posted on Sep, 26 2014 @ 10:12 AM
I had a feeling this story would show up on ATS. A few comments from the redneck side of the tracks...
First, although some may argue, I do not consider myself a "cop-hater." I have a lot of respect for the ones who try to do their job with common
sense and restraint. If I am pulled over, I am being officially instructed to communicate with the officer, who is in charge of the situation. Fine. I
can live with that (pun intended).
What I am not officially required to do is submit wholly and completely to the officer's will. That is a violation of my freedoms. I have to remain
there, comply with all legal requests, accept arrest if warranted, and not become a threat to the officer. I do not have to be in fear for my life,
submit to a beating, or comply with illegal requests.
It is in my best interest to be helpful and cooperative as much as possible, and these things I do. Sometimes the officer responds with respect and we
resolve the situation.
Second, I understand completely the stress that on officer has to manage on a daily basis. That's why I am not a police officer; I don't want the
stress, and I am not sure I could handle it on a daily basis. I have been shot at myself, have taken pot shots at poachers, and once had my .357
cocked and lying beside a guy's temple (robbery attempt). Thankfully I did not have to fire, but there was no doubt about my ability to do so. Still,
after every situation like this, that cold feeling of 'what if' creeps into one's psyche. I am sure that is true for police as well as for
But the key here is that this is the job... this is not a surprise to those who hire on. If I become an astronaut, would it be reasonable for me to
refuse to go into space because of the danger involved? No! I went into the occupation with my eyes open... and every police officer went into that
occupation knowing it was a tough and dangerous job. I'm all for reasonable safety precautions, but can we define reasonable? I don't think shooting
to stop (which is what police are trained to do) because someone wasn't wearing a seat belt and moved faster than was comfortable when asked to
perform a task is a reasonable act to promote safety. Sure, the cop in this case was much safer after shooting the victim than he was before the
victim was shot, but at the cost of the victim being unjustly injured. I consider that unreasonable.
There are two basic ways to respond to a situation: offense and defense. If one feels unsafe, the proper method is defense. Defense in this case would
have been to perhaps unholster the weapon, perhaps even draw it, and to bark the order to "STOP!" That would perhaps have been reasonable, although
even that action would have made me wonder about the officer's fitness for duty. Wonder is, however, orders of magnitude less damning than what
Third, where was the officer's taser? I know, I know, I have been a loud opponent of taser use, but it would have still been preferable to a bullet
in this case. The victim was not being pulled over for a violent offense and the officer had no information that could reasonably lead him to suspect
that violence was imminent. If the sudden movement was so threatening to the officer, perhaps, just perhaps, something less lethal than a bullet could
be used? I would still have thought the officer's response as excessive, but at least the victim wouldn't have been pumping blood all over the
Fourth, the quality of those who choose to wear the badge seems to be decreasing exponentially. I have mentioned before that the worst students I met
while attending college were those in the Criminal Justice program (including more than one who actually said they wanted to be in law enforcement so
they could "shoot people"). The days of the strong, secure, brave, and fair police officer seem to be gone... or at least rapidly disappearing.
Allow me to pose this dilemma: you are driving down the road when another car makes you pull off the road, be it through a verbal order or a physical
maneuver. The inhabitants get out of the car and approach you with weapons clearly visible on their person. They order you about, look through your
possessions, and threaten you. Perhaps their friends show up to increase their numbers. You get scared and make a sudden move, and are gunned down on
the side of the road.
Does it really matter what "colors" the gang is wearing? Is blue somehow better than a different color?
The real difference is not that the car pulling you over is marked as a police car... it is that the police (supposedly) have a reputation of being
fair with you. That doesn't mean they will allow themselves to come to harm or that they won't be ready to fight an armed attack with deadly force,
but rather that they have no intention of harming you unless you take drastic action against them. If this be true, then you are being pulled over and
placed in a situation where you have a reasonable expectation of safety due to the inhabitants of the car being police officers, as opposed to a group
of thugs where you would have no such reasonable expectation of safety.
Once the ordinary citizen loses that reasonable expectation of safety in a confrontational situation with a police officer, the line between cop and
thug blurs, and people begin to react to police the same way they would react to thugs. Just comply, don't say anything confrontational, make no
sudden moves, try to survive the situation.
Or, perhaps, try to get away... at all costs.
This is the problem. People are rapidly losing that respect of the police, and as that respect erodes, the police no longer find the average person to
be friendly and helpful. In science, when an experiment is conducted with a changed variable and the result is undesired, that variable is changed
back to its original value and a different variable is altered. If you are driving a car and stepping on the brake makes the car slow down, you don't
step on it harder wondering why the car isn't speeding up... you release the brake and try a different pedal. But somehow, in this case, the response
by the police in general has been top become more thug-like, more intimidating, more suspicious, and to actually do some of the same things a thug
would do: inflict pain, injure, and even kill.
All in the name of "safety."
An aside to the poster who earlier stated that he had three friends in law enforcement gunned down in LA: I am truly sorry. That is why I am (again)
trying to speak out against this abuse of power we are seeing. It wasn't just one person who shot your friends; it was the fear that situations like
this one cause that allowed and perhaps even encouraged the actions of those who pulled the trigger.
This officer over-reacted. Period. A person was injured needlessly due to his over-reaction. Outside of law enforcement, we call that "assault with a
deadly weapon." Only when the attacker is wearing a blue uniform do we get to refer to it as "an accidental shooting." This was no accident... this
was a pre-meditated decision by a professional to fire at a person accused of nothing more than failing to wear a seat belt while at a gas station and
who tried to comply with a legal order a bit faster than the cop wished.