Wednesday, September 23, 2009

While we're on the subject

I've got safety issues with this story also.

Four were injured and traffic was stopped for four hours Tuesday near San Diego after the border patrol agents fired shots at the vehicles across nine lanes of highway.

Ok, as I understand it, traffic was heavy enough that the vans could not advance, so the feds opened fire across nine lanes of the nation's busiest border crossing. The vans were running into other vehicles, who I have to assume at the very least had drivers in them. And the feds shot at the vans, which likely had these other vehicles on the other side of them. I am all for controlling the borders and stopping crime. I am not for opening fire in an environment rich in non-targets if it can be avoided.

What happened to Rule IV, be sure of your target and what is behind it? I could understand if the vans had been spouting off gunfire like there was no tomorrow, but according to the article there was no return fire. The vans posed a potential threat to American citizens, but not the sort of immediate danger I'd like to see before shots are fired. I realize that the agents on the ground had some fast decisions to make. They had no way of knowing what was in the vans. Obviously, they thought it was important to stop them, and rightly so. My problem is with how they went about it. If that was the only possible way to stop the vans, then there needs to be a policy change. Maybe park a couple patrol cars a little ways down the road. Radio ahead, get them to stop the vans. Remote control spike strips or barricades. Anything to avoid the potentially tragic consequences of opening fire in such a place.

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