Friday, September 28, 2007

Campus police train for shootings with Airsoft Guns

It was 1:30 a.m. and a shot had just been fired somewhere in OSH. Four officers from the U Police Department loaded their firearms and in tight formation, headed down the stairs closest to the auditorium.

Quickly, yet carefully, the officers stepped down the staircase, closely watching for any movement or sound.

They did not know where the shot had been fired, who had fired it, and even worse -- whether the shooter would fire again.

All they knew is that they had to move fast because, more than likely, someone was already dead.

"Let's pluck this chicken," police officer John Thompson said.

Rounding the corner, the officers turned, sped up and headed toward a hallway with half a dozen classrooms on either side.

Suddenly, another shot was fired.

But, this time, it wasn't followed by silence. A man dressed in black walked out of one classroom and carelessly strolled past the officers with a gun in his hand.

The officers ordered the suspect to put his weapon down. The man declined and kept walking, whispering expletives under his breath.

Police tried to disarm the man again, who turned around and pointed his gun directly at them. Officers started firing. During the shoot-out, an officer backed into a door and sent the glass window flying in pieces.

The man fell to the ground.

But, after a short time, he stood up and complimented the officers.

"That was good. I felt like I was really being hunted," said the mock shooter, who was actually Lt. Brent Marchant with the U Police Department.

Police officers trained in OSH on Thursday night, using mock scenarios to train themselves how to respond to a potential campus shooting. Using Airsoft guns and rifles, officers practiced techniques to help them better disable a shooter.

The practice session was held at night after classes had already been dismissed and lasted through the early morning. Staff and faculty in surrounding buildings had been previously warned about the gunshot noise.

Marchant said several additional training sessions will be held in the upcoming year.

Throughout the mock session, police officers were told to keep in mind that a real shooting would be different because the building would probably be packed with students.

"We wanted this session to have a large part of realism and effectiveness," Marchant said. "We wanted training to be without injury, but have the officers face reality."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pittsford soldier stable after shooting with confusion of airsoft gun

(September 20, 2007) — A U.S. Army private from Pittsford is in serious but stable condition in a Maryland hospital after being shot multiple times in a confrontation with a police officer.

Pvt. Evan Parker, 22, was shot in the abdomen, leg and upper chest Monday at 11:20 a.m. by Sgt. James McGarvey at a motel in Aberdeen, Md.

Parker was carrying an airsoft gun similar to a BB gun and he "raised the weapon to a threatening position" at McGarvey, said Sgt. Fred Budnick, a spokesman with the Aberdeen Police Department. McGarvey then fired several shots at Parker.

"You can't tell the difference between that (airsoft gun) and the one I'm carrying right now," Budnick said.

Parker had been absent without leave from the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground since August and seems to have been at the motel with a relative, Budnick said.

Parker was taken to the Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland for treatment. Budnick said Parker told officers and medical personnel he wanted to be shot by a police officer.

Police were called to the motel Sunday responding to a disturbance, but Budnick said it's unclear whether Parker was involved.

Police were called back to the motel Monday after guests complained that Parker was knocking on motel doors.

"There's an indication he (Parker) may have been looking for the relative," Budnick said. "Things kind of went downhill from there."

No charges have been filed yet against Parker, but he could face an assault charge for brandishing a weapon and possibly a trespassing charge for the motel disturbance. The case is being investigated by the Harford County State's Attorney Office.

Budnick said McGarvey was initially placed on administrative leave, but has returned to active duty.

Neither the police nor the Aberdeen Proving Ground could confirm whether Parker's parents had been notified, and no explanation was offered about why he was AWOL.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

No prison time for teen who killed stepbrother

SEATTLE -- The courtroom was silent as a judge prepared to read the sentence for a 16-year-old boy who fatally shot his brother last year while handling a gun.

But King County Superior Court Judge Harry McCarthy said justice needed to be tempered with mercy, and sighs and sobs ripped through the room as Jordan Tautua-Jantoc learned he won't serve time in prison, but rather will spend two years on electronic home monitoring.

Jordan rushed to has family after the sentence was handed down and was embraced in strong hugs from family and friends.

"I want to say thank you for my family for always being there for me. I love you guys a lot and thank you for being there for me - for everybody," Jordan said following the sentencing.

"Just wanted to thank God," said his mother, Lena Jantoc. "It was in his hands and it came out in our favor."

Jordan pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement in the shooting death of 15-year-old Michael Miller.

Court documents say the Jordan and Michael were playing with an Airsoft pellet gun last September when Jordan pulled out a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun from underneath his bed. He obtained that gun from a friend at school in exchange for his stepfather's gun and a promise of $100.

The two teens were handling the gun when it fired, striking Miller in the chest.

Jordan and his family have maintained that the shooting was accidental.

"A lot of people are going to think that he got off, but he didn't," said Michael's father, Tim Miller. "And being at home, I have to tell you, is in a lot of ways harder than being in jail. Because, as I said to the judge, he (Jordan) can see our misery. As emotionally as how you saw (me reacting) today, I'm that way every day."

Judge McCarthy also ordered Jordan to spend time in the community teaching other young people about the danger of playing with guns.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Military Simulations or MilSim with Airsoft GUns

If you have never heard of MilSim, it is simply an abbreviation of military simulation. In paintball and airsoft, a popular method of play is MilSim. On a more important level, the military often trains by conducting military simulations, often incorporating airsoft guns into their activities. While MilSim is sometimes played in a paintball scenario, it is most popular in airsoft, due to the realism of airsoft guns.

MilSim often involves the reenactment of wars or even individual battles of the past. For example, many MilSim games recreate popular World War II, Vietnam, and even Iraq war battles. To increase the realism of the simulations, players are encouraged to wear apparel and use airsoft gun models of the time. Some players even go as far as to use magazines that hold realistic ammunition capacities. Depending on where the simulation takes place, a game can last from a few hours to a few days. Longer games usually take place in a designated airsoft field and have considerable planning put into them, while shorter games can be relatively impulsive and spontaneous.

Due to the fact that MilSim is so popular, many airsoft guns are made as replicas of real guns. Airsoft companies know that airsoft players enjoy participating in MilSim games, and they have manufactured guns to suit that need. Some popular models used in MilSim games include M16s, AK-47s, and Steyr Augs.

A type of game similar to MilSim is law-enforcement simulation. In this kind of game, close quarter combat airsoft guns are more heavily used than in MilSim, and the clothing and tactical gear worn is also different. While MilSim players might utilize actual airsoft grenades, law-enforcement players may favor smoke grenades more. Although the differences may sound subtle, in practice gameplay is very different.

In summary, the key characteristics of MilSim include the employment of replica airsoft guns, time-specific apparel and tactical gear, longer-than-usual game times, and advanced preparation. Also, one team may assume the role of the "good guys", while the other team would play as the "bad guys" (in regular airsoft games, there is usually no designation of teams).

Thursday, September 06, 2007

BSH wrestler pleads in airsoft gun shooting

A Broomfield High School champion wrestler accused of shooting an off-duty police officer with an airsoft gun could face up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine after pleading guilty Wednesday to third-degree assault.

Cory Casady pleaded guilty to the Class 1 misdemeanor as part of plea agreement reached after nearly three months of negotiations with prosecutors. In return for the plea, the original charges of reckless endangerment and felony menacing will be dropped.

The charges stem from an April 9 incident in which 18-year-old Casady shot Thornton police officer Shawn Walsh twice in the head with an airsoft gun, according to court records.

Walsh was driving on Eagle Way, near Broomfield High, when a car driven by Casady passed him, according to police accounts. Casady allegedly slowed down, yelled at the officer, brandished a weapon and fired twice. Walsh, who was struck in the temple but uninjured, followed the vehicle until it was stopped by Broomfield officers.

Casady was arrested and held in Broomfield County jail overnight before being released on $5,000 bond, which was later reduced to $1,000.

Three juvenile passengers in the car, who were questioned by police but cleared of wrongdoing, said Casady mistook the officer for a friend and was "just playing around."

Broomfield District Attorney Jim Colgan asked that Casady be sentenced at a later time so Walsh could be present, adding the conditions of Casady's bond had elements to "keep him in line" until then.

The court previously ordered the teen, now a senior at Broomfield High, could only drive to and from school and school events and couldn't carry minor passengers, with the exception of his younger brother.

Colgan said he won't decide what sentence he'll seek in the case until receiving reports from Broomfield High and Casady's psychologist and talking more with Walsh.

In addition to that sentencing information, Judge Amy Bockman asked prosecutors for more information on the type of gun used in the incident.

"It's somewhere between an air gun and a BB gun," Colgan said, adding it would be difficult to cause physical damage with the weapon unless a victim was struck in the eye.

The guns vary in style, from the clear, spring-loaded variety lobbing hollow BB-like pellets to gas- and Co2-powered models that fire with higher velocity and can look realistic.

The specific airsoft gun used in the incident was a clear, handgun-style weapon with an orange tip, said Casady's attorney Craig Johnson. Walsh told officers at the time of the shooting he thought he had been hit with a real gun, saying "I've just been shot and I don't feel any pain," according to the arrest affidavit.

Casady's sentencing hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 10. His bond was continued.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Importance of Airsoft Gun Safety

Before you even think about getting into the sport of airsoft, it is crucial that you understand airsoft gun safety. The airsoft gun is a gun which looks just like an actual firearm but shoots soft pellets rather than bullets. Because these guns do look like the real thing, they are required to have blaze orange tips in the United States. There have been unfortunate incidents of robberies being conducted with airsoft guns and police mistaking these guns for actual firearms, which you can imagine could end in tragedy. Not only that, but airsoft pellets can cause harm although they are unlikely to cause life threatening injuries. They can certainly take out your eye -- which brings us to the first and most important safety precaution -- eye protection.

Regular glasses or sunglasses are simply not enough to protect your eyes from injury due to airsoft pellets or paintballs. You will need to wear special safety goggles designed for airsoft use. You can find helmets which have eye protection attached. You should be comfortable and able to see clearly, but you should also be totally protected. In addition to eye protection, you may want to wear protective chest and neck padding as well. Airsoft pellets may not always break the skin but they can hurt and leave substantial bruising. You can often purchase a tactical vest which not only offers protection for your skin but room to carry your accessories.

You should always treat your airsoft gun like it is a real gun that fires real bullets. Never point it at anyone or anything you do not intend to shoot. Keep it in a protective case when transporting it from one place to another. When you play in airsoft tournaments or on fields, make sure you follow all the rules and regulations. There may be rules regarding safety gear, feet per second limits and types of guns used. Airsoft can be a fun and safe sport if these rules are followed and enforced.

Airsoft, like paintball, makes many parents nervous. However, by following airsoft gun safety rules you can ensure that participation in this sport is safe. By understanding and adhering to safety rules teens who play airsoft learn respect and responsibility while enjoying an exciting hobby. Older children, teenagers and adults can all have a great time playing airsoft if they do so on a legitimate field and follow all safety regulations to the letter. Safety gear can be purchased most anywhere that sells or rents airsoft guns and accessories.

Copyright 2007 James D. Sterling - All Rights Reserved

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