Taurus Model 738 TCP (courtesy cheaperthandirt.com)“Two young people with toy guns were mistakenly shot dead by police this year – one just 12 years old,” nj.com reminds us. “In both cases, cops thought a fake gun was real. Watch the videos of these incidents to see how easily this happens. A 22-year-old took a fake air rifle off the shelf in Walmart, while yakking on his cell phone. He pointed it at no one. Yet thanks to a false 911 call, police rushed in. He had just enough time to cry out, ‘It’s not real!’ before they shot him dead. In the other incident, also caught on video . . .

a cruiser drove up to a child playing with a fake handgun in a park. Within seconds, police had shot him, too.

It is not insignificant that both victims were black. But we can’t eradicate racial bias in a split-second decision, or expect the cops to give someone holding what looks like a real gun the benefit of the doubt.

A better solution? Make it completely obvious which guns are real.

I know what you’re thinking: cops have shot people reaching for cell phones, their license and registration, wallets and God knows what else. How can you make it “completely” obvious that a gun – or anything in someone’s hand – is a toy? nj.com’s editorial Why Must Toy Guns Look So Real? has the answer!

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California is right: the legally-required orange tips aren’t enough to identify fake guns, and are easily shaved off. Instead, federal law should mandate that all toy guns, including B.B. and pellet guns, be painted a fluorescent color, or carry noticeable florescent strips.

Make them neon green, yellow or orange — and let toys be toys.

The obvious problem with this: bad guys will buy/paint their guns in neon green, yellow or orange. Maybe even NERF them up a bit. Equally, wouldn’t we need a law stopping firearms manufacturers from painting guns in neon green, yellow or orange?

More to the point, does anyone at nj.com have two brain cells to rub together when it comes to thinking about guns?

86 Responses to Is This The Stupidest Gun Control Idea In The History of the World Ever?

  1. In some municipalities, it’s illegal to buy spray paint without a background check, so they’ve got that angle covered.

    Those liberals are just so darned smart!

    • Too funny. I can relate that to every time I need decongestant and store pharmacists tell me to drag someone else to get me the needed pills. You know, this is because of them silly laws preventing drugs from existing.

  2. I’m surprised that our dictators still allow toy guns to be manufactured and sold in this country. But hey, I’m thinking that in a decade or so we’ll have a law that will outline the path out of a birth canal. Just wait.

      • Why is the concept of prosecuting a LEO who commits an unlawful act so stupid? When did we elevate LEOs to this status, that they are above the law.

        I don’t know about where you live, but here, I am justified in using deadly force when I feel my life, or someone else s life is in imminent danger. So lets say I am walking through the walmart, and some scared haus-frau comes running by saying “there’s a man with a gun”. So, being a lawful CC holder, and a concerned citizen, I get my family to safety, and then find the person with the “assault rifle”. Seeing the “weapon”, I draw my CP and tell the man to “stop, don’t move, don’t point, I feel threatened, etc etc…”. He then turns towards me, and I shoot, reevaluate, and shoot again.

        Except there is not threat. it’s a plastic airsoft gun.

        How do you think I am going to be dealt with in the judicial system. Do you think that a grand jury is going to tell me “well, you thought it was a real gun”, you “thought you were in danger” so no harm no foul. no, I am going to be charged with Murder 2nd, or Negligent Manslaughter at best.

        Why is it so hard to fathom holding a police officer to the same level of scrutiny?

        • What would a reasonable person do, when faced with the same situation? Did you have a legitimate fear for your life, or the life of others? Was there anything else you could have done other than use deadly force (assuming that doing something else wouldn’t have put you or another person in danger)? Quit over analyzing this..

        • Actually, no. You probably wouldn’t get convicted. In that scenario you acted within the law, no different than if someone threatened you with an empty gun or their finger in a jacket pocket.

        • If people would remember DON’T DO ANYTHING UNLESS THE COP TELLS YOU TO DO IT!!! If you don’t want to get shot by a cop, play by his rules and don’t go grabbing for anything without him telling you to. And when he tells you to get your ID tell him ahead of time where it is and do it VERY SLOWLY so he won’t think you are trying to trick him. Use a little common sense (which doesn’t seem to be too common anymore) and everyone gets to go home alive tonight.

        • Yes, police and citizens should (and do) have exactly the same rules as to when deadly force is justified. That is the not problem in the Walmart shooting. The Mothers Demand Action follower that SWATTED (false 911 call) is the real criminal in the story. And, as far as I can tell that individual was not arrested. Police are human and when they are told that “xyz” is happening at Walmart by the dispatcher, they seem to take the scene that they find as part of what they expected to find.

        • Mr. Antisocial Guy, and when you have 3 cops screaming contradictory orders at you, what then? Who do you obey, and who do you ignore?

          This is not a hypothetical scenario, it’s even been caught on video on at least a few occasions. “Do what the cops tell you and you won’t get shot” is a rhetorical heaping, stinking dung pile.

        • Lee Cruse, do you have any evidence whatsoever that Ronald Ritchie (the guy who made the call) was an MDA supporter, or that it was a deliberate “SWATting” of an open carrier?

    • Perhaps we should start with prosecuting them first. The kangaroo courts and the whole “As long as they make it home at night” mantra needs to die off fast. The innocent citizens that are summarily executed would have liked to have made it home too.

      • I agree that the justification to use deadly force should never be justified by who your employer is or what uniform you are wearing. That message need to be made clear to police and citizens, especially, those on juries.
        We need to be more pro-active in charging people that use SWATTING as a way to make political points.
        We need more and stronger SYG laws so that when the use of force is justified, that the victim does not become bankrupt over legal fees.

    • How about giving cops megaphones so they can announce their presence from a safe distance?

      They could hide while addressing the suspects before shooting them and letting God sort them out.

    • Why stop with NJ? Why not include CA, WA, OR, MA, RI, CT, NY, MD, MN, and IL? I’m probably forgetting someone, but that’s a good start.

  3. Somehow this doesn’t have me convinced that this isn’t a backdoor shot at the pink and purple Rugers that are for sale. Or that the law will be written so broadly that it will catch Magpul Furniture or coated firearms. Heck they’d probably be happy if we couldn’t even get the Mossy Oak/ Real Tree coated shotguns/ hunting rifles.

    • I seriously doubt anti-gunners know Richard about what guns are on the market. They would probably be first surprised, then somehow aghast, to hear there are purple and pink guns out there. “Those gun companies are so evil they’ll do anything to get people to buy their products!”

      • No, their first reaction to anything brightly colored would be:

        “They are already attempting to market to kids with their brightly painted guns. No adult would surely purchase such a garishly painted thing.”

        • In the series Get Smart, 99 (a SOLID 10) had a red gun; at the time that was unusual, but it still existed.

  4. I know!! Let’s have a law that makes it a felony for any parent to allow their kids to play outside with a toy gun! Or a toy bow-and-arrow! Or a toy rock! Or any stick or pop-tart that might look like a gun to a government school teacher! Or pointing their index finger and going “bang, bang!”!!!!!!!!!!!

    “More to the point, does anyone at nj.com have two brain cells to rub together when it comes to thinking about guns?”

    That would be “no”.

    • Good start, but you missed a few. Making a fist. Picking up an object and your hand “looks” like a fist (this could threaten someone in the school yard across town). Butter knives,play knives, plastic knives from the fast food place (because knives KILL people). Pencils, those pointy ends. One killed someone in 1960, in Zimbabwe, by mistake, during the full moon, which was also leap year.

      Here is the solution. Lets paint all fists, knives, pencils fluorescent purple/green/yellow/orange to warn people they are dangerous objects that will run amok and start mass killing for no reason.

    • The California legislature tried to ban certain colors of cars that could be sold in the state. This is nothing new for progressives. At some point, Poe’s Law will be achieved in every facet of their agenda… then we’re truly screwed.

      • I had to Google that one for myself. You’re right, of course — the Sacramento wackos tried to ban dark cars to reduce the demand on vehicle AC (with the long game in mind of issuing restrictions on AC capacity for cars sold in California).

        This is the same mindset that created the roster of “handguns that have been determined not to be unsafe.”

        BTW, as of Jan. 1, 2015, all toy guns sold in California have to be brightly colored.

  5. Thank God nobody has figured out some sort of technology that could easily and quickly change the color of an object. Can you imagine how dangerous such a thing would be?

  6. How about we just hold cops responsible for their actions? I won’t go as far as saying electric chair like Craig did, but lose of job, barred from any other government job and potential jail times.

    Cops need to stop hiding behind their badge and man up to their actions. Plus their shoot first attitude is getting out of control. You put on the badge every day which means you willingly take the risk of dying. Stop forcing the risk that you should be taking onto yourself onto other people by having itchy trigger fingers. Take the extra time to fully asses the situation. If it costs you, tough shit, you willingly took the risk.

    • Cops are held responsible for their actions and prosecuted for violations of the law all the time. The crux of the problem comes from those who make/pass/approve the laws the officers take an oath to uphold. When lawlessness is occurring at the top it will always roll down hill. Part of the problem is the concept of “law enforcement”. It should be a tool to keep the peace serving the public (individual). Law enforcement answer only to those who make and approve the law and is only interested in the law not the public (individual).

    • I do not agree. While “Qualified Immunity” as currently given is too broad, it should not be completely eliminated. Shit happens that may not be the officers fault and some form of protection is needed. For example, if officers are sent in to raid a house, not every officer was involved in the decision to go, but they may have been ordered to go. If they raid the wrong house and someone is injured or killed the person making the final go order should be responsible of even loose their job for not making sure they made a good call, but the officer ordered to go in not knowing but simply being ordered to do so, cannot be held responsible.

      The issue we have to today is immunity is to broad and the umbrella so wide that nobody is held responsible for any mistakes. For example, in the Eric Gartner case, why was the sergeant on duty and at the scene not responsible for having her officers back off or calling for an ambulance? She also gave the order to make the arrest, why is it that only the officer who made the choke hold only responsible? Seems like a lot of people should have been potentially responsible.

      I am not in on removing immunity, but it bounds need to be redrawn. For example, if a officer violates a civil right, he is on his own and must defend himself with zero help from the city. That will stop police from trying to stop people from recording arrests. The SCOTUS has already ruled several times it is a violation of the 1st amendment — and yet it still happens.

      • Objective Reasonableness is supposed to be the legal standard by which deadly force incidents are judged.

        If that were truly applied in a fair and even handed way, a lot of the problems with Qualified Immunity would go away. The unreasonable applications of force would get punished and the objectively reasonable ones (which sometimes would include toy guns) would not.

        I’m cool with judging a cop’s actions by the perception of facts as he knew them at the time of the incident (vice 20/20 hindsight), but I have a real problem with very clearly egregious cases getting a pass.

      • Just following orders, eh?

        If I work at a bank, and leadership provides me with direction to move some money out of a fund, and just “secure” it in another fund until after the audit, then I should be okay, because I was not the one who made the decision, I was just following orders.

        It comes down to personal responsibility, and the ability to stand up for what is right. I should choose not to make that transaction if I fundamentally disagree with it, even at risk of my job. I would expect the cop going in on the raid to speak up if proper homework hadn’t been done (i.e. are we sure this is the right address, are there any babies in a crib we should be concerned about, etc.), even if it risks his promotional opportunities and future pension (i.e. job).

        Funny thing my mom used to say – “Guilty by association”.

      • [quote] For example, if officers are sent in to raid a house, not every officer was involved in the decision to go, but they may have been ordered to go.[/quote]

        ESPECIALLY in this case. In 99.9% of the cases of home raids today – NO ONE IS AT RISK OF VIOLENCE. Until the SWAT team kicks down the fucking door. HRT – That’s the only thing SWAT teams should be used for. Not violating a man’s castle and putting him and his family at risk of violent slaughter.

        Most of these raids are to keep folks from pouring plants or pills down the toilet – something that in almost all cases constitutes and entirely CONSENSUAL activity. Imagine the cops kicking down your door to catch you buggering your wife and you’ll see the absurdity of the entire police edifice today.

        SWAT/HRT teams have their place. It’s not serving warrants and making drug busts.

        • I find it odd that you use the f word when describing a door and buggering to describe what you do to your wife. Personally i hope what i do with my wife is not best described by an outdated and virtually unused word.

          But i do agree that no knock raids are a real problem. If it happened to my home im sure id be dead if i was able to wake in time to point a gun at what any reasonable person would think is an intruder.

  7. “More to the point, does anyone at nj.com have two brain cells to rub together when it comes to thinking about guns?”

    Nope, next question?

    Seriously, many of those on the far left run purely on emotional responses. There is no logic, there is no looking at the big picture or something at something from 360 view, when emotions are used to replace thought, the solution from that article is all you are going to hear.

    IMHO, I blame police training. There to is too much reaction not enough thought. Both the guy shot in walmart and the boy the playground could have been avoided. I do not buy “there is no time to think, only react” — not in all cases.

    • Seriously, many of those on the far left run purely on emotional responses. There is no logic, there is no looking at the big picture or something at something from 360 view, when emotions are used to replace thought, the solution from that article is all you are going to hear.

      That’s because they think they are smarter than everyone else. Perfect example: When it comes to guns, they believe that anyone who has one, or supports the right to have or carry one, is stupid. Ergo, any data or argument that refutes the antis’ ideas is dismissed out of hand. That’s one reason why they keep using the poll-tested phrase “common-sense gun-safety measures.”

      That empirical data negates their “common sense” measures does not get through their emotional barricades. As long as guns are evil (a mantra that’s at least partly to blame for cops in some places treating anyone with a gun as a violent suspect) this will continue and probably get worse.

  8. For this nonsense to have any merit cops would have to show that they don’t shoot people for holding phones, sticks, bags, wallets, contempt, etc….

    This cannot be shown therefore the obviousness of a gun cannot be the problem here.

  9. I thought it hilarious the doob credited Barbara Boxer as being “right”. Neither CA senator has been right about anything in at least the past decade.

  10. I believe our current anti-gun hysteria is a significant contributing factor in these incidents. People in general and police specifically are primed to see anyone with an even vaguely gun-shaped object as a extreme threat, which requires a swift response. If the anti-gun propaganda were dialed down, then people could take time to consider, maybe even talk these incidents out.

  11. The article has 400 plus comments but, it appears that there are only ten commentators. NJ.com Readership at an all time high?

  12. Poll: how many of us here played with or know of kids who played with “realistic” looking guns in our neighborhoods? Next question: how many have been shot by police?

    At the risk of massaging the results, I dare say this is not a national pandemic.

    • “At the risk of massaging the results, I dare say this is not a national pandemic.”

      Actually, it kinda is; while not a problem during “our” youth, it is now, and is on a steady rise.

      There are other problems that didn’t exist when we were kids – cyberstalking, driving while texting et cetera; things change.

      • Show me some numbers, Russ. I do remember cops shooting kids in my boyhood days (one happened in my hometown), but none of them prompted calls to upend the toy, gun, and policing industries.

        • “… but none of them prompted calls to upend the toy, gun, and policing industries.”

          Sorry; misunderstood you. I was referring to trigger-happy cops being a plague on the prowl, rather than outraged citizens and calls for (sensible and stupid) reform.

          And the policing industry (along with their cohorts in the judicial arm) are ripe for upending.

  13. Cops need to maybe slow down a bit. With the kid in the park, there was no report of an active shoot. Couldn’t they hang back a bit and glass him for a few minutes and see what he was up to? Could have hailed him on their PA while staying back at rifle range. Roll up on him like they did made it more dangerous for themselves as well as him.

    Walmart: why not hang back for a minute or two and watch the guy on the cameras and see what he was up to. You know, gather a little intel before charging in. With the loudspeaker system, could also have hailed him from a distance and figured out his intentions. *Might* have increased the risk to other shoppers, tho.

    No huge criticism for what any of these cops did- good on them all for aggressively protecting the people. But there are stupid people out there doing stupid things. Maybe dial it back a bit, no?

    • Spot on.

      Cops love the militarization, but they forget a military truth: intel, intel, intel, which is to say always, always know what you’re going into, unless the situation is such that it’s not possible.

  14. Well, this Boxer brainstorm is pretty stupid–but I still think the “stupidest ever in history” award goes to the “tell the tweeners to steal their parents’ guns and bring them to school” one that’s still out there.

  15. This “color of guns” thing is just too stupid to contemplate. It astonishes me, a little, that the anti-gun people cannot figure out that what a “thing looks like” does not guarantee someone else will “know what it really is”. Fer Christ’s Sake, you could make a plastic rutabaga that you could conceal a pistol inside with full functionality from the rutabaga camouflage. Might be tough to aim, but from up close, it could get the job done. It goes to show the anti’s, like Boxer, do not bother to think out the moronic things they propose because they really don’t care about the logic of it, only that it “looks like” they are “doing something”. Guess what, Babs? Your logical process is as transparently stupid as your proposal to those of us who do have two working brain cells to rub together,
    .
    There is no answer to this problem to be had that involves altering or mandating the appearance of “real guns” versus “toy guns” and manufacturers creating “real guns” in rainbow colors to appeal to the Kim Kardashians amongst the POTG doesn’t help (not that I would dictate you stop doing so, just pointing out the obvious).

    I would not expect the Police, responding to a call of a “person with a gun” to be recklessly prone to hesitation or giving “benefit of the doubt”, either.

    There may be no good answer except Parental guidance/supervision with Toy Guns and children, but even that is not/cannot be considered 100% reliable (though it, no doubt, would prevent some kid from getting killed and thereby demonstrates its worth).

    Maybe the problem is that people and the News Media are ignoring/forgetting/denying a key corollary of “Murphy’s Law”, namely, “Despite what you do, or however cautious and thoughtful you are, SHIT HAPPENS!” The small incidence of this kind of thing is a sorry thing and tragic, to be sure, but it is a reality. What is NOT reality is the notion you can prevent 100% of a given tragedy from ever happening again because you can never guarantee that “everyone gets the message”. Maybe some day when all kids have computer chip implants and are monitored 7X24 by the “Nanny 6000”, a kid who ventures into a Public Place with a Toy Gun can be sent a message “Danger Will Robinson! Immediately dispose of your cap pistol because the Police have been called and are coming to shoot you dead!”, or, better yet, rendered unconscious until the Police arrive and determine it is only a Toy. Until, then, this stuff will happen, rarely, tragically and unavoidably.

    • “I would not expect the Police, responding to a call of a “person with a gun” to be recklessly prone to hesitation or giving “benefit of the doubt”, either.”

      What you call “recklessly prone to hesitation” most people call using common sense and actually identifying your target. But even more than that, cops work under the rules we the citizens allow them. Disarming them is well within the rights of the citizen.

      • That’s just plainly a stupid response. Go rub your brain cell a little harder.

        Disarming the Police is as far-fetched as Babs Boxer’s proposed toy gun marking scheme. Certainly, we could give the Police instructions to be more reluctant to shoot, but expecting any given Officer(s) to ask politely if the “seeming gun” is real or not, is unrealistic (to be kind) and we should be prepared not to be surprised if those instructions are not followed.

        Get a grip, Dude!

    • No kidding!

      I met a minor who had a handgun in his vehicle, dressed up in a Kleenex box, set up so as to be shot while still in that box. With that sort of ingenuity out and about, there’s no way possible to make sure that weapons look like weapons. The fantasy land where passing a law changes reality is dangerous to those in the real world.

      • OMG! That is ingenious and fiendish at the same time. When I wrote about the “rutabaga camouflage” I was being facetious, but (and no one should infer anything ill-intended on my part, please) I had thought about this kind of thing and realized how simple it would be to disguise a gun inside a commonly seen item like a box and make it operable. So, I picked the fake rutabaga as a reduction to the absurd. The whole process made me realize just exactly how impossibly stupid these proposed laws [and those already in place] really are. It was “sobering” to say the least. I have seen functional “Zip Guns” made out of steel pipe that discharge a shotgun shell, so if you go into actually manufacturing a firearm that does not “look” like a gun it gets really scary.
        Thanks for relating your experience, Roymond.

  16. Disarm government employees and the problem goes away. Government employees carry weapons only with the permission of the citizens. We can take that privilege away from them.

  17. One of the local cops told me that, toy or not, if you point it at him or brandish it in a menacing manor, he’s going home and you’re not. He said that it’s not that he’s looking for a reason to shoot someone, it’s because some of the newer real guns look like toy guns, and some toy guns look like real guns, and he’s not going to take a chance.

  18. I have real guns but I like some realsitic airsoft guns too. This f%*^]+ infuriates me.

    I think there should be a federal law that makes it mandatory that these fascist jerks should have the letter “L” tattooed on their forehead making it completely obvious that nobody should take them seriously.

  19. I have an idea that could actually work; penalize cops who go for the lethal option as their first action! If a problem can be solved with a taser, why the hell are you shooting a handgun at it?

  20. How about training (as they are ineducable) our “protectors” to not shoot anyone carrying anything that’s not a bag or a box?!?

    Had that dude in Wally*World had a “real” gun, that would’ve been legal; same with the kid in the park, as Ohio is an open carry state.

    These Gods-cursed MORONS who missed their chance to shoot civilians overseas because Blackwater was full-up also need to be brought up and convicted on charges of at least murder 2.

    Y’know, as a deterrent to other Aufseher who might consider plinking at people for the fu¢king fun of it and because it’s de facto legal for them to do so.

    • Why do you hate cops so much that you want them to be properly trained and held responsible for their actions??? Don’t you know that they’re there to protect you (except they’re not)???

      I will never understand the mentality of a supposed 2A supporter who also blindly defends all the actions of the police.

      • Oh, Sir, I do not hate cops et al. “Some of my best friends,” such as my “uncle” John since before I could pronounce John are cops, the deputies ’round here and others elsewhere are cops, and I’ve always a nice thought and word for those I meet unless circumstances (very, very rarely) merit otherwise.

        I wholeheartedly respect the job and most of the practitioners of law enforcement.

        What I decidedly do not like are folks who jump out of a just-stopped car, slap Kydex and shoot a twelve year old who is NOT HOLDING his “weapon,” then say “I had no choice.” I do not love a$$holes who shoot into the dark, then not even check on the guy they shot as he bleeds out a floor down. I do not love people who shoot cuffed suspects in the back while they’re face-down on concrete.

        And I especially do not love the higher-ups and judicial system which back these aberrations to the hilt and beyond, because of misplaced solidarity and an attitude of “the State can do no wrong.”

        Yes, you hear anger and actual, visceral hatred, but it’s not directed toward cops in general.

  21. I have not read about the Rice case much so can’t comment on that, but I have read a lot about John Crawford on another blog. What got him killed was a lying POS who made all sorts of false claims to the 911 operator, including that he was pointing an ‘assault rifle’ at people, sending them screaming. Of course, none of that actually happened as shown by survelliance footage. The 911 caller actually had his wife trailing Crawford in one of those wal-mart mobility scooters… how scared could they have really been? To certify his credentials as a no-good liar, the caller told the media after this all went down that he was a Marine. Turns out he was a boot camp washout and never earned that title. Was he charged with a crime? Nope! And this is before you even get into how the police responded, which is another fiasco. Blaming the airgun not being neon enough is just idiocy.

    • “Was he charged with a crime? Nope!”

      Of course; filing a false police report which results in an unnecessary death is Okey and likewise Dokey. After all, the officers in question got in a little paid range time out of it.

    • Wow! Thanks for posting this information, Josh. Really a tragic situation and I agree with your conclusion. Frankly, I had wondered if the 911 call was from one of those MDA Moms who vowed to call 911 if she saw anyone with a gun in a store so the Police could come “gun him down”. This is worse! “Stolen Valor” trumps MDA’s dopey threats in the realm of despicable acts in my book.

  22. Finding the stupidist gun control law is like finding the biggest elephant turd. Either way, you’re going to be plowing through a mountain of sh!t.

  23. I want no laws mandating gun colors. But that yellow Taurus is just goofy. And in the dark a lot of toy guns look real. Happy New Year TTAG people!

  24. “A better solution? Make it completely obvious which guns are real.”

    How about actually training cops? Or would that be too hard to have the armed agents of the state be more responsible and accountable?

  25. Aren’t air guns regulated as firearms in New Jersey? So which is it? Are they guns or are they toys? You can’t have it both ways.

  26. The answer to this is to supply every toy gun owner with a gun grabber. Then when the police arrive, the gun grabber stands in front of the toy and starts screaming hysterically (which should come naturally): “Don’t shoot! It’s a toy!” It should work as well as anything else, and it’s
    FOR THE CHILDREN.

  27. I’m sorry these idiots should not be cops……Military Police in combat zones put local cops to shame….local cops. not all of them, are just not mentally ready to be cops. My take is that their training is not vigorous enough to instill confidence. How many State Troopers fall into this trap…..none so far. This is a crime and should be punished.

  28. Don’t walk around in public brandishing something gunlike around and this won’t happen.

    I’m not even saying the two shot people were at fault- but it wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t been doing something dumb.

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