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article imageOp-Ed: Teen killed by police because of his own poor decision

By Stan Rezaee     Oct 26, 2013 in Crime
Communities in California are outraged over the shooting death of 13-year old Andy Lopez after deputies of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department mistook his toy gun for a real one.
This was a tragedy that did not need to happen, however not all the blame can be placed on the deputies' quick reaction. This is an example of a person killed by law enforcement officials because of his own bad choices.
A person may assume this was an act caused by "trigger happy cops" if all they heard was "kid with a toy gun gets shot and killed." However that story is completely inaccurate as Lopez was not carrying a "toy gun" but an airsoft replica of an AK-47.
Just for comparison, this is an AK-47 and this is an airsoft replica.
An airsoft gun is a replica firearm that shoots 6mm projectile and its either spring loaded or electric powered. While a toy in the opinion of gun enthusiast, airsoft guns should always be handled with care as if they are a weapon. California law requires that all airsoft guns need to have an orange barrel plug so it may not be mistaken for a real gun (Lopez's gun did not have this).
It also needs to be noted that any store that sells airsoft guns requires their patrons to have the gun kept in a traveling case when leaving the store. They also advise customers to take similar precautions when transporting an airsoft rifle in public.
The AK-47 is the most popular assault rifles in the world because its durability and simplicity in using it. This video demonstrates the the efficiency of the AK-47 at a shooting range while this video shows its use during the infamous North Hollywood shootout.
An average person may be unaware about the AK-47 but a well trained law enforcement official is aware of its deadly reputation. The point is that the deputies saw a kid walking down the street with one of the most deadliest assault rifles and they had to assume something bad was about to happen.
Unfortunately most of the publics reaction comes from a position of hindsight. Law enforcement offices do not have psychic powers and have to make a critical dissension with the information they know.
The deputies had to assume he could be a gang member, member of a radical militia, or an outcast ready to shoot up his school. Before making the argument that "he was 13-years old and harmless," do realize that in some third world countries a bunch of young teens with AK-47's will pass for a Special Forces unit.
Andy Lopez did not deserve to die but he should have been smart about transporting the airsoft rifle. To blame the deputies alone means that peoples poor decisions are not to be held accountable when a tragedy happens.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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