In the currently renewed controversy over the Oregon community college shooting, one fact stands out: most people know relatively little about guns. To be sure, many people think they know a great deal. They’ve seen guns on TV and in the movies, and perhaps have done a bit of shooting themselves. Unfortunately, even those that might be thought expert all too often fail to truly grasp the subject, or allow politics to obscure or deny reality. This failing is producing many injuries and deaths in New York City. The New York Times reports:
A bystander accidentally shot by an undercover New York City police officer on Friday afternoon [08-28-15] during an illegal firearms sting gone awry has died, the Police Department said on Saturday.
The bystander, identified as Felix Kumi, 61, was shot twice in the torso as the officer fired at a man involved in the botched sting. That man, a 37-year old who was not immediately named, was hit three times and hospitalized in serious condition. Mr. Kumi died early Saturday at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, according to the police.
The New York Police Department said that the episode unfolded around 4 p.m. in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., during an investigation into a suspected illegal firearms dealer.
How could highly trained police officers in New York City possibly “accidently” shoot an innocent bystander?
Detective Michael DeBonis, a spokesman for the department, said the gun dealer was the subject of a ‘long-term firearms investigation.’
The police said that undercover officers in the past had purchased numerous firearms from him. He contacted an undercover police officer on Friday and asked to meet in the Bronx so that he could sell the officer a gun, Detective DeBonis said. When the officer arrived, the dealer asked him to drive them about a mile into Mount Vernon, a city in Westchester County that borders New York City.
The gun dealer, whom the police department identified as Jeffrey Aristy, 28, asked to be taken to the intersection of Beekman and Tecumseh Avenues. When they arrived, Detective DeBonis said, a third man, the 37 year old, climbed into the back seat of the car, held a gun to the officer’s head and demanded his money. After the robber took the officer’s money and started to run away, he pointed his gun at the officer, the police said. The undercover officer climbed out of his vehicle and opened fire, striking the robber three times in the torso, the detective said. He also accidentally shot Mr. Kumi, who was standing nearby, the police said.
A second team of undercover officers nearby shot at the robber as he fled, firing several rounds, Detective DeBonis said.
Mr. Aristy, the suspected gun dealer, escaped during the melee, but was later arrested, the Police Department said.
No doubt it was a classic “melee,” but one caused by the police. Tragically, this is only one of many similar incidents in NYC. I first began writing about the issue in August of 2012 with NYC: Bad Tactics And Socialism. I soon followed that article with part two, which further exposed the problem: poor training, and mandatory, 12-pound triggers on issued handguns. But the danger to New York citizens was far from over, as I reported in a third article. From that article:
The NYPD’s own report indicates that at least someone there knows that twelve-pound triggers are inherently dangerous to officers and the public, as the recent shooting so clearly illustrates. There is no ‘balance’ involved, as the idea that carrying a semiautomatic pistol with a round chambered is somehow inherently dangerous requiring some countervailing mechanism indicates a complete lack of understanding of proper pistol craft, professional instruction and gun-handling techniques, and contemporary firearm design and engineering. In addition, the idea that a handgun—such as the Glock—designed specifically to be safe without an external manual safety lever–somehow requires a trigger pull weight far in excess of that designed to function properly with that firearm is likewise unprofessional, uninformed and inept thinking.
The safety records of countless Glock-equipped police agencies and hundreds of thousands—perhaps millions—of Glock-owning civilians, all using standard 5.5 pound Glock triggers, stands as eloquent testimony to the folly of the NYPD’s expensive, deadly dangerous and politically correct foolishness.
Ultimately, the political masters of the NYPD—which includes the upper-ranking police administrators—would surely prefer that police officers be unarmed, but failing that, have hampered them with poor and unrealistic training and triggers so heavy they imagine them to be a bizarre sort of safety device, making it hard for officers to pull them. Of course, when officers need to use their handguns, the 12-pound triggers make it very likely they’ll shoot innocents, as happened in the most recent incident.
From my 2013 article, New York City Police Shoot Up the Citizenry Again:
The lessons learned from that series are stark and simple:
(1) Most police officers are not gun guys and girls. They own few, if any firearms, and seldom, if ever, practice.
(2) Most police officers fire their handguns only once a year for mandatory qualifications. They clean their handguns less often.
(3) Most qualification courses have generous passing scores, involve only stationary targets at known ranges, and officers are allowed to shoot as many times as necessary to pass. Many have to shoot many times.
(4) Many law enforcement agencies use only cheaper practice ammunition for qualifications. It produces much less muzzle flash, recoil and report than duty ammunition. As a result, many officers have fired their duty guns with duty ammunition only once or twice.
(5) New York City political forces are generally virulently anti-gun, with all of the destructive baggage that crippling viewpoint carries.
(6) Mandating 12-pound double action only triggers, means that handguns have long, very heavy trigger pulls that make accuracy difficult at best, even for experts. Glocks available to the public have standard 5.5-pound triggers.
(7) Mandatory 12-pound triggers prove that the NYPD does not trust its officers with handguns, and is determined not to adequately train them. A very heavy trigger is a foolish measure intended to prevent accidental discharges, but has the unintended consequence of ensuring bad marksmanship, which inevitably produces accidental shootings of innocents.
These lessons apply to police agencies everywhere, most of which, thankfully, do not require weapons that virtually guarantee that police officers will shoot bystanders. Unfortunately, under the current mayoral administration of ultra-leftist Bill DiBlasio, it is all but impossible to imagine that proper training and equipment will be ordered for NYPD officers. Unfortunate, too, is that this reflexive anti-gun idiocy, and the irrational and stubborn faith of the left in maintaining it, is an integral factor in the deaths of innocents, in gun free zones, and on the streets of New York City.