General Question

gorillapaws's avatar

Does anyone else think it's crazy that we're putting the cop on trial who didn't take on the Parkland Shooter armed with a pistol against the shooter's AR-15?

Asked by gorillapaws (30516points) June 8th, 2023
66 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

I don’t understand how anyone thinks his pistol was going to accomplish much against what is essentially a battlefield weapon in semi-auto mode, especially when the officer is worried about safe firing angles while the shooter isn’t. It’s like he’s being scapegoated to justify civilians owning assault weapons, or am I misunderstanding the facts/situation?

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jca2's avatar

I don’t know that much about it. I just googled it and I see what he did not do, but the one or two articles I looked at didn’t have much detail about it, except that he was in an alcove outside for 45 minutes and video shows he did not move from that alcove for 45 minutes.

I really can’t comment on the details because I don’t know that much. I’m guessing the District Attorney has their facts straight and has enough to feel it’s worthy of bringing him to trial. If they didn’t think they’d have a chance of winning, they wouldn’t bring it to trial. They would offer a deal for a reduced sentence and see if he took that instead, or they wouldn’t bother at all.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jca2 “If they didn’t think they’d have a chance of winning, they wouldn’t bring it to trial”

This assumes it’s not a trial for political reasons.

kritiper's avatar

Standard operating procedure, I suppose. To find out if the cop did all he could do, within reasonable reason, to properly address the situation, and assess if any negligence was involved.

jca2's avatar

@gorillapaws Whether or not it’s for political reasons, I don’t know, but again, if the DA doesn’t think they’re going to prevail, they’re not going to put it forth. It will be decided by a Judge or a Jury, I’m not sure which in this case, but still, they won’t put it out there if they don’t expect there’s a chance they’re going to win. Just my opinion, we don’t have to agree. I don’t have a stake in the argument as I stated, I don’t know much about the details and I admit that. I just know what I know from knowing attorneys and having close friends who are DA’s or former DA’s.

ragingloli's avatar

He had one job, and he refused to do it.
Fuck that guy.

KNOWITALL's avatar

He’s on trial for serious charges. As a school resource officer he did not follow active shooter protocol.

My opinion is that if youre the only person with a weapon around and it’s your job to protect those kids, you don’t hide in safety as 14 kids are killed.

In this case I agree with @ragingloli.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I thought “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun”
Also an AR-15 is not a military riffle, it’s a modern sporting type riffle.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Lightlyseared The man is 60 years old and said he couldn’t tell where the shots were coming from. He is a former Sherriff Deputy as well, so he was fully trained.
In a confusing, violent situation, many people freeze up like that. Js, not excusing it but it happens.

Smashley's avatar

How else are they going to justify 25,000 armed police officers in public schools on a daily basis, at a cost of over a billion dollars a year? Obviously they are going to scapegoat this one guy for this one time and allow the system to keep doing it’s thing.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@KNOWITALL are you assuming that because I’m quoting the NRA you think that I believe that bulshit?

There’s a reason tier 1 operators fire a minimum of a million rounds during training each year and why US police officers are repeatedly reported as stopping mid “shoot-out” to check if their gun is loaded because people weren’t flying backwards when they were shot like you see in the movies.

Zaku's avatar

IANAL and I don’t know many details of the case, but I wonder what law would make a single officer freezing up when faced with automatic gunfire, a crime – that seems inhumane, unjust, and incorrect, to me.

The police department could assess whether they think he’s fit for duty, and I don’t know the details, but what @KNOWITALL wrote about him saying he didn’t know where the gunfire was, and freezing, both make sense to me, and add up to someone the Sheriff’s department should assess and maybe censure or dismiss, or maybe not, but I’d like to hear what law was allegedly broken by freezing and not knowing what to do.

jca2's avatar

Here’s an article about the 11 charges and the wide disagreement about what he did. I haven’t read the article yet because I’m getting ready to go out soon, but will look at it later:

flutherother's avatar

If he’d leapt out of his alcove and taken out the shooter with a single shot from his pistol he would have been hailed as a hero. Why would that be if he was only doing his job?

Zaku's avatar

@Lightlyseared “Also an AR-15 is not a military riffle, it’s a modern sporting type riffle.”

Technically, a military M16 is a type of AR-15. When people say AR-15, they do mean a civilian product, but the design is extremely similar, and varies with various parts that are mostly interchangeable. The main difference being that an M16 can fire in burst mode, and can empty a 30-round magazine in 2–3 seconds from when the trigger is first held down. A semi-automatic gun fires one shot per trigger pull, so that rate of fire depends on the shooter’s finger and the gun, but it would take someone in the neighborhood of 3–15 seconds to empty a 30-round magazine that way, mainly depending on how good they are at pulling the trigger quickly (3 seconds meaning a very practiced trigger-puller).

However that’s mostly not a very practical difference in terms of how capable they are at killing people, especially unarmed panicking people. Full auto is mainly useful for suppressing groups of armed foes, doing other things while shooting up an area (since the shooter doesn’t need to concentrate of pulling the trigger repeatedly), and sending barrages at foes in a gunfight when you want to minimize your time/effort/distraction while firing, so you can maintain awareness and get back under cover as quickly as possible when fighting in a certain way. Many soldiers will use semi-automatic mode on their rifles in combat, because it conserves ammunition and may end up making them more effective in combat overall.

tinyfaery's avatar

It’s his goddam job. I’m tired of all these pussy cops who will kill innocent people for no reason but when put in a situation where they should act, they do nothing.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@tinyfaery Same. At least try!!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Lightlyseared No, just giving his side of the story. Guy quit his job and moved away aftetwards, probably to save his own life.

janbb's avatar

I don’t know enough to judge this guy but I know for sure the policemen who stood around for an hour while school kids were being killed last year should be charged.

mazingerz88's avatar

@tinyfaery Not all pussycops kill innocents. Unfair to include this pussycop in that category.

LadyMarissa's avatar

NO crazier than 17 children dying with NO weapon with which to defend themselves!!! NOBODY wants to die which includes the cops. At the same time, when you apply for a job in law enforcement, you know in advance that you’ll be putting your life in danger EVERY time you go to work. So, I think you give up your rights to freeze in fear while listening to 17 kids dying!!! I know that I could NOT do the job, so I just NEVER applied!!!

jca2's avatar

After the Uvalde school shooting, I was talking a friend’s husband who is a cop and works in a very urban city. I was asking him about how the Uvalde shooting was so tragic because the cops didn’t go in. My friend’s husband said “you don’t want to go in, but you have to. It’s your job.”

gorillapaws's avatar

I’m shocked by the responses. This is real life, assault rifle beats pistol what 95/100 times? He’s not in the Matrix, or John Wick. He’s a 60 year old resource officer who has probably never experienced a firefight. He has no backup. It sounds like everyone is cool with expecting him to charge in to almost certain death just for the tiny chance that he might take out the shooter. Let’s be honest, 19/20 possible worlds where he charges in he’s just one more victim. Obviously I don’t know the actual odds, but they’ve got to be extremely low.

It’s not like he’s this coward who has a low risk of death and chickens out. It’s a rational thing to not engage in an action that’s almost certainly fatal.

LadyMarissa's avatar

Funny thing is that I had NO opinion until YOU asked me for it!!! From the best that I can tell, he’s a repeat offender of lying. Rather than admit that he was scared, he claimed that he couldn’t tell where the shots came from…then he applied for a job where he swore to “protect & serve”...PLUS, he lied again when he applied for the SRO job when he contracted to protect the kids at the school. The 17 that died were on the 3rd floor where the evidence showed that he could have made it that far & possibly have saved ALL 17 kids. I don’t care that he’s being put on “trial”. He hasn’t been convicted…yet. The jury will decide IF the evidence proves that he could have saved any of those kids. Would YOU feel the same if one of those kids was yours??? He was young & dumb when he applied to be a LEO; however, he was 59 when he applied for the SRO job & apparently had NO intention of defending the kids. Sounds like he should have retired even if early & sat on the sofa at home where he could be safe. I’ll repeat what I said before…I would NOT have gone rushing in myself even IF I had my own AR-15. I also would NOT have applied for the job because those kids deserved an SRO who WAS willing to protect them at ALL cost!!!

One free opinion…WTF did you ask a Q asking for “opinions” when you ONLY wanted a particular response??? You could have saved several of us some time if you had added a disclaimer “Only opinions that agree with mine are welcome…everybody else just walk on by!!!

raum's avatar

Sadly, we live in a reality where facing a shooter situation is part of the job description.

Why accept the job when you’re not able to do it. And not doing it will result in loss of life.

gorillapaws's avatar

@raum “Sadly, we live in a reality where facing a shooter situation is part of the job description.”

Sure, but when you’re completely outgunned (and possibly outnumbered—because it’s a chaotic and unknown situation), don’t you wait for backup and go in as a team with SWAT?

I don’t expect a police officer to dive into a raging flood in a suicidal attempt to rescue a kid, I expect her to do everything she reasonably can and get the kid rescued with rafts or a helicopter or whatever. I’m not saying I don’t expect law enforcement to take risks, but CALCULATED risks.

And I do see this incident differently than the Uvalde situation where there was an entire team of officers. That would be an example of the kind of calculated risk that I do expect of law enforcement.

Brian1946's avatar

Did he at least call for backup?

raum's avatar

An unarmed parent volunteer followed shooter protocol.

Smashley's avatar

I don’t know how to solve the problems of our world, but when the deaths of 17 children isn’t enough for us to be introspective, and consider our own roles in a larger system of distrust, hatred, exploitation, domestic terrorism and armament, and just pile on to whatever scapegoat we can find.. well.. we can be sure this will just keep happening.

There is no way to reliably stop a bad guy with a gun.

mazingerz88's avatar

@gorillapaws Something just feels wrong about your calculation of the possible calculation of risk by this coward who did not do his job. Here’s a calculation…he barges in and shoots the gunman before that asshole gets to fire. He sat there listening to kids being slaughtered. He should have shot himself in the head right then and there out of shame.

In your scenario, the gunman and this coward are face to face in a gun duel. In another scenario a brave 59 year old with a hand gun would be outside the door trying to listen waiting for a potential opportunity to surprise the gunman. If he accidentally shoots the teacher or another child so what? If he saves 15 other kids.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gorillapaws He was a former Sherriff’s Deputy so I’m sure he’s seen action. He wasca field training officer and bragged he’s made more arrests than any other deputy.
Now the FIRST officer in the US ever charged with failing to respond to a school shooting.
Literally called the coward or Broward.

The other security monitor who was unarmed locked himself in a cabinet, too. No one helped those kids.

He stood outside 48 minutes.

jca2's avatar

@KNOWITALL and didn’t move from that alleyway for the entire time. Ugh.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

It’s not like the person with a bigger gun is always going to win here. I’d honestly rather try to take out a shooter like that with a pistol than a long gun in close quarters like a school hallway. An AR is actually at a disadvantage here, out in the open like a field that gets reversed. I know how I shoot and I’m way better with a pistol at close range as would most people. That guy actually had the advantage and just failed at his job. Is cowardice really a crime though? When I see people with legit PSTD get triggered there is nothing voluntary there. I find it hard to judge the guy without knowing all but the surface details. If it was me standing in that hallway between the shooter and the kids I’d like to think I’d take the motherfucker down, but the truth is I’d don’t know for sure if I would cower in fear or act. None of us do unless we have had the experience. Based on how I react to danger I’m pretty sure I’d act. Adrenaline shuts off emotion for me and I don’t generally process the risk until later. If I have time to think, well.. who knows.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Blackwater_Park Here’s his point of view on the situation. It’s an interesting read.

tinyfaery's avatar

Anyone with a fuckin’ TV and half a brain knows what this country is like, and they know what they sign up for. Don’t want to get shot or have to go into dangerous situations where you might die, don’t take a job that might put you in those situation. Period. There is no ifs, ands, or buts.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

TV is a sure fire way to get the wrong impression of this place, and to only have half a brain.

seawulf575's avatar

While I don’t believe the cop should have stood around doing nothing, he is a scapegoat. The REAL question is where was the failure in the system that allowed Cruz to buy the gun in the first place. That rests completely with the school board, the Sheriff, the DOE and Obama. It was THEIR policies and THEIR views that sheltered Cruz from getting the criminal record he so richly deserved before he went to buy the guns. But heaven knows we can’t hold liberal policies accountable for anything these days.

Zaku's avatar

@gorillapaws Yes, and, another feature of the real world, is that many people just don’t function well when faced with extreme violence, especially for the first time. It’s just reality for many people that sudden gun violence will paralyze them. Unless there’s some evidence about what was going on in this officer’s head, it’s entirely plausible to me, that he either was unable to respond due to very common psychological effects (some kind of automatic unconscious freeze response) and/or he was confused and wasn’t able to figure out where to go or what to do. Those or other psychological responses to suddenly hearing lots of gunfire etc., are real things that happen to many people (including police and soldiers) without their choice necessarily being involved at all.

Which means that trying to call that happening a crime, doesn’t make much sense to me. (Except in terms of people not understanding the above and thinking it’s all his selfish choice, or grieving people looking for an outlet, or politicians catering to that or other misdirected impulses.)

Zaku's avatar

@LadyMarissa Interestingly, it’s been observed that women tend not to have the same freeze responses that men tend to have. In particular, male soldiers in combat tend to hesitate before shooting at people, while female soldiers more often don’t hesitate at all. Not that that’s necessarily the same thing as involuntarily freezing versus running towards gunfire.

Of course, it’s also possible that this deputy DID think about it and just decide not to go with selfish ideas in mind. And it’s possible he was lying about not being able to determine where the shot sounds were coming from. And it could be that we DO have evidence of those things. I don’t know.

But it’s also true that when gunfire happens, many people, even soldiers and police who had every intention of responding heroically, instead panic and freeze, become confused, and then may very likely mis-remember and rationalize after the fact about what happened. Without necessarily having any choice, deliberate lying, or scheming involved.

flutherother's avatar

For once I am inclined to agree with @seawulf575 that the cop is being made a scapegoat. The chief of police was blamed at first and when that failed the chief of police blamed the deputy who was at the scene.

Peterson may have been a coward but being afraid isn’t a criminal offence and there are wider issues in American society that lead to such tragedies and that won’t even begin to be addressed while the finger is pointed at Peterson alone.

Zaku's avatar

Yeah, I agree with @seawulf575 that the cop is being made a scapegoat . . . but I’d say @seawulf575 is also trying to make a scapegoat of Obama.

seawulf575's avatar

@Zaku Not trying to make a scapegoat, trying to lay blame on the real problem that led to that event. By all accounts Nikolas Cruz had been picked up numerous time for crimes that were minor to major, even to felony level. But at the time the Obama administration was pushing a policy to not arrest students, but to basically slap them on the wrist and put them back in school. The idea was that getting them an education would help turn them around whereas a criminal record would hold them back later on. So Cruz got arrested numerous times and was never charged. No charges, no criminal record. Apply for gun, do the background check and Voila! a clean background. Gun purchase approved.

Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals is an important thing. But hog-tying the system so you let criminals do whatever and not hold them accountable makes all the existing gun control laws moot. This is a case where after the shootings there was a great outcry for more gun control laws. Yet the circumstances surrounding this one showed a willful effort to sidestep those laws. And those policies, and the ones following them, need to be held accountable.

Smashley's avatar

@seawulf575 – just as I’m sure you would argue that a ban on all guns would cause more harm than good, it is very difficult to quantify the results of one policy or another, especially in measuring bad outcomes that do not happen. Yes, a high profile mass killing will always be top of mind, but it could very well be a fact that many other lives were saved by a non-criminalizing policy toward young offenders. The consequences of many policies are very often deaths prevented or incurred, however unknowable the numbers. The harm that was prevented by the same policy that allowed this shooting to happen cannot be known, and will always be less newsworthy. I feel like you are pushing your partisanship a little hard. I agree the officer is a scapegoat in this case, however.

gorillapaws's avatar

@mazingerz88 “Something just feels wrong about your calculation of the possible calculation of risk by this coward who did not do his job. Here’s a calculation…he barges in and shoots the gunman before that asshole gets to fire.”

I had no idea it was that easy. SWAT has been doing it wrong all of these years by coordinating an assault on a shooter with a team of well armed officers in constant communication. It turns out all they need is officer Bobo and his pistol to barge in and shoot the bad guy first. Crazy nobody thought of that until you did.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^It’s never about things being “easy or hard” in this life and death situation. I’m sure you know that. It was his job to do something. Anything except…hide, listen and make phone calls when he was the only one who had any chance to save lives at the time. Save lives. His job.

He knew the school lay-out. The gunman was walking the hallways taking his sweet time randomly shooting through walls killing kids.

That guy with a handgun could have been lucky enough to spot the shooter with his back on him.

The shooter shot a person in the hallway and merely wounded him. The shooter walked away. Supposedly he came back again and shot the wounded victim dead this time.

What are the chances that coward could have been there to pull that wounded victim away to safety while the shooter was away?

gorillapaws's avatar

@mazingerz88 “It was his job to do something. Anything except…hide, listen and make phone calls when he was the only one who had any chance to save lives at the time. Save lives. His job.”

Didn’t he call in the shooting and speak with the backup officers to help? I think waiting for backup is much more sensible than charging in with a pistol against an unknown number of shooters with clearly way more firepower and ammo than you have. It’s dangerous to go in with backup, but solo under those circumstances is borderline suicidal.

Here’s what happens in real life when officers with pistols go up against just 2 guys with assault rifles.

seawulf575's avatar

@Smashley And do you have a single case where the policies helped? Or are you just throwing out hypotheticals to avoid actually looking at the lunacy of the policies?

Smashley's avatar

@seawulf575 – Like I said, harm prevented is almost impossible to quantify, and never as newsworthy. We know institutionalizing the young tends to create institutional adults, who tend to be recidivists, some of whom will harm. The logic isn’t crazy, really. You are scapegoating as much as anyone else here.

MrGrimm888's avatar

It was a fucked up situation…

This officer made a horrific mistake in judgment. From what I know of the day, multiple protocols were followed that day, that are simply different today.

As far as weapons go, in regards to my personal skill level, I’d be outgunned. But. The difference in weapons was not the only difference.
There is little substitute for experience. Regardless of how well a shooter has practiced, the advantage goes to the experienced armed officer.
They don’t just give armed officers firearms. Most have to pass fairly decent training, and if nothing else they have to know the firearm they carry.
Speaking as a former LEO, we are fully aware that sidearms are not offensive weapons.
You have your training.
You have, hopefully, some physical abilities. You are usually trained on unarmed interactions.
You have your body armor.
You may have at least one type of non lethal weapon.
Lastly. You have your service firearm. Usually 9mm – .45 auto. Usually with a magazine capacity of 10 – 15 rounds. Most officers carry 3–5 mags (in addition to the one in the pistol.)

I can’t speak for every LEO, but I would have at least gone inside searching for the shooter. Getting recon is valuable, if I somehow fail to engage the shooter.
However. I would think that an active shooter would be someone who would not suspect being attacked themselves, and would be easily found if they were firing occasionally.

An approaching officer, in this type of situation does not have to engage the subject with their firearm. But. They could get the shooter’s attention. Help pin the shooter to one area, for back up to surround them.
I would be thinking that I’ve got to do something. Even if I do get killed. That’s not to say I’d be running down the halls after a shooter. But. A tactful entry could have been made…

When you’re a LEO, you never really know what you’re in for. You should assume that things can go sideways at any time. I’d rather try to hunt down a school shooter, than be caught not paying attention and shot in the back…

I would say that it’s a “comes with the job,” thing…

Any LEO that doesn’t think their lives are going to be frequently at risk, will be reminded in quick order by reality.

It’s a really tough way to make a living. It’s really dangerous, frustrating, and mentally exhausting…

Can I believe that they’re going to punish this officer? Yes. Someone’s head has to roll… Another pleasure of working law enforcement. You’re given lot’s of split second decisions to make, where there aren’t always right answers. And you WILL be held responsible for any mistakes. Whether your decision makes sense, or you fucked up, you will be judged as the ultimate responsible party in most situations…

seawulf575's avatar

@Smashley Yes, harm avoided is hard to quantify. But harm done is very easy to quantify. 17 dead and 17 more injured because of those policies. But hey, that’s okay to you because the alternative is to have to admit the policies are horrible. Think about it, because I will guarantee that harm avoided does not mean people not hurt. You take adolescents, pick them up for crimes and don’t punish them, but put them back in school. What are you doing? You are reinforcing that there are no consequences. So they commit more crime, more victims created. And people like this tend to escalate as they go. This isn’t speculation…Nikolas Cruz is a living example. The only thing is he learned the lessons so well that after he was no longer a student, he felt there were no consequences.

Question for you: how many people have to be hurt or killed before you are willing to criticize a left wing policy?

Smashley's avatar

@seawulf575 – you seem to have never really heard a thing I have said. I criticize many policies all the time. I said that the logic wasn’t crazy, in response to your assertion that it is “lunacy”. To be clear, the policy that failed was one crafted and enacted by the county, under the general directive of the Obama administration to reduce the school-to-prison pipeline. Yes, it was idealistically enacted, but attempts to end America’s reign the world leader in mass incarceration do make sense. The economic drain alone causes much death. The disenfranchisement of so many, especially in Florida, assures the vulnerable will never be able to avoid exploitation, and will tend to turn to violence. Violence that does not happen is hard get our hands around, but it is absolutely just as real as violence that does happen.

Yes, a more perfect policy would have made more allowance to arrest young violent offenders, but progress is never easy, especially in Florida.

jca2's avatar

I find it ironic that fingers are being pointed at Obama on this thread, in reference to the Parkland shooter, but the teenager bought the weapon legally at age 18, which was something the Right has been in favor of (no strict gun control laws, some quotes below on my post).

I do see it appeared he was troubled and there were red flags that were ignored, which is why there were people disciplined for their inaction in reference to Cruz (in the Wiki link you’ll see details on the follow up discipline due to inaction, and you’ll see paragraphs on Cruz purchasing the weapon. The Inquisitor link has more details about him and his troubled family.)

Some Republican politicians’ reactions to the shooting (from the Wiki link)

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said that this was the time to “step back and count our blessings” instead of “taking sides and fighting each other politically. Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio said that “most” proposals on stricter gun laws “would not have prevented” this shooting nor “any of those in recent history” and that lawmakers should take action with “focus on the violence part” alongside guns

gorillapaws's avatar

@MrGrimm888 What are the protocols for “waiting for backup?” Would you enter a residence with an unknown number of armed shooters or wait for backup for example?

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 Yes, Cruz bought the gun legally at age 18. The problem (that was brought on by Obama) was the policy to not actually arrest or charge minors with crimes. Cruz was picked up a number of times on charges that would have shown up on a background check and would have blocked him from buying the gun legally. After the shooting, there was the predictable outcry for more gun control laws, but everyone wanted to avoid that the Obama policies led to a situation that bypassed the gun control laws that were in place. If it weren’t for those policies (pushed by Obama and enacted by the county and school board) Cruz would not have been able to legally buy that gun and those 17 deaths could have been avoided. No ownership for those policies and the failure they wrought was ever acknowledged.

seawulf575's avatar

@Smashley I understand the stated goal of the policies. It is a progressive effort that was ill-considered and ignored reality to meet that stated goal. Think about it. If you have a policy that says you are not going to arrest or prosecute someone for crimes, do you really believe that will stop the crime? No. Look at any of the Dem-controlled cities that have stated they won’t prosecute theft below $900. Stores are closing for good because that’s all they are getting…criminals coming in and walking out with whatever they want. Yes, those criminals are not being disenfranchised by being held accountable for their actions, but the victims continue to pile up and continue to be victims.

So yeah, you can walk through a dream world where whatever you want is reality for the mere reason that you want it. But that belief is a lie and negates facts and logic to get there. And in the case of Parkland, that fantasy world led to the real world deaths of 17 kids with another 17 being injured. And defending that policy tells me you are putting the progressive ideals over the innocent victims.

jca2's avatar

Funny that you’re referring to Cruz being caught by a background check prior to buying a gun. Who’s been dead set AGAINST background checks from Day 1? Right wingers, gun lovers, NRA, @seawulf575. I’m laughing that you’re even referring to background checks.

Smashley's avatar

Please give me an example of a dem controlled city that says it will not prosecute theft under $900. I will not jump to conclusions but I think you are spouting a straight lie that has been used as right wing propaganda for a while now. I seek truth, rather than tweets, so please, enlighten me with your facts.

The “logic” you are supporting, is the logic of mass incarceration. I refuse to believe this system of cyclical exploitation, family ruination and disenfranchisement, at massive monetary and opportunity cost to the entire country is the only way to control crime, when we seem to be the only western country that needs to do it.

But I’ll throw you a bone, since you continue to accuse me of being an unthinking partisan. Obama’s failure in Syria made the world a more dangerous place and did great harm to democracy the world over.

seawulf575's avatar

@Smashley San Francisco for one, though California as a whole would fit as well. Proposition 47 changed shoplifting rules and downgraded shoplifting of under $950 from a felony to a misdemeanor and at least Chesa Boudin in SF (the DA) said these crimes will not be prosecuted. Now they are trying to pass SB553 that will make it illegal for store employees (including security forces) from stopping shoplifters.

NYC is another example. Alvin Bragg, when he first took office, put out a Day-One memo giving direction to his staff to not prosecute several crimes as felonies but rather as minor misdemeanors (and therefore not worth the time of prosecution). These were just little things like shoplifting and armed robbery. When he was called out on it he tried dodging saying that the memo was not meant for the public and that they couldn’t understand the legal language of it. But he specifically laid out which statutes he specifically did not want prosecuted as felonies so it’s a little hard to say people couldn’t understand it.

The logic to which I am referring is the logic that people are not inherently good and loving, that they can and do commit as much crime as they feel they can get away with. The logic that when you remove all punishment for crimes, criminals will see that as a call for open season on those crimes…do as much as you want. And forgive me if I have no problem at all with incarcerating criminals to help protect victims. The better question is why are you so dead-set on protecting criminals at the expense of the victims?

Smashley's avatar

@seawulf575 – to answer your last question first, I have no problem with locking up criminals. However, you must be circumspect about the effects. Removing anyone from society, draining their resources, preventing future opportunity, stripping their right to vote (and thus their citizenship, in my opinion), has ripples which reverberate through families, communities and societies, which must be weighed against the societal good of punishing a person. Beyond this truth, the mere interaction of law enforcement and innocent civilians suspected of crimes can cause unexpected ripples of harm and distrust.

If we just wanted to stop mass shootings, a very good solution would be to amend the Constitution and take and destroy every gun and piece of ammunition that is not in the possession of the state, with 50 year mandatory minimum sentences for everyone found in violation thereafter. This would fulfill your stated need to teach criminals they can’t get away with their shit, and would have prevented the Parkland shooting, since, as you know, Cruz purchased his weapon legally.

However, as I’m sure you would agree, this would not be a good solution. Spillover effects from such a heavy handed, though entirely legal, approach would be great. Perhaps the effects would be less if all people just willingly got with the program, but somehow I don’t see that happening.

Policing and prosecuting is an art, not a science, and can be, and has been, extraordinarily heavy handed at times and places, to devastating effect on communities, and society in general. Exploitation, persecution and anti-democracy does not benefit anyone.

As to the specific case of San Francisco, which I correctly sussed, there has never been a policy not to prosecute theft under $950. Yes, prop 47, voted in by the people in 2014, raised the threshold for felony shoplifting (a specific kind of theft, not involving menacing, smashing or organization, and only in an open store). However, petty shoplifting remains a misdemeanor. The $950 felony threshold is notably much lower than that of Texas, where it is $2500. Pew did a multi-year study on the effects of shoplifting felony thresholds and found that they were not correlated with an increase in shoplifting, which might explain why Texas is no worse than anywhere else in America, pound for pound.

The San Francisco prosecutor you are talking about was ousted after two years by a very well funded movement involving large Republican donors, police unions, big box retailers, and right wing media. Make of that what you will, but it certainly doesn’t feel unlike conspiracy. Not that the prosecutor had every right idea. I feel like he overplayed the progressive prosecutor movement to secure election, and was subsequently trapped by his rhetoric and annihilated by public opinion, which is frankly what happens in democracies sometimes. Your assertion of “California as a whole” is without merit.

The SB 553 is a canard. It is a workplace violence prevention bill that may well be further amended before becoming law. To the extent that it does encourage shoplifting, it does not make it illegal for a store employee, or owner, to confront a shoplifter, but does prevent retailers from requiring employees to confront shoplifters. In a country with more guns than people, this does not seem outwardly unreasonable. Property is less important than human life, and police are the ones we expect to risk their lives to enforce laws.

You are mischaracterizing the Day One memo. Unsurprisingly, your wording is much like the Murdoch tabloid article you posted. You are suggesting that armed robberies are not prosecuted, when the reality of the memo is that it delineated a distinction between robberies involving a brandished weapon, and other, much less dangerous form of theft, which would have previously been charged as armed robberies, notably including utterances from an unarmed person experience a mental health crisis. Yes, the memo does leave a window for some forms of shoplifting and other crimes that have little to no effect on public safety, in the context of a police force known for violence and over policing, leading to very high levels of incarceration. While imperfect, I was very happy with Brag’s approach, as it acknowledged the community harm of mass incarceration, and it transparently spelled out the kinds of prosecutorial decision to be made. I feel that his openness is much needed in a country where prosecutors are dictatorships into themselves, and many similar or much less fair policies exist, without being public knowledge.

seawulf575's avatar

@Smashley “Removing anyone from society, draining their resources, preventing future opportunity, stripping their right to vote (and thus their citizenship, in my opinion), has ripples which reverberate through families, communities and societies, which must be weighed against the societal good of punishing a person.” Gee, I guess you do have to be circumspect. Because if you take away their future opportunities to do more crime you are preventing more victims from being made. Huh. While you are worrying about the welfare and potential future consequences they might feel, you are completely ignoring the victims of these criminals and the potential future consequences THEY might feel. And the potential future victims they might create. At what point do you actually have compassion for the innocent people?

The rest of your statements are just as warped. Get rid of guns and make possession and automatic 50 year sentence. Gee, wouldn’t that increase the number of those helpless criminals that might be traumatized by punishment? Besides, the number of guns used in self defense far outweigh the number used in commission of a crime and certainly more than the number of gun homicides. So your answer, rather than criticizing a horrible “progressive” policy that might actually hold criminals accountable is to disarm the public. Smooth move, ExLax.

As for the shoplifting, maybe you can then explain, if it isn’t a problem, why so many stores are just closing up and leaving? Walgreens is closing 5 stores in SF due to the organized shoplifting. And they aren’t the only ones. But hey, your fantasy world doesn’t have to account for these facts. Apparently these greedy companies are just trying to avoid helping the criminals which might lead to them having long lasting consequences in their lives.

As for Bragg’s memo here is the excerpt from the link I provided:

The following offenses shall be charged as follows:
a) An act that could be charged under PL §§ 160.15 (2, 3, or 4), 160.10(2b), or 160.05
that occurs in a commercial setting should be charged under PL § 155.25 if the force
or threat of force consists of displaying a dangerous instrument or similar behavior but
does not create a genuine risk of physical harm

And just so you don’t have to do the leg work, let me help you with the applicable sections:

160.15 (2, 3, 4) § 160.15 Robbery in the first degree. A person is guilty of robbery in the first degree when he forcibly steals property and when, in the course of the commission of the crime or of immediate flight therefrom, he or another participant in the crime:

2.Is armed with a deadly weapon; or
3.Uses or threatens the immediate use of a dangerous instrument; or
4.Displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm; except that in any prosecution under this subdivision, it is an affirmative defense that such pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm was not a loaded weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injury, could be discharged. Nothing contained in this subdivision shall constitute a defense to a prosecution for, or preclude a conviction of, robbery in the second degree, robbery in the third degree or any other crime. Robbery in the first degree is a class B felony.

160.10 (2b): § 160.10 Robbery in the second degree. A person is guilty of robbery in the second degree when he forcibly steals property and when:
2.In the course of the commission of the crime or of immediate flight therefrom, he or another participant in the crime:

(b)Displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm; or

160.05: § 160.05 Robbery in the third degree. A person is guilty of robbery in the third degree when he forcibly steals property. Robbery in the third degree is a class D felony.

All of those he is now going to prosecute under:

155.25§ 155.25 Petit larceny. A person is guilty of petit larceny when he steals property. Petit larceny is a class A misdemeanor.

In other words, if a criminal walks into a store and shoves a gun into the employee’s face and makes off with money or merchandise, it isn’t armed robbery (a Felony). Oh no. He’s like you. He doesn’t want to potentially disenfranchise the criminals. He is ordering his DAs to prosecute under a petty larceny charge. And that will likely not be prosecuted and if it is, it amounts to a slap on the wrist. A Class B Felony in NY (like those described in 160.15) carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. You know…like what you proposed for law abiding citizens that might dare to own a gun. A Class A misdemeanor (Like that described in 155.25) is a max sentence of 364 days in jail and a $1000 fine. And those are the MAX sentences.

So while you are trying to use Bragg’s defense of his memo as an excuse, you might want to go to the source documents and read it for yourself.

Smashley's avatar

I figured the hypothetical anti-gun law I said would not be good would be the thing that set you off, even though it would have prevented the Parkland shooting. Readers can just skip that part of his argument, it is a straw man the man just couldn’t resist. Again, you assume you much about me.

To begin, you are mischaracterizing my point that locking people up hurts societies. You act as if I’m in it for the accused’s feelings. I am more concerned about their family, their employer, their church, their landlord, their school, their debtors, their gun retailer, their local police, their insurance company, their Walgreens, every tax payer and assistance receiver in the country, their fellow voters, and everyone else who is indirectly, though actually, harmed when a person is locked up. You seem to only be able to blame the accused for whatever damage is inflicted on innocents by the state in the name of justice. This argument is reminiscent of an abuser: “she never should have said what she said if she didn’t want to be choked out.”

And for good measure, let’s not forget wrongful convictions, either.

The progressive prosecutor movement seeks to rebalance a system that has been detrimental to the country as a whole, which is still a point you have not addressed. Why so many locked up? Why so much spent on it? Why so many police kill themselves? You seem to shrug your shoulders with a “they shouldn’t have done it” attitude. Pundits may be able to live with arguments like that, but government officials actually have to function in the real world, where blame and hand washing doesn’t actually help anyone.

I have no idea what an ExLax is, but I’m sure in your maturity you can provide a good definition. I assume it has something to do with poop?

I have no doubt the big box stores, whom have a vested interest in the Republican tax cutting, IRS defunding agenda would accuse a sitting Democratic DA for their failures. It played so well from Fox to Sky to the daily mail. This was two years ago, of course, and Walgreens in particular walked back their statements since, conveniently after the DA’s removal. Incidentally, in the year they made this statement about San Francisco, 2021, Walgreen posted a 7.63% increase in profits from the year before. 2022 was even better. The CFO states that they are “actually, quite happy with where we are” and are not relying on ineffective private security anymore. Sounds like SB553 won’t have the effect here that you claimed, either. (Go for it, I’m sure you haven’t used your free views for the month)

If you can’t bear reading it, just soothe yourself with this watered down version.

If you’re still up for reading, this is a quote from one of your “supporting” articles:

This marks the store becoming the 6th Walgreens to close since October and the 11th to close in the city since the start of the pandemic in 2020. However, unlike the reasoning given for last years closures that blamed the crime wave in the city, Walgreens on Friday attributed the latest closing to multiple factors, including the shifting dynamics in the area.

”As we continue to execute our strategy to expand Walgreens role as a leader in the delivery of healthcare, we are focused on creating the right network of stores in the right locations to best meet the needs of the communities we serve,” said Walgreens spokesman Fraser Engerman on Friday. “There are a number of factors that we take into consideration when opening and closing locations, including dynamics of the local market and changing buying habits of our customers. Pharmacy patients’ prescription files will automatically transfer to nearby stores.”

I am 100% sure that shoving a gun in a person’s face creates a “genuine risk of physical harm” as required by the memo. The scenario you described would still be charged under one of the felony statues you noted. Further clarification from the DA’s office states as much. I am not a lawyer, but since convictions for murder are common for accomplices when criminal action results in one of the perpetrators being killed by a victim, a sufficiently threatening action that could reasonably elicit a harmful reaction by a victim, would also meet the standard of “genuine risk of physical harm” now required for armed robbery charges.

Again, the transparency is refreshing from a DA who would be legally allowed to enact these same policies without ever telling the public, though you can never predict how people with financial and political interests will twist it. Actually, you usually can, @seawulf575. I never said Bragg was perfect, but a scare mongering attitude on crime is probably the deepest well in American politics, and requires no effort or reflection. Why would a politician risk these headwinds? Perhaps because the evidence supports prosecutorial reform, and he is attempting to make actual change to a system he has seen failing since his childhood.

seawulf575's avatar

@Smashley Yes, I know about Bragg’s attempt at backpedaling. But look at what he wrote as specific guidance in the Day One memo (as I linked previously AND copied over). You are desperate to make this all okay and it isn’t. It is a left-wing DA avoiding actually arresting and prosecuting criminals. Let’s take the 160.15 as a perfect example and see how that squares with what he backpedaled to. 160.15 is first degree robbery and involves use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon. He specifically listed this one as something that should be charged under petit larceny instead of 1st degree robbery. Then, when he caught all sorts of grief, he tried backpedaling saying that isn’t what he meant. So he puts out the memo you listed and it states this for robberies:

”. What does the Day 1 Memo say about robberies?
Answer: Robberies are a serious offense and will continue to be prosecuted (and have been prosecuted by DA Bragg previously in his career). The memo instructs ADAs to make a common-sense difference between two very different types of cases: a person holding a knife to someone’s neck, and someone who, usually struggling with substance use or mental health issues, shoplifts and makes a minimal threat to a store employee while leaving. We will not treat these cases equally. We will continue to charge those who pose a genuine risk of harm with violent felony offenses, but will not over-charge those who pose no genuine risk with the same violent felony offense. ”

So first degree robbery, which he specifically listed as to be charged under the petit larceny charge, specifically states it involves threats of violence and use of weapons. His backpedal tries to say no, it’s just involving someone that is shoplifting because they are hungry. But what he was downgrading was armed robbery. It cannot, under any reasonable interpretation, mean someone that just shoplifted something. In fact, someone just shoplifting something ALREADY FALLS UNDER PETIT LARCENY!!!! Why say all the other versions of robbery are to be charged as petit larceny if you really didn’t mean it?

Again, you are defending the poor policies of the progressives at the detriment of the victims.

And while you want to feel good about yourself for feeling for the families and neighbors and churches of the criminals, you are STILL avoiding the families, neighbors and churches of the victims. You are still on the side of the criminals and don’t want them held accountable for their crimes. If someone killed your kid, would you think it was just to have that crime downgraded to something minor because it might cause anxiety for the killer’s family?

Smashley's avatar

No. The wording requiring armed robbery charges to require genuine risk of physical harm was in the Day One memo, which you should know since you posted it. Clarifying this point in the face of breathless punditry does not constitute a “walk-back”

And this folks, is why most of us just don’t even bother. A partisan will never really hear another perspective, or directly refute the logic. Where he has been beaten, he retreats without acknowledgement to new topics, where he has been immature and insulting, he pretends as if he hasn’t, while continuing to insult, and simply jumps around to new grievances from the right wing echo chamber grab bag.

We were on the topic of “should we prosecute the Parkland officer?”

My answer, no. Thoughts, @seawulf575?

seawulf575's avatar

@Smashley His original memo, which I posted and actually copied/pasted into this thread shows he specifically stated that arrests under PL 160.15 which is Robbery in the first degree was to be charged as petit larceny if the force or threat of force consists of displaying a dangerous weapon but doesn’t actually create a genuine risk of physical harm. So that means if the bad guy walks into a store and waves a gun around that should be only considered petit larceny, regardless of how much was stolen. After all, it’s just a gun…that never constitutes a genuine risk of physical harm. Or gee…maybe it’s just a machete that he is waving around. That isn’t a genuine risk either. And no, this is not being silly…the PL 160.15 is very specific as to what is required to meet that criteria…and it pretty much is threatening someone with a weapon. How do you justify in your warped little mind that waving a gun around is not automatically presenting a genuine risk? Do you believe the clerk of a store or a pedestrian in a street didn’t feel the threat? That they just knew that bad guy wasn’t that bad and that their lives were not really in danger?

Can I quote you on this the next time the conversation gets into gun control laws? After all, owning a gun or even carrying and waving it around doesn’t actually present a genuine risk of harm, right?

And yes, we were on the topic of whether or not the Parkland cop should be prosecuted. I gave my answer first and that is what started the angst from you folks on the left into defending idiotic lefty policies.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@gorillapaws .
Well. Typically if a LEO is pursuing someone, or busy interacting with someone they are also still on a leash. There is typically a supervisor for each situation.
But. Things are really changing now. Mass/active shooters are still a relatively anomalous occurrence. Of course the biggest change is that law enforcement can’t treat an active shooter situation, like a hostage situation…

gorillapaws's avatar

@MrGrimm888 You’re an experienced former LEO, I’m just a random dickhead on the internet with an opinion. That said, if I’m placing bets, my money is on the active shooter with lots of ammunition, an assault rifle, no fear of death, and lots of planning over the 60-year-old school resource officer who spends his days not doing much of anything, alone with a sidearm and limited ammunition and plenty of innocents to worry about. I think it’s 20–1 odds.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Every single incident is different.

Weapons are important. Sure.
Other variables are too.
There are unarmed people capable of killing a well trained, armed, armored officer…

Weapons, and the laws of warfare don’t work like “rock, paper, scissors.”..

I’ve personally only ever dealt with people who didn’t have a plan. Experience and some dumb luck, goes a long way.

I was a LEO, and a “bouncer,” for many years. I was into martial arts, for mich longer.
Violent, physical interaction is frowned upon. However. When it’s time, it’s time. You NEVER enter any sort of combat, hand to hand or otherwise, thinking that you can lose. Or you already lost…

If I were outside of a school, and there was an active shooter inside, I’m going in. Even if I have no firearm. It’s probable that I would sustain injury if I find the shooter, but if I can get close enough I could stop them.
Or not. At least I tried…

When you’re a LEO, you never know when you’re outgunned, or not. I don’t see the huge difference between normal duty, and a mass shooter. It’s the job. If you don’t like it, do something else. I left law enforcement, because it’s just getting worse and worse….

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