Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A Tale of Two Guns

Last week Christopher Roupe was playing a video game when there was a knock at the door. He had no idea it was a police officer who’d been dispatched to deliver a probation violation warrant for his father. He answered the door, still holding his Wii controller in his hand and the officer mistook the device for a gun and shot and killed Roupe.

As the officer tells it, Roupe [left] was holding a gun when he answered the door, but the Roupe family lawyer, Cole Law, says the ROTC student wasn’t carrying a weapon:
“We don’t know where [the claim that he had a gun] came from. The eyewitnesses on the scene clearly state that he had a Wii controller in his hand. He heard a knock at the door. He asked who it was, there was no response so he opened the door and upon opening the door he was immediately shot in the chest.”
So, he’s playing a game, hears a knock at the door, asks who it is, and gets no response? Then still holding his game controller, he opens the door and is fired upon.

A neighbor corroborates the family’s story:
“When we got up there, they said there was a Wii remote in his hand and she shot him.”
Another person nearby said that the officer — who has been placed on administrative leave — was sobbing shortly after firing her gun.

This isn’t so uncommon, y’all; many police shootings end in death thanks to a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy that requires officers who choose to fire to do so with lethal intentions.

Now, I understand it’s a dangerous world out there, and I understand a split second decision that might turn out to be the wrong one; but if that decision ends up costing the life of an innocent person, shouldn’t we maybe rethink the policy?

I mean, what about a taser? Or firing bean bags or using tear gas? At least those choices wouldn’t have ended up with a young man dead and a police officer under suspicion.

And then it happened again, though in South Carolina this time.

Bobby Canipe [right], a 70-year-old man, was pulled over by police near Clover, last week because the tags on his car were expired. As he got out of the truck, he reached for his cane, and the officer shot him.

 York County Deputy Sheriff Terrence Knox said he thought Canipe was reaching for a gun when he fired several times at the old man, hitting him once. To make matters a bit worse, at a news conference about the incident, York County sheriff’s spokesman Trent Faris called the situation “unfortunate.”

Unfortunate that an old man reaching for a cane is shot. Unfortunate.

I think it’s unfortunate that the officer didn’t wait a half second. There is no suggestion that Canipe had pulled the cane out; no suggestion that Canipe even aimed anything at the officer. He was reaching inside his truck when he was shot. A half-second delay, as the cane is pulled out, might have resulted in no shooting at all.

Again, I know the officer needs to err on the side of caution, but this is an old man who uses a cane. I cannot imagine that he was acting suspiciously, moving in a threatening manner, and if the officer had a taser maybe all that would have happened is that the old man got the shock of his life.

Canipe is expected to survive the shooting. Sadly, Christopher Roupe wasn’t so lucky.

It’s like I've said, when you have a gun you intend to use it, and if the officer sent to deliver papers to a home didn’t have a gun, but instead had a stun gun, a young boy wouldn’t have died. And if the officer who pulled over a driver because his tags had expired, didn’t have a gun, but maybe carried a taser, an old man wouldn’t have been shot.

It’s a thought, y’all …
Georgia police Officer Kills Teen 


MAC said...

"Unfortunate" We have a Wii. I was imagining this happening to my son.

Bob Slatten said...

I agree.
I just wish the police should rethink their "shoot first" mentality.

Helen Lashbrook said...

It worries me that the will of the majority of the American people is overridden by the few. And these deaths are the result of trained professionals; what happens when the untrained start culling anyone they don't like as per your post below?

the dogs' mother said...

So very, very sad.

♫Musique♫ said...

We have had similar incidents in South Carolina this week. In my opinion some people who have a badge are too trigger happy and ready to shoot anyone.

Bob Slatten said...

@ ♫Musique♫
As I said, if you have a gun you intend to use it.
And therein lies the problem.