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Glyph is worse than some and better than others. He believes that life is just one damned thing after another, that only pop music can save us now, and that mercy is the mark of a great man (but he's just all right). Nothing he writes here should be taken as an indication that he knows anything about anything.

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36 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The problem with living in a really big country with lots of jurisdictions.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    A sad suicide in Louisiana: African-American male with hands handcuffed behind back manages to shoot himself in the chest while in the back of a police car.


    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

      It’s a statistical fact that suicidal black contortionists commit crimes at disproportionate rates.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Glyph says:

        Indeed. I’d really like to know where the bullet went.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        You mean as evidence (that is, where is it now?) or at the time of the shooting?

        Because the coroner says it entered his right side and exited under his left armpit.

        His family says he was left-handed.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Glyph says:


        No, the actual path of the bullet. If he was shot in the chest, one would think the round is in the back of the seat. If the guy shot himself, the round likely exited the vehicle somewhere, depending upon the orientation and path of the gun/bullet.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        I know as little about coroning as I do about firefights, but that won’t stop me from speculating wildly.

        I would *hope* a coroner can tell the difference between an entry and an exit wound.

        If the shot entered where he says (right side of chest) and exited where he says (under left armpit) I am having trouble imagining how a lefty with his hands cuffed behind him could pull that off.Report

    • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Jaybird says:

      This is obviously a disgrace, but I’m kinda curious about how much leeway the coroner has in ruling the death. Is the coroner’s job to take the police statements and then find a plausible physiological explanation that matches those statements? Or is it to independently determine the most likely sequence of events? My hunch is that if the police bring the body in and say “he shot himself”, the coroner is more-or-less obligated to rule the death a suicide and let the courts sort it out.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

      Setting aside the evident incompetence of police who would put an armed person in their squad car, the ability of a handcuffed person to draw a gun and fire it is an empirical question. We can and should test it with average people of the deceased’s build and age.

      The fact that he was left-handed but the shot was right-handed doesn’t say much. If his hands were cuffed behind his back and his gun was in his pants, it’s reasonably possible–at least in theory–that he could only reach the weapon with his off hand. Such awkwardness could explain a self-killing shot as an accidental discharge.

      That’s assuming, probably, an upward trajectory of the bullet.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

      I was thinking… “Wait a minute… Isn’t this an old story?”

      Nope. It’s happened twice now.


  3. Avatar Glyph says:

    It appears no one is safe.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Glyph says:

      Perhaps the sound guy shouldn’t have resisted.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        I believe standard police procedure is that if a cop feels his or her life is in danger for any reason, including because of some tests run at the doctor’s office yesterday for which he or she has not yet received the results, the cop can shoot anyone within sight or within buildings or vehicles within sight.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        If you didn’t like the social contract, you shouldn’t have signed it.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        Hey, they keep us safe from non-cops who might want to hurt us. And how many cops are there, compared to non-cops? Obviously, a simple Bayesian calculus tells us that cops shooting anyone anytime is better than the alternative.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        This situation is slightly different from the others recently discussed, in that:

        A.) Cops were supposedly returning fire on what appeared to be an armed robbery suspect (it turned out to be a pellet gun, but according to them it did have a muzzle flash/report), and

        B.) They did admit culpability and apologize.

        But I still have some questions. Why 30 shots? It’s pretty plausible to me that the killing shot could have been a ricochet bullet, rather than any one individual officer screwing up aim-wise, but 30 bullets seems like…a lot, for one suspect.

        Is it so many bullets because the guns fire so quickly, or are there (as I suspect) several officers all firing simultaneously (thereby increasing confusion/crossfire/ricochet possibilities)?

        Wouldn’t it make more sense (even if just for the cops’ safety) to designate one shooter (if needed) and one backup shooter (if needed) rather than just having everyone cut loose at once?

        Or is there some reason that’s just not feasible or practical (I realize that sometimes there will be no time to work out any sort of game plan)?

        Or is it a “mental/conscience” thing, like with firing squads; where each shooter can console himself that maybe his wasn’t the killing bullet?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

        the cop can shoot anyone within sight or within buildings or vehicles within sight

        Within sight? What about those dangerous folks and building that are not within sight? Why do you want to handcuff the police?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        Do pellet guns have muzzle flashes?

        Here… let me google that for me…


        An air gun (also called pellet gun) is any variety of projectile weapons that propels projectiles by means of compressed air or other gas, in contrast to firearms which use a propellant charge.


        For example, air guns could be fired in wet weather and rain (unlike matchlock muskets), and fired with greater rapidity than muzzle-loading guns. Moreover, they were quieter than a firearm of similar caliber, had no muzzle flash, and were smokeless.


      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        @jaybird – OK, yeah, that doesn’t look good, but just for a minute let’s take them at their word.

        Does it still seem like a good idea to have so many people returning fire at once? Doesn’t that seem like it’s making the whole situation more dangerous for everybody?

        Assuming that there was a chance to work out a plan in advance I mean.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        Apologies in advance to any LEO’s/gun owners/soldiers if my question seems naive.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        it turned out to be a pellet gun, but according to them it did have a muzzle flash/report

        This sounds like the sorts of post hoc justifications cops always come up with. “He was resisting.” “He reached for something.” “He was holding the knife in a threatening, overhand manner.” It always sounds better than, “he was black and scary,” or “I dunno, my adrenaline was rushing and I just started shooting.”Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        I agree it doesn’t look good if they are claiming the pellet gun looks/sounds/behaves differently than it does, but I am inclined to cut cops a tiny bit of slack when they respond to a report of an armed robbery; confront a guy with what really, truly looks like a gun (well, it IS a gun, just a less-dangerous one); and shoot that same guy *after* he fires that gun.

        Even if it was just a cap gun (do they still make those? Those were great.)

        I mean, stuff does happen, and I have to place much of the blame for what happened here on the (alleged) robber.

        I’m more questioning if a “hail of bullets” is the best or only way to go, even in a shooting situation, with a single armed suspect.

        This seems like an accident; but the more bullets being fired by more people, the more likely unintended consequences will occur.

        So, my questions:

        1.) How many guns were likely being fired, to get to 30 rounds?

        2.) Were all of those guns/rounds necessary; or could perhaps one or two officers, properly trained, have taken the robber down with fewer bullets fired (and hopefully no or fewer strays/ricochets)?Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:


        Again, most of my familiarity with guns and firefights comes from Hollywood, but 10 rounds apiece seems kind of like overkill.

        In this case, the ‘overkill’ was literal.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        I imagine that their training basically says keep shooting until you are certain the threat is neutralized or until your gun is empty, whichever comes first.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Jaybird says:

        A pump pellet gun won’t have any really noticeable muzzle “flash”, but a compressed air pellet gun that uses a CO2 cartridge as propellant may have a small cloud around the muzzle when you fire it, because the compressed CO2 will be much colder than the air, so you’ll get a condensation effect.

        If you’re all hyped up on adrenaline, it’s… possible that you’d mistake that for a gunpowder smoke cloud.

        Still, you should be so fired.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

        I’d imagine all the cops bullets hitting the glass would have led to a lot of shiny shards and visual clutter that could look like muzzle flashes especially if the adrenaline fairy is visiting hardcore.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Glyph says:

      I’m not making fun of what is a tragedy for the man’s friends and family. Hopefully the producers provided generous life insurance protection for these workers who could easily end up in life-threatening situations.

      Armpit wounds can easily be lethal. I’m a sport fencer. In order to participate in any organized activity (practice or competition) under the USFA umbrella, I have to wear two protective upper-body garments. There’s the regular long-sleeved double-layer jacket that covers both arms. In addition there’s a required plastron, a double-layer half-jacket worn on the weapon arm under the jacket specifically to protect the armpit area. The rules include specifications for the jacket and plastron to ensure that none of the seams line up.Report

  4. Avatar Mo says:

    Justice thanks to dashcam that the local PD was trying to hide. They were repeatedly yelling, “Stop grabbing my gun, stop resisting,” while his hands were in the air.


  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    On the other hand, this is apparently a thing because people are morons: