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Old April 4, 2011, 08:56 AM   #51
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Join Date: July 28, 2010
Posts: 171
Originally Posted by rburch
From the witnesses quoted in the article, it seems like the plain clothed officer for some reason (fearing for his safety or because he thought someone in the crowd was trying to take his gun) fired at someone in the crowd.
He may also have been "maced," at least according to one witness.

Originally Posted by rburch
The uniformed officers were just arriving and see a man in civilian clothes fire at the crowd, and react by drawing and shooting him.
But then there's the issue of perforating him while he was on the ground. There certainly are no shortage of questions regarding this incident. I wonder who shot the other officer in the foot--was it a civilian, the officer who died, or perhaps himself, and might that have been a factor in the volume of fire involved?

Originally Posted by rburch
Not really sure how you could go about completely eliminating this type of incident but maybe if departments issued those safety sash things. Forget what they're called, but look like the sashes beauty pagent contestants were, only they say Police, or Security or something like that.
You could still get shot while trying to identify yourself with equipment that is not in plain sight at all times. It would be safer to not involve plainclothes officers in situations such as these (unless everybody is identified ahead of time), and if that is not avoidable in certain instances, then those who are not in uniform should behave as civilians would in the presence of uniformed officers.

Originally Posted by FireForged
I think just saying Citizen is much better than trying to use Civilain. I am well past middle age and Civilian to me mean (someone not in the Military)
That's what "civilian" used to mean, strictly, but for lack of a better term it has come to mean anybody besides those serving in the armed forces OR law enforcement; while the latter are technically civilians, when on duty they have legal authority that other civilians do not, so it makes some sense.

The term "citizen" is no better because although it has undergone a similar evolution in meaning, its original, strict definition is very broad--in my opinion, this actually makes it worse because both soldiers and cops can be "citizens" and not "citizens" all at once.

On top of that, the distinction that we're really trying to make is between cops and non-cops, with the latter term including soldiers who are neither on deployment nor on base. Maybe we should use "non-cop" or "non-LEO" or something similar but better if we're going to argue over "civilian" versus "citizen"--either that or we should make sure that the context is always clear, use either existing term, and just let it slide.
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