Child soldiers in African wars

The shooting of Tamir Rice made me think about a distantly related topic: Are or should child soldiers in combat (i.e., African war zones) be treated differently (in terms of shoot or don’t shoot) than adult soldiers?

On the one hand, they’re just children. On the other hand, an AK-47 in the hands of a child soldier with full intent to kill is just as deadly as an AK-47 in the hands of an adult soldier with full intent to kill.

Rice, of course, had no intent to kill a cop. Some people defend the police officer involved in the Tamir Rice shooting with this argument: Guns are lethal no matter whose hands they are in, and how could the officer tell the gun was fake? But some people condemn the police officer with this argument: Rice was a child; the officer still could or should have resorted to far less extreme measures, such as talking him into putting the gun down, whether the gun was real or fake.

Does the US military have particular procedures for situations in which US troops are facing child soldiers? Try to fire warning shots but not shoot the child soldiers? Only use lethal force if the situation absolutely, absolutely requires it (i.e., not using force would result in entire battalion of US troops being killed in short order?)

I don’t know, but I suspect that US casualties caused by child soldiers due to some kind of effort not to kill them would cause a big outcry here at home- not only because our soldiers are forced into such abhorrent situations, but also because they’re not allowed to fight back effectively.

I remember a video of a video (purported to be) used to train cops and/or soldiers.

I was a first-person walk through a town, with bad guys popping up and trying to kill the viewer. The object was to shoot the bad guy(s) before they shot you, but not shoot the old man in the shed with a rake - even though the rake’s handle popped out of the shed much like a bad guy’s rifle.

The viewer then encounters a cute little tyke about 8 years old. Just as you’re thinking “aw, cute”, the little bastard pulls out a magnum and blows you away.

Ooops - should have shot that one, shouldn’t you?

Kids have been used in warfare for simply ages.
Welcome to reality.

Interesting - is training like this a possible reason the cop shot Tamir Rice?

Armed forces work on a scenario-by-scenario basis. In many places AK-47s are common and it is legal for the population to openly carry them (Yemen for example). Are you thinking of a scenario where you have US armed forces engaging in active battle, but forbidden from shooting armed children?

Long story short. In active battle if you are armed you are fair game, however if you are surrendering (unarmed/dropped weapon/etc) you are guaranteed physical protection. That is an international law of war.

The problem is that Tamir Rice was shot immediately after their arrival, he wasn’t given any meaningful chance at surrender, and he wasn’t given medical aid afterwards. It is my firm belief that SUSPECTS MUST BE GIVEN THIS CHANCE. Yes, he was a child; but a big problem was that he wasn’t given any option but to be blown away.

No explanations, just shot on arrival, and then left to die.

The Tamir Rice scenario played out many years ago in SF.

Portero Hill (OJ Simpson’s old neighborhood) has a park which overlooks the 101 Freeway.

Cops got the ‘man with gun’ call.

It was a 13 yr old who was described as:

  1. Large for his age
  2. Mentally “challenged”

He had a replica pistol (1911 .45 ACP) and was pointing it at the freeway and saying “bang”.
This replica was produced before the law requiring an orange muzzle.
He was given a chance to drop the “gun”. He may well have had no idea why those guys in blue were yelling at him - his handicap was great.

He then pointed it at the cops.

The consensus was “sometimes life just sucks - and this is one of those”.

It was shortly after this that the orange muzzle was required. It was my impression that the law was in response to this shooting.

Have u seen American sniper?

Perhaps you’re thinking of Men In Black. :stuck_out_tongue:

Rice was five foot seven and weighed 195 pounds. An average size adult and not a tyke.

Child solders regularly feature in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of the more famous examples being Omar Khadr. IMO his treatment after capture at the age of 15 was pretty terrible (he was sent to Guantanamo for 10 years, and only left custody in 2015).

This articlefrom 2009 claims the US War Manual has no official advice on the matter but that the British Army does after encountering child soldiers in Sierra Leone :

I know a young man that was in Iraq at the beginning of the "war on terrorism ". He told me a story of killing two kids because they ran out onto the battlefield to grab weapons and bring them back to the enemy. Things like that happen all the time. I don’t blame him one bit and I felt bad for him to have to be put in that situation.