Cops Issue Warning To Students Playing A Game With Fake Guns, Fail To Mention Cops Are Most Likely To Kill Them
from the greatest-risk-comes-from-those-issuing-the-warning dept
All panics are overblown. What government officials declare to be the next threat to public safety is often something most social media users have already decided isn’t worth their limited time and attention. But it’s the cops that get to tell the story, seeing as they’re working with (nigh-unlimited) public funds and wielding a megaphone far too many local news agencies are willing to rebroadcast.
There should be no panic. But it behooves government agencies to pretend the WORST THING EVER is headed to your town and is already present in whatever town these agencies preside over. Dumb shit happens. And that dumb shit gets spread by journalistic entities that are willing to trade their reputation points for just a little more access.
That’s how so-called journalists end up quoting cops verbatim while refusing to challenge statements or omissions made by entities that prefer serving themselves to serving the public. WGAL (of Pennsylvania) decided to run a piece based on nothing other than law enforcement statements as a supposed public service. Apparently, teens are “hunting” each other with water guns and maintaining a leaderboard for confirmed “kills.” Cue panic.
Police are concerned about a growing trend inside some schools involving a “game” called “Senior Assassination,” where students reportedly separate into teams and shoot each other with water guns that resemble real firearms.
According to cops (the sole source for this misinformation), this is a bad idea. But it’s not a bad idea because the people most likely to kill innocent people for wielding faux guns are police officers. It’s apparently a bad idea because regular people witnessing these games might think the guns are real and decide to start killing innocent people.
Police say this behavior, could easily be perceived, reported, or confronted as suspicious behavior by unknowing persons and outcomes could have serious consequences.
The most serious consequence is that someone might inform law enforcement. And when officers start blasting, people end up dead. But nowhere in this puff piece is it even suggested cops might start killing people for wielding fake guns.
Instead, the (unnamed) law enforcement agency claims the most danger is posed by other private citizens, who will apparently go all vigilante at the drop of a water-filled clip. Nowhere does this law enforcement agency admit it will be the most likely to kill in circumstances like this. Instead, it suggests some force of nature will kill teens dead for playing a game cops seem to be fully aware of.
According to police, mimicking behaviors associated with criminal, confrontational, or violent behavior with a weapon, could be perceived to be a life-threatening situation and result in an unwanted and/or catastrophic outcome.
But who would generate a “catastrophic outcome?” The cops suggest it’s just a thing that might happen even without their omnipresence. What we’re looking at is cops preemptively blaming the victims of their violence. Defensive killing of citizens by other citizens remain a rarity in this country, despite the constant arguments from gun control opponents that the millions of weapons legally owned by citizens are essential for self-defense.
Most killings of people perceived to be carrying guns are carried out by cops. And while cop officials who rely on votes to retain their position often express their unwillingness to enforce local gun control laws, they tend to perceive any private citizen legally carrying a gun as threat to officer safety. The only thing holding cops back from killing is their subjective perception of their own safety when responding to calls. If people call 911 believing they’ve seen someone carrying a gun, cops are going to roll in on high alert and open fire within seconds.
The “catastrophic outcomes” are always going to be the result of law enforcement officers — the same law enforcement officers who advocate against gun control, but somehow still believe they’re the only people who should be allowed to fire weapons, much less possess them.
This game will probably end in tragedy at some point. But it won’t be random people killing other random people. It will be cops who almost always believe the right response is shoot first, ask questions later. While this piece may have some limited public utility as a warning to teens engaging in a game that may alarm bystanders, that value is undercut by the reporter’s willingness to allow law enforcement PR reps to put words in their mouth.
There’s a 99.9% chance a cop will kill someone over a panic they created. The least reporters can do is ask cop spokespeople which outcome is more likely: kills by citizens or kills by cops. And if law enforcement officials are unwilling to answer that simple question, maybe just scrap the so-called “story.”