Pellet Gun Not Dangerous?
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2002 12:59:54
From: robert n lyman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: "'Firearm' was a pellet gun" (fwd)
To the Editor, Seattle PI,
I am writing to correct two dangerously
false statements in your Jan. 8 article regarding the Jan. 6 shooting of an
armed man in the University district.
"...[The suspect's gun] was
not designed to shoot bullets, but [was] a pellet gun."
Pellet guns ARE designed to shoot
bullets, of course. Bullets are the projectiles expelled from the muzzle of
a weapon. Pellet guns do not fire rounds encased in metallic cartridges, often
erroneously referred to as "bullets," but they most certainly do fire
small metallic projectiles at very high speed (caseless ammunition).
The second error is far, far more
serious and merits a published correction.
"...[Police Chief Kerlikowske
showed the] striking similarities between an instrument that can take a life,
and one that cannot."
This statement is utterly, completely,
and egregiously false. A pellet or BB gun can most assuredly be used, by a criminal
or a fool, to take a life. There are documented cases of bullets fired from
modern airguns penetrating human skulls and killing people. Even a lower-powered
air pistol, as was most likely involved here, can easily puncture the arteries
of the neck, or damage the windpipe enough to allow blood to fill the lungs.
To be sure, the Colt 1911 displayed by Chief Kerlikowske is a far more effective
tool for killing (having been the Army's sidearm for 80 years), but to say that
a pellet gun is NOT a deadly weapon is simply irresponsible. I am aghast.
Personally, I believe the actions
of the police (killing the suspect with a head shot) would have been perfectly
justified EVEN IF they had known all along they were faced with a pellet gun.
He posed a clear and imminent threat of death or severe injury to his hostage.
Your article contains a clear implication to the contrary, on the basis of the
erroneous belief that a pellet gun is somehow not dangerous. Your paper almost
never gets reporting on the subject of guns correct. It seems your reporters
know almost nothing about the subject, and it is quite clear that your editorial
writers have a sort of negative knowledge, which sucks facts out of the room
and makes people standing near them more ignorant. Considering there are perhaps
8-10 gun stores in your local calling area, along with literally 100,000 gun
owners and hundreds of front-line police officers (real cops, not the politically-motivated
brass), what can your excuse possibly be?
607 NW 88th St
P.S. (Not for publication) I am
perfectly willing to introduce your reporters and editors to gun safety and
marksmanship, as well as serving as an unpaid consultant on technical issues
involving firearms. The next time you need facts, or if you would like to learn
more for the purpose of improving your reporting, do not hesitate to call me!
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