Cop Brings a Gun to a Snowball Fight

Some people just can't handle the weather.

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  • brotherben||

    Jebus H. Christ! Take a fikin weekend off Radley. Like Nelson payoff wasn't enough. we're tryin ta chill here.

    Oh wait. oops, sorry Jesse. But still. Was this necessary?

  • ||

    Jeez, what a bunch of pussies.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Great PR move! Just what we need to instill confidence in Washington DC.

  • ||

    Man those guys are ripping the cops a new asshole.

  • HeadTater||

    Reduce crime: Ban Snowballs!

    It worked for guns until the evil supreme court forced them to overturn the ban and subject the general public to crime and violence.

  • Inkblots||

    If snowballs are outlawed, only outlaws will have snowballs!

  • ||

    i grew up with snowballs all my life. it's a part of my culture. my dadd-eh' taught me how to throw snowballs.

    you want to ban snowballs, tater? Over. My. Dead. Snowman.

  • Frosty||

    Chill, Dude.

  • ||

    I'm not getting what the problem with this is. Libertarians do still believe in one's right to defend one's property and bodily integrity, right? Even if one happens to be a cop?

    Densely packed snowballs can seriously fuck you up (and your car's paint job). If you doubt this, take one to the face or other sensitive part of your anatomy.

  • ||

    I'm not getting what the problem with this is.

    I dunno, a cop whipping out a gun seems a bit excessive, for one thing. For another, if JQ Public did that they'd lock him up and throw away the key.

    Pigs Shouldn't Rule.

  • ||

    What is the use of carrying a gun to protect yourself if you can't use it to protect yourself? Here's the chain of events:

    1. Envirowhackos start a campaign of pelting Hummers (and their drivers) with snowballs. In the article the head envirowhacko says they'd already gotten four other Hummers.

    2. Fifth victim gets out of his vehicle and the envirowhackos respond by pelting his person with snowballs from some distance away.

    3. _____________

    fill in the blank, sage. Ask them to play nice, perhaps?

  • ||

    No, you're absolutely right. He's the man, and he should have gotten out of the car blazing. Bustin' a cap in the ass of those kids (shakes with anger).

    To be serious, he could whipped out a can of pepper spray. Fogging the area would have been kind of cool to see.

    I dunno, if it were me I would probably spin my tires such that gravel and ice sprayed the little dickwads. I'm sure at least some of them would rethink their actions.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Then YOU would be guilty of assault and property damage, according to Tulpa...

    This non-incident got blown way out of proportion. And the cop needs to take a week or so off for it.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    You have some good points, Tulpa, but this guy didn't IMMEDIATELY identify himself. IMO, he did what he did solely for escalation purposes.

    There was a similar incident a couple of years back involving kids with water balloons accidentally hitting a cop. It was overkill then, just as this is now.

  • ||

    I didn't know citizens were required to identify themselves to criminals attacking their property.

    I would be totally OK with this if the guy were not a cop, too. This isn't a bunch of kids playing in the snow -- this is a mob of adults with a very specific purpose to their actions.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Again, you have a good point - property rights - BUT I maintain that cop MUST identify himself in a situation like this. Otherwise, he's just fueling the fire so he can make an arrest where otherwise he might not have grounds to do so.

    Besides, he was from Maryland. What authority does he have in DC?

  • ||

    You don't seem to have read my post. His actions were consistent with those of a law-abiding non-cop-citizen. If he had identified himself as a cop then you guys would be all over him for abusing his authority.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    He wound up abusing his authority by not IDing himself.

  • ||

    That makes no sense.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    It does if you look at it from the angle of escalating a situation needlessly... which the cop did.

  • ||

    "Escalate"? All they did after he showed the gun was throw snowballs, which according to the majority of this thread is a harmless activity. You guys need to get your story straight.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    IMO, if one draws a gun, he/she intends to use it. Otherwise, don't draw it.

    If this had been an ordinary, non-authoritarian guy packing heat, would you have the same reaction to his actions?

    I'm big on gun-ownership rights, Tulpa, but you don't pull the damned thing out just for show.

  • ||

    Again, you're not reading my comments. I said above that I would be fine with an ordinary citizen doing this as well.

    And he wasn't just pulling it out for show. He was defending his property and himself from vandalism and assault. I'm still waiting for the course of action that the cop was supposed to follow to avoid drawing the wrath of Reason.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Get back in his vehicle and look for a SERIOUS crime, perhaps? I'm sure there was a rape or some child abuse somewhere in the vicinity... this is DC we're talking about, after all.

  • IceTrey||

    The last time I checked you can't shoot someone for throwing a snowball at your car. Self defense is only allowed when you fear for your life. The way to defend your property if you are a regular citizen is to drive away.

  • CaptainSmartass||

    You don't respond to snowballs with a gun, period. If you're John Q. Public, you do the smart thing and drive away. If there's damage to your vehicle, well, that's what insurance is for. You don't escalate the situation to the point where serious injury could occur.

    This is Common Sense 101. No wonder a cop didn't know it.

  • Snowball fighter||

    Pussy!

  • ||

    No, the pussies are the grown men and women who damage the property of others and then run crying to the media when they pick on the wrong victim.

    "wwaaaaaaa! we were just minding our own business throwing iceballs at Hummers and the drivers inside, and then this mean cop pulled out a gun. A GUN!!!!!"

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Pulling a gun was overkill in this situation, Tulpa.

    Besides, how did the snowball-flingin' terrorists know this guy was a cop? THAT'S why he needed to ID himself *before* drawing his gun... if at all.

  • G Mc||

    Well there are some property interest issues here, but do you really believe brandishing a lethal weapon would be the appropriate response? My opinion is no, and I'm fairly certain the law agrees with me.

  • ||

    Also, nice to see Reason again side with the envirowacko left just because there's a cop involved. The article says these folks were specifically targeting Hummers and their drivers. Careful who you get into bed with, Reason.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    According to crayon and his fellow travelers, Reason sides with the envirowacko left...

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Er, according to crayon and his fellow travelers, Reason sides with the envirowacko RIGHT. My bad.

  • Morris||

    Had those kids only been armed themselves, they could have taken the cop out and saved the city his pension. In Libertopia there would be guns, but no fucking pensions!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Oh, shut the fuck up, Morris. DemocraticUnderground is a much better place for you to post, anyway.

  • Inkblots||

    ... is Morris saying we should kill him with snowballs?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    That could take a while. I'm game if there are plenty of snacks and Red Bull available.

  • Chony||

    It doesn't matter... we'll all be dead within a decade due to global warming.

  • Al Gore||

    They're right... because I told them The Truth.

    Even when I lied about the entire northern ice cap melting in the near future. But it was necessary to lie for The Big Cause.

  • MNG||

    I LOVE YOU, MASTER GORE!!!

  • Inkblots||

    Verily, even His lies are true.

  • JO||

    Play with fire, you get burned.

    I love how they think they can throw things at peoples property and then whine like little girls if anything happens.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Guess there ought to be a law against snowball fights, then... right?

  • ||

    As far as I know, there are already laws against assault and vandalism. We usually don't treat snowball fights as such because it's generally kids who are doing it and they're usually just having fun. That was not the case here (though I suspect the average maturity level of the perpetrators isn't much higher than fourth grade).

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Again, NOT disagreeing on property rights and so forth, Tulpa. I just can't defend the cop's actions - was he planning on shooting someone for lobbing wads of snow at him? Is that entry-woundworthy?

  • ||

    There are situations in which pulling a firearm (without pointing it at anyone) is the best way to get a raucous, unruly crowd under control. The cop thought he was dealing with a reasonable group of citizens who were just getting out of hand (and were breaking the law, by the way). He was wrong, of course, but I'm not going to fault him for failing to recognize the crazy lefties in his midst.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    What law was being broken?

  • ||

    Vandalism and assault.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    That's a stretch. According to that criteria, EVERY snowball fight should be considered assault - and vandalism if something is hit.

    Anecdotal but true:

    Many years ago, my then-neighbors were having a water-balloon fight in their front yard. One of them hits a passing OFF-duty cop, does not immediately ID himself, gets out of his car, threatens to go all Gitmo on their asses, pulls his gun... sounding familiar here?

  • ||

    Oh puleeze. There are contexts where snowball fights are harmless fun -- generally when kids do it. This is not such a context.

    Just like grabbing a guy from behind and pulling him down hard against the ground may or may not be assault, depending on whether it occurs during a football game. C-O-N-T-E-X-T.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Point is, some cops think they're better than us little people.

    Well... are they?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    BTW, Tulpa, the water-balloon incident? The throw was wild - it wasn't aimed AT the cop in his OFF-DUTY personal vehicle, yet he got out and acted like he'd been fired at by a gun - you know, something that can actually kill someone if used properly.

    He thought he was The Shit, and acted like it.

  • JB||

    It's assault. Any thrown object that is not welcome by the victim is assault.

  • JO||

    Throwing objects at moving vehicles. If thats not illegal, I'll ome to your neighborhood and throw bricks at your car.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    1. If you can't tell the difference between a water balloon and a brick, you need to learn it.

    2. Intent matters. The throw was wild - I saw it, so did a dozen other people. It was NOT aimed at the off-duty cop's personal vehicle.

  • JO||

    So are you saying that it is OK to throw things at strangers as long as they are not hard. If that is the case, I will start nerf gun drive-bys on old folks homes.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Good luck doing damage with a Nerf gun...

  • ||

    No one is trying to justify the cop's actions in your cute little anecdote. We're talking about the snowball story, and there is no question that they intended to hit his car in that incident.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    So what? How much damage can a wad of snow do to a Hummer?

  • JO||

    The damage doesn't matter. They had no right to hurl object (no matter how soft and fluffy) at someone else's property. Can I throw dog poo at your front door?

    So what? How much damage can a hunk of dog poo do to a front door?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Snow doesn't have to be cleaned off with special chemicals? Because it melts and doesn't leave a stain? Because it's made of water crystals?

    Jeez, you're trying to equate snowballs with chemical warfare or something. What's the difference between an Uzi and a banana?

  • JO||

    Chemical warfare? soap? reaching?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    JO, you're the one trying to equate flinging poo with flinging frozen ice crystals.

    That's reaching.

  • JO||

    Come on TLG, the chemical warfare reference was reaching.

    My name implies what we are all doing posting online verbally Jerking Off

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I still say there's a hella difference between pelting someone with snow, and pelting someone with dog shit.

  • ||

    Those icicles have been known to kill people!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    "Cute"?

  • G Mc||

    Are you inferring this "crazy lefties" stuff purely from the Hummer statement mentioned in the article?

  • Karl Hungus||

    And what if pulling it didn't work? What if they'd called his bluff? What then?

    If you're going to pull it, you'd better be ready to use it.

  • JO||

    Does this mean here is no problem if someone pegs you in the face with a snowball the next time you open your front door?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I'd rather face that (pun intended) than having a bullet burrow a hole through me... wouldn't you?

  • JO||

    I don't think it was an either/or proposition. My point is more that we each want to be left to lead our own lives without being bothered (attacked) by strangers throwing ANYTHING at us.

    I don't want some jackass throwingthings at me and then trying to justify it saying that the things were not hard.

    Don't throw things at strangers. That solves alot of problems.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    So, should everyone in range of a snowball fight be required to sign legal waivers? Should they be restricted to certain "zones", with permits and insurance required?

    Good God, take the fun out life, eh?

  • JO||

    They were throwing snowballs at vehicles. Hardly "colateral damage" It doesnt take the fun out of life. Any action has possible consequences. Just like the consequence that that cop will most likeely face disciplinary action for acting so unprofessional.

    If you mess with strangers, sooner or later you will piss off someone nuts.

    Whether or not we like it, thats life.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    At least we agree on the unprofessional cop part...

  • ||

    If innocent bystanders and/or their property are going to be hit by your snowballs, then yes, you do have to get their permission. Your right to throw chunks of ice ends at my nose, etc.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Wow. Imagine the paperwork and lawyers necessary for your Nerf-coated safety society scenario.

  • JO||

    from what you said, since it can't really hurt you, it isn't wrong.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    There has to be actual damage or harm, JO. Unless someone tries the emotional-damage angle...

  • ||

    Tulpa - you, sir, are a giant d-bag. You need to use deadly force to protect yourself from snowballs? Weak! Just what do you think would happen if you pulled that shit? - assuming you're not a cop. Brandishing, assault, so forth.

  • ||

    This guy didn't use deadly force, just made it known that it was available to him if he needed it. Normally that would calm the situation down, but seeing as he was dealing with lefty envirowackos, it didn't.

    I'm curious, under what circumstances do you think a non-cop citizen would be justified in revealing a gun? Would it be enough if a criminal punched you in the stomach and tried to grab your briefcase?

  • Jesse Walker||

    You need to use deadly force to protect yourself from snowballs?

    Ordinarily you wouldn't, but apparently all bets are off when "envirowackos" are involved.

  • ||

    Just like Reason contributors ordinarily care about property rights, except when cops are involved.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    IMO, public officials rank slightly below average citizens in the rights category.

    I'm only being slightly facetious.

  • Jesse Walker||

    His car was hit by a snowball, so he pulled out a gun. If you think that's a proportionate response, all I can say is I hope you're not a cop yourself.

    By the way, not that it matters, but I've seen no sign that this was an environmental protest. The article quoted one person saying that in the course of the snowball fight they'd pelted some hummers. You somehow transformed this person into "the head envirowhacko" in "a campaign of pelting Hummers (and their drivers) with snowballs." Er, no.

  • Mad Elf||

    Read the article, Jesse. They hit his Hummer with snowballs. He then got out of his vehicle, confronted them and told them to stop at which point they decided to start pelting him with snowballs. That's when he pulled the gun. I don't know about you, but what do you do when people start throwing hard objects at you? And yes, a tightly packed snowball is a hard object. If you don't believe me, ask one of your friends to nail you in the face with one.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Did he show his badge?

  • ||

    Jesse, you really should read the articles you link to.

    I was standing right next to him when this happened. We were pelting the hummer (as we'd done to about 4 other hummers), when this guy decided to get out of the car. He proceeded to walk towards the crowd, and naturally, people started to throw more snowballs at him. That's when he brandished the gun.

    And LOL at the idea this wasn't a pseudo-environmentalist thing. If they were just going around throwing snowballs at random cars, they would have just said they were pelting cars, rather than specifically mentioning Hummers.

  • ||

    ie, they were already throwing snowballs at HIM, not just his vehicle, when he drew the firearm.

  • Jesse Walker||

    I read the story, and (more importantly) I watched the video. Nothing happened that required him to draw a gun. Nothing.

    The guy mentioned the Hummers because he was in a blog comment thread in which other people were making fun of Hummer drivers. (Go read it.) There is no "they" that "specifically mentioned Hummers," just this one guy. And there is no sign that the guy is "the head envirowhacko," or indeed the head anything.

  • ||

    As our friend Ollie Holmes once wrote, "Detached reflection is not demanded in the presence of an upraised knife."

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Thanks for the link, Jesse. Puts more light on the non-situation.

  • ||

    Just watched the video, which starts when the detective is already out of his vehicle and yelling at the throwers. We don't see what happened while he was in the vehicle and immediately after he got out (either because the cameraman didn't start recording till that point, or because it's been conveniently edited). so you really can't judge whether he was justified in what he did.

    And he didn't pull the gun, just pulled back his jacket and put his hand on the holster. Another huge difference that you guys seem intent on glossing over.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    http://www.wjla.com/news/stori.....=newsstory

    He DID draw his gun. Needlessly, to boot.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Call me crazy, but if a guy shows me his gun and puts his hand on the holster, I think he's threatening to draw it.

    I don't blame the later cop for having his gun out, because he was responding to a call and presumably didn't know what he was wading into. But the first guy let his anger get the better of him.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    That he did, Jesse - a point Tulpa seems to be missing.

    I hate to be at odds with Tulpa, by the way... but in this case, he (she?) is wrong.

    Thankfully, we can still disagree in this country without being tossed into a gulag.

    So far.

  • ||

    If you wind up in the same gulag block as me, I'm nailing you with a snowball square in the back of the head. Made from the snow that the guard dogs peed in.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    And even if I had a gun in the gulag, Tulpa, I wouldn't pull it out in response to a snowball... guard-dog pee or otherwise.

  • ||

    That pacifist attitude won't serve you well in the gulag. You'll wind up with a tattoo of a big breasted woman on your back, and I don't have to say what happens next.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I said I wouldn't use the gun on YOU, Tulpa. Wouldn't it be much more fun to use it on the gulag masters?

  • Dirty Snowball Harry||

    Then I'm going to come around the corner and shoot you in the face.

    And be completely justified in doing so; I am, after all, merely defending LG's property rights against an assault with a biohazard projectile.

  • ||

    You don't know what happened before the video began. According to one of the two eyewitness accounts available -- and the other isn't specific about the chain of events-- the chuckers pelted him with snowballs before he touched his weapon. You're really not in any position to judge what this guy should have done.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Then he should have IDed himself right off the bat.

    You're making this guy sound like he's more important than any other citizen.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Earlier, you said "And he didn't pull the gun"... when he clearly did - the WJLA link has him clearly holding his weapon at his side.

    Look, I really hate to be arguing with you, Tulpa, but why is this such a big deal for you?

  • ||

    I was going off of what was in the video. He merely had his hand on the holster during the video. Now I see that there are stills where he has the gun drawn. Of course, this means that a significant part of the, er, interaction occurred before the video began, so those pronouncing judgement based on the video are mistaken.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    It's still overkill. Did any of the snowballers (yikes, this could turn into another "teabagger"-style slur in the liberal press) pull a gun on the cop?

    I'll take a wad of snowflakes over a full metal jacket any day.

  • ||

    It's a big deal for me because I don't like when Reason is silly. 95% of the articles on police abuses are spot-on, but in that extra 5% there is an unjustifiable anti-cop bias apparent.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    When cops overreact or engage in illegal behavior, they damned well deserve to be called out on it.

    Should every cop story be a shiny, happy one? Or do we overlook the misdeeds?

    I've had precious few bad experiences with cops, but those that were bad WERE bad, and I was lucky to never have been railroaded, set up, or tossed in jail in those few instances. How many people are that lucky, on average?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Virtually every vehicle accident report I hear - local or otherwise - manages to use the term "SUV" when anything taller/bigger than a Ford Escort station wagon is involved.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Found a similar story:

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/homepage/73292372.html

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Video clip just prior to the cop showing up and playing Buford Pusser:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-q5UjjuOX0

    Wow. Just... wow. Definitely a civilization breakdown moment here.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Throwing projectiles made of snow is not considered assault with a deadly weapon, nor is it considered intent to damage property*.

    That said, if these hooligans damaged his vehicle with a snowball, it would be a liability issue, not a criminal one. He could find out who threw it and sue them, or sue the whole lot as a group. If, on the other hand, they were to actually strike him with a projectile, you are correct in asserting that he would be justified returning in fire with his service revolver.

    *Actually, considering who throws snowballs and who makes laws it might be, but it shouldn't.

  • ||

    There are snowballs that have chunks of ice in them, and those things can fuck up a car's paint job. And if you intentionally damage someone's property, that IS a criminal issue. We're not talking about negligence or recklessness here.

  • ||

    Then you shouldn't drive your car in the snow if you're worried about it. Other cars kick up ice and gravel which can do the same thing.

  • ||

    Assuming you're a sane driver, you shouldn't be following closely enough in the snow for that to be a problem.

  • ||

    And when cars are approaching in the oncoming lane? When you are at a red light and a truck goes by?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I guess if you're driving in a rain storm, and you splash water with your tires, you've just committed assault.

  • ||

    Actually, you can sue a driver whose tires kick up gravel and cause damage to your vehicle. The main obstacle is that you're going to have a heck of a time identifying him/her and proving that it happened that way. But this is different; here we have people intentionally throwing stuff at vehicles. I doubt you'd argue that since your car can be hit by gravel in normal driving, it's OK for someone to throw bits of gravel at your car.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    IMO, big difference between a snowball and gravel.

    Back before gravel trucks were required to have tarps, I had that happen - some gravel bounced out and dinged my windshield. I had a witness in the car, and the car behind me got hit as well, so we both got the company to own up to damages.

    That's all well and good. But IMO it's a stretch to be able to appreciably damage a car with a snowball unless it's a ball of solid ice - in which case, it ceases to be a snowball - and is thrown with sufficient force to do damage.

  • ||

    There's a fine line between snowballs and iceballs (not least because snow is made up of ice). If the snow has partially melted and refrozen (common when your snow supply is next to a plowed road, as in this case) it's highly likely to contain sizeable chunks of ice. You don't have to dent a car to damage it -- all it takes is a scratch and the rusting process will begin.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Lotta what-ifs in that, Tulpa. Not that I disagree, but the story is still about what the cop did, and why it was wrong.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Another related link:

    http://blog.mises.org/archives/009362.asp

    This must be stopped! Anti-snowball fight legislation must be passed immediately! Alert DHS!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    When will Congress address the packed snow projectile problem in this country? We simply cannot allow this to continue. People's cars are being hit with snow during a snow storm, dammit! WE NEED A LAW PUTTING A STOP TO THIS!

    For the children.

  • JO||

    Any snowball "fight" I have been involved in involved 2 consenting parties.

    Likewise- 2 consenting parties= sex
    1 consenting party= 25 years

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Much as I hate to, here's a FreeRepublic link:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1975878/posts

    Shows what can happen when someone overreacts...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Drawing your weapon in anger is a big no-no. It's even worse that he's police.

    Once again, we have someone who appears either poorly trained or ill-suited to be an LEO.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Or, he's arrogant and considers himself better than everyone else because he's a cop... politicians do it, too. Power corrupts.

  • ||

    The video contains footage from before the incident (a car getting stuck in the snow and a bunch of the vandals pushing it out), so one wonders why it suddenly cuts in towards the end of this incident. Perhaps there is some footage during the incident that the chuckers believe would put them in a bad light, so they did some clever editing.

  • That Guy||

    I have a question. Were they throwing snowballs at a "moving" car? Because to me that makes a big difference. Projectiles hitting your car while you driving could cause you to be distracted and crash, which would consequently make my opinion of the cop much more lenient. This is not to say I think pulling a gun is still justified, but if I was driving and some asshole started hitting my windshield with snowballs and then started hitting me personally with them when I got out, I'd be super pissed.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    But would you pull a gun in response?

  • That Guy||

    I said in the text (I realize it was a little dense) than no I wouldn't.

    I'm just saying, I think a hostile response on the part of the driver would be more forgivable if their life was being put at risk by the actions of the snowball throwers.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Sorry, I should have phrased that as "If you were a cop, would you pull your gun in a snowball fight?".

    Was the cop at risk in this incident? I can't see it.

  • That Guy||

    Like I said, a lot is contigent on whether the car was "moving" at the time it was hit.

    Presumably driving conditions were already lousy since snow was on the ground, so to say that throwing snowballs at his car (particularly if it was say, the windshield) would increase the likelihood of him wrecking seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    Again, I'm not saying he didn't overreact, but how different would this story be if he'd lost control of his car and had to be taken to the hospital?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    We can "what-if" this thing to death. The facts of what he did AFTER he got out are more important than theoreticals.

  • That Guy||

    I essentially agree with you.

    I guess my point is that this hardly has me boiling like most of the articles Reason does on Law enforcement, because it's not as though he was the inciting force of this incident.

    If snowballs had never been thrown, this wouldn't have happened in the first place.

    The headline makes it sound like some asshole cop pulled a gun to break up an innocent snowball fight in the name of public order, but that's not what happened.

    But yes, pulling a gun on unarmed people (particularly if you are a cop) is unacceptable.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he escalated the situation most needlessly.

    He COULD have stayed in his car, and looked for some *real* crime - but he chose to go Walking Tall instead.

    At least we agree on his pulling the gun out part.

  • ||

    Vandalism is a crime. Throwing snow or other debris into a public right-of-way is a crime in most cities.

    Please, O Libertarian Guy, give us the list of objects it's OK to throw at moving vehicles.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Um... I didn't say it was okay to INTENTIONALLY throw things at moving vehicles.

    But that's not the point of this story, IMO - it's what the cop did in response, which was overreacting most egregiously, like setting off a suitcase nuke to take out an anthill.

  • That Guy||

    *contingent

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I know, I read the word. I'm also saying it's more important to focus on what DID happen, rather than theorize about things which did not occur.

  • anarch||

    A teaspoon of saliva is likely to do even less damage than a snowball. Does driving or being a passenger in a vehicle imply consent to being targeted by a projectile? You guys cool with a universal subjection to a gauntlet of spitters?

  • anarch||

    As for the gun, isn't there general agreement around here that we would be better off if we could assume everyone is carrying?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Perhaps, but I don't think we would be better off if we assume everyone will draw at the first sign of a minor annoyance

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    This is how the anti-gun nuts view concealed-carry laws - we'll descend into Wild West shootouts if we're able to pack heat.

    And the first cop in this story didn't do anything positive for gun rights for civilians.

  • anarch||

    But since you never know, "an armed society is a polite society." Also, there are annoyances and there is harassment.

    Also, a lawyer-friend once pointed me to the social principle that discourages throwing anything at people who have not asked (as in the true meaning of "snowball fight") to be targeted.

    Why not confine one's horseplay to consenting parties? For all others, as they teach in kindergarten, "Use words."

    Seems simple to me.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I'd hate to turn society into something where people walk around on eggshells, afraid to do much of anything for fear of being sued.

    Then again, I'm not an attorney, in which case the above scenario would be a turn-on...

  • ||

    You guys are making this far more complicated than it is. There is a simple rule here: Do not throw objects at other people, or their property, without their permission. If people are too dull to be expected to live their lives by such simple rules, then this whole individual liberty thing isn't going to work.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Then snowball fights will have to be planned affairs, in cordoned-off safety zones, with shitloads of paperwork and attorneys getting contingency fees.

    Kinda takes the fun out of something people have been doing for hundreds of years, at least...

  • ||

    Just like rape laws force sexual partners to draw up legal contracts during foreplay, I gather?

    Consent != written contract. Again, not a hard concept.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I'm surprised we haven't gotten to teh "legal contracts during foreplay" stage.

    Don't you remember the great politically-correct putsch of the last decade or so? How many men lost their jobs for the heinous act of telling a female co-worker they looked nicely-dressed? Or the hate-speech law concept?

    Unless actual harm is caused, people should just chill the fuck out.

  • ||

    Telling a woman she dresses nicely -- when she hasn't told you not to say such things -- is not sexual harassment if that's all you say. Having formerly worked in HR, I can assure you that sexual harassment does happen, A LOT, and it's a pretty damned ugly thing. And yes, a lot of perpetrators try to get off with the "I was just telling her she looked nice" line, when eyewitnesses reveal that what was actually said was far less wholesome.

    I wouldn't want my wife or daughters (once I have them) to have to go through what women in the workplace used to have to put up with. Harassment IS harm.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I'm well-aware there is REAL sexual harassment, Tulpa - and that there are made-up/revenge/just plain reverse misognynist man-hating style harassment claims.

    Not defending the former, but definitely against the latter. Are you on-board with that?

  • ||

    Those types of claims usually go nowhere. In dealing with a complaint it is standard practice to interview both the accused and the accuser and any eyewitnesses, and look for inconsistencies in the stories. If it is truly a baseless claim, that will be easy to spot.

    You're forgetting that employers also have to worry about wrongful firing lawsuits if they discipline the accused without enough evidence.

  • JB||

    So what's the harm when someone spits on your mother?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Actually, it's even simpler than that. The principle should be: Do not intentionally harm.

    The question then becomes whether throwing snowballs is a an intentional harm or a harmless prank.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    IMO, in this case it's about whether a law-enforcement officer should keep his job after needlessly escalating a situation.

  • ||

    I still don't get how "escalation" applies to this situation.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Cop gets out, does not identify himself, draws gun when not necessary.

    Sounds like needless escalation to me.

    Now: Bank being robbed, cop gets out of car, does not need to identify himself, draws gun... that's kosher. People robbing banks don't need a heads-up as to who is approaching them with a weapon - drop their asses right then and there, for all I care, because a REAL crime is in progress.

  • ||

    That's not simpler, because it brings up the question of what is harm, whereas my formulation draws a bright red line around conduct that is to be prohibited. When dealing with human beings, you have to make the rules slightly more strict than absolutely necessary.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    That could turn society into a timid bunch of milquetoasts, Tulpa. Would you want to be around people who are constantly afraid they might cause inadvertent damage? I wouldn't.

  • ||

    "Inadvertent"? You're being stupid again. Stop it.

  • ||

    In other words, this story isn't about snow hitting this guy's vehicle (and himself) "inadvertently". It would be one thing if a bunch of people were having a snowball fight and one of the snowballs missed and hit a neighbor's car. That would be a purely civil matter if there were damage. In this case the snowballs hit their targets.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I didn't say THIS incident didn't have intended tosses of snowballs, Tulpa - I was trying to demonstrate how this could lead to a more-litigious society, of which we have plenty as it is.

    I can't find it, but there was an incident some time ago where a kid threw a water balloon over a fence, hitting a cop (or his car, one or the other) and the kid was damned near treated like a Gitmo detainee. Overkill will do that.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No, I'm trying to demonstrate how mission creep works. You're just not connecting the dots.

  • That Guy||

    Me pissing on your car is pretty harmless.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    My dog pisses on my car. Should I have him arrested?

  • ||

    Men get arrested. Dogs get put down.

  • That Guy||

    Your dog is (effectively) your own property. Do whatever the hell you want with them. Take him to Korea and sell him as a fucking entree.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    But my dog didn't get my written or verbal consent. I think I have a case.

  • ||

    Well you didn't get your dog's content before you orally pleasured him, either, so it's even.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Oh, THAT was uncalled for, Tulpa. You and I have never squabbled in the past, so why go all snarky now? Leave that shit to crayon and his ilk.

  • ||

    I don't know about human urine, but bird poop does serious damage if it's left on the finish for a long time.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Should we be shooting birds, then? Or just put 'em in cages?

  • anarch||

    Me, I'd like to turn society into something where people walk around among other people who, if they are unfortunately indifferent to or hostile to others' comfort, are afraid to do much throwing of uninvited anything, thanks.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    That's assuming an impromptu snowball fight could turn into a bunch of lawsuits. Would you want to move in that direction?

    If we all walked around going "omigod, I hope I don't break something", we'd be ruled by attorneys and bureaucr- oh, wait, we're pretty much there already.

    I made a ham sandwich the other day, and it failed to satisfy my hunger. I think I'll take myself to court.

  • That Guy||

    Also, I think the headline is a bit misleading.

    Assholes throwing shit at cars is hardly a "snowball fight."

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    In one of the video clips, people were throwing snowballs at each other. Should they all have been arrested?

  • That Guy||

    He didn't pull out his gun as result of them having a snowball fight. He brought it out as result of them throwing snowballs at him.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Wow. He coulda died.

  • That Guy||

    My post here isn't about his reaction, it's about why the headline is misleading...

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    How is it misleading? He had a gun. He pulled it out when he should not have done so.

    It may not be the headline you envisioned, but it's how the story panned out that really counts.

  • JB||

    Well, actually yes. I posit that I could kill someone with a ball of water.

  • anarch||

    Lib Guy, even if they were volitionally subjecting themselves to torture, no.

    Why this point is elusive? Is it the nostalgia of childhood that pre-logically infuses and detoxifies anything snowy with innocent fun? Or is the Christmas spirit casting a hazy halo around the principle that people should be obliged to leave alone those who haven't harmed them?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    The cop was not harmed, unless you count "bruised ego" or "public humiliation" as actual harm.

    I maintain he should have left the scene. Then, we could be dissecting a REAL story.

  • ||

    You gotta nip this sorta thing in the bud!!

  • Joe Arpaio||

    I'd toss their asses in jail, whether they were throwing snowballs or not. I'm that much of an asshole.

  • ||

  • EscapedWstOfTheBigMuddy||

    And the first cop in this story didn't do anything positive for gun rights for civilians the notion that only police are responsible enough to carry guns in public.

    FTFY.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Good point, but IMO cops/politicians/authority figures are not better than regular people.

  • ||

    I know this dude up at 1600 Penn -- two of 'em actually -- and they are absolutely certain to their core that they're better than regular people.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No, they aren't. They just THINK they are, because power corrupts the soul.

  • G Mc||

    I wonder what the Secret Service would do if you chucked a snowball at the President?

  • ||

    No you don't.

  • ||

    Well, what happened to the shoe throwing guy? He's dead, isn't he?

  • G Mc||

    Nah, the journalist is free now I think. The other shoe-thrower was just some poor sob in Fallujah.

  • JB||

    Threadwinner.

    Seriously, I would have major respect for anyone that threw shoes at Obama.

  • G Mc||

    It'd be hard to disagree

  • G Mc||

    They would have to be some nice shoes though

  • ||

    ohh feckk...that link went to gawker...
    ugh...now i have to wash again.

    how about a head's up? like, "Some people can't handle the weather as this Gawker clip shows." personal courtesy is all. like how my muslim friend won't eat from a plate that had meat on it. same thing.

  • That Guy||

    +1

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    There are other links besides Gawker. There's a YouTube link, if not several now, and at least one local TV report.

  • Christ on a Cracker||

    For FSM sakes, this is easy. The cop drew his gun. The only reason to do that is to kill someone. Therefore, someone was going to die for a, at worst, a property crime.

    The cop should have been criminally charged with improper weapons handing (whatever it's called. I know I'm dreaming here, but you get the idea.

    BTW, the guy being a cop has nothing to do with it.

  • That Guy||

    Not to be a dick here, because I basically agree with you, but...

    Are you saying it's inappropriate to pull a gun on people if they're say, in your driveway beating your car sledgehammers?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No, that would be justified. Hitting a car with snowballs does not equal hitting it with sledgehammers.

    But the cop wasn't in his driveway - and he didn't have a justifiable reason to pull his gun.

  • That Guy||

    Right, which is why I said I basically agreed with him.

    My point was more on the general notion of the right to use force or threat thereof in the defense of property (not just life).

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I agree, but when one is in a position of authority, they can't use that as a justification to escalate the situation... like the cop did.

  • That Guy||

    Agreed.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Good, I'm glad our conversation didn't escalate into nastiness. Tulpa snarked about bestiality earlier, which is akin to how the cop escalated the Snowballgate situation.

  • ||

    It is the logical result of your wearying me with your failure to understand the differences between human and dog moral status, intentional actions and unintentional ones, etc. If you really are that dull, I don't know what to say. If you aren't, you should be ashamed.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Point is, just because you and I have one disagreement, doesn't mean you had to descend to the tactics of crayon to make your case. I didn't do that to you, so it was overkill on your part for crossing a line when you didn't need to do so.

    We don't need to become enemies, Tulpa - one minor tiff doesn't mean we don't have common goals.

  • anarch||

    Properly arm cops, problem solved.

    And to all a good night.

  • That Guy||

    I don't know, if I saw a cop brandishing one of those I think I would be a little scared.

  • cop||

    I don't know, if I saw a cop I think I would be a little scared.

    That's better.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    How is your version better?

  • Inkblots||

    Because he's a cop. DON'T QUESTION HIM.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Oh, yeah, I forgot. Don't question authority. I'll be good now.

  • cop||

    There ya go.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I was kidding... I despise most authority figures.

  • cop||

    So was I.

  • Christ on a Cracker||

    Yes.

  • That Guy||

    See, I disagree.

    I think guns can be used to diffuse violent situations. In the situation above, I think it would be completely appropriate for them to demand the people with sledgehammers to stop immediately and I'd imagine in most situations this would result in them doing just that.

  • Christ on a Cracker||

    One more time,
    Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying. The only reason to use deadly force is life-or-death situations. My understanding is that the law is really clear on that.

  • ||

    OK, so if you walk down an alley and see a guy raping a woman, you don't think pulling a gun out to encourage him to stop would be justified?

    You guys are seriously NOT thinking through the stuff you're posting. You see "COP" and the logic circuits shut down.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Wow. Just wow. Read back through this thread and tell me it is EVERYONE else who is not THINKING THIS THROUGH.

    1) Yes, the man has the right to defend himself.
    2) In a snowball fight, that is best done by leaving, or picking up some snow.

    3) Deadly force is NOT justified in defense of property.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No, of course not, Tulpa. No sane person would happen upon a rape scene and not do SOMETHING to help stop it. But that's not the same as THIS incident.

  • ||

    A rape in progress is not a life-or-death situation, which is the ersatz standard several participants in this thread have endorsed. So you guys need to decide on a new standard.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Rape is a lot more damaging than lobbing a snowball.

    IMO, a rapist needs to be dropped on the spot. Just shoot the bastard.

  • The Boston Massacre||

    You got some snow, some guns... hey, shit happens.

  • monolith||

    people throwing snowballs at you can get pretty irritating if you are just walking along minding your own business.

    Tulpa - do you think that you should be allowed to shoot someone on your property delivering leaflets that you haven't asked for?

  • Chinese menu guerilla||

    Hell no. When they tell me to stop, that's when I move from slipping the menus under their doors to slipping them into their orifices. Hey, it's just paper!

  • The Prosecution||

    Bring him on! Oh, he's a cop? Well... maybe we can collect on wages?

  • Poop Slinger||

    Not really a snow thrower, myself. But if the cop felt this strongly about this situation couldn't he have called some of his on-duty buddies to arrest these snow hurlers? Or made the arrest himself? More than enough room in a hummer, and if they were enviro-loon types, the irony would have been spot-on perfect.

  • ||

    That's exactly what he was doing, before they started pelting his person with snowballs when he got out of the car. That's why he was talking on the walkie-talkie in the video where he gets nailed in the face with a snowball.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    He eventually drew his gun, though, which is NOT a proportional response.

    Hint.

  • ||

    No reason to pull a gun yet someone did pelt him in the face (assault) and to sit there and say F U cop, no respect and what was the sigh being carried was it a protest that turned into a snow ball fight, harmless pelting of a car is one thing but to disrespect the police is another.

  • ||

    Respect has to be earned, Willy. Not to mention he was out of his jurisdiction (effectively, a "civilian"), in plain clothes, in his personal car, and off-duty.

  • jack o'rourke||

    the cops are watching everyone , but no one is watching the cops ! they don't police their own profession

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