Wednesday, 10 December 2008

I Guess He Does Feel Lucky, Punk….

Keith Tilbury, 51, a control-room operator, was injured after a police marksman's gun went off accidentally.
How can that happen, you ask? Well, it helps if the police marksman in question is a fool who shouldn’t be allowed to handle an electric drill, never mind a firearm:
Mr Tilbury was one of a dozen staff sitting in a semi-circle around PC David Micklethwaite.

The constable was giving a lecture to employees and showing the kind of weapons police officers can come up against.

While he was demonstrating the Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, the gun used by Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry movies, it suddenly went off.
Get that..? ‘It’ suddenly went off. All by itself…
Although still employed by the police Mr Tilbury has not returned to work.
Can’t really blame him….
PC Micklethwaite said he had no idea the handgun was loaded with live ammunition.

He was not charged following the shooting but has been taken off firearms duties.
You know, I’ve never fired anything bigger than a cap pistol in real life (though I’m a dab hand with all sorts of stuff in FPS games), but even I know that you always assume a gun is loaded, treat it accordingly and you never point it at someone or pull the trigger. You certainly don’t claim ‘I didn’t know it was loaded…’ and expect that to somehow exonerate you.

Perhaps the next criminal scumbag to shoot someone ‘accidentally’ can try that defence?
A second official also told an investigation he believed the weapon was unloaded.
‘Oooopsie! Isn’t our face red…?’
Mr Tilbury, of Hersham, Surrey, has taken out a High Court writ against the Thames Valley chief constable.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman confirmed the writ had been received but was unable to make any further comment.
They’ll settle out of court. Bet the farm on that one. They can’t afford to have a jury hear this tale of sheer, utter incompetence…

6 comments:

seo said...

Guns can go off by themselves, it's not unheard of. sometimes you don't have to pull the trigger, a relatively small knock or a bump, overheating (probably unlikely in this case), or even a slight touch of the trigger, can cause a loaded gun to discharge. Particularly older weapons.

You are correct, though - he should have been pointing the weapon in a safe direction and shouldn't have been demonstrating anything with a gun that could even possibly have live ammunition in it. He should also have verified that the gun was not loaded at the beginning of the session. The station should also have had a more stringent system of checks with their live ammunition and should not store guns loaded. There is indeed much to blame them for.

Stu said...

Whoops! Wrong account...

Here it is again...

Guns can go off by themselves, it's not unheard of. sometimes you don't have to pull the trigger, a relatively small knock or a bump, overheating (probably unlikely in this case), or even a slight touch of the trigger, can cause a loaded gun to discharge. Particularly older weapons.

You are correct, though - he should have been pointing the weapon in a safe direction and shouldn't have been demonstrating anything with a gun that could even possibly have live ammunition in it. He should also have verified that the gun was not loaded at the beginning of the session. The station should also have had a more stringent system of checks with their live ammunition and should not store guns loaded. There is indeed much to blame them for.

JuliaM said...

"Guns can go off by themselves, it's not unheard of."

True, but if this was a seized weapon do they not test fire them to establish if they've been used in crimes? And if so, would they not have noticed any defect causing it to fire unbidden?

dickiebo said...

A long, long time ago, Dickiebo was an armed cop. Let me tell you this; NO cop who is authorised to carry a firearm, would EVER fail to check that any weapon that he/she handled,was empty. It simply would not happen! So - how did it happen? Can only be due to a very real drop in standards - much as we thought, really!

Anonymous said...

Julia, the two things you quoted were pretty much Firearms 101 when I first learned to shoot a bolt-action Lee-Enfield at school back in the 70's*.

That there are those in official places who don't know or observe them is both surprising and not so - next time you're at Heathrow look at the goons toting machine guns - fingers all firmly INSIDE the trigger guards. Nothing surprises me any more really.

(And what would they actually DO with machine guns in a crowded terminal anyway? The whole thing is theatre - as we knew, I suppose.)

* Oh all right then, since you ask, yes I do still have my .303 marksman's badge, and very proud of it I am.

JuliaM said...

"Can only be due to a very real drop in standards..."

Frightening thought!

"next time you're at Heathrow look at the goons toting machine guns - fingers all firmly INSIDE the trigger guards. Nothing surprises me any more really."

Even more frightening thought!

"And what would they actually DO with machine guns in a crowded terminal anyway? The whole thing is theatre..."

Much like the ostentatious display of little tanks outside Heathrow a while back in response to some unspecified terrorist threat..?