Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Tale Of Two Police Shootings

I don’t like guns; there are far too many guns in this country, and far too many in the hands of lunatics.

Last week, in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Cheviot, Paul Gaston crashed his pick-up truck into a telephone pole. Several people living nearby called 911 to report that Gaston came out of the truck, appeared disoriented and was waving a gun.

When police arrived, they found Gaston, ordered him to lie down on the ground — video shows him on his knees with his hands in the air — and he did lay down for a moment; but, when he started to get up and seemed to be reaching for his gun, police officers fired nine shots  at him.

The gun turned out to be an airsoft pellet gun; the officers did not realize the gun was fake until after Gaston was dead.

Okay, so he had a gun, and maybe the police officers didn’t know it was just a pellet gun — airsoft guns fire plastic balls that are larger and lighter than metal ball bearings fired by BB guns but can still inflict injury — but …

Just a few hours earlier, and about ten miles away,  Mt. Healthy police officers  encountered Christopher Laugle after being called to a home to investigate an assault. When officers entered the home, they say Laugle picked up a gun off the coffee table and pointed it at them.

Laugle was subdued, physically, by the officers and taken into custody.

His weapon was also an airsoft pellet; the officers did not realize the gun was fake until after Laugle was arrested.

Paul Gaston was a black man.

Christopher Laugle is a white man.

Two different police departments, two different cities, but both in Ohio, which is an  open-carry state where a black man and black boy holding airsoft pellet guns were also killed during recent encounters with police.

And the white man is wrestled to the ground after aiming a gun at police, but the black man, who had been lying on the ground is shot nine times just for reaching for a gun.

Something to think about ….


the dogs' mother said...

Is all crazy and really disturbing. IF these pellet guns, bb guns, air soft guns *have* to exist I would like a nationwide law to require them to be bright pink or lime green. All old guns should be turned in for a free pink or green gun and you should be required to take a course in the safe operation of them. Now that I am a *real* American I shall so decree it if elected President.

Michael Dodd said...

"This is the song that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends..." That is a children's song and determined parents can eventually make the kids hush, but the police-shooting-minority stories are all too adult, all too unending and there seem to be no parental figures able or willing to do anything about it.

On the other hand, I think the idea of painting guns bright pink or lime green to indicate that they are (relatively) harmless has wonderful implications. Of course, since for many of my gun-wielding relatives,the point of anything that looks like a weapon is to frighten people, they would just paint over the offending neon colors.

I was wondering the other day, when I had to show ID and have my drivers license scanned into a computer in order to buy Alka Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine, when it became more difficult to buy OTC pills than to buy assault weapons in this country. Here in Wisconsin, our Repugnican governor just signed a bill making it legal to carry a concealed switchblade. Apparently guns are not enough. Can brass knuckles in the schoolyard be far behind?

At least we can thank God those kids won't be holding Alka Seltzer.

Michael Dodd said...

PS -- I am aware of the use of OTC meds to produce meth and such. My point stands. Compare and contrast the number of lives lost to meth this year in the USA to those lost go guns.

anne marie in philly said...

we are back to separate and unequal in this country. racism sux. :(

Biki Honko said...

We need to reopen the racism wound again and this time deal with it, instead of merely sticking a band-aid over it.

Trump has once again made racism and misogamy acceptable. For this, I despise him.

Helen Lashbrook said...

Here the headlines are all about a police car that drove over a dog! The difference that guns make to a nation is profoundly sad