In my almost 60 complete revolutions of the sun, I have heard people say some stupid things. Truth be told, I spewed some idiocy myself. But, after reading a story about a protest over the recent police involved shooting in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, I saw a statement that defies explanation.
The words are so without an inkling of intelligence or rationality as to be laughable if they didn’t revolve around such a serious matter.
The Providence Journal (http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20160409/video-protesters-in-pawtucket-call-silence-over-fatal-police-shooting-injustice) quoted one of the protesters as saying,
“A Police Officer should disarm someone, not shoot to kill.”
Where to begin?
Statements such as this come from people whose experience with police procedure comes from one of three places: Television, movies, or riding in the back seat of a police car with their hands bound behind them.
Such ignorance does nothing to promote better relations between the community and the police. Such lack of intellectual foundation does nothing but reveal the lack of understanding of the situations officers find themselves in on a daily basis.
If she had said, we have to discourage people from carrying guns so the police won’t be forced to kill them I could agree with her.
If she said, we in the community must work with the police to tell them about those who carry guns so we can prevent such confrontations I could agree with her.
But to expect an Officer, in a dark alley, after having a gun pointed at her twice, to somehow disarm the individual regardless of the risk to the officer is nonsense.
I have always said that much remains to be done to eliminate prejudice within our society. Much remains to improve relations between the police and the minority community. Statements like this hurt such efforts.
I can guarantee you that at the moment that Officer decided to fire, she did so because she recognized a threat to herself and her fellow officers. She didn’t see skin color, she didn’t see a socially handicapped victim of prejudice, she didn’t see anything but a gun pointed at her by someone she reasonably believed would use it.
Much is made about rights in these cases. Too often an important element of this discussion is left out, the right of the officer to live.
Officers have a responsibility to perform their duties impartially and lawfully. It is a heavy burden and one we should be glad that there are those among us willing to bear it. Officers accept the responsibility knowing it may come at the cost of their lives. That doesn’t mean it must.
Behind that badge beats a human heart. One that has a family, friends, and loved ones it cares for. Officers have an equal right to enjoy their lives.