Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Kids, Toy Guns, & Cops: A Recipe for Disaster

As a former LEO and parent, I feel for all parties involved.  If the latest news is true, the dispatcher that took the original call was informed that '....the gun may be a fake.'    It is my understanding that the responding officer was never provided this crucial piece of information.

Toy guns have been around for hundreds of years,  Most of those years never saw anything like what the last 20 years, or so, though.  The toy guns today are so extremely realistic.   But then, forty-plus years ago, some of my cap pistols looked remarkably like the Colt SAA .45 that 'Matt Dillon' used, too.

What the public needs to realize is this:  LEOs today live in a far different world than the one depicted by 'Andy Griffith'.  LEOs today DO encounter kids with REAL guns.  Most of these encounters end without anyone being hurt.  But what the general public must realize is that LEOs normally have only a fraction of a second to identify whether a 'gun' being held by a kid is a toy or the real thing. A fraction of a second.  Couple this fact with another fact:  A tremendous number of today's LEOs have seen recent combat duty where everyone seemed to be 'out to kill them'....even kids.  When I was an LEO, before I began each shift, I made a promise to myself: I was going home at the end of the shift.  No matter what it took to do so.  I'm sure I wasn't the only LEO to do that....then or now.

So what's the answer?  The ONLY thing that I can think of is to educate kids on the very real dangers of handling even toy guns in close proximity to LEOs, or anyone else.  Treat them with the same respect that real guns deserve.   Like it or not, today's kids live in a far different world than the one most of us grew up in.

J. Redmon

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