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Yesterday, Mohammed Salayma, 16 or 17 years old and in the vicinity of the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, took the pistol pictured to the left and raised it to the face of an Israeli border guard. A fellow officer drew her service weapon and shot Salayma three times, killing him.

Salayma’s gun turned out a replica.

Out in the wild, the sale and manufacture of replica guns serve interests from children’s toys to theatrical productions.  In the post-Stalinist, post-Soviet drama in which “actions” are planned for effect — or perhaps they just happen that way (sure they do) — perhaps someone had written the headline before arming or criminally failing to educate the victim.  As much seems suggested by the above gun replica.

Criminals have used replicas recently to attempt and carry out robberies, e.g., Tanyos, Faris.  “Police: Suspect in Plain Pantry robbery carrying replica gun.”  KOIN Local 6, December 5, 2012; Fanelli, Joseph.  “Convenience store robber with fake gun stopped by employees in East Portland.”  The Oregonian, July 26, 2012: “The two employees realized the gun was fake when the man accidentally dropped the gun and it split into two pieces, said Avinash Maskey, 24, who works the morning shift at the gas station.”

Do your own Googling if the subject interests you.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police define a replica as “a device that is not a real firearm, but that was designed to look exactly or almost exactly like a real firearm.”

Look again at that photograph of the pistol that was raised to a guard’s face in the middle east conflict zone.

“Replica firearms are prohibited devices in Canada,” says the Mounties page: Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  “Replica Firearms.”

No wonder.

Suicide-by-cop or just plain awesome stupidity (or communal or lonesome but in any case vicious and unscrupulous political ambition), the story will come out as to what directly motivated Mohammed Salayma, an older teenager, to walk up to  to a military guard, stick a fake gun in his face, and thereby draw fire.

Salayma’s death alone would be a tragedy, albeit not one unfamiliar to armed conflicts, but in the middle east conflict, riots and worse come from such sparks.

The Jerusalem Post.  “IDF, Palestinians clash following teen’s funeral.”  December 13, 2012: “Palestinian media reports 5 hurt in clashes before funeral of Palestinian teen killed by Border Police after pulling out fake gun.”

Ma’an News Agency, ever reluctant to put a whole truth (remember: clear, accurate, complete) up top in its articles (here’s the prosaic lead: “An Israeli border guard officer on Wednesday shot dead a Palestinian teenager in Hebron’s Old City in the southern West Bank”), nonetheless winds around to quoting Israel police: “Initial findings are that he had a fake pistol that he pointed at the officers at the time of the incident.”  I’ll call that middle-of-the-clip effort a kind of balanced reporting.  (Ma’an News Agency.  “Israeli forces shoot, kill Hebron teenager”).

Update 12/18/2012/1415H EST

Related Article: http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/119536/ore-confusion-arrives-in-hebron