Thursday, February 25, 2010

police, and the use of force

good buddy ski let slip sometime back that i am in law enforcement. i put a skill uncle sugar taught me (after trading 4 solid and 1 partial year of my life) to good use. it has had it's ups and downs, just like everything else in life, and i have never had to worry about being laid off. overall i'd say the city i work for and i are about even.

one of the things that really sticks out about the job, is that people want to talk about the use of force by cops in general, and guns in particular. because we carry, people think we know something they don't about firearms. some of us do, most of us don't. i think i fall in the do category, based on my indentured servitude with uncle sug, and some training i have sought out on my own dime, and because i also used to be a hunter safety instructor.

people will usually ask questions after a high profile incident such as a shooting or a suspect taking a solid ass kicking like, "why didn't the cop shoot the perp in the hand or leg?" or "why did they hit that guy so many times with their billy clubs?" i usually take the time to explain, to the best of my ability, what the reasoning is for not shooting to wound, or why someone got "beat up" by officers who were trying to take a criminal suspect into custody.

during these times i often find that the citizen asking the questions has never fired a handgun or been involved in a serious fight. that their perception of how things work when everything goes to shit is based off tv, movies and newspaper articles written by other people who have never been there.

a case in point is an article, here, that ski forwarded to me back in august, that he was looking for my take on. well, here it goes. seems the usual suspects are at work in this article, blaming the cops for not only for the color of their skin, but also the race of the suspect they were called to check on. who it turns out, was, as reported, armed with a rifle, or, more accurately, carbine.

if he only needed someone to talk to, where was dad and girlfriend? is girlfriend the same woman who won't let him see the kids? dad says he would have put the gun down if asked, but girlfriend and a neighbor say the gun was already put down when the evil jack booted thugs mowed him down. a word of advice to the reporter and editor who allowed this shit to hit the fish wrap. at least try to show a bit of objectivity, and try to lock down your witnesses stories a little better. maybe interview whoever made the 9-1-1 call about the fight over the gun. they might not be as emotionally attached to the "victim" as dad and the current squeeze, and could give better insight into what really transpired that july night.

some will say i'm standing behind the blue wall of silence. was i there? do i really know what happened? no. but i have been involved in enough stuff to know people add and subtract what they want from stories to paint themselves, or their friends, in the best possible light. i also know that i have never met a cop who comes to work looking to off a minority, or anyone else for that matter. think about how far-fetched the idea that the story writer and the naacp is proposing is.

somewhere between 1 and 6 of these guys respond to this call, actually find a guy with a long gun, who dad says is essentially just lonely, and just looking for a shoulder to cry on, and then kill him. according to girlfriend and neighbor, they then conspire to cover it up, cause he wasn't armed or a threat.

try this sometime. get out the kids nerf guns. set it next to you on the couch or table or porch. next arm your buddy with a similar nerf gun. stay within the effective range. you are the" bad guy" he is the "cop". have him hold the nerf gun down to his side or behind his back or something, to simulate being nice and attentive, and in the holster, while you tell him your tale of woe. without warning, pickup your nerf gun and try to shoot him. i bet you hit him before he gets off a shot. why? because action beats reaction every time.

next, do the same thing with 6 other dudes, armed with nerf guns, who you let "surround" you. but tell them that when they sense that you have the ability and opportunity to cause them great bodily injury or death, and that they feel, by your actions, that their lives or any of the other "officers" are in jeopardy, that they can apply deadly force to you. let me know if you survive, and how many times you got hit.

i've been holding this back for sometime, but with all the recent murders of cops all across our great republic, i can't any longer. there has been something like 9 or 10 cops shot in the seattle area since halloween, 6 of whom i believe died. 3 killed in the oakland/san fran area. 3 in pittsburgh. a week ago a female pittsburgh officer was nearly killed by an armed robbery suspect she was trying to take into custody. his gun jammed, hers did not. today, a fresno, california detective was killed and two other officers were shot by someone they were looking to question. i could go on and on.

here is the point. don't jump to conclusions the next time the media reports the police brutalized some guy who was minding his own business, or swiss cheesed some dude because he was a different race than they happened to be. there is always more to the story than the editor allows to be printed. if the officers were wrong it will come out, everyone has cameras today. remember these officers have families they want to go home to, and are not societies punching bag.

to those of you who support us, thanks.

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