Another black man died after being shot by a female police officer in Tulsa, just three days after the most recent use of lethal force against the black man in Charlotte, It seems that police shootings in US and all across the Globe are becoming pretty much regular events lately.
The question, or the social dilemma, we are going to answer here, is also a secret wish of many out there:
Should we or should we not have police officers patrolling the streets?
To the majority, it seems like cops are shooting down black people like clay pigeons. At least that’s what we could conclude from all those nasty and pretty much irrational comments. And the recent development in Charlotte, where people took the issue right on the streets, demanding justice, just further proves that conclusively.
One thing is certain now: being a cop in any of these two cities, especially one of those two who fired the lethal shots, is damn risky. You never know when some bum, high on PCP or some other fucked up drug, will take a shot at you “for the cause” or “to send the message to all those damn cops and government.”
For the following period, streets are gonna be hot for law enforcement members.
Is that OK, given the circumstances? Should they be afraid for their lives?
How many times have you stared at the barrel of a police weapon? When was the last time you stopped your car in the middle of the road and walked away? Do you frequently wave with your kitchen knife in the middle of the street? Does it hurt when police stick wraps around your back?
80% of people have never experienced any of the above situations. 20% did. These are rough numbers, but close enough nevertheless.
Those 20% have one thing in common: they did something against the common moral standard and/or law, which put them on a collision course with one or few law enforcement officers. Some of them lived to tell the stories. Some of them lost their lives. Both offenders and cops.
It takes less than a minute for the situation to escalate beyond the point of return. In some cases, we are talking about seconds. As a cop, you are always prepared for the worst. Fail to do that and you’re good as dead.
Because, there will always be folks who just don’t give a fuck about the others! And I know that for a fact.
The real issue here is whether the Western system of recruitment and training of future police officers is inferior to, for example, Eastern European one where law enforcement training begins in the age of 14-15 (after 8th grade) and lasts for 4 straight years.
According to many, this is a way too militant form of law enforcement education. Yet, the practice has shown that the best cops in the world, or those who respond in the most optimal way in every situation, are 4-year police academy graduates.
4 years to check, re-evaluate and train a young brain for every possible scenario is definitely a better way to make cops than having adults going through some 9-12 months long crash course and immediately start working on the streets with the license to kill.
That’s simply not enough time to make the law enforcement officer because the number of things that can go wrong and that are not “explained” during the training are simply overwhelming. Even the simplest situation can turn to hell in just a few seconds.
You do want the police officer ready for critical and unexpected and it takes time to create that highly efficient mind.
My gun once malfunctioned when we were trying to apprehend a suspect of a shooting in a public place. Apparently, some drunken wiseass thought that few bursts from the automatic weapon would prove his standpoint.
I found myself in a situation where the guy was coming out of his vehicle, lifting his AK-47 assault rifle, while I was struggling to put the bullet in the chamber. It was just pure luck that the damn gun got in order a second before he managed to aim his weapon.
And it all started quite innocently. Some drunken dude is doing some mayhem on the public space. Some firing from automatic weapon was heard, but they are not sure is it connected with this particular incident.
You get there as fast as you can, jump out of the vehicle, knock the fucker down, cuff him and finally take the annoying bastard in to cool off before questioning him. It takes no more than a few seconds to have him firmly tied in the backseat of the police vehicle.
Only, this guy had a slightly different idea of fun.
As soon as he spotted us arriving at the scene, he started walking backwards to some car parked a couple yards behind him.
By the time we arrived and got out, he was already in the car.
You start issuing warnings and orders, one after another, but you are perfectly aware how there’s a great chance that someone will end up hurt or even worse.
Now, who would you prefer that to be? You, or him, or some innocent bystander?
The Motherfucker went in for a weapon and then got out with some nasty firepower in his hands. Great moment for your gun to malfunction, right?
What happened next is not important. Let’s just say that nobody got hurt and perp spent some time behind bars. Extensive 4-year training saved lives, that’s for sure.
What’s important, from the perspective of the law enforcement officers, is that you really don’t care what he’s gonna take from some concealed space. The very first thing on your mind is a lethal weapon because you’re spending your days surrounded by the worst of the humankind.
You really don’t expect flowers from the guy who deliberately disobeyed several warnings and orders after shooting around, waving with some knife or destroying people’s property in front of the cameras, as we could see on the footages showing riots in Charlotte. You think that kid is busting those windows because he feels injustice? Hell no, he’s just using the circumstances to wreak havoc as every other hooligan.
Did officer Shelby pull that trigger too fast?
Your job, or even better, the first priority, as a police officer, is simple:
- You SERVE to PROTECT people’s lives and public and private property.
Pretty clear, right?
So, if some person decides to get out there, after getting himself high on some drugs or intoxicated with alcohol, deliberately disregarding the fact that there are:
- kids who are playing around,
- elderlies who are walking with sticks minding their own business,
- and others who are busting their backs to put food on the table,
Just to wreak havoc because he feels lonely or screwed, does he deserve nice, totally respectful and humble communication with the society and law enforcement?
No, he does not. He’s making fools out of millions of others. In fact, he’s endangering everybody around him.
Who gave him that right? What’s so fucking special about him that he’s allowed to wave with the knife in a broad daylight, in a public place? Who the fuck did he think he is to stop the car in the middle of the busy road and walk away? What if his selfish and arrogant deed prevents ER from driving some sick kid to the nearest hospital? Should that innocent child pay the price just because some guy was “in the bad place” that day?
I don’t know. Maybe I’m off the track here. Too goddamn institutionalized and righteous. Brainwashed by the Academy and years spent investigating crime scenes, some would even say. But, if it would me, you can be damn sure that he wouldn’t be able to walk back to that goddamn vehicle.
And that’s where officer Shelby made a mistake.
First step: warning.
Second step: command.
Third step: reaction.
That’s the order of things. And there’s not much lag between each.
That’s how you save lives. You don’t waste time talking. You don’t beg. You don’t wait for him to come to some senses. There’s a safety of jail for that.
You REACT by running into him, knocking his ass down in whatever way you can and end everything with restraining the person. And what’s most important, you don’t lose your cool, ever. Because, if the person behaves in unnatural (unexpected) way, something is off. It’s that simple.
Her voice indicates that she doesn’t have too much experience with handling these kinds of situations. It was maybe her first time. So she got nervous. After all, she was alone, facing a pretty large man, who is obviously ignoring her questions and requests and behaving rather strangely. She got scared.
And fear is something you don’t want in cops. Fear knocks off the greater part of your working memory and you operate in survival mode. Even the slightest, unexpected move can make you pull that trigger.
What strikes me most, as someone with experience in that kind of situation, is that when reinforcement arrived (and they were pretty fast), the guy was still walking toward the car. One of the cops had the Taser out and ready, and still, the man was on his feet, active.
Another thing that is interesting is the distance of the shooting. How about shooting him in the leg? One who carries a weapon should be able to hit the knee from a few yards.
Who knows, maybe bullet didn’t kill the guy. Maybe 10,000 volts stopped his heart. Or perhaps, it was a combo. Whatever it was that stopped his heart, one thing is certain: he shouldn’t have died there. That’s the fact. There was plenty of time to disable the guy BEFORE he even got close to car.
So, when you think about it, maybe we don’t need cops altogether…after all, they are dropping people like it’s nothing.
How about we make them disappear like that kid did with his family?
What would happen if cops would vanish from the face of this planet for just a week?
You don’t have to move further from the footages of the recent riots in Charlotte. Just a narrow zone that got virtually isolated from the “hand of the law” was enough for the people to start shooting at each other, for the kids and hooligans to break windows and destroy property, for the bums to break into a hotel and kick the shit out of the personnel.
Now…expand that zone. Turn off the lights across the planet and make law enforcement disappears. Go to bed.
Wait for it…
Here it comes! In less than 5 minutes after the word got out that cops are no more.
How long would you sleep before some thug decides to break in and steal something from you? Maybe even to spend some time sexually harassing your wife or even you?
How many yards would your wife or daughter walk before ending up raped and most likely killed?
How long would it take before you realize how you’re staring at the barrel of the gun, held by some maniac on drugs?
Would he or would he not pull that trigger?
It would be totally up to him. Because, there’s nobody to stop him. Without the government’s repressive tool, all bets are off. We would end up in darkness of ultimate uncertainty. The worst would surface to harass the best, as it was before. Urban centers would become concentration camps where unimaginable torture would become a new normal.
After a while, a few of the remaining “best of this species” would somehow organize in small, isolated groups and fight back. In time, those groups would connect in one large, organized resistance against the oppressor. It would take years, but thugs would eventually end up eradicated.
And what then?
Laws and moral standards are nothing but the abstract terms and letters on the paper. They mean shit without someone who will enforce them.
And that someone, in every country of this world, is the law enforcement organization.
That’s right. Our righteous winners would be forced to organize law enforcement to prevent that shit from happening again.
It’s the story of how we ended up with law enforcement in the first place. It’s what we have today.
Thousands of men and women will patrol the urban areas this night as the only way for you and your family to have a good night’s sleep. They will all risk their lives and clash with the worst this species has to offer, just for you to be able to drive to your office tomorrow.
And while you’ve been watching TV and all those images from Charlotte, some kid got saved, some woman avoided being raped and some old granny didn’t lose her life for 20 bucks. None of them was even aware of that. Because just the awareness of the presence of the law enforcement has been enough to prevent most of the felonies.
Whoever got in the situation with cops, made a decision to be in that situation. Maybe he or she was fighting for the righteous cause, that’s true, but it doesn’t change the fact that it was an individual, premeditated decision to provoke the clash with the police officers.
So, did officer Shelby fire that gun all too soon and without any probable cause?
Perhaps. Then again, how come you didn’t end up on the other side of her gun?
She is paid to deal with scum. That’s what she expects. That’s what she’s preparing for. Nobody forced that man to lead himself in that situation. It was his decision from the beginning.
Same as it was your decision not to behave in a way that could somehow force the cop to pull out his/her weapon and aim that weapon at you, being on the edge of the nerves, knowing how only one millimeter of free space has left on that trigger before the mechanism fires out the bullet.
And now, many want to see officer Shelby to pay for what she did.
The tragedy is: it will be politics that will decide whether she should take the bullet for what happened. Many will embrace and welcome such a decision.
But we are all forgetting one thing. It’s easy to be the general after the battle. Then you can use books and regulations. Everything is black and white. Suddenly, there are no shades of gray.
It’s not black and white. Whoever was in similar situation knows how hard it is to stay cool and follow the regulations written by those who had never experienced anything like that. They just think things would go in some imaginable, precise way. In reality, there are many variables and lots of things that usually go wrong or are not covered with some “protocol handbook.” Officer on the streets needs to adapt to all of those new variables and react accordingly.
Sometimes, it’s possible to overreact.
Then again, nobody is asking the most important and most obvious question: