Here’s a surreal view of my neighborhood.


We heard some commotion outside and tons of cop cars started filling the street. I grabbed my binoculars and had a strangely perfect view of a backyard where at least six cops were carefully surrounding a house, guns drawn. A couple of them seemed to have brightly colored shotguns. Eventually there was even a tail-wagging police dog. I saw some guy in a white tee shirt hurry past my field of view into the brush. He looked like he was attempting to flee up the steep slope that typically separates SoCal yards built on hills. The cops had totally anticipated this and had all plausible paths blocked. We heard a lot of shouting. It sounded like the cops were commanding someone to "put down the…." something. Gun? Knife? Couldn’t tell. But they had definitely made contact with their quarry and had definitely been very clear that what he was holding was not going to be cool.

Then I heard a big blast that sounded to me like a shotgun or a powerful handgun. The cops were in full combat mode. Then I heard a couple more gunfire noises but they were much quieter like the sound a stick makes when you whack it on a rock. (I may have the order and number of shots a bit muddled but it was something like that.) Very soon after that none of the cops had their guns drawn. I saw the orange shotguns being carried away safely pointed skyward and not toward the bushes.

Then I realized I could see a person lying in the backyard. An ambulance and fire truck arrived and started working on the antagonist (hard to think of this guy as the "victim"). They were definitely giving too much attention for him to be dead. I even saw him moving. They cut off his shirt which appeared to be bloody. They put him in a neck brace and pretty quickly they wheeled him out and drove him away.

News crews arrived and pretty quickly reports appeared on line. Apparently the bright colored shotguns are to designate them as loaded with bean bag rounds. That name makes one think of a comfortable yet awkward piece of 1970s furniture, but in this case the word "bean" is even more misused. These guns shoot bags filled with lead shot which will not be comfortable to catch.

I have to say that for a situation involving dozens of guys running around outside my home with loaded guns drawn, this ended pretty well. Not only do San Diego police have some ability to not kill antagonists, they all seemed very professional and quite well trained for such things. After the kinds of things I heard the cops yelling at this guy, I thought he was a dead man for sure.

That fact that it is being reported that he will survive has some subtle but important secondary effects. These idiot guys (95% male) who contemplate suicide by cop will have to recalculate if cops are no longer playing along. Not only that but cowardly suicide terrorists need to be pretty damn sure they don’t want to spend a lifetime in some very bad place after recovering from a very, very bad day. When cops kill people it is usually more or less than the targets deserve. This seems to be getting the balance right for both of those problems.

UPDATE 2018-07-16

Today at the same corner there was a swarm of 4 cop cars, 4 ambulances, and a fire truck.

911 at Grandview

Eventually a hazardous materials team showed up.


I don’t know what happened but I get the feeling that it was "pharmacology research" and not the kind my colleagues do at