But there is a more disturbing angle to this. The Bad Guy (and he was a Bad Guy, he showed up with a gun intending to use it to intimidate, hurt, or kill someone) pulled out a .45 pistol and fired it three times at his intended victim. He hit his intended victim three times, killing him.
Someone who worked nearby followed him and called the police. When they arrived the Bad Guy pulled his gun and aimed it at them. Two police officers drew their guns and fired 14 times total. Total butcher’s bill of innocent victims: 1 dead, 9 wounded. (Plus the Bad Guy, but his death so far isn’t being counted in the headlines.
We know where the 1 dead came from. But the police are not even sure that the Bad Guy fired. They know there was at least 1 round left in the magazine. That means there was 1 round in the chamber. One story earlier identified the weapon as a 1911. Updates have happened, so all the stories currently say is a semi automatic 45 caliber pistol, but we’ll go with the 1911. That means the Bad Guy had (if the magazine was full) had a 7 or 8 round magazine and one in the chamber. So he had a maximum of 9 rounds. He still had at least 2 rounds. 3 of the rounds hit the original victim. So the Bad Guy (who is not counted in the death toll in headlines but is a 2nd death in this story) fired no more than 4 times at the cops.
Even if you go with a Glock 21 with an optional 13 round magazine, the math is still bad. 13 rounds in the magazine, 1 up the spout. 3 rounds fired at the original victim. At least 2 rounds still in the gun. That means a maximum of 9 shots at the police. Yet 14 people were wounded.
And Mayor Bloomberg says that it is not even certain that the Bad Guy even fired at the police. If that is the case then ALL of the bystanders were shot by the police.
Nine people were wounded. Unless the Bad Guy has a Magic Bullet simple math indicates that the NYC police shot at least some of the victims. It should be easy to tell, all of the weapons I find listed as authorized for NYPD are 9 mm, while the Bad Guy had a .45.
But I have an ugly feeling that despite the math showing more victims were likely shot by the police than by a Bad Guy this will be called a “mass shooting.” Don’t believe me? Look at the list of recent mass shootings added to the bottom of this Bloomberg News story, as if they were relevant.
It appears that if there was a Mass Shooting the cops did it.
UPDATE: One of the shooting victims is certain that he was shot by the police. He also says that the Bad Guy definitely shot at the police. The gun was legally purchased in 1991 in Florida, which means it was not one of the more recent double stack guns that could have held more than the 13 round magazine of the Glock 21. (91 was the first year the Glock 21 came out in the US, so it remains possible if not likely.)
UPDATE 2: The New York Daily News is now reporting that every bystander shot was shot by the police. The original victim was shot once in the head, and four times while lying on the ground. In this account the Bad Guy did not get off a shot. Even if NYDN is wrong about the police shooting everyone the math remains, except that the Bad Guy had two fewer rounds to wound bystanders with.
I want to expand on the entire post some by adding a cleaned up version of what I said on Facebook while discussing the story.
It was a tough situation. Streets were packed, and the bad guy pulled a gun and aimed it at the police officers.
Most cops never shoot their guns except to practice right before qualification, and the qualification itself. There are around 35,000 officers in the NYPD. The amount of ammo and range time just to qualify 35,000 people twice a year is staggering.
Outside of qualification time, most cops only touch their gun when they put it on at the start of the shift and take it off at the end of the shift. They are neither recreational nor competitive shooters. Though I don’t shoot much by previous standards now that I’m crippled (and never enter a match any more) I can probably out shoot at least 80% of my local police department.
Even those in NYPD who want to shoot more are limited to what range time they can get. Their own ranges are likely full most of the time, and the Sullivan Act that bans most hand guns in NYC limits those who actually have a permit to own a gun to going to a range in town once a month.
Adding more ranges, more instructors, more range masters and safety officers, operating longer hours, and providing practice ammunition all cost a LOT of money. New York will spend more money on banning sodas over a certain size and not on the training. Like the 1999 Amadou Diallo shooting, this will be ruled within policy and forgotten.
I don’t think most cops get into the job because they want to carry a gun. A lot don’t own a gun before they join the force. I think that most academies do a good job of teaching the fundamentals, but the habits, the muscle memory that leads to precise gun handling under stress takes a thousand hours to build. It’s a perishable skill.
I went into this with a few people last week when people were freaking out over NOAA buying practice ammo and targets for their offices who enforce fishing laws to practice before qualification. They qualify twice a year. They don’t shoot until right before that, when they begin shooting again as if they were cramming for a final. I believe a couple of hours at the range once a month would produce much better result than cramming twice a year. Simple to say, hard to do.