What do ‘reasonable precautions’ really mean Part 2?

by todaystrainingblog

November 9, 2013

What do ‘reasonable precautions’ really mean Part 2?


                This past Monday, I answered this on a broad basis. On October 22nd, there was an incident in Santa Rosa CA. (Sonoma County) that illustrates my point very clearly. What is reasonable and how it is interpreted by different people in different ways.

                A 13-year-old boy was expelled from school. He was on his way home along a road next to a farm field. He was wearing a hoody and carrying a pellet rifle and a toy pistol in his belt. The rifle was manufactured to look like an AK-47, and being a pellet rifle it had no red tip on it to differentiate it from the real thing.


                2 Sheriff’s deputies were making their patrol of the area when they came upon the boy. They obviously were startled by this, especially in a largely Hispanic neighborhood. They got out and ordered the boy to put the rifle down and stay put, several times.

                As I have heard said several times, the boy did what anyone would have done. He turned around holding the rifle. The rifle was up and seemingly aimed at the officers. The deputies opened fire. He was struck at least 8 times by law enforcement bullets and died at the scene. Now the community is up in arms that they shouldn’t have been so willing to shoot a kid.

                The reasonable expectation for civilians is that law enforcement should be absolutely positively sure that they are in no danger before they open fire. And law enforcement officials (including those of us that are ‘quasi-law enforcement) will agree that reasonable means something entirely different.

                Civilians and those not involved with the vermin of the world find it hard to understand law enforcement tactics many times. Those officers had less than a second to react to a potential threat that could have, literally, shredded them and their vehicle into smoldering bloody ruin. As their training had been ingrained upon them, they opened fire. At 30 yards they couldn’t know that the pellet rifle was a fake AK-47, not that they could have known that the person wearing a hoody was only 13.

                Is it possible that the deputies ‘profiled’ this kid? Of course! But as I have said before, we ALL profile people every day on things i.e. the idiot on the highway, the little brat throwing a fit in the store, the white kid wearing his pants around his ankles, and anyone wearing a hoody.

                Could they have waited and been friendly and walked up to him and asked him politely to turn around and show them his rifle. ? ‘Golly gee whiz Wally, can I see your gun that is so neato?’ That isn’t exactly reasonable either because of the history of violence against law enforcement officers by individuals with firearms, or that the rifle looked like the real thing.

                So what could a 24 year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, who is a prolific writer, speaker, and trainer in firearms safety and usage done differently? Not a thing. He did exactly what he should have done to protect his life and the lives of the citizens around the area he was sworn to protect. And he did this with only a Nano second to think about it.

                So in retrospect what does reasonable mean? It means different things to everyone involved in an incident. From the Hispanic citizens of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County who are fearing law enforcement to the actual law enforcement officers and administrators in that county.

                Unfortunately, this is one instance where ‘reasonable’ will wind its way through the courts and take millions of dollars away from other uses, months and years in legal issues and anxiety by the county and the deputy involved. And then of course, there are the parents who will grieve for a kid who didn’t know enough to not turn around with the rifle up in a position pointing towards the officers.  

                Again reasonable to 2 separate groups of people. Different perspectives different opinions, different reactions. The courts will decide another case of ‘reasonable precautions’, after the citizens spend millions of dollars in the inevitable lawsuit by people who don’t quite understand.


            Clients rely on the 30 years of skills, knowledge, & expertise of Sollars Security Shield to ensure the safety and security of their property and their most important asset’s – their people. He helps these companies to avoid the multi-million dollar lawsuits that can result from a single incident of WPV.

            Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention. He has appeared in numerous media outlets in the past 30 years of being in the field and 20 studying, writing, and speaking about WPV/SV.

            Robert utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his experience and the news headlines. Let him do this for you as well. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or visit the website at;


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