Monday – Gun Day

There’s a non-hilarious anecdote to open the proceedings, before we get back to the horror at hand.

When I wrote about Sir Bob Geldof a few weeks back, I forgot to insert my infinitesimal anecdote. My family were celebrating the 21st birthday of the youngest of my siblings a few years back at an ever-popular riverside restaurant in my home town of Perth…

Quick aside: about a week or so back, on finding out that I came from the western-most Australian capital city, my Lyft driver said, “Most isolated city in the world!” It’s the achingly familiar catch-cry of residents and visitors alike, to which I’m not sure that I actually hold because there are plenty of other contenders, like Auckland, or Honolulu, or others that you can google. BTW, Lyft-er had been to my home town, and proceeded to tell me about happy times spent at The Court Hotel and Connections. As my fellow Perthlings can attest, they knew how to have a good time!

…Anyway, sitting outdoors at fancy restaurant surrounded by large family-of-origin and their spouses, and who walks in to also sit on the balcony, but the aforementioned knighted gentleman! “WTF is he doing in Perth?” was on the lips of the collected Cameron party. Til someone remembered that it was St Patrick’s Day. In our defense, we were all focused on other celebrations – the birthday dinner had been slightly delayed to coincide with Turbo and I coming to town in time for the impending nuptials of a couple also seated at that table. March is a big month for me and my people 😉

St Patrick’s Day is also the anniversary of my move to the US, which happened in 2012. Yup, six years this Saturday. A little while back I realised that I’ve practiced here longer than I have – in either of my careers – within Australia. Explains a few things..

Well, that was an unusually gentle introduction. Now the guns.

We start this week in Cobb County, Georgia, where a Canton resident, Chad Erik Roberts (35) was killed by two officers of the Woodstock Police Department, Matt Davis and William Vincent. Roberts had first contact with the police at 10:09pm on the 31st of December, when he was stopped in a parking lot next to a gas station. From the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger-News:

“The driver of the vehicle initially spoke to the officer but then fled in his vehicle, striking the officer,” Rich said. “Officers with the Canton Police Department pursued the vehicle into the Woodstock area.”

Woodstock Police and Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office deputies joined in on the chase and a tire deflation device was used to disable Roberts’ vehicle, which came to a stop in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 near the Wade Green Road exit, investigators said.

“The driver exited the vehicle and presented a gun during contact with law enforcement,” Rich said. “Two officers with the Woodstock Police Department fired their weapons during the incident. The driver sustained gunshot wounds and died as a result of his injuries.”

Later in the same article, it states that, “The Canton officer who was hit by the man’s car was transported to a local hospital, treated and released, Canton Police Chief Mark Mitchell said.” while the two officers who shot Roberts were put on administrative leave pending an investigation.

With initial contact between the police and Rogers around 10pm – where he apparently ran over the foot of an officer as he departed – my thought was to double-check that this shooting was not misfiled as a January 1 event. But it turns out that at 2am, around four hours later, the shooting took place on the blocked-off interstate highway, once the victim/”driver exited the vehicle and presented a gun during contact with law enforcement.” (From the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.) If you think it sounds odd, you’re not alone, and it being an officer-involved crime has given it a bit of extra attention.

I was unable to find out anything about the guns of any of the people involved. The Woodstock Police Department falls in Cherokee County, GA, and after much research I found out that they carry the Glock 23. It’s not the best reference, but the neighbouring Cobb County PD publish in their policy documents that they use a Glock 22, so this choice has a bit of weight behind it. Georgia’s law enforcement seem to have a lot of Glocks in their register, and they probably belong to a huge swathe of the rest of the population due to Georgia’s “Guns Everywhere” laws, (Al Jazeera) as well as a couple of cities who have managed to make owning guns mandatory. (I am not linking to that data.) The 23 is meant to have the same dimensions as the Glock 19, excepting weight, to account for the slightly bigger round you can fire in the 23. And the 19 is a slightly scaled-down version of the 17, which is the first officer-fired gun that I drew in this series.

So here’s my second Glock, but the first drawing of a Glock 23. There’s two, one each for Davis and Vincent, the officers who fired on Rogers.

Glock 23
Glock 23

A mentally ill man, James E Lewis, was shot by police near Silver Springs Park, Missouri, at around 3:20am after other forms of pacification had failed. Lewis made the 9-1-1 call to the police revealing his location, during which he threatened to kill his wife – actually his domestic partner, who family members later said were in the process of breaking up. Police revealed that there had been 60 – 65 interactions with Lewis over the course of his life – from burglary to other mental health issues.

Lewis was on a bicycle and had a prolonged – 11 minute – encounter during which he fired his weapon (the officers did not feel threatened at this point so continued with other negotiation methods) and refused to speak with the officers. Only when he pointed the weapon at the officers from a distance of about 10 feet, did three of them open fire at Lewis. Officers Joshua Brown, Daniel Carlson and Brandon Gonzales have been placed on leave pending an investigation.

By contrast with the first incident this week, the guns that officers in the Springfield Police Department carry were easy to find in their Standard Operating Guidelines. The Department Issued Handgun is a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun. There are a lot of Glocks that take a 9mm cartridge, so I’m going to go with the one I used for the Chicago PD earlier, the Glock 17. Three of them, because of the three police who fired at Lewis.

Glock 17
Glock 17
Glock 17