap on the wrist?’

Done. The charges have already been walked down to second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, both misdemeanors. As for accountability . . .

Baltimore police have acknowledged commanders were not aware of the exercises at the facility and that the city did not have permission to use the state-owned site. As a result of the incident, six academy officials were suspended and Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts briefly suspended training exercises.

Kern’s supervisors didn’t know about previous “active shooter” exercises at the shuttered loony bin? If we buy that, we have to accept the fact that the Baltimore PD have been conducting secret training sessions, trespassing, ignoring all safety protocols, and then shooting each other in the head with Simunition rounds for fun. How great is that?

More to the point, for how long were the Simunition training sessions suspended? What changes were made to make sure that another aspiring officer isn’t permanently disfigured? Were the offending officers suspended with or without pay? Were they returned to their duties or reassigned? May we have their names please? ‘Cause if one of us “helped” someone shoot someone in the head I don’t think our names would be withheld from public view.

Luckily, there’s a civil case against Kerns as well, so the truth may come out. Worst case scenario for the BPD: some bad ink and a payout of taxpayer money.

Kern is the third officer being prosecuted by the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s office this year.

In June, a Baltimore County police officer was acquitted in the death of a Randallstown teenager last year. Another county officer entered a guilty plea in July to misconduct in office after an investigation found he filmed himself engaging in sex acts and neglected calls while on duty.

There are bad apples in every barrel. There are plenty of hard-working cops who put their lives on the line for the public good. Brave men and women who serve and protect. Moral, upstanding individuals working for well-run police departments.

But anyone who thinks that only cops should be armed because they’re “better” than us is either ignorant or willfully ignorant. Just as familiarity breeds contempt, elitism enables irresponsibility. To say the least.