back to article Scumbag who phoned in a Call of Duty 'swatting' that ended in death pleads guilty to dozens of criminal charges

One of three people charged over the December 2017 “swatting” death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch in the US has pleaded guilty. Tyler Barriss, 25, was indicted in May for making a bogus 911 call to police in Wichita, Kansas, urging officers to send out a SWAT team. As a result, on December 28, the cops showed up outside Finch's …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    So the police bear no responsibility ?

    Perhaps it would simplify things if the air force had a web form that you could just call up an airstrike ?

    1. DonL

      Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

      The gun laws laws, where everyone can just unexpectedly draw a gun, make the police very nervous. I can't see this happening so easily in countries with strict laws.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

        The gun laws laws, where everyone can just unexpectedly draw a gun,

        Sure, so where does that put let's say Swiss police? Are they supposed to go in with tanks and an airstrike? After all the suspect is known (there is no likely there) to possess military issue infantry weapons. Does Canadian police shoot first and ask questions later? They have comparable amount of guns per capita. Do not even get me started on the amount of weaponry floating around some places in Eastern Europe. I used to live in an apartment block where we were the only family without firearms. The guy under me had a Dragunov, the guy above me an AK47. That still does not make police go out and kill people at random.

        This is a USA specific issue. It is the only country in the world where the cops never ever try to defuse any situation. They go in "to deliver justice" and they do it instead of court. While it was bad as far back as I can remember (all the way to the few years I spent there as a student), it became really bad under Bush.

        Bush allowed the army to offload surplus military gear to local police departments and local police departments to undergo ARMY training. There is a massive difference between ARMY training and police training in all of the civilized world. ARMY training is how to kill first, do it more efficiently and it always presumes the other side combatant. It is to kill. Civilian police training is always to DEFUSE. That is the training the rest of the world gets. If a cop, however, does that in USA, he gets fired. Just like that:

        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/12/stephen-mader-west-virginia-police-officer-settles-lawsuit

        By the way, as long as USA does not fix that it has no entitlement to explain others what is a democracy, how to run it and what are human rights.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Sure, so where does that put let's say Swiss police?"

          Despite the number of rifles around, Switzerland is culturally very different from US - and its gun laws are still far more restrictive, despite the number of rifles given to "militia" personnel - still, now without the ammunition. Concealed carrying permission is not easy to obtain, and even buying ammunition requires checks - so you're not really afraid someone will extract a gun from his trousers - living close to the Swiss border and having traveled there often, you don't see guns around, they don't carry around their ordnance rifles, and criminality levels are very low.

          Laws were made more stringent when Switzerland entered the Schengen agreement, as it permits Swiss to travel to other countries with stricter laws without border checks.

          1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: "Sure, so where does that put let's say Swiss police?"

            Switzerland is culturally very different from US.

            Correct. The US used to be in a league of its own. A lovely combination of brainwashing children about their moral superiority over everyone else from kindergarten onwards and guns all over the place.

            That is now no longer the case. They have been joined by Russia as of late.

            The Russians have switched from "think of how you can improve and what you are doing wrong" school doctrine to a similar "Nation Guided by Divine Providence" brainwashing style ~ 15 years ago courtesy of Vlad and his helpers.

            They are now reaping what they sow. From virtually ZERO school weapon incidents they are up to a Columbine every few months. The sole distinction is that they still have better STEM education so when their kids mix up bombs they explode - as they did in Kerch (and failed in Columbine).

            Give it a decade for the brainwashed generation brought up with the doctrine of Divine Providence to grow up and you will get workplace incidents as in USA as well.

            They also now have their own pro-gun organizations too which are working together with the NRA as well. In fact they are becoming USA's spitting image in this one as well (anyone who has lived in both places will tell you that there are plenty of other areas too).

            1. bombastic bob Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: "Sure, so where does that put let's say Swiss police?"

              @Voland's right hand

              I won't even bother to quote from your post.

              So, how's that "illegal to carry a knife" thing working out in London these days? Did it make ANY difference? Or is it just unnecessarily restricting those who might need one for some reason... or just simply WANT one.

              I suspect it's 100% ineffective, just like EVERY OTHER "liberal solution" to crime. It doesn't affect criminals. They're scoff-laws anyway. It only affects the rest of us.

              (although some of us, including me, don't need a knife or a gun to kill, so are HANDS going to be banned next? most people might need a weapon to properly defend themselves, because a cop can't be everwhere)

              but yeah the main disadvantage of a knife or a gun is the fact that a skilled martial artist could TAKE IT AWAY [and then use it on THEM].

              And, only 'sheeple' that have been cowed into NOT FIGHTING BACK [and then banning any means of self defense for anyone else] would want the carrying of reasonable self-defense weapons to be BANNED.

              1. lotus49

                Re: "Sure, so where does that put let's say Swiss police?"

                I saw the word sheeple and automatically knew that whatever the rest of the post contained, it was written by an incoherent extremist nutter so I stopped reading.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Sure, so where does that put let's say Swiss police?"

                So, how's that "illegal to carry a knife" thing working out

                It's not actually outright illegal to carry a knife, or other blade. There are in fact exemptions for reasonable purposes. I've wandered around London, and many other towns and cities carrying a sword or a firearm and have chatted with (and posed for photos with) police whilst doing so without the slightest trouble. On the other hand, i'm doing it dressed in what is legally classed as historic national costume for the purposes of historical re-enactment.

                On our side of the pond you generally don't need weapons for defense. The only people carrying them by large are drug dealers and gangs supplying drugs. And yeah, if they get found carrying a blade then they could end up doing prison time for it in the finest Al Capone tradition. By far and by large, the only people wanting to be armed "for self defense" are drug dealers et al.

                As noted, I have worn a sword and carried firearms in public for the purposes of historic reenactment. I would not be interested in carrying them for the purposes of "self defence" any more frequently than I do now. Whom would I be defending myself from?

                The only threats would be the other people carrying weapons around in public like toys "cos it's cool, init" who have zero training on how to employ said weapons, zero interest in learning weapon safety and like waving them around to show them off to their mates. It'd be considerably more hazardous than simply keeping things the way it is at the moment.

        3. Chz

          Re:Army vs Police training

          "There is a massive difference between ARMY training and police training in all of the civilized world. ARMY training is how to kill first, do it more efficiently and it always presumes the other side combatant. It is to kill. Civilian police training is always to DEFUSE."

          That's not even the case everywhere outside of the US. British forces are considered to be the best in the world at military police actions, precisely because of the lessons learned in Northern Ireland. They are most definitely trained to defuse a situation before shooting, when the opportunity presents itself. Canadian soldiers are most likely to find themselves on UN Peacekeeping duties and train in much the same way. I suspect it's also the case in many of the smaller European countries that play an active role in UN operations.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "the case in many of the smaller European countries that play an active role"

            Yes, we saw how one of then "defused" well the situation in Srebrenica...

        4. boltar Silver badge

          Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

          " It is the only country in the world where the cops never ever try to defuse any situation."

          I realise (hope) you're exaggerating to make a point but a quick look on the PoliceActivity channel on youtube will prove that a lie. What it shows - even though its probably curated by the authorities - is that there are some good cops working in the USA who don't shoot first. Perhaps they're a minority, I don't know, but don't tar all of them with the same brush.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

            @AC and others...

            "pandering to the perception" (U.S. cops being trigger happy murderers waiting for an excuse, and gun rights being an 'enabler' for them to 'be that way') might make you *feel* better, but it's neither TRUE nor HELPING.

            And in my opinion FEELINGS are IRRELEVANT.

            More often than not, guns STOP crimes.

            But then again, *anything* can kill you, especially that Di-hydrogen Monoxide stuff - it's *EVERWHERE* !!!

            ^^^ if you don't see the correlation, then I pity you.

            1. Mark Dempster

              Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

              >"pandering to the perception" (U.S. cops being trigger happy murderers waiting for an excuse, and gun rights being an 'enabler' for them to 'be that way') might make you *feel* better, but it's neither TRUE nor HELPING.

              And in my opinion FEELINGS are IRRELEVANT.

              More often than not, guns STOP crimes.<

              Speaking as one of the relatively few people in the UK who shoots in a number of different disciplines (and even trained as a gunsmith many years ago) I can hardly be accused of being anti-gun; but your statement that guns stop crime is, despite being peddled by Trump supporters everywhere, absolute hogwash. There may be a small number of occasions when it's been the case, but it's the simple widespread availability of very dangerous hardware - and lack of suitable checks/restrictions - that is the root cause of the USA's problems with gun violence. It's why these things happen more in the USA than elsewhere.

          2. CRConrad

            Sure, that is an exaggeration.

            Seems US police forces are only trained to fire first if the suspect is black. For white people they often do try to defuse first.

            1. Jaybus

              Re: Sure, that is an exaggeration.

              "Seems US police forces are only trained to fire first if the suspect is black. For white people they often do try to defuse first."

              Umm... have you seen a picture of Finch? Seems a contradictory statement.

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Sure, that is an exaggeration.

              "Seems US police forces are only trained to fire first if the suspect is black. For white people they often do try to defuse first."

              That's been found to be very inaccurate. According to the stats, "white" people are shot more often both in total numbers AND as the number per 100,000 in the population. The difference is what gets reported in the news and the rioting/burning and looting of neighborhoods that can occur afterwards.

              In certain low-income and predominately black neighborhoods the numbers will look much different, but it's very easy to find a place on the map where your assertions might be valid. Just not when you zoom out and look at bigger regions. Take a look at Chicago and the number of police shooting incidents involving a black suspect is pretty low. Especially when compared to the number of black people shooting each other. The days that make the new are the rare ones when there HASN'T been a gang shooting/killing.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

          Sorry, but that just isn’t true. The ROE (rules of engagement) used by the ARMY (dunno why that’s capitalised, it’s not an acronym) in Iraq and Afghan are far, far more restrictive than anything the cops use in CONUS, and the penalty for violating the ROE far harsher.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

            Sorry, but that just isn’t true. The ROE (rules of engagement).

            Correct again. However you missed not one, but TWO points.

            1. The cops are getting NO ROE training while getting the shoot-em-up programme of what is considered the MOST TRIGGER HAPPY ARMY IN THE WORLD.

            2. Even if they had ROE training as per their ROE training anyone with a gun or suspected to have a gun is a hostile so they apply the standard approach US ARMY applies to a hostile. That approach can be generally described as "thanks god they are not armed with sub-1Kt nukes"(*)

            (*)though it looks like Trump is about to fix that.

        6. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

          "Sure, so where does that put let's say Swiss police?"

          Gun in Switzerland are commonly from national service so the owner is trained in use and gun safety, and those guns are generally securely stored separately from ammunition. So it's really not an issue compared to selling them at supermarkets and letting any gung-ho idiot own one...

      2. iron Silver badge

        Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

        > I can't see this happening so easily in countries with strict laws.

        Yeah there's no way the police in London would gun down an unarmed Brazilian plumber on the tube for no reason.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

          An unarmed Brazilian plumbers wearing a very thick coat in summer ( potentially hiding a suicide vest ), jumping over turnstiles and running away from the police, ignoring calls to stop.

          While it was a cock-up, it was an understandable one.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

            "An unarmed Brazilian plumbers wearing a very thick coat in summer ( potentially hiding a suicide vest ), jumping over turnstiles and running away from the police, ignoring calls to stop."

            And working in the UK illegally. The guy was a criminal, just not one who deserved to die, but given the situation and his very odd behaviour the police were left with little choice.

            1. xeroks

              Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

              according to pretty detailed wikipedia entry, "...evidence that emerged during the course of the criminal trial into the Health and Safety charge showed that Menezes was lawfully in the country on 22 July 2005."

              The same article doesn't say he was criminal, despite mentioning the various theories why he ran onto the train.

            2. Old Tom

              Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

              "wearing a very thick coat in summer"

              We were given that misinformation early on, but he was wearing a denim jacket. The temperature in London that day was 17°C.

          2. Mooseman Bronze badge

            Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

            "While it was a cock-up, it was an understandable one"

            Very unfortunate for the individual involved but let's also not forget that it was on the same day that tube trains and buses had been blown up by terrorists, and the police were very jumpy.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

            He wasn't wearing a winter coat, he didn't jump the barriers.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Charles_De_Menezes#Disputed_facts_and_events

            1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

              Well said.

              I'm actually astonished that there are still people who still believe Dick's bare-faced outright lies - If ever someone was well named it's that apology for a woman - who incidentally has been 'punished' by being made the boss of the MET.

              You couldn't make it up!

          4. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

            An unarmed Brazilian plumbers wearing a very thick coat in summer ( potentially hiding a suicide vest ), jumping over turnstiles and running away from the police, ignoring calls to stop.

            That was all proven to be lies. Along with the lie of the police claiming that the CCTV was not working when it was.

            This is why Fake News and Alternative Facts are so dangerous. Or lies and demonisations as we used to call them.

          5. rmason Silver badge

            Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

            It's also one sad incident, not one per day or more.

            Slightly different. the fact it hasn't happened *since* speak volumes, no?

          6. chris street

            Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

            @disgustedoftunbridgewells

            Menezes wasnt wearing a thick coat, he didn't run, he didnt jump the turnstiles, and he wasnt called to stop.

            He was also in the country legally.

            You'd know all that if you'd bothered to check the basic information instead of listening to the lies from Ian Blair, which he retracted.

            Whats really worrying is that the Dick that made the poor decisions is now in charge of the Met!

        2. NonSSL-Login

          Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

          You could count the shooting mistakes by UK police over the last 20 years on a single hand.

          Even when you consider the population difference of the UK and US, the amount of bad US police shootings a month probably surpasses the last 2 decades of bad UK shootings.

      3. NoneSuch
        FAIL

        Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

        Gun laws and proper use of deadly force have nothing to do with each other.

        The police shot a man because he dropped his hands to his sides with no weapon visible. Police TRAIN for this over and over. Nervousness should not enter into it. Use of deadly force has a hard series of parameters that must be met BEFORE pulling the trigger. The US police are simply trigger happy with a "shoot first and ask questions" attitude with little repercussion when they screw up. To the same argument, they also choke out unarmed suspects, then fail to render CPR once unconscious, resulting in death.

        The US is on a slippery slope. In the US, 'suspicion' is enough grounds to arrest someone, then hold them almost indefinitely. They can seize your money / property and you then have to prove it was not gained through criminal activity to get (only part of) it back. Federal law enforcement can lie to you without blowback, but lying to a federal official is a felony and can result in up to one year in jail. Their prosecutors hide evidence that undermine the defenses cases, they threaten the innocent with 30 year sentences unless you plead guilty to reduce that sentence and the government protects them. They are becoming a lost people.

        The idiot that picked up the phone and called in a false report holds part of the blame, but responsibility for shooting an unarmed man falls squarely on the police. They are supposed to protect the citizenry.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      call up an airstrike ?

      How many airstrike hit the wrong target because woefully wrong information? While it looks that US cops always fire first and assess the situation later, it's also true that this time they were lured into a situation very hard to manage for both parties - one that believed to be facing someone who already murdered a man and held hostages that could be also killed, the other that obviously and unluckily couldn't understand what was happening at all, and thereby had a big chances to act in the "wrong" way.

      Frankly, I hope to never find myself in such a situation, on either side, because the chances of a tragic ending are very high. Firing to disable someone without life-threatening injuries is very difficult (but in movies or games, of course) - if you don't achieve it, and someone has time to re-enter the house and kill the hostages, it's your fault - of course when you have to think that there are hostages in danger.

    3. Buzzword

      Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

      A form like this? https://xkcd.com/970/

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

      It remains to be seen.

      The county DA decided (not quite four months after the shooting) not to bring charges. So there won't be any criminal liability for the police officers involved in Finch's murder.

      However, the last I heard, the family was still pressing a Federal civil rights and/or wrongful death suit (various news agencies have conflicting reports) against the police department.

      In the US, frankly, a civil action like this is far more likely to be brought, and to succeed, than criminal charges against the police. Because of the adversarial nature of the US judicial system and the predominance of plea bargains rather than trial convictions, prosecutors have extremely close ties to the police forces. (See The Chickenshit Club for more background.) Couple that with the fact that the various local and state prosecutorial offices are now widely treated as stepping-stones to higher political office, and the candidates that emerge from them appeal to the "law & order" fear-fetishist rabble, and you can see why there are relatively few prosecutions (below the Federal level) of police officers and very few convictions.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

        "In the US, frankly, a civil action like this is far more likely to be brought, and to succeed, than criminal charges against the police."

        That is because to convict somebody of a criminal charge (The State vs person), the burden of proof is "beyond a reasonable doubt". In a civil trial (person vs person or State), the bar is set lower and winning is "on the preponderance of the evidence". The awards in a civil trial are also money, so more blood sucking lawyers gravitate to that type of practice and the ones that are good in a court room build a reputation (and back account) for being able to sway juries.

        There are bad cops, but many of them get pushed out long before they do something that makes the news. Most are pretty good and the worst that can be said is they lack compassion, but after a career dealing with people at their worst, they can hardly be blamed.

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Hostage situations...

    Put yourself in the cops shoes.

    What would you've done if you get a 911 call regarding a hostile hostage situation, you go out to try to defuse that situation.

    Of course you'll have to ASSUME that ANYBODY walking out of the door is part of the hostile party, and if said person do things quite contrary to your orders (dropping hands when ordered to place his/her hands up) you'll shoot, questions asked later.

    In this case the police merely acted as a proxy - so the person who originally did the swatting is guilty of "pulling the trigger by proxy". (If such a term do exist in law).

    And IANAL.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Hostage situations...

      "Put yourself in the cops shoes"

      Okay : I am pointing my gun at a man who has his hands up. I should be able to clearly see that he is not armed. His hands, for some reason (because he's innocent ?) go down (that's a mistake). I can :

      A) Shoot

      B) Shout at him to get his hands back up

      Yes, the cops thought they were dealing with a violent guy, but I'd think you still need to see a weapon before feeling threatened.

      All of this confirms what I think I will do if ever I find myself facing a bunch of US cops with their guns out for me: hands up, drop to my knees, hit the ground and spread-eagle. If they want to talk to me after that, I'll be listening, but I won't move until they tell me I can or come and cuff me.

      1. Mine's a Large One

        Re: Hostage situations...

        And if I take option A) and shoot, I can:

        1) Shoot to kill

        2) Shoot to injure, because it doesn't look like he's armed, he seems confused as to why we're here, there have been those headlines about cops shooting the wrong person and maybe this guy is innocent.so injuring him is better than killing him.

        Tough choice...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hostage situations...

          There is no "shoot to injure". Once the decision has been made that deadly force is required, then deadly force is fully applied.

          1. Chz

            Re: Hostage situations...

            There are some exceptions (someone mentioned the Dutch police), but it is generally true that once the decision has been made to apply deadly force, then the officers are instructed to do exactly that. The problem is with how liberally the decision to apply that force is taken in the United States.

            Their northern neighbours need to fill out a small notebook worth of forms every time they so much as draw their firearm. This is to enforce the rule that you do not draw your firearm unless you fully intend to use it. And any situation that requires the use of deadly force should generate a lot of paperwork. This rolls back now to the issue of "shoot to wound" - abandoning such notions is to protect the officer. We have to assume that a trained officer of the law (well, outside of the US) will not draw their weapon unless it is needed, and if it is needed they must go for the shot that provides the greatest chance to disable, or indeed kill the threat. Shoot for the torso. It makes sense.

            1. taxythingy

              Re: Hostage situations...

              It looks like the problem starts with drawing one's weapon. When your really really southern not-really-neighbours get to this point, they start by drawing their key, going to the boot of the car, unlocking the safe inside it, and then drawing their weapon. If it got that far. Otherwise they just pull back and call in the specialists. Most of the bollocks gets solved well before then.

              Confrontations don't typically escalate to drawn weapons, because almost no-one - crims or police - goes into them with the expectation of having a gun drawn immediately.

          2. Mine's a Large One
            FAIL

            Re: Hostage situations...

            @AC "Once the decision has been made that deadly force is required..."

            Well if deadly force is "required" - which implies it is going to happen anyway - why bother shouting orders for hands up or lie face down? Surely they'd may as well kill him as soon as he's out of the house.

            And who decided that "deadly force was required" without knowing any actual facts about the situation, other than an unverified phone call from an unverified source with no verified evidence of any wrongdoing having taken place? I'd be hauling their arse up in court for murder as well.

            I'd have thought that taking someone down with non-lethal force was just common sense. Maybe I'm just getting old.

        2. IsJustabloke Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Hostage situations...

          "Shoot to injure"

          That's just Hollywood bollocks I'm afraid, all that "just wing him" shit is exactly that.

          If you have to fire a gun at someone you fire for the biggest target, torso.

          1. A.P. Veening

            Re: Hollywood bollocks

            Dutch police are trained to shoot at the legs and they aren't the best trained shooters in Europe, not by a long shot (pun unintentional but fitting). Sometimes it isn't possible or safe to do, in which case they shoot at the body and even then they mostly manage to miss the heart by not aiming at it, but a single bullet is usually sufficient. Just compare that with the average of five lethal body shots by the American police. America, nice place to stay away from. And that is besides the stunts the Border Security Goons pull at the airports.

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: Hollywood bollocks

              @A.P. Veening, NO, Dutch police are NOT trained to shoot at the legs. If the decision is made to shoot it is up to the discretion of the officer to attempt to incapacitate, but it is NOT specifically practiced and it is NOT policy. If a police officer decides to use a deadly weapon it's usually with the full intend to remove an immediate and deadly threat. And doing that requires deadly force. The difference is that in the Netherlands (and most of the rest of the world) officers are trained to shoot once or twice and assess the effect. Not for everyone present to unload their weapon into the person. Being shot once or twice (even in the torso) can be quite survivable if first aid is started immediately (also a standard in the Netherlands). In the US the standard seems to be for the victim of a police shooting to have atleast 6 to 8 rounds in them and for them to then be handcuffed, manhandled and left to bleed and choke to death while the police officers stand around. I doubt many of them are even trained in first aid. (Again, a standard in most of the civilized world)

              1. Potemkine! Silver badge

                Re: Hollywood bollocks

                Complementary data:

                In 2017, cops in Netherland shot at 23 people, killing 4 (1 for 4,250,000 inhabitants). At the same time, around 1,000 people were killed by cops in the US (1 for 325,000 inhabitants).

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "are trained to shoot at the legs"

              Far more chances to miss, while aiming you lose sight of what hands are doing, and the target could still fire back, while you can still kill someone if the femoral artery is rescinded. You can aim at the belly, you will surely incapacitate your target, and it may not die immediately, but surviving after such kind of wounds, especially with bullets fired by a combat weapon, is usually not nice, because a lot of internal organs will suffer big damages, and if the bullet hits the spine, even worse.

              Sure, if you're a sniper and have time to aim from a secure position, it's an option.

              The issue here is there was no evidence of a weapon, but unluckily the call said he had already murdered, so I'm afraid they incorrectly implied it was armed. And I'm also afraid SWAT teams are trained to apply lethal force to eliminate threats as soon a chance occurs.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              The Dutch Police

              They do however have excellent moustaches and know how to handle a truncheon. Schtop, schtop!

          2. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Hostage situations...

            One useful way around this trigger-happiness of US police would be to add in some more technology. Specifically, when responding to an incident involving a report of armed suspects, send in a robot of some description which doesn't look in the least little bit human, and which is not armed with anything in the slightest bit lethal.

            This de-escalates the entire situation; if the suspect is innocent then they will comply with the cop talking through the robot's transceiver to put their hands into the handcuffs and kindly walk out and say hello to the SWAT squad.

            If on the other hand they are armed and want to shoot something, then they can have a briefly entertaining time blowing hell out of police property that isn't alive and the shooting of which is no more than criminal damage, after which the human police will point guns at them and demand surrender.

            This sort of thing ought to help reduce the carnage caused by police who think that they have no alternative save shooting.

        3. tyrfing

          Re: Hostage situations...

          You never ever shoot to injure. That's a stupid movie cliche - the idea that it's possible to do this.

          If you shoot, it is to protect your own life or someone else's.

          In that case, shooting to injure is just wrong, because it does not remove the threat.

          If you do this, the inquiry or court will be perfectly correct in judging that you didn't think your target was a serious enough threat that shooting him was justified.

        4. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Hostage situations...

          "shoot to injure" is impractical. Center body mass is easier to hit with a pistol, and if you MISS your target you could do a lot WORSE [like ricochet and hit civilians]. Very few 'crack shot' pistol wielders would be able to 'shoot to injure' except at very close range. There are just too many factors involved, and pistols just aren't accurate like rifles are.

          Now if a sniper with a proper sniper rifle and spotter did a single head shot, you could make the case that he could've shot the guy in the leg instead. but for a cop wielding a pistol, or even a sub-machine gun, the accuracy just isn't "there".

          So, like in the military, you're taught to go for "center mass" with pistols. [yeah it was that way when i was in the Navy, to qualify with a pistol for security reasons, twice a year if I remember correctly - aim carefully, exhale and squeeze - and I was never 'sharpshooter' quality, probably because I have long gorilla arms and the sighting moves around too much]

          it's best NOT to make assumptions about firearms that are based on "pandering to the perception" and television/movies. In other words, if you haven't been taught to use a weapon in a military or police context, you probably won't "get it". [NRA classes ARE, as I understand it, similar to police and military training]. But yeah we're in a world where only a very SMALL percentage of the population has military or police experience.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: hands up, drop to my knees, hit the ground and spread-eagle.

        I hate to say this, but there's been at least one incident, when a person (innocent) was shot by police AFTER they put the hands up. Or did _exactly_ what the police pointing a gun at him / her asked them to do.

        Of course, humans make mistakes and go crazy, and such cases are extremely rare (arguably, there might be at least one more, or dozens or even hundreds of potential murderers walking the streets in police uniforms around the world, who haven't shot an innocent person - yet), and but still that case made me pretty uneasy. I mean, you would expect to live for following the law (directly and literally), instead of getting a bullet from a "law-enforcement" officer.

      3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Hostage situations...

        "All of this confirms what I think I will do if ever I find myself facing a bunch of US cops with their guns out for me: hands up, drop to my knees, hit the ground and spread-eagle. If they want to talk to me after that, I'll be listening, but I won't move until they tell me I can or come and cuff me."

        Even that doesn't work all the time :-(

        And even then the cops get away with it ... This guy was innocent of any crime, but this is how his execution went down:

        The body camera footage shows Shaver on his knees in the hotel hallway, a few feet away from the barrel of a police officer's gun.

        "Hands up in the air," an officer says.

        Shaver puts his hands on the floor, then behind his back, then moves them forward again before an officer yells "Hands up in the air!" Shaver moves his hands up above his head.

        "You do that again, we're shooting you, do you understand?" the officer said.

        "Please, do not shoot me," Shaver said.

        "Then listen to my instructions," the officer said.

        "I'm trying to just do what you say," Shaver said.

        "Do not put your hands down for any reason!" the officer later says to Shaver. "You think you're going to fall, you better fall on your face. Your hands go back in the small of your back or down, we are going to shoot you! Do you understand me?"

        "Yes, sir," Shaver says, sobbing.

        An officer then orders Shaver to crawl toward him. As Shaver crawls, he appears to reach behind him with his right hand.

        That's when Brailsford fired five rounds, killing him.

        More: https://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/10/us/arizona-jury-acquits-ex-cop-of-murder/index.html

      4. YetAnotherLocksmith

        Re: Hostage situations...

        A sudden movement like that would get you shot for certain!

        I wish that was sarcasm.

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Hostage situations...

      "What would you've done if you get a 911 call regarding a hostile hostage situation, you go out to try to defuse that situation."

      Um, call back the phone or the home landline for confirmation?! Since the alleged shooter called 911 (multiple times) there's a pretty good chance he would answer´if it was real.

      Of course you'll have to ASSUME that ANYBODY walking out of the door is part of the hostile party and if said person do things quite contrary to your orders (dropping hands when ordered to place his/her hands up)

      I'd be pretty dazed if I walked out of the house and suddenly cops were all around shouting orders and lots of lights. Hands dropping due to confusion - quite possible. Finch flinched and that was it.

      Just makes me wonder why the cop who shot him (with a rifle and looking through the scope) had to aim for his chest - the bullet went through his heart according to autopsy. Why don't they aim for feet just to incapacitate? The cops were behind cars and any wild shooter from that distance would have zero chance to hit anyone if he managed to pull a pistol from his pocket.

      The local paper has a report with multiple poor quality bodycam videos (due to night time?). The officers' reports vary and some didn't regard him a threat and thought he was going to pull his pants up. Not all officers even had their bodycams turned on.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Hostage situations...

        Since the alleged shooter called 911 (multiple times) there's a pretty good chance he would answer´if it was real.

        Not even 911. Since Barriss was swatting from another state, he had to call the police on a regular department number. Which, as many security experts have pointed out, the police should have treated as a reason to consider the calls suspect, and exercise additional caution. They did not (as is clear from the excerpts of the interviews that have been made public).

        Finch flinched and that was it.

        Only 10 seconds after he emerged from the house. He probably never had a clue what was going on.

        There was no real attempt by the Wichita PD to de-escalate. According to the report of the sergeant in command at the scene, as soon as the door opened "multiple officers began yelling", and the sergeant elected to try to get Finch to "focus away" from them by "screaming louder".

        So, essentially: There's a commotion outside. Finch steps out. There's 10 seconds of multiple people screaming at him, and then "Officer #1" shoots him, from across the street, with a rifle.

        We have a word for a group that behaves that way: "mob". That's not good policing. It's not policing at all. It's just the state exercising its monopoly on violence, and it's the direct result of the past few decades of militarizing the police and fear-mongering.

        Yes, confronting a possible killer in a possible hostage situation is dangerous. That's what you sign up for when you put the badge on.

        I have no animosity toward the police in general. It's a necessary function. My best friend is a reserve police officer. The police in the city where my main residence is have been great, and the department near my other residence is pretty good. But there are far too many places in the US where screening, training, and procedures are criminally inadequate, and the judicial branch has largely abandoned its oversight duties.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hostage situations...

      A few years ago I seriously messed up my back. As a result of this there are times when I cannot lift my hands above shoulder height for more than a few minutes. I guess I'd be dead man walking if I ever encounter a nervous American cop.

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: Hostage situations...

        Same here, damage to my shoulder means it can be excruciatingly painful to raise my arm; anything that gets my hand above shoulder height is potentially going to have me in serious pain.

        Back on Topic, the idiots involved should look forwards to an electrified gaming chair.

    4. rg287

      Re: Hostage situations...

      Put yourself in the cops shoes.

      What would you've done if you get a 911 call regarding a hostile hostage situation, you go out to try to defuse that situation.

      Whilst I take your point, and they are in a bit of a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't position, the fact is the number of swatting calls is now sufficiently high that there's a very good chance a hostage call is swatting. It's to the point where Seattle PD has an anti-swatting register where you can sign up if you think you might be "at risk". It's part of "SMART911" where you can also pre-register that residents at an address are perhaps deaf or have some other impediment, so officers can make more informed decisions if someone appears not to be complying with (say) spoken instructions.

      The appropriate response in all cases is "Trust but Verify". Any competent police officer should be following their ABCs - Assume Nothing, Believe Nobody and Consider all possibilities.

      There is actually bodycam footage of the Andrew Finch shooting and there is no officer within 30metres of him. The cars are all parked on the far side of the street.

      No officer can possibly say that they had a clear view of his hands or that he posed an "Imminent Threat to Life" (which is the one and only scenario is which it is ever appropriate to deploy lethal force).

      The only statement they can possibly give is "We had a call about a murder-hostage situation. We didn't know if there were hostages, we just had a guy stood in the doorway of his house who we assumed was the hostage taker so we shot him because he lowered his hands momentarily in the confusion."

      That simply isn't sufficient. Had they tried calling the house? Speaking with the subject calmly? Establishing whether there were any actual hostages? No?

    5. aphexbr

      Re: Hostage situations...

      "Of course you'll have to ASSUME that ANYBODY walking out of the door is part of the hostile party, and if said person do things quite contrary to your orders (dropping hands when ordered to place his/her hands up) you'll shoot, questions asked later"

      Congratulations, you just murdered the hostage who was sent out to talk, while the criminal keeps him at gunpoint while remaining hidden.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Hostage situations...

        Can't help but think of the conversation the Feds have in the helicopter in Die Hard... Or indeed in any number of films where hostages are set up to look like captors. You just don't know who or what is in front of you.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Hostage situations...

          That's why you always send out the white hostage

    6. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Hostage situations...

      Let's put ourselves in the cop's shoes. If you have a hostage situation, why do you think the hostage taker is going to come out alone and in plain sight to see what's up? He's either the dumbest hostage taker in the world and has unwittingly just let the hostages go, he's a hostage who's been released, or he's totally clueless as to what you're talking about and likely can't hear or understand the vague and often contradictory commands being given.

      This is about training, bad training. They're taught to neutralize the any potential threat and then ask questions - maybe, collateral damage be damned.

    7. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Hostage situations...

      "In this case the police merely acted as a proxy - so the person who originally did the swatting is guilty of "pulling the trigger by proxy". (If such a term do exist in law)."

      No, he's not. He's guilty of lots of offences, but he isn't in control of the police. He's relying on bad training to get the guy killed. Actually, he's not even doing that : if he wanted to get his friend killed, he'd have given them HIS address. We have to assume he was trying to frighten his friend by calling the cops for real, not by having some killed for real. Either way, he probably isn't actually guilty of anything more serious than wasting police time, misinformation, putting the victim in harm's way etc. The policeman pulled the trigger, and he did it in contradiction of his training.

      As to whether the policeman should react like that for his own protection : in a dark alley, without a clear view of the assumed shooter, with no backup : yes, it might be a reasonable reaction.

      He's been called out, with support, to an incident with no verified report of a problem and shoots a person who is outside their house and has got there without preparation, carrying nothing visible and until recently having his hands up. It's likely he drops them slowly, tiredly, unconvinced he is at risk. Not in a way that appears to be diving for a concealed weapon.

      The likelihood is that the victim can, at worst, bring out a heavy handgun and fire it quickly without the opportunity to aim it. In comparison, the policeman has, if he's working to training, got a rifle with which he can make an accurate shot over a range the victim can't match, he has cover behind his cruiser, and has colleagues also able to shoot if sufficient threat exists. If the victim brings up a handgun, he's almost certainly not going to kill the policeman.

      What we have here is a situation created by the actions of the telephone caller and for which they should be locked away. But the actions of the policeman are those of an untrained, poorly prepared trigger-happy fool who panics when there is a small change to the situation. This is not what police gun training is for.

      And yes, a lot like the Menezes case : innocent victim, misinformation, poor police training leading to frightened officers, panic reactions and trigger-happy result . Except that in that case it was not even a situation created by a criminally stupid perpetrator. In that case, it was the police that also generated the initial situation. The only saving point is that they had prepared themselves for a bomb threat rather than a lone gunman, so the reaction of killing on movement has some limited sense behind it.

      I say limited because you can't necessarily stop a suicide bomber by shooting him : there is equally good chance that killing him will permit his explosives to detonate, so the risk to the police or bystanders isn't reduced by shooting. Shootiung does not improve your chances of survival against a bomb blast. Again, poor training, bad thinking, fear, leading to panic reactions.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Hostage situations...

        Actually, he's not even doing that : if he wanted to get his friend killed, he'd have given them HIS address

        It's not clear what you're trying to say (the antecedents of some of your pronouns are unclear), but it's almost certainly not what happened in the Finch case.

        In brief:

        1. Two young idiots, Viner and Gaskill, were fighting over some idiotic thing in Call of Duty.

        2. Viner asked Barriss, who has form, to swat Gaskill.

        3. Gaskill dared Barriss to do it, and gave him an address where he (Gaskill) had previously lived. This is where Finch and his family were currently living.

        4. Barriss made the swatting calls to Wichita PD.

        It's not clear what exactly any of the Three Assholes thought would happen. ("Thought" may be too strong a word to describe their mental processes.) Clearly they all share some culpability. Of course the police, as the only adults (besides Finch) actively involved, do so was well.

        poor police training leading to frightened officers, panic reactions and trigger-happy result

        Frankly, based on the evidence released to the public, I don't see much sign of significant fear (not enough to impede rational thought) or panic among the officers on the scene. What I see is a lot of adrenaline and machismo. They were there to Take a Bad Guy Down.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cant they tell where the call was placed?

    Especially if it wasn't even the same state!

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Cant they tell where the call was placed?

      If you click through to the previous article, and pull up the grand jury paperwork*, you'll see it says Barriss "acquired an assigned telephone number from TextNow so it appeared to Wichita emergency personnel (with caller id) that defendant BARRISS was using a telephone with a '316' area code, the area code that includes Wichita, Kansas."

      He used a Wichita number. FWIW US area codes are a little loose. Our San Francisco office has (650) phone numbers, which makes ppl think we are in San Mateo.

      C.

      * it's still here https://regmedia.co.uk/2018/05/24/barrissindictment.pdf

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Cant they tell where the call was placed?

      Especially if it wasn't even the same state!

      Caller Ids are trivial to spoof and there are plenty of services which will allow you to do that.

      The most common cold-caller/scammer approach in USA at present is to call from what looks like a local number from your calling area.

      This issue is not specific to USA - I had a call from someone pretending to be Vodafone on Sunday spoofing their 0800 number who tried to fish my account details.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Cant they tell where the call was placed?

        "Caller Ids are trivial to spoof and there are plenty of services which will allow you to do that."

        And the operator will be aware of that, and treat the information with less than complete trust. They may even have more information than we do about its veracity, source of information etc.

    3. rg287

      Re: Cant they tell where the call was placed?

      Especially if it wasn't even the same state!

      You can get proxy numbers, make it look like you're calling from anywhere. VOIP is great.

      However, you would think the first thing that would happen is that a negotiator would call the number assigned to the address in question (surely the Police have a phone book) and start a conversation before anyone even thinks about firing lethal shots.

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Meh

    Guns vs Laws

    If someone wants one bad enough, no law is going to stop them. I live in a country with pretty strict gun laws, and I know there is a big black market for them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If someone wants one bad enough

      But loads of gun deaths in America aren't because someone really, really wanted a gun. They're because someone was angry and guns are fucking everywhere. Laws don't make guns disappear. Science says laws do reduce the harm they cause.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: If someone wants one bad enough

        @ac

        I used to live in Chicago, people are killed by getting kicked to death, beaten with what ever is at hand, chains, knives etc. In NY, people get pushed in front of trains... I think the real problem is ANGER!

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: If someone wants one bad enough

          Yeah, but guns are one of the few weapons where you don't have to be up close and personal. Detachment from the act is, if not an enabler, then... well, haptic feedback. You get what I'm saying.

          1. Baldrickk Silver badge

            Re: If someone wants one bad enough

            The thing about guns being available isn't that if someone really, really wants a gun he can't get one - that'll happen through means legal and otherwise.

            But if everyone and their mother don't have gun/s to hand - when [random member of society] gets themselves into a pissed off state, there isn't a firearm to hand with which they can just go and murder a group of people.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Guns vs Laws

      It's not when someone wants a gun that there's trouble, it's when everyone and their dog have a gun, so the proportion of nutters that is armed goes way beyond what is safe.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Guns vs Laws

        Possibly; on the other hand, I'd be willing to bet that everyone really, really wanting a gun in those places (99.99% likely obtained illegally unless you're a hunter or something - which would be said 0.01%) is already a deranged psycho with runaway power-fantasies (and probably also a mobster). Certainly better than "guns everywhere" in a statistical sense, yet somehow really not all the encouraging at all if you suspect you might have the misfortune of having to deal with one of those for any reason.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: Certainly better than "guns everywhere" in a statistical sense

          I'd argue that's not only better statistically.

    3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Guns vs Laws

      @chivo243, while I agree with you, I fail to see where you're going. The only ones with guns was the police.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The word they're looking for is 'scapegoat'

    I'm as keen for this lunatic to be locked up as anyone else, but the person who fired the shot bears at least the same amount of responsibility for what happened. Surely the police are trained to evaluate situations and take appropriate action. Not just shoot at the first person who looks dodgy.

    Oh wait, I forgot about the second amendment - the right to be shot in a variety of stupid and unnecessary situations.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: The word they're looking for is 'scapegoat'

      Are we feeling a bit inferior because your Goverment, will only let you carrry an unconcealed Knife to a gunfight? Perhaphs it would be wise to clean up after your Patch, before you go worring about someone elses.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Are we feeling a bit inferior

        Why don't you ask Finch how he feels?

        I'd rather be alive and feeling inferior thanks. Only I don't feel inferior, I don't want to shoot anything and the fact that guns aren't easily available doesn't worry me.

        Do guns make you feel superior?

      2. A.P. Veening

        Re: Are we feeling a bit inferior

        You obviously need that gun to compensate for your inferior masculinity.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: You obviously need that gun to compensate for your inferior masculinity.

          I have an oozy 9mm...

          1. hplasm Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: You obviously need that gun to compensate for your inferior masculinity.

            ...length or width?

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Oozy 9mm ...length or width?

              Both.

      3. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: The word they're looking for is 'scapegoat'

        Try as I might, it’s difficult to feel inferior to a nation which voted for Donald Trump. And I say this as a citizen of a nation which voted for Theresa May and Brexit which, in my book, makes us pretty much inferior to everyone (or, at least, most nations in Europe)

        One of the few things that we do have right though are our gun laws - to quote the late, great, Bill Hicks -

        “England, where no one has guns: 14* deaths. United States, and I think you know how we feel about guns – whoo! I’m gettin’ a stiffy! 23,000 deaths from handguns. But there’s no

        connection, and you’d be a fool and a communist to make one. There’s no connection between having a gun and shooting someone with it, and not having a gun and not shooting someone…”

        *actually about 50 for England and Wales

        1. rmason Silver badge

          Re: The word they're looking for is 'scapegoat'

          Last year it was circa 50 UK gun related deaths vs circa 30 thousand deaths in the states.

          Yet Americans really think all our "bad guys" still have guns.

      4. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

        Re: The word they're looking for is 'scapegoat'

        Are we feeling a bit inferior because your Goverment[sic], will only let you carrry[sic] an unconcealed Knife to a gunfight?

        Actually I have to say, I feel pretty damn superior because folk in my country don't automatically assume any even slightly contentious situation is "a gunfight". The Wild West is long gone, and it's time some people grew the hell up and accepted that.

        I'm not saying that my "Patch" as you put it doesn't have problems, but I have to say I feel very happy that I don't have to worry about my kids getting shot when the go to school, or getting shot from a hotel window when I attend a music concert. Seriously, how does an alleged "civilized" country think it's OK to have had 307 mass shootings in 311 days? And that's just mass shootings. In all, more than 12,500 people have been shot dead in the US this year, and over 24,500 injured And that is comparable to 280 knife crime deaths in total in the UK in 2018, according to our American cousins.

        <sarcasm>

        No, it's clear to me that the USA doesn't have a gun problem at all.

        </sarcasm>

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: The word they're looking for is 'scapegoat'

          "Are we feeling a bit inferior because your Goverment[sic], will only let you carrry[sic] an unconcealed Knife to a gunfight?""

          a. No- because there isn't a 'gunfight' every 10 minutes here..

          B. No, because I'm not a coward that needs to carry a gun to feel safe from THEM (whoever the demons in your head are... and what colo(u)r they are, probably)..

          Wheres the dickhead icon?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The word they're looking for is 'scapegoat'

        @Michael Habel

        You shure do have a purty mouth. Fer a city boi.

      6. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: The word they're looking for is 'scapegoat'

        Get it right Michael, our government doesn't allow us to carry an unconcealed knife either. It's illegal to carry fixed blade knives over a certain length, and if you do end up in a fight with a knife within legal limits I wouldn't fancy your changes of avoiding prosecution.

        I for one am completely happy with this. It's amazing how the US manages to stuff its collective fingers in its ears. Everyone knows the US has

        A gun problem

        Endemic and institutional racism

        ..amongst many other flaws..

        However, do keep it up, you've managed to make the Little Englanders in Britain look good by comparison. Quite a feat considering the clusterfucks our country are experiencing at the moment.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: The word they're looking for is 'scapegoat'

          1: Americas fetish with guns causing over 12k deaths per year.

          2: The majority of the United Kingdom decided to leave a trading block

          If you think those two issues even belong on the same Internet as each other, never mind the same El Reg comment, then you are deranged.

          1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

            Re: The word they're looking for is 'scapegoat'

            Oh I don't know. Collective insanity is still insanity. You're just arguing over impact.

  6. A.P. Veening

    Shoot the cops

    QUOTE

    "A person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if: He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself," the Florida law states.

    END-QUOTE

    With the above law and given American police policy of just shooting anybody, it will soon be safer to just shoot any police officer approaching your house.

  7. anonanonanon

    How many mass shootings you had this year? Literally noone else in the civilized world has your troubles mate, and we don't want them.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      And, yet London is the knife muder capital of the world, supassing even New York in violent crimes. So yeah, again worry about your own mess.

      1. Casca

        You really are a special snowflake arn't you? Look upp the statistics. If my memory is correct it was one month one year… But hey, you at least have some guns to coddle...

        1. A.P. Veening

          Snowflake

          Please don't turn up the heat too much on our snowflake, he might melt ;)

      2. LDS Silver badge

        It's very difficult to kill tens of people in a little time with a knife. London has a gang issue, true, and with guns it would be just deadlier - with higher risks for anybody withing the bullets range.

        Anyway I would prohibit carrying knives as well - we're not in the Middle Ages when carrying a knife around was a necessity - inside a city you don't need knives, unless they're stored in your toolbox, for your job - which usually aren't the knives best suited to kill people.

        1. Clockworkseer

          "inside a city you don't need knives, unless they're stored in your toolbox, for your job - which usually aren't the knives best suited to kill people"

          Actual Law Time: You may carry, without a good reason, a folding knife of blade less than three inches with no locking mechanism whatsoever. Anything else, you must have a good reason (or its banned outright if its certain kinds of knife.)

          On a practical level, you re much more likely to hurt yourself with the first kind of knife than you are whatever you're hitting. Ain't nobody stabbing with something like that. Having one of those close on your fingers (the most likely result) is nasty.

          Now, as to need: I know a reasonable number of disabled people who, for reasons of hand dexterity and other such conditions, find dealing with food and packaging while out and about significantly easier with some kind of sharp object. My work canteen has no sharp knives whatsoever, so actually cutting anything up as part of lunch is a massive chore. just because you can;t think of any good reasons for something like that doesn't mean there aren't any.

          Most of the stabbings out there are either big fixed blade knives(which, you really don't need to carry around a city) small locking folders (the law is a little knee-jerk in this regard) and weapons of opportunity (kitchen knives, cleavers, etc, screwdrivers, anything sharp and pointy.) and those last few are something you'll never truly stop.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. DavCrav Silver badge

        "And, yet London is the knife muder capital of the world, supassing even New York in violent crimes. So yeah, again worry about your own mess."

        Lies. Just all lies.

        The UK counts a violent crime as any crime using physical force, so pushing someone is a violent crime in the UK. Whereas, oh why bother, you're obviously an idiot.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "The UK counts a violent crime as any crime using physical force, so pushing someone is a violent crime in the UK."

          In the US everything is a Hate Crime if the people involved are of different races, straight v Gay, of different religions or any other fabricated division.

          The UK appears to have more incidents involving knives/sharp instruments as handguns are not as prevalent to date. Since criminals aren't bothered with following the law, hey, they're criminals, they'd use a gun if they can get one. Where there is a demand, there will be a supply. To use a knife or machete properly, you have to practice and also get rather close to your victim. Guns don't take as much training and can even be used with none and you don't have to be standing next to your victim. Just by firing a few rounds or showing a gun, you can discourage chasers where brandishing a knife won't deter somebody from following you a few meters back.

      5. rg287

        And, yet London is the knife muder capital of the world, supassing even New York in violent crimes. So yeah, again worry about your own mess.

        New York Homicides:

        2015: 352

        2016: 334

        2017: 290

        London Homicides:

        2015: 109

        2016: 102

        2017: 117

        Knife crime? Gun crime? Do go on about how violent London is. And watch less Fox News.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "And, yet London is the knife muder capital of the world, supassing even New York in violent crimes. So yeah, again worry about your own mess"

        ^ At least the actions are generally limited where knives are concerned unlike when military assault weapons are used to commit everyday massacres in the United States.

        You ought perhaps to encourage your country to put its own thoroughly rotten house in order first before criticising other nation states. Indeed, of the advanced OECD countries, it is only the United States that persists with the sheer lunacy of allowing criminals, violent extremists and unstable individuals to build up large personal arsenals then are then used to commit mass murders.

        The overbearing power of the completely malignant (and Kremlin-backed and funded) National Rifle Association needs to be curtailed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Despite hysteria, mass shootings aren't a real problem though - they are completely buried by background noise. For USA in 2016:

      * gun deaths due to mass shootings: 71

      * gun deaths due to accidents and war casualties: 1,305

      * gun deaths due to homicides (other than mass shootings): 14,344

      * gun deaths due to suicide: 22,938

      * motoring deaths: 37,806

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41488081

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_vehicle_fatality_rate_in_U.S._by_year

      Reducing gun ownership might at least reduce "gun deaths due to accidents"

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "Despite hysteria, mass shootings aren't a real problem though - they are completely buried by background noise. For USA in 2016:

        * gun deaths due to mass shootings: 71

        * gun deaths due to accidents and war casualties: 1,305

        * gun deaths due to homicides (other than mass shootings): 14,344

        * gun deaths due to suicide: 22,938

        * motoring deaths: 37,806

        Reducing gun ownership might at least reduce "gun deaths due to accidents" "

        All I see from this is that you lot are also shit at driving. And kill yourselves a lot. And murder each other a lot.

        You know, getting rid of guns will reduce the following: mass shootings, accidents, homicides, and suicides. Won't help with your lack of driving ability though. For that I recommend wearing your fucking seatbelt.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          re: For that I recommend wearing your fucking seatbelt.

          It's my constitutional right to be catapulted through the windscreen!

          1. Allonymous Coward

            Re: re: For that I recommend wearing your fucking seatbelt.

            I thought American cars did the seatbelt thing for you?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SptbcNjYVtw

            1. hplasm Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: re: For that I recommend wearing your fucking seatbelt.

              "I thought American cars did the seatbelt thing for you?"

              For Freedom, you meed to shoot the seatbelt off first (coz knives are bad...)

        2. xeroks

          @DavCrav I believe the point AC was trying to make is that mass shootings, while horrible, are not the worst effect of high gun ownership.

          To me, reducing the numbers of accidents and successful suicides are the bigger, more obvious targets that are easier to measure.

          Reducing the number of homicides is harder to measure. The NRA have managed to prevent the authorities from recording stats and without past stats, future benefits can only be estimated.

          However we know that one of the key factors influencing the decision to commit a crime is the availability of means. It seems a no brainer that less legal guns= less death by legal guns, and that a large national pool of legal guns is a resource that criminals can comparatively easily exploit to source guns for themselves.

          but you know, personal defence is so important because scare stories.

      2. Danny 2 Silver badge

        @AnonCow

        "Despite hysteria, mass shootings aren't a real problem though - they are completely buried by background noise. For USA in 2016:"

        For a start, that is a distraction fallacy since this story isn't about mass shootings, it is about SWATting.

        Secondly, I challenge the BBC sources for 2016 as inaccurate. The BBC cite the CDC and Mother Jones for 2016 mass shootings without a supporting link. The CDC, while normally highly credible, is specifically banned from researching gun violence. They have no especial authority or credibility in this area, due to legal constraints designed by NRA funded politicians. And Mother Jones is meh.

        The Gun Violence Archive lists 382 reported and verified mass shootings in 2016. Why the discrepancy? Presumably definition. The official definition of mass shootings had recently changed from four or more deaths to three or more deaths. https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/past-tolls

        You'll note that the total number of gun deaths in the US reported by the GVA is far lower than the BBC unlinked CDC/Mother Jones figures. That again will be methodology - the GVA relies on "reported and verified". It is the 'Iraq Body Count' of US gun deaths. The true, higher, figure would require an epidemiological study which the CDC is capable of but legally unable to do.

        Your link also minimises total gun deaths as often suicides. I would argue that gun ownership increases suicides due to it's easy, convenient and often instant attributes, so that is still an argument against gun ownership. Several times I have thought, "Just shoot me / Put a bullet in my head", and if I had a gun to hand then I would have. Other methods are slightly more off putting - the prolonged agony of hanging or even more prolonged slitting of wrists; the pain of gas poisoning; the social distress and risk to others of a traffic death, well, the knowledge of those things gives pause for thought. And even a slight pause for thought can save a life.

        I support voluntary euthanasia as some European nations permit it - after a period of commitment and with drugs rendering the suicide unconscious.

        This level of detail is distraction from the ongoing mass slaughter in the US which is unique in the developed world. It is wrong to call the US a third world or developing country, but you are a fractured nation whose allegiance to a misinterpretation of a poorly worded historic document helps slaughter an amazing amount of yourselves each year.

        There was a tendency in the UK to ignore US suicidal/homicidal stupidity as 'yank on yank violence', and that was a mistake. Your current idiot in chief has inspired the pseudo-fascist Italian government to lower gun controls, and currently Italians can travel to the UK.

        1. Ian Emery Silver badge

          Re: @AnonCow

          FIRST result in entering "CDC gun death 2016" into Google search bar (UK ,as I know Google block some of these results in the US).

          https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm

          Please note, no "research" just complied records.

          Also - for the sake of context - more US people die (on average), of gun injuries in any one month, than have died in the ENTIRE Afghanistan debacle; and you are running at over 50% per year, of the US military WW2 mortality rate.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AnonCow

            "Also - for the sake of context - more US people die (on average), of gun injuries in any one month, than have died in the ENTIRE Afghanistan debacle; and you are running at over 50% per year, of the US military WW2 mortality rate."

            Well yes, compare the population of US people in Afghanistan to US people in the US. Feel free to do the same for WW2. I think if you actually wanted to think, you'll find that the per capita rate nicely illustrates your false equivalence.

            -1 must try harder.

            1. Ian Emery Silver badge

              Re: @AnonCow

              Fewer people die from guns in a war, than in "peaceful" USA and you say "must try harder" ??

              You sir, are a moron, no wonder you are hiding your identity.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @AnonCow

                Maybe, at least I'm not a liar.

                There have been over 100,000 killed in the Afghanistan debacle and of those about 2,400 were US military and 1,700 US contractors for a total of 4,100 US people. Note that the vast majority of these people were killed by someone else. In one month in the US the average (2017 FBI data) is 915 people killed by someone else with a firearm but you mislead by including suicides. Unfortunately for you, your claim is still bogus when you include suicides which average 1,833 (2015 CDC data) suicides by firearm per month. Last I checked, 1,833 plus 915 was 2,748 making you ignorant and lazy or a liar.

                Also your claim is still false even when including homicides by firearm and all suicides, including the 1,848 per month who opt for other methods of suicide, which brings the average to 3,683 per month.

                Yes, that it is still a large number but the vast majority are suicides and have little bearing on whether a place is "peaceful" or "safe." Well, unless you are saying places like South Korea and Belgium are the most dangerous places in the world because their suicide rates are so high but most would find that preposterous. Oh, I see, suicide is fine as long as they do it the "right" way and don't use a gun.

                You sir, are a liar and an ass.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: @AnonCow

          There are some very simple and painless ways of committing suicide. Using a gun is fraught with problems and the likely reason it's still up the charts is the publicity. I lost a friend to bottle of Yukon Jack and strong pain meds that was accidental. If a bit of a screw up like that can put out the lights, why risk pain and/or a life going forward as a quadriplegic?

          Terry Pratchett did a show on assisted suicide. When his was diagnosed with Alzheimers, he didn't want to deteriorate to the point where he was a burden on his family and lost his sense of self, so he did a fair amount of looking into methods and countries where it is legal. It's a tough program to watch, but worth it.

    3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Focus @anonanonanon, focus! This was the cops who did the shooting. It wasn't a mass shooting and, albeit surprisingly, no puppies were harmed. There's no need for a non-sequitur so you can go off on a rant. I'm sure cops in your 'civilized world' have shot innocent people too although they might have been able to plant the required evidence to make it look like a "good shoot".

  8. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    All that just confirms my opinion that America is a third world country.

    If that wasn't enough, I further opine it is rapidly heading for categorisation as a banana republic.

    1. A.P. Veening

      banana republic?

      It isn't even a republic any more (except in name), no politician is working for the public cause (res publica!).

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: banana republic?

        It's an Orange Republic now...

  9. gotes

    Throw the book at him

    .. use a hardcover and aim for the face.

    I see a lot of people discussing US gun laws and trigger happy police officers, but nobody is condemning this piece of shit who has called in 46 bomb hoaxes and (indirectly) got an innocent man killed due to his childish actions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Throw the book at him

      Actually I think most people are condemning him but curious as to why the police apparently don't bare any responsibility for turning up at someone house, assuming the person walking out was an aggressor and hostage taker and then shooting him when he's unarmed.

      In the UK in that situation he probably wouldn't even have been tazed or slapped with a baton, he would have been cuffed, they'd have checked the house, probably kept him in overnight whilst they carry out enquiries and then he'd be freed whilst they go after the hoax caller.

      In the US an innocent man is dead, the police shrug and the blame is entirely placed on the numpty who made the call. We're not saying numpty should be freed, we're simply perplexed as to why yet again the use of deadly force against unarmed citizens isn't seen as a huge problem.

      1. gotes

        Re: Throw the book at him

        Yes, true. In the UK we had the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, I don't think any police officers were charged in that case either.

        1. Halfmad

          Re: Throw the book at him

          Difference with Jean Charles de Menezes is that there was genuine public outcry about it and the media reported it essentially as a public execution.

          Did this swatting get similar treatment in the US or is it lost amongst the wealth of similar police killings?

          1. Ian Emery Silver badge

            Re: Throw the book at him

            You omitted to add that the Police involved had genuine reasons to suspect he was wearing a suicide vest; that they were on high alert after several suicide bombings, and he RAN when approached.

            I feel for both this relatives and the poor sod who shot him, despite not being a huge fan of the UK police.

            1. John 62

              Re: Throw the book at him

              Suicide bomb threat in London: apprehend suspect and shoot him at point blank range.

              Suicide bomb threat in Jerusalem: apprehend suspect, take off bomb-vest and defuse it, prosecute suspect.

              Not that I'm putting Israeli security practices in general on a pedestal (and there's an incentive in not making people into martyrs), but the difference is striking.

            2. BoldMan

              Re: Throw the book at him

              @Ian Emery

              "You omitted to add that the Police involved had genuine reasons to suspect he was wearing a suicide vest; that they were on high alert after several suicide bombings, and he RAN when approached."

              HE WAS NOT CHALLENGED BY POLICE, HE RAN BECAUSE THE TRAIN WAS IN THE STATION AND HE WANTED TO CATCH IT!!

              It was a case of mistaken identity and in the paranoia of that time no checks were made and they executed him once he was on the tube train. All the suspicious behaviours attitude to him by the police (eg getting off a bus to go into a tube station and then getting on a different bus because the tube station was closed) were later shown to be perfectly reasonable behaviour.

              Try reading the bloody facts before spouting nonsense.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Jean_Charles_de_Menezes

        2. rg287

          Re: Throw the book at him

          Yes, true. In the UK we had the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, I don't think any police officers were charged in that case either.

          We did, and there was public outcry, the IPCC ripped the Met a new one and the Met Commissioner was prosecuted, though they wasn't enough evidence to convict individual officers (though it was likely "career-limiting" for a number of those involved). The Met formally apologised to the family and there was a 6-figure settlement.

          AFAIK the Wichita police have not yet apologised to the family or formally admitted fault.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Throw the book at him

            "AFAIK the Wichita police have not yet apologised to the family or formally admitted fault."

            In the US, if they did that, it would be used in court against them. With a pending Civil case, they can't say anything without potentially prejudicing the case.

        3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: Throw the book at him

          "I don't think any police officers were charged in that case either."

          In part that is because it's not actually clear (I'm happy if anyone can clear this up) who did the shooting. I have my suspicions (based on how the inquest was handled) that at the very least the rooftop spotter (who was having a piss and so falsely identified Menezes as a suspect) was military and not police. The shooters also seemed to be more of a more military bent than your normal firearms officers.

          There was a lot of cover up going on, which worked quite well since most of the bullshit has already been spouted already on this thread. Essentially he was mis-identified, no-one confirmed who he was, he didn't act in any suspicious manner, and they passed up multiple opportunities to intercept him in far less "dangerous" situations. If they genuinely thought he was a suicide bomber, they were perfectly happy having him ride on two fairly crowded busses.

          Hence why the Met eventually copped to "failing to uphold his health and safety" while not giving any cops (or soldiers lent to the cops) a specific portion of the blame.

          But yes, for those who do the "but the UK cops shoot people too" remember that when it comes to counter terrorism, the UK often relies on the army rather than the police for it's pointy sticks, and it's often kept on the down low since there is a bit of unease about using troops to keep order. Well, us lefties find it a bit problematic, small c conservatives do too (government action and all that) whereas the Conservative party is generally of the principle that strikers/trade unionists/Labour voters should be rounded up and shot, pour encourager les autres.

          1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: Throw the book at him

            As a small 'c' conservative I think strikers, trade union members and Labour voters ( post Corbyn ) should be shot because that's a price worth paying to keep the government from growing even more.

    2. rg287

      Re: Throw the book at him

      I see a lot of people discussing US gun laws and trigger happy police officers, but nobody is condemning this piece of shit who has called in 46 bomb hoaxes and (indirectly) got an innocent man killed due to his childish actions.

      That's already spoken for by virtue of the fact he's been arrested and is going to the clink.

      What we're all confused about is the lack of comeback on the officer who shot a hostage-taker who didn't actually have any hostages. Or a weapon.

      It's nearly as bad as the Police who killed the guy who shot at them from the top of his stairs. But from his point of view, he wasn't shooting at Police. He was shooting at the masked intruders who'd broken down his door in the middle of the night without announcing who they were.

      They were executing a no-knock warrant and had just broken into the wrong house...

      What's that old rule - measure twice cut once?

  10. TVU Silver badge

    "Scumbag who phoned in a Call of Duty 'swatting' that ended in death pleads guilty to dozens of criminal charges. Another pair awaiting trial over slaying of Andrew Finch"

    An entirely innocent person lost his life because the actions of three very immature and unthinking scumbags. Said scumbags will now be experiencing the consequences of their actions which will probably include a very long time in jail which will allow them to reflect on their initial actions.

    Hopefully, the great publicity surrounding this particular trial will serve as a deterrent to any other epsilon semi-morons out there who are considering following their misguided example.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Hopefully, the great publicity surrounding this particular trial will serve as a deterrent to any other epsilon semi-morons out there who are considering following their misguided example.

      We can certainly hope it will deter some, but swatting is common enough that some police departments are taking measures to counteract it (finally), and like any country the US seems to have an inexhaustible supply of morons.1

      Krebs noted that the idiot who (successfully) swatted him got 3 years probation, while some members of the gang that sent heroin to his home and "tipped" police were sentenced on unrelated charges. The sort of people who do this won't be deterred by the thought of probation. And note there have been two other attempts to swat Krebs, and he's just a well-known security researcher.

      I think the real lesson here is: don't play multiplayer online video games. That seems to be the number-one attractant for such morons.

      1Those who are so inclined may recall the relevant Einstein quotation at this point.

  11. Andy Mac

    Hey lock, say goodbye to key, you two might not be seeing each other for a while.

  12. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    I can't see why these guys aren't being prosecuted for murder

    The guy who called in the SWAT did something deliberately that he knew could cost someone their life. Qualitatively, that's no different to firing a gun into a crowd of people.

    The guy who egged him on and gave a false address also did something he knew could cost someone their life.

    As for the cop who shot the victim; I don't know how it works in the US, but in the UK, there has to be an investigation every time an armed officer fires their weapon.The officer is suspended automatically, whilst the IPCC investigates, even if it is clear-cut that they they acted correctly, such as shooting someone who is rampaging with a knife, in order to disable them.

    Some responsibility also has to lie with the police call operator who took the 911 call, or with the people in charge of their operations. The call came from another state, it should have been easy to verify that it did not come from the alleged perpetrator.

    I know for instance, that if you call the police in the UK on 999, the first thing you get is confirmation of the number you are calling from, because everyone here knows that false polcie reports are a thing. I can't believe that they would not be able todo the same in the US, so there is a systematic failure there somewhere.

  13. adam payne Silver badge

    Barriss will be sentenced on January 30, 2019, while Viner, 18, of Ohio, and Gaskill, 20, of Kansas, are still awaiting trial after denying any wrongdoing.

    How can either denying any wrongdoing?!?

    One deliberately gave out the wrong address and the other dared someone else to place the call like a coward.

    I hope the courts teach these two idiots that there are consequences to your actions.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Wrongdoing

      "How can either denying any wrongdoing?!?

      One deliberately gave out the wrong address"

      Well, I can see why Gaskill is claiming this. Not sure how Viner is.

      Viner threatened to SWAT someone, got an address (which he didn't bother to check), then persuaded someone else to make the SWAT call to that address. Can't see any way around it, guy is guilty.

      Now Gaskill is trickier. He was threatened, gave a fake address and said "go on then". Now, I can see how that's not a good thing to do, but is it crossing the line to criminality? Or is it illegal to give a fake address when someone is threatening to to SWAT you?

      So if some nutter came up to you in the street, and told you they were going to sneak into your house and murder you, and then asks you for your address. So you say "10 Downing Street". Now, are you guilty of a) nothing b) being a dick or c) attempted murder?

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Wrongdoing

        So if some nutter came up to you in the street, and told you they were going to sneak into your house and murder you, and then asks you for your address. So you say "10 Downing Street". Now, are you guilty of a) nothing b) being a dick or c) attempted murder?

        If there's a genuine expectation that the nutter thinks that's where you live (he is a nutter after all) and will murder you, then yes. Especially if you don't immediately report the threat to kill from the nutter to the police.

        With the example you give, you also have to take into account that "the man on the Clapham Omnibus" would know that you won't live at 10 Downing Street, so for this reason, a court would probably exonerate you if the nutter went ahead and killed the PM. I think in this case, there would be a number of bigger questions to answer anyway!

        If you gave a false address where it is not reasonable to expect that the nutter knows it isn't your address, then I think at the very least, you would facee some grilling about why you didn't report the threat.

  14. xeroks

    underlying issue: SWATTers?

    As far as I can see, a significant part of the problem might be that the kind of investigation and prosecution that has been done in this case should be done in all swatter situations.

    Essentially: if you SWAT someone, the authorities should go after you with the same rigour regardless of whether someone died as a result.

    That would help prevent this kind of thing from occurring.

  15. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Fractured

    I noticed one statistic on the most recent Californian mass shooting reportage. California has tighter gun controls than most US states, and only 14% of Californians own a gun. Most of them only own one gun, but 10% of the Californian gun owners own more than ten guns, so 50% of guns in California are owned by 1.4% of Californians.

    When 1.4% of a society owns 50% of the guns then that is a rational reason for enhanced 'stop and search' every time they leave their bunkers / compounds.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Fractured

      There's a similar statistic for almost anything you'll find. Even cars. Some people collect guns. So a person has managed to collect (amongst others) a Mauser pistol of every type ever made, or every known variant of the Luger. Or every full size cartridge service rifle the French military ever adopted. Or a whole slew of antique muzzle loading firearms. That's just 4 examples of collections I know exist. And that's just 4 people with over 30 different firearms each. All of them capable of being fired, none of them actually ever likely to be used because the (historic) value of the arms in question far exceeds their practicality, usability as a firearm and the risk of loss in value if it gets damaged doing so. Collectors of anything tend to skew the average a little. We don't all own 30 cars. But if we look at a 1000 random people and Jay Leno happens to be in the group, you might just come to that conclusion.

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        Re: Fractured

        A similar "statistic" is the quite odd one that the average person has less than two arms.

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: Fractured

          What's odd about that ?

          Clearly, some people have only one arm. It's caused by birth defects, accidents, medical trauma .. a variety of possibilities. We're all likely to have met someone with less than two arms.

          In many statistics, such deviations from the norm are balanced against similar deviations on the other side. There are people under 6 feet in height but there are also people over that.

          But there are vanishingly few people with more than two arms. Perhaps a tiny number of birth defects. No accidents. No medical issues (Zaphod Beeblebrox is fictional). So they won't balance out the numbers with less than two arms, and the average (the mean, that-is) is below two.

          Statisticians know that mean averages can sometimes obscure the truth and so they have other averaging methods to choose from. The median average (middle of the distribution) will still be less than two but perhaps higher than the mean. Modal average (the most common occurrence) will be a solid two.

          IANAS.

          Yes, it is very common for the inappropriate method to be used to calculate such an average. Often intentionally, in order to mislead the reader - hence the phrase 'lies, damned lies and statistics'.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Fractured

            "Statisticians know that mean averages can sometimes obscure the truth and so they have other averaging methods to choose from. The median average (middle of the distribution) will still be less than two but perhaps higher than the mean. Modal average (the most common occurrence) will be a solid two.

            IANAS."

            The mode is the most common number, so it is 2 in this case. The median is the amount of arms the person in the middle of the line has, when the people are ordered by number of arms (or the mean of the two in the middle if there are an even number of people). In this case it is therefore also 2.

          2. CRConrad

            No it isn't.

            The median value of number of arms a person has is most probably NOT less than two, but exactly two.

        2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Fractured

          A similar "statistic" is the quite odd one that the average person has less than two arms.

          Not strictly correct; the average person has two arms. However, on average, people have less than two arms. The first is the average of people, the second is the average of people's arms. It's a subtle, but important, difference in semantics.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Fractured

            It's a subtle, but important, difference in semantics.

            Really it's just the difference between the mode and the mean.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Fractured

      While somebody may own more than one firearm, they can only fire one (with any accuracy) at a time. Carrying ten much less using ten is a big chore and off of the charts. Most enthusiasts and hunters will have a few. A couple of pistols, a shotgun and a couple of rifles. If you are shooting varmits, you take a small caliber rifle. You'll explode a squirrel with a round used for deer hunting. You may want an even bigger bullet if you hunt bear for the stopping power. You may also want a rifle with good range for different types of game.

      I have to laugh at the news reports that put in bold type that the police found thousands of rounds of ammo at a home. It can be very hard to get some sizes since the government might be on a buying spree for the weather service (look up NOAA's ammo requisitions). Collectable and odd firearms might require unusual ammo and you buy that as you find it. It might only be produced once or twice a year in limited runs. Also, if 22 caliber ammo is on sale, it's good to stock up. A thousand rounds of .22 isn't a big deal if you like to go target shooting. It's a small round and usually very inexpensive making it perfect for plinking cans and not worrying about it bouncing off of a rock and coming back towards the line.

  16. Jim-234

    This is what happens when there is no accountability on the part of the police

    Yes some evil characters called in a fake threat.

    That is not what killed the innocent unarmed man who did nothing wrong.

    Trigger happy police who are all jacked up on power and control & just want to kill somebody did it.

    The police "officer" that shot him was in no way in danger, they were nice and safely far away watching him and pointing a rifle at him.

    The real crime here is that NOTHING is going to happen to the actual murderer (the police shooter) or his stupid boss or the whole stupid clown circus of them.

    So it will happen again and again because if you can just gun people down and never be called into account for it, no matter how much killing you do, then why would you ever care.

    If some nutjob can make a crank call from half a continent away and you and your supposed "police" show up and murder (yes I said MURDER) an innocent unarmed man in the middle of the night for NO good reason, then that police force should all be looking for new jobs the next day.

    Then if your society refuses to act against those killer police and simply lets them go about their business with no accountability for those that did the killing, they can't claim any moral outrage next time someone decides if they are going to be killed anyways, they might as well take a few of the "police" with them.

    The whole issue of "Gun laws" and also the amount of guilt the hoax callers share is besides the main point.

    There is an epidemic in the USA of Police feeling above the law and just shooting anyone they want.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: This is what happens when there is no accountability on the part of the police

      I fell out for a few years with a left-wing US ex when she bought herself a gun. She rationalised that "Every idiot here has a gun so I need one too."

      To be fair she was in Arizona at the time. I learned to shoot a rifle aged 11 in the centre of Edinburgh, but we didn't get to take our guns off range. I've always opposed British cops being armed routinely because USA, but lately with guns coming into the criminal and terrorist communities from Europe I support limited police increased armament when the officers pass regular psychological and marksmanship tests.

      There is a weird yet relevant 1994 album that is worth a listen:

      S.W.A.T.: Deep Inside A Cop's Mind - Cops Are The Only Real People Left

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KbJoTg_eag

  17. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Mythbusters

    There was an interesting Mythbusters (the orginal series) where Adam was the perp and Jamie the cop. Adam would attempt to stab Jamie with a fake knife before Jaime could draw and fire his gun. Adam started from a fair distance back (can't remember) and then started from a closer and closer point until he could win every time. That distance was 18'-20'. Pace that off and see how far it is and realize that Jamie knew that Adam was going to lunge at him. Disregard the knife and gun and see that an officer is in a vulnerable position and also why the cry of "they were unarmed" is silly. Finding that somebody didn't have a weapon is only know afterwards. Once a person is within a certain distance, they have a good chance of injuring or killing the officer before the officer can bring lethal or non-lethal measures to bear from a stowed position. A weedy meth addict with no weapon is one thing, officers need to be in good physical condition, but a big bloke (or lady) or somebody with martial arts/boxing training can have them down and out in a big hurry.

    The following isn't about being a sheep, it's about not being shot. Do what a police officer tells you and don't do anything else until you are asked. You may not know why they have stopped you and they aren't going to explain themselves to you up front. It sucks, it's demeaning, it's embarrassing, but it's not likely to put in hospital or a morgue to comply. Once they have you in cuffs and patted down for weapons, they'll be in a position to talk with you and you to them. The same thing applies to muggers and store robbers. If anybody is pointing a gun at you, do what they say. If you are in gun-free Britan <sarc> and they are threatening to chop your arm off with a machete if you don't hand over your wallet or purse/phone/tablet/expensive dog, same thing. If it's a black hat and you are looking at a rape, kidnapping or some other physical torture, maybe you do want to take the chance at running or fighting back, but that shouldn't be an issue with the police. Not in the first world anyway.

    1. kirk_augustin@yahoo.com

      Re: Mythbusters

      That is ridiculous, because of course it take a long time to draw a gun out of a holster, but police always pull their gun out way ahead of time, so is totally irrelevant.

      Not only that, but a knife is almost useless if the opponent has ANY tiny amount of training, not to mention a club, mace, taser, etc.

      The reality is that you can still EASILY shoot someone coming at you with a knife, even if they are starting from only 2 feet away, if you already have the firearm out of the holster.

      While you should do whatever any armed person says, it is illegal, dangerous, and wrong for police to even point a gun at someone who is not already armed and indicating a clear threat.

      Almost everything police do is illegal, from no-knock raids, to putting people in jail over drug charges.

  18. kirk_augustin@yahoo.com

    NO! It is the POLICE who bear full responsibility for shooting an innocent person.

    They are not supposed to go off like that based on a phone call, under any circumstances.

    It would not at all have been hard for them to have called the neighbors, used binoculars, use a parabolic mic to listen in, etc. and to have avoided the illegal armed confrontation,

    The police also legally were supposed to have gone before a judge and gotten a warrant.

    Everything they did was totally and completely illegal.

  19. Oh_bollocks

    The thread is a breath of fresh air. Try bringing up the "police could maybe share responsibility" angle in a US based forum and people explode as if you've gone crazy.

    Thank you all for not being patently blind!

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