Faux guns look real
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In response to Bill Schwartz's letter ("Why This Outcome?" June 21): I recently completed the Citizens Police Academy offered by the Pittsburgh police, which aims to foster a better understanding of police work among civilians. In one class, we saw examples of firearms that have been confiscated by police, including a realistic-looking pellet gun. From my civilian's standpoint, there was no way I could detect the difference between a real handgun and this faux gun. It is now easier for me to understand why police at the standoff with Odell Brown would believe that they were threatened with an actual handgun.
I doubt that Mr. Schwartz is aware of just how real these pellet guns look. If the events transpired as stated, then we are to believe Mr. Brown aimed his real-looking gun at a sheriff's deputy. When officers have a modicum of time to react to a potentially deadly threat (even if it turns out to be a replica weapon), how does Mr. Schwartz or anyone else honestly expect them to respond when their lives and the safety of the community are at risk? I also believe that myriad attempts were made to end the situation peacefully, but to no avail. While I am sure the case is still under review, I feel that as of now, it is unjust to vilify and lambaste the officers' actions that day.
The outrage, in part, should be directed toward manufacturers who continue to produce these realistic-looking guns, despite this and other widely publicized tragedies.
First Published June 25, 2012 12:00 am