Autistic Man Saved by Horrific Marksmanship
I just saw an interesting story on the web. Miami cop Jonathan Aledda just got charged with “Attempted manslaughter,” according to the news. I find it hard to believe that’s a real charge. Manslaughter, by definition, means the killing of a human being “without malice aforethought.” Officer Aledda definitely intended to kill somebody, so it sounds like attempted murder to me, and I seem to recall that in Florida, attempted murder was replaced by things like aggravated assault and aggravated battery.
I’m too lazy to check.
Here’s what happened. An autistic man was sitting in the street waving a toy truck and screaming. One of his caretakers, a black man (spoiler alert, I guess) was with him. The caretaker’s name is Charles Kinsey. The cops somehow got the idea that the autistic man was a criminal waving a gun. The cops tried to kill the autistic man, and one of the bullets hit Kinsey. The other two didn’t hit anyone at all.
Kinsey was lying on his back with his arms in the air for quite some time, yelling in a loud voice that the man with the truck was autistic and that he was a caregiver. He made everything extremely clear, and he asked the cops not to shoot him. Because he has seen the TV news.
Naturally, Aledda, a SWAT team member, shot anyway.
No one has come up with a credible reason for the shooting. There is a video of the incident, and a person sitting at home looking at a PC can instantly tell there was no reason to shoot anyone. Somehow that escaped the cops on the scene. At the very least, it escaped one of them.
I keep thinking about that charge. Now that I reflect on it, it’s a strange fact pattern. Usually, when you have someone who is injured by someone trying to kill with a firearm, the person injured is the intended victim. In a situation like that, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon seems like the obvious charge. Since Kinsey wasn’t the intended victim, maybe the State’s Attorney decided attempted manslaughter made more sense. Aledda had malice aforethought, but the malice was toward the autistic man, not Kinsey.
I don’t know the answer. It shows you how weird the law can be.
To me, the case is interesting for more than one reason. Obviously, I am very curious to hear Aledda’s defense. The cops were on the scene for a long time, and they communicated with the victim. They had to know there was no danger. Why shoot? Everyone wants to know. The other thing that’s interesting is this: Aledda is a SWAT officer, he used a highly accurate rifle, he was 152 feet away (50 yards), and none of his bullets hit the target.
That’s interesting to me, because I’m always talking about how badly cops shoot. They show up at the range with black tactical pants covered with velcro and zippers. Their hair is full of gel. They’re covered with suspiciously swollen muscles. They wear $300 sunglasses. They look like movie action heroes. Then they start shooting, and they’re lucky if they hit the paper.
It’s weird to be this right about something that shouldn’t be true at all. The cops should be some of the best marksmen on earth. The government pays for their ammunition. They shoot for nothing. They get free “expert” (?) training. Think how good an average person would be, with a local government to pay for ammunition, targets, and range fees. If I shot 250 rounds a week, I’d be ready to perform in a Wild West Show.
Aledda isn’t even a normal cop. I completely understand why an old guy who works a school crossing might not be a great shot. He might not see much reason to put in range time, and he would not be selected for his marksmanship. But SWAT? Special WEAPONS and Tactics? Shouldn’t they be able to shoot?
In case you’re not a shooter, and you don’t understand what shooting at fifty yards is like, I’ll put it like this. Shooting while standing, with no breath control, using a dubious .22 rifle, I could kill rabbits all day at fifty yards. Aledda missed something ten times as wide as a rabbit, THREE TIMES.
He had great equipment. He had a cop car to rest the gun on. The target was stationary. He had ages to aim. Come on!
It’s amazing that he missed at all, and it’s even more amazing that he started firing with Kinsey so close to the target. That would be a dumb idea for a good shot, but as one of the world’s worst rifle shots, Aledda had to know how enormous an area his shots were likely to cover.
I keep thinking about those charges. I would have gone for attempted murder (autistic) and aggravated battery (Kinsey). I think. Seems to me Aledda committed two crimes. After all there were two victims, and they were harmed in different ways by the same actions. The autistic man was assaulted, and Kinsey was battered.
Another question: why three shots? If you shoot at someone close to someone you think is innocent, and you miss the intended target once at close range, isn’t it an indication that you’re not up to the job? Shouldn’t you realize, after missing the first shot, that it’s time to give the rifle to someone else?
Surely he didn’t hit Kinsey with one of the first two shots. Firing again after shooting an innocent person would be beyond comprehension.
I don’t get this case at all. Maybe Aledda is so incompetent, I just can’t wrap my mind around it. I keep looking for an explanation, but maybe it’s right in front of me, and I can’t ingest it.
What’s the lesson from this story? That’s a good question that just occurred to me. I can think of some things.
1. The cops really, really cannot shoot. It’s not my imagination. If you’re anywhere near a cop with a gun in his hand, run for cover, because absolutely anything is possible. Never, ever, ever bet your life on a cop making a good shot or even not making a catastrophically bad one, and if you’re ever in a tight spot with a cop, do not even think of giving him your carry piece based on the assumption that he’s more capable of using it than you are. Don’t trust those tactical pants! You don’t shoot with your pants.
If you’re in a mall and someone starts shooting it up, don’t hide behind a cop. Hide behind an old guy like me, in work shorts and an NRA T-shirt. He’ll kill everyone in the place while the cop is still trying to rack his slide. Find a guy with a Trump hat and offer to spot for him.
Don’t assume a cop will be a better choice because he’ll be cooler under fire. Watch Youtube. They scream and jump up and down just like the rest of us. I can do that, even without training.
If a criminal comes to your home or business to hurt you, do not call the cops and then leave your gun under the mattress. Get it out and shoot the criminal while he’s as far away as possible. If you wait for the cops, they’ll miss, and they might hit you.
They might do that even if the criminal is dead when they arrive. Pray no one from SWAT shows up.
2. It really is possible to get shot by the cops when everyone else on the scene already knows there is no reason to use force. Telling them everything is okay, and making it clear in as many ways as you can imagine at the time, may not save you.
I don’t know how that knowledge can help you.
3. The people who keep criticizing cops for killing people instead of wounding them or shooting guns out of their hands need to put a sock in it. We are talking about individuals who usually miss the criminal entirely. Asking them to shoot someone in the hand is like asking a person with Parkinson’s to perform a sobriety test. It will never happen. Be glad they’re shooting at center mass, with the intention of killing. It’s their best chance of solving the problem.
New York cops fired 41 rounds at innocent, unarmed, nonthreatening Amadou Diallo with no opposition to mess with their aim. Guess how many rounds hit him? Nineteen. Less than 50%.
4. This was not a Black Lives Matter moment. It was more like an Innocent People Holding Toy Trucks Don’t Matter moment. The autistic man is Hispanic, and he’s the one Aledda tried to kill. BLMsters are saying the shooting proves the cops hate black people and want to kill them, but Aledda was actually trying to protect a black person. Talk about bitter irony.
I guess I’m being hard on Aledda. He probably meant well. But his actions seemed so insane, it’s inconceivable to me that he has any business on a police force, and let’s not forget: he shot one innocent person and nearly killed two. What he did had very bad consequences. If he gets off, he should go find a new profession. I don’t think he should get off. According to centuries of precedent, the kind of bad judgment he appears to have displayed is criminal.
Cooperate with the police at all times, and do everything you can to help them. You never know how much help they may need.Stumble it! Save This Page