'Their weapons aimed menacingly at the sidewalk'

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Fans walk past a security soldier outside the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 7. (BERND THISSEN/European Pressphoto Agency)

From a New York Times article, which was illustrated with the above photo:

In the face of soaring street crime, the state government has deployed a security force of 85,000 in Rio de Janeiro, among them 23,000 soldiers who stand sentinel at busy intersections or cruise the streets in military jeeps, their weapons aimed menacingly at the sidewalk.

Now I can see why some observers might find the weapons menacing (even if they are intended to protect the public)—especially observers used to American policing, which generally involves less-visible holstered handguns rather than more visible rifles. But the aiming of the weapons seems to me pretty unmenacing (if you call it aiming at all).

I don't mean to make too much of this—glitches happen in articles (mine as much as anybody's). But this seem to me to be a bit illustrative of the kinds of glitches that sometimes happen when journalists write about guns.

Thanks to Mark Nazimova for the pointer.