This video just cropped up on youtube. Apparently this is a “prank” where a person dresses up like “Michael Myers” from the “Holloween” movies and then walks about in public with a realistic looking toy rifle. The goal appears to be to watch people run in terror.
I can see how this might appeal to the younger generation. It makes for an interesting video, mainly because you get to see how the public reacts to fear of serious bodily harm. This causes a problem for me though. This is not a closely monitored experiment. There don’t appear to be any safety controls in place. Lets assume that while they were performing this little stunt, one of the “victims” was legally carrying a concealed weapon. If you saw people running and screaming with a masked gunman behind them, what would you think? If you were placed in the position of being able to stop a mass-murder spree, would you fire the first shot? Would you wait to see if the gun was real?
In the video the rifle appears to be a bolt action with a scope. If my life was on the line, I would assume it was at least .308 or larger. Capable of penetrating most barriers you find on a city street. Would you attempt to find cover and order the “gunman” to drop his weapon? Would you risk opening up the distance, getting behind poor cover and setting up a situation that may favor the “gunman’s” firepower advantage? Would you charge, close the distance and engage the target hoping to overpower him with surprise and violence of action, before any lives are lost?
It’s a tough question. There really aren’t any right answers.
There is a wrong answer.
The wrong answer is deciding to put on a costume and walk around in public, placing citizens in fear of their lives. I like to believe that in my county if an off-duty officer or lawfully armed citizen gunned down our “prankster-gunman” that the officer/citizen would be found to have acted properly. As a Police Officer, I have watched hours of dash-cam death videos from Officers who felt the need to give a gunman a chance to put down his weapon. The end result of all of those videos was if the Officer had acted on the threat immediately, we would have gone home to his family.
What these “pranksters” did, was roll the dice and hope that a well trained and well armed citizen/officer was not present to end their “prank” permanently.
Don’t play stupid games. We play for keeps on the street. The losers don’t get a do-over.