Monday, August 07, 2006

Action meets reaction

Let me see if I've got this straight. We have a man, let's call him BG, resting behind the wheel of his car. Someone calls this into police as a 'suspicious vehicle." The cops, who are doing their job, respond to the call and wake BG up. BG then attempts to take off. He rams two patrol cars and nearly ran over one of the officers on the scene. The officers opened fire and ended up fatally wounding BG after he was driving through someone's yard to try and get away.

To any rational person this would appear to be a straightforward situation where the cops had no choice but to act as they did given the threat to themselves and the citizens in the area posed by the obviously reckless BG. The story should stop here but it doesn't. The story doesn't stop because of the abject stupidity of some people in this world.

BG's relatives just can't understand why he had to be killed. "He was a good person. He didn't deserve this," is how the mother of his children is quoted. One daughter says, "His life was taken unjustly," followed by "They could shoot out the engine. They could have shot out all four tires."

For those of you keeping score at home we'll take a look at those statements one by one.

First, was he a good person? How many good people do you know wake up to see a cop at their window and their first response is to ram multiple police cruisers? How many good people do you know would then attempt to run down one of the officers? I don't know about you but I don't know any good people who treat police that way.

Did he deserve it? Was his life taken unjustly? This isn't a situation where he was in custody and subsequently killed. This is a case where he had demonstrated ample resolve to damage property and attempt to take human life. How does he not deserve to be punished for that?

The last two statements are the most asinine of all. Yet more proof that bad TV and worse movies are rotting the brains of America. Here's a quick auto lesson for you. If you shoot out the tires on a vehicle the car can still be driven. It won't be as fast or as maneuverable but it's still more than capable of damaging property or even killing someone. As for shooting out the engine don't be absurd. Even if you took the radiator out the car could still be driven for quite a ways. Shooting an engine out with a handgun is next to impossible. The bullets don't have the energy to crack the block or rupture the pistons. Put down the remote and pick up a book. It's amazing the things you can learn when you're not watching Desperate Housewives or General Hospital.

Don't get me wrong. This death could have been avoided but not through any action on the cop's part. Unless you count not responding to calls an action. I suppose they could have allowed themselves to be run over but if you suggest that as a viable option then you and I are going to have serious issues. BG's actions determined how this situation played out. Period. End of story.

To the officers involved:

You're going to question yourself and your actions. You wouldn't be human if you didn't. You wouldn't be good cops if you didn't. Everyone is telling you right now that you did what you had to do. That's very true but it's also very useless. You are going to have to deal with the fact that your actions resulted in a loss of life. Very few of the people around you are going to truly understand what you're going through. That being said, you're not flying solo here. I know it's going to feel like it to an extent but you have people within the PD who are there if you need them and, contrary to how the media likes to portray it, you have citizens in town who believe in you and what you do. Stay strong and we'll be waiting for you whenever you're ready to come back.


At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back, stranger. Your particular sense of reality was missed. Post more frequently!


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