The Raw Story | MI cops shot unarmed, 20-year-old marijuana activist
A 20-year-old university student in Michigan is hospitalized and in serious condition after police shot the man Wednesday while serving a drug warrant. He was unarmed, investigators said.
Coming through an apartment's back door, an Ottawa County deputy allegedly shined a flashlight into the student's face, causing him to raise his right hand in front of his eyes.
The officer, whose name was not released, fired a single bullet into Derek Copp's chest. The 20-year-old Grand Valley State University student, who survived the shooting, said he had no idea the man was an officer.
Dave-o, you're a gun nut. Any comment on this from the Raw Story comments?
I think I know what caused this shooting.
First, let me explain that I'm a Libertarian and a full-on supporter of pot legalization. I'm also a "gun guy" although never a cop, and I've been studying incidents like this one.
I strongly suspect this was an accidental shooting, due in part to the type of sights he was using and the way he was trained to use them.
The primary cause of course is the use of a no-knock warrant to do a pot bust. That's flat-out insane and there needs to be a prosecution on whoever ordered that.
But back to the sights and the shooting. Hold out your thumb at arm's length, and focus on it. What will be behind that at any distance past a couple of feet will be blurry. You can detect motion out past your thumb, but not details. Your thumb is roughly where the front sight of the cop's gun was.
Cops are taught to focus on the front sight, leaving both the gun's rear sight and worse, the target, blurry. Google the term "front sight" with "handgun" and you'll find scads of stuff - it's "common wisdom". There's a shooting range in Nevada called "Front Sight Institute" and most other handgun schools teach the same thing.
It's also part of what caused this wrongful shooting.
In a similar incident, another cop was holding a guy at gunpoint, making an arrest of a genuinely dangerous dude...who was surrendering. The bad guy had a dog, who in a friendly manner put his paws up on the hip of the bad guy surrendering. Focusing on the front sight, all the cop saw was movement near the bad guy's hip and he fired. Another bad shoot. The Amadou Diallo shooting in New York where he pulled out his wallet may be another of this type.
The solution (along with legalizing pot in this case of course!) is to use a sight system that allows you to focus on the target rather than on the front sight. That means either a "glass sight" (a red-dot electronic sight) or a Goshen Hexsite (google it).
My carry gun (I'm in Arizona with a permit) wears a homebrew clone of the Hexsite and the concept does work. While focused on the target, I'd be able to tell if a guy pulls out a cellphone versus a knife, or whether a hand raised to shield his eyes has a weapon in it or not.
We've tolerated this problem because accidents of this sort are rare...but they don't have to happen at all, in either citizen or cop hands.
They'll happen less when we don't beat doors down in the middle of the night looking for pot of course...
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