Debate Magazine

The Center-of-Mass Baloney

Posted on the 22 May 2011 by Mikeb302000
Argus Leader reports
Basically this is what happened. A suicidal man was walking down the street with a gun. Eight cops responded. A gunfight began. Five cops used their weapons. When the smoke cleared, the suicidal guy was dead and the cops were unharmed.
Investigators cleaning up the mess left behind by the late-night gunfight that killed a Sioux Falls man Wednesday found at least 50 shells from three different calibers littered throughout the residential neighborhood where the incident took place.
But police say the number of bullets - some of which hit homes and cars in the 3100 block of E. 19th St. - is not necessarily overkill.

Of course they say it wasn't overkill. Cops are as loyal to each other as gun-rights activists. The interesting thing is they go on to defend the fact that they shot the guy in the chest instead of the legs. I didn't see any justification for why some of the bullets ended up hitting houses in the neighborhood. I guess that's just part of the deal.
Police spokesman Sam Clemens on Friday said officers are trained to shoot at the "center mass" of anyone who fires on or threatens to fire on law enforcement "until the threat is stopped."
There is no specific number of shots officers must take, Clemens said. They are taught to shoot until the situation is safe.
"You always hear about officers maybe shooting someone in the leg or shooting someone in the arm, but realistically, that's a small target and it may be moving," he said.
Now let me ask you this. Five cops shooting as many times as is necessary in order to stop the threat, could shoot at a guys feet, couldn't they. Even if they only hit him in his lower legs and feet once or twice each, don't you think that would be sufficient to stop the threat? And wouldn't that keep the trajectory of the bullets under better control?
I can understand if there's a gunfight in which the cop faces an kill-or-be-killed situation, and he decides to shoot at the center of mass. But in many of these cases, there are other options.
What do you think? Please leave a comment.

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