Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Reproach minimising gun

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This is a type of gun for a very specific problem. Gun control nuts please go troll elsewhere.

Since the recent bombing campaign in London, the police have been rather jittery, and have just shot an innocent man. Apparently he looked like a terrorist because he was wearing a coat and looked arabic.
Now various political types are promising an inquiry and saying how sad they feel, but defending the protocol. The problem is that noone really believes the armed rozzers didn't just shoot the guy without giving proper warning.

So what is really needed is a system of authentication to show whether the police behaved appropriately.
I propose a firearm for police which will enforce as far as possible the requirements, and also record sufficient data that this can be satisfactorally proved later (with viewing by selected upstanding members of the community as well as internally).

The gun incorporates a microphone and digital video camera, with some authentication system. (This isn't particularly novel.)
The gun will only fire if several conditions are met:
At least certain number of minutes have been recorded.
The image has been relatively stable for the last few frames.

These conditions may well be limiting for some gun usage, but for police use they are appropriate because armed police are expected to identify themselves and give a caution, and aim carefully, before they fire.

(update) The system can be manually overridden: the gun can be forced to fire, however the recording of sound and video cannot. This allows the officer to exert judgement and fire where necessary. Conditions must clearly be extreme for an officer to do so and escape recrimination.

If on examining the footage the police[wo]man is judged to have behaved outside the bounds of responsibility, then they can be severely punished, while if (as is usually claimed) they behaved appropriately, they can be completely exonerated and the community can retain confidence in the police.

(I know there are other similar ideas on the halfbakery, I think this system is sufficiently distinct.)

Loris, Jul 25 2005

He really believed the rozzers... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Noone
...but he wasn't there. [AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jul 17 2009]

currently... http://www.theregis...olice_shooting_vid/
Story involving fatal shooting and headcam - (which is not quite fit for purpose) [Loris, Nov 28 2009]

so baked its crusty http://www.geekolog...gun_cameras_for.php
way back in '07 [neo_, Nov 29 2009]

[link]






       Seems a waste to have a gun that can’t be used for self defense.
Shz, Jul 25 2005
  

       Agreed. Pointless workaround for proper training of police.
DrCurry, Jul 25 2005
  

       I might be willing to accept such designs on a test basis from somebody who had real experience shooting, but I don't see anything here to lead me to believe has gone through a single box of shells.
normzone, Jul 25 2005
  

       //Seems a waste to have a gun that can’t be used for self defense.//   

       As I said in the idea, it has a specific purpose, it isn't a general use gun. I know it was a long post, but that is the first sentence.   

       //Agreed. Pointless workaround for proper training of police.//   

       It would clearly have to be used *in addition* to proper training. You see the objective is not to make it more difficult to fire, but to prove that best practise really was followed and firing was necessary. Not just to the satisfaction of the police force itself, but to the community.   

       //I might be willing to accept such designs on a test basis from somebody who had real experience shooting, but I don't see anything here to lead me to believe has gone through a single box of shells.//   

       You are clearly a gun nut. I don't think rational discussion can be had with you.
Loris, Jul 25 2005
  

       "The gun will only fire if several conditions are met"
That got my fishbone. If I were a police officer caught in a situation where I had to fire my weapon without having time to give due warning I would want a weapon that would fire. Every time.
  

       If I am ever to make a decision between losing my job and losing my life, the choice is easy.   

       There are situations where police officers need to use their judgement and do what is right rather than what the guidlines say. That is why there is a tribunal when an officer breaks a rule: not just to determine the evidence but to decide whether it is right and fair to apply the rule in the situation in which the officer found themselves.   

       ...and I haven't even started on technial failures... ways criminals can hack the guns... ways of preventing the officer from following the procedure that will allow him to discharge his gun.   

       The gunning down of an person due to mistaken identity is a terrible thing. This is not the answer.
st3f, Jul 25 2005
  

       [st3f] Well that is more reasoned. I'm glad for you to prove me wrong. I've modified the idea slightly to try and work round your reservations.   

       In practice, the cases you mention are likely to be rare indeed - otherwise the protocols would clearly be inappropriate.
Armed police here (UK) are not like yours (assuming you are in America) Their guns are rifles, not handguns, and only a few police have additional training to use them. They are only really sent in armed combat situations - they don't (generally) walk around the streets packing them. They are not supposed to put themselves (or indeed others) in exposed situations.
  

       But as I said in a comment before, the idea isn't to stop police firing, but rather to ensure transparency and accountability. I think it is actually beneficial to both police and community. A few years ago a policeman was found guilty of murder - the first two bullets he fired were found lawful while the third was not. If I were competent but in a difficult situation I'm pretty sure I'd appreciate proof that I'd behaved appropriately.   

       Regarding the current case - noone who wasn't there can really have any confidence that the police didn't just run up, shout something about surrendering and then shoot him before he could work out what was happening. Indeed the eyewitness report I read in the paper this morning suggests that is exactly what happened. It doesn't take many innocent people to be killed in such a way to completely exhaust community support of the police.
Loris, Jul 25 2005
  

       Nope. I'm a Brit.   

       As well as not being very keen on the idea, I'm not that keen on the inflammatory language in which it's presented. To me, the words 'Apparently he looked like a terrorist because he was wearing a coat and looked arabic' does not adequately describe the situation.   

       Although witness statements are garbled and contradictory there are witnesses that report that, at various points in the chase, that the officers identified themselves and warned the suspect. One witness even reported seeing what looked like a bomb-belt with wires sticking out of it.   

       To me, the tragedy is not that the guns went off. The tragedy is that the man wasn't what the police thought he was and the situation not as they assessed it.
st3f, Jul 25 2005
  

       The 'inflammatory' sentence may be a little unfair to the police, but I'm basically quoting the news reports. This is basically the point I'm trying to address - if that is all people have to go on, they aren't going to trust the pigs* at all, are they? Even if someone is scrape-goated, it'll be months or years and the damage is already done.   

       (* as a law-abiding citizen I find it amusing to use slang for the police. Theres no malice in it.)   

       I've also been reading news reports on the BBC and Wikipedia since posting this. There was more of a chase than I thought, but it doesn't make the police actions any more explicable.   

       You are following a suspected suicide bomber from his home. Do you:
A) Stop him as soon as possible in a clear street out of sight of his home, identify yourselves as police officers and ask him to surrender from a distance, or
B) Follow him in plain clothes onto a bus, then chase him in numbers in plain-clothes to a station before wrestling him to the ground in a crowded train, before shooting him in the head (at least five times), then identify yourselves?
  

       You are also right about witness statements being garbled and contradictory. Witnesses are actually really unreliable. So wouldn't a video camera or two right up against the action come in useful?
Loris, Jul 25 2005
  

       I understood it to be Ken's new 'get tough' policy on the Congestion Charge.
Ian Tindale, Jul 25 2005
  

       I only now got back here and found I've been pronounced a gun nut, and therefore incapable of rational discussion. [Loris], I hope you were joking when you wrote that (slowly puts hand inside jacket :-)   

       And your own experience and training is...?
normzone, Feb 20 2007
  

       Loris, I don't know much about normzone, and frankly, I'm not sure I like him, but I can assure you, that expecting you to pump a few rounds through a firearm once in your life is no reason to call him a gun nut. Most of his suggestions, this one included, are quite valid, but not always possible.   

       Indeed, being adverse to ever popping off a few rounds in a controlled enviroment is likely to open you up to the charge of being an "anti-gun-nut"   

       As for the idea, I suspect it would be very easy to install a camera onto a gun so that there would be video imagery, and maybe even a microphone, but putting in a complicated system to keep the gun from firing would, in my mind, be worthless. If the police know their shots will be recorded, there is not much reason to prevent them from shooting as they judge fit in the first place. Indeed, even with the risk of a few unrecorded police murders, there is still little reason to do so. I'll stay neutral as long as the idea includes a gun override, and once you take it out, I'll start seeing about finding gun scopes that already include video cameras.   

       Now I suppose I'll be called a gun nut. Not so, for I own no guns, although in a previous job I had to walk around with a shotgun or a 9mm every now and then... but that just made me into a nut.
ye_river_xiv, Feb 20 2007
  

       On that note in the idea of the gun can be forced to fire, I read a short story where a police officer's gun was overridden in such a manner and while responding to a crime he was used by a higher authority as the vehicle for a politically motivated shooting. I'm not comfortable with carrying something that could be used in such a manner.
normzone, Feb 20 2007
  

       Cameras don't really like explosions, so putting one in a gun would be asking for a technical failure. I think it would just be easier to put a recording device on the police that they can activate (per protocol) in heated situations, but a gun should not be a multitasker, because it will not do any of the functions particularly well.
saprolite, Feb 28 2009
  

       That about simply including a small camera and microphone that begins recording the instant the gun is pulled and gives a "sights eye" view (as is used in target training). If what we see down the barrel doesn't look dangerous then the officer may well be in error. (there is no "procedure" for using lethal force only "criteria")
WcW, Feb 28 2009
  

       So I'm back, even more years later, to find it suggested that I'm an "anti-gun-nut".   

       I'm not in favour of everyone walking around with a gun, certainly. You know that pro-gun saying: "Guns don't kill people, people do"? Well besides the fact that it's obviously the bullets which do the killing, I know about people. They get into arguments and do things in fits of rage. And some of them are aggressive thugs.   

       Sure, if everyone's allowed a gun, I could have one too. And I could waste a lot of time and money getting proficient in it, which would not otherwise be necessary. But it still wouldn't stop me or my family getting shot through the wall when the guy next door has an argument, or shoots the mirror because it's looking at him. It doesn't stop children accidentally exerting their Second Amendment Rights. And given that it takes people a while to die after being shot, even a duel with a mugger doesn't suddenly seem safer with both parties bearing firearms. Particularly since the encounter would probably start with the opposition having theirs out and pointing in my direction.   

       On the other hand. I'm fine with people who want to shoot guns doing so, in firing ranges where no weapon may leave the premises. I'd quite like to blow some stuff up myself.   

       I'm fine with well-trained police carrying guns when necessary.
But I'd like them to be a) accountable for their actions, and b) not scapegoated or under suspicion for doing their jobs.
  

       //If I am ever to make a decision between losing my job and losing my life, the choice is easy.//   

       So the third option I'm offering - keeping both your life and your job - doesn't appeal?   

       //And your own experience and training is...?//   

       I played laser-quest, once.   

       Also, you guys seem to be off on one about the guns being networked or something (guns being hacked, overridden by a higher authority, etc). Quite where you got that from, I dunno.
It seems so obvious to me that it shouldn't need explanation, but the system should be designed to work reliably and fail gracefully. That way the worst that can happen is the current situation.
Loris, Jul 17 2009
  

       //The problem is that noone really believes the armed rozzers //
//noone who wasn't there //
Is this the same one who was in Herman's Hermits?
  

       //Their guns are rifles, not handguns//
No, mostly they're pistols or sub-machineguns.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jul 17 2009
  

       I don't see anything wrong with the idea, but there is a possibly simpler solution. Just give all armed police lapel- mounted cameras (as has been done for a recent TV series) which record constantly. This would serve much the same purpose without the need to encumber the gun itself.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 17 2009
  

       //At least certain number of minutes have been recorded. The image has been relatively stable for the last few frames.//   

       Yeah I'm sure we can all rest easy knowing that when somebody goes up against a cop they have a few minutes before the cop can actually shoot back... not.   

       But should those yahoos be charged with murder ? certainly seems so from the news report, doesn't it. Problem is it's not just the shooters, it's the morons who dumped a new security paradigm onto a police department without a few *years* of setup.   

       I used to like the British bobby model.   

       [MB] voice of sanity
FlyingToaster, Jul 17 2009
  

       The trouble with not having it on the gun is that it may be inactivated (by not switching on, or pointed backwards, or leaving at home etc) accidentally, or 'accidentally'.
The two are not easily distinuishable.
  

       //No, mostly they're pistols or sub-machineguns.//   

       Whatever. The ones I've seen policemen packing are the big long things, not the little wavey jobs.   

       //Yeah I'm sure we can all rest easy knowing that when somebody goes up against a cop they have a few minutes before the cop can actually shoot back... not.//   

       See the override switch. This should rarely be necessary, since recording would begin when the gun comes out of secure storage. If the gun-user comes under fire while the it is still in secure storage, something has gone badly wrong - but at least there'd be footage of the gun being pulled out and pointed in the direction of lots of bangs and shit, which is useful evidence of what really happened.   

       If you think that waving a gun around while shooting isn't going to be unsafe, I'm not going to be able to persuade you. Certainly from what I've seen of police firearms training (TV documentaries, etc) it's generally held that one should aim carefully before opening fire.
Loris, Jul 18 2009
  

       //[MB] voice of sanity// Never in all my born days....
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 18 2009
  

       heheh [MB], you made your bed, now lie about it.   

       [Loris] often it's necessary to get a shot off just for the purpose of causing the other person with a gun to duck.   

       Want to put a cam on that records as soon as a weapon is drawn? go right ahead, seriously good idea: apart from "surveillance" it would be a good feedback tool, though that's very well baked; look at WW-II fighter planes.   

       Want to mechanically restrict a police weapon being shot by anything except the safety mechanisms normally found ? hell no. If they can't shoot responsibly then they shouldn't have guns in the first place. Might want to think about putting the SAS in the street: *they* have specific anti-terrorist training and experience, though that is under very different circumstances.
FlyingToaster, Jul 19 2009
  

       (marked-for-tagline)   

       "I played laser-quest, once"
normzone, Jul 20 2009
  

       //If on examining the footage the police[wo]man is judged to have behaved outside the bounds of responsibility, then they can be severely punished// - spanked?
xenzag, Jul 20 2009
  

       //spanked?//
When I was a kid, if a policeman thought you'd misbehaved, he'd give you a clip behind the ear.
Now they empty a whole magazine.
coprocephalous, Jul 20 2009
  

       really poor play on words there
WcW, Nov 28 2009
  

       It will have to serve until a better one comes along.
normzone, Nov 28 2009
  

       baked. [link]
neo_, Nov 29 2009
  

       So was this baked by the half-baker?
The_Saint, Nov 29 2009
  

       "...have just shot an innocent man." Guncam, good idea. Theoretically you could do a bullet-cam..but who'd want to watch the footage? Icky.   

       1st: //Apparently he looked like a terrorist because he was wearing a coat and looked arabic//   

       Good enough for me.   

       2nd: Your idea limits the abilities and security of the person wielding the gun to curb irrational behavior (unwarranted shootings). Irrational behavior cannot be so easily curbed, and this approach fails utilitarianism's felicific calculus (badly).   

       The answer to this problem is: Require more maturity and wisdom from those wielding fire arms.   

       An idiot-proof gun is an abomination, as idiots should not have guns.
MikeD, Nov 30 2009
  

       //Require more maturity and wisdom from those wielding fire arms//
I remember the episode of "Third Rock" where they aliens contrasted the difficulty of obtaining a driving licence vs. a gun licence.
coprocephalous, Dec 01 2009
  

       //driving license vs. a gun license//
"gun license" <> "license to shoot people" and a car with an idiot at the wheel does more damage than a similarly equipped gun.
FlyingToaster, Dec 01 2009
  
      
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