Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Guns don't kill people, bullets do.

The Delano prison guard who shot an inmate in the head with a foam bullet has been cleared of any wrongdoing. The family of Daniel Provencio, who was brain dead, are not satisfied with the report, which REALLY doesn’t surprise me. They also were not satisfied with the doctor’s report that Daniel was dead and wasn’t going to get any less dead. They kept his body going for three months.

The report does cite two problems that may have lead to the shooting. Number 1 was shoddy inspections and number 2 was shoddy training. That makes me feel better, doesn’t it you? There’s a prison full of violent inmates being guarded by a bunch of people who don’t really know what they’re doing approximately 35 miles from here. Great.

Due to the improper inspections, Daniel and several of the other inmates were drunk. Daniel’s blood alcohol was 0.152. (Whew – that’s a lot of hooch. So, when you combine a bunch of convicts with a bunch of alcohol, you may have a problem. I’ll have to remember that.) Right about suppertime one inmate dumped his food on the table and hit another inmate in the head with the tray. Oh man – it’s on now. Chaos ensued.

As best as I can tell, the guard in the room attempted to break up the fight and Daniel attempted to stop him from doing so. The guard on the tier keep telling them all to get down and when Daniel keep struggling he popped him in the head. This is where the shoddy training comes in. Apparently the guy didn’t realize how much damage a foam bullet can cause. Who can blame him? I still find it a little hard to believe a piece of foam could kill a guy. (Of course, I keep picturing those little capsules that my son would put in water and suddenly a tiny dinosaur would appear.)

According to the paper, “Few guards at the prison had actual hands-on training with the weapon because the foam bullets are expensive (about $25 per bullet) and the manual given to guards was ambiguous.” Twenty-five bucks for a foam bullet? What the hell? I could get five of those little foam capsules for a buck. And why is the manual for a weapon “ambiguous?” You’d think they’d make an effort to be clear – just in case the weapon is ever used in the way it was intended to in the first place.

What’d it say? - If you shoot someone in the head they may have a headache OR they may die.