I wanted to call Kirk Kjellberg an idiot.
That, however, would be highly unfair and uncivil given I’ve never met the guy.
So I’ll just say he apparently lacks a conscience or isn’t tempered by common sense.
Kjellberg is the CEO of Ideal Conceal that plans to roll out a concealed weapon that looks like a replica of a smartphone in a case.
That’s right. A smartphone. They’re the same device a growing number of young men reach for when ordered by police to put up their hands. Who knows what possesses them to do so? Perhaps they want to record the encounter to post on You Tube. Maybe it’s a reflex since I’m willing to bet the typical under 25 male goes for his cell phone at least two dozen times an hour.
More than a few young men managed to get themselves shot — and sometimes killed — by law enforcement officers that have a split second to assess a situation. And for those of you that may think every police officer is trigger happy, I refer you to a classic Bluebloods TV episode where the New York Police Commissioner played by Tom Selleck was queried by a reporter at a press conference whether he thought an officer’s fatal shooting of a man who reached into his pocket and pulled out what ended up being an unloaded weapon was justified. The commissioner asks the reporter what he would have done. The reporter launches into a verbal description of what he might do but the commissioner cuts him off after four seconds. “Too late,” the commissioner says, “you’re dead.”
Now along comes Kjellberg eager to sell a gun that even up-close based on website and Facebook images his firm has posted looks exactly like an iPhone in its case. We’re not talking 50 yards away. Sitting at your computer less than a foot away it looks like what Tim Cook of Apple is hawking these days.
The two-shot wonder that Ideal Conceal describes as having “high velocity, increased accuracy” can be yours for $395.
The pending launch of a device that can end up making encounters between police and those they are ordering not to reach into their pockets even more deadly has drawn the ire of New York Senator Chuck Schumer. The senator astutely notes the iPhone gun would pose a threat to law enforcement officers as they would be in situations where they couldn’t tell whether a suspect was pulling out a smartphone or a gun.
Kjellberg pooh-poohs such concerns noting it is only a defensive weapon and that there are plenty of such devices capable of firing more than two bullets.
Kjellberg in pursuit of the almighty dollar wants to take a device that isn’t a gun that already gets suspects shot when they reach into their pockets for it when told not to do so by officers and make it into a gun. The odds are there are a number of incidents every day where an officer is able to ascertain the time a suspect is reaching for is a smartphone stopping them in the nick of time from discharging their weapons.
Now in the name of profit Kjellberg wants to set the stage for more officers to not hesitate and spend perhaps another second sizing up a situation. That extra second not only could make the difference in a suspect being shot but it could also result in an officer being killed if the smartphone ends up being a product of Idea Conceal.
Kjellberg says he came up with the idea for the lethal smartphone when a youngster was able to catch a glimpse of his concealed weapon he has a permit to carry while he was in a restaurant. So instead of being more responsible and truly concealing his weapon, Kjellberg thinks people like him are better off concealing their weapons as common devices such as smartphones that wouldn’t even warrant a second glance from the public.
Of course there’s the technical legal issue that you can’t openly carry a concealed weapon which means an Ideal Conceal customer not keeping his loaded — or unloaded — pseudo iPhone concealed at all times is breaking the law.
Kjellberg further defends his new weapon as saying not only is it a defensive weapon as if defensive weapons are never used as offensive weapons, but that there are plenty of small versions of concealed guns being sold that fire more than two bullets. True but they also don’t look like iPhones. They look like guns.
And let’s not forget the fact someone who would carry an Ideal Conceal iPhone is highly likely to also carry a real iPhone. What if they go for the wrong smartphone when they are confronted by a criminal threatening them? Officers with training have been known to pull guns instead of stun guns despite differences in design and weight.
Selling a pseudo iPhone as a defensive weapon for someone who may have to use it doesn’t seem that wise given they could grab for the wrong phone and end up being killed.
Any adult with common sense would see the folly of carrying a concealed weapon that looks like an iPhone and only fires two bullets. Even if they pull out the right iPhone, it’s pretty risky given few people can shoot as well as the fictional James Bond let alone doing so with a converted Paper Mate pen or a make believe iPhone6.
The Walter Mittys out there may buy them but is it safe to sell such a weapon to someone living in his own fantasy world?
The “I Spy” mentality portrayed by Bill Cosby and Robert Culp — or should that be “iSpy” — of the 1960s TV show fame is marketed at those who are infatuated with video games such as “Grand Theft Auto” and “Call of Duty.”
It’s asking to turn horseplay deadly.
And forget the fact that teaching kids what a gun is gets thrown out the window if someone with an Ideal Conceal smartphone carelessly leaves it where a 6-year-old — most of whom eagerly play with smartphones — can access it.
The Ideal Conceal smartphone gun is anything but smart. It should be banned.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.