Mar 22, 2015
Police in the U.S. --- Licensed
feel what you feel, and you don't feel what you don't feel. In
recent years, when I hear on the news that an (on-duty) law enforcement
officer (l.e.o.) has been shot, what I feel isn't anger, outrage or
even sorrow. It's "Eh," a shrug and an "At least the cop was armed."
(Because I've never heard of a case of an unarmed on-duty cop getting
shot.) That was my reaction when I heard that two cops had been shot
and injured at a Ferguson, Missouri protest.
Cops kill so many civilians every year and many of them are unarmed
civilians. And that's only the fatalities. It doesn't count
number of unarmed civilians seriously
by law enforcement in a year. So when I hear that a cop has been shot
(either wounded or killed), I experience as much upset and sorrow as I
expect cops experience when they hear an unarmed civilian has been
killed by some cop (an amount I put as none). That cops themselves
don't get upset
when some law enforcement officer kills an unarmed civilian is not
something that law enforcement in general is going to get in a huff
over. Yet, ironically, this piece, where I express that I no longer get
upset when one of them is shot and will be a source of insult
any l.e.o. who reads this.
Now, let me be perfectly clear, I don't favor the
shooting of police. Not for the sake of the individual law enforcement
officers........I've made my feelings (or lack there of) clear on that.
No, for our
sakes. Because 100% of them are armed and most of us are
not, and have you noticed how angry they get when one of them gets
shot. Too many of them are already trigger-happy, control-freaks
like "Officer Go Fuck Yourself." They're
people who should never have passed a
psychological assessment (which ought to be mandatory and repeated
annually) to become law enforcement in the first place. It seems like
too many people with the wrong personality type to be cops are the
exact ones who are attracted to being cops. (It's like pedophiles to
jobs with children.) If your buttons are easily pushed, you really like guns, control and
shouldn't be a cop.
makes it worse is that law enforcement is deliberately trained to have
pack mentality. So when something does happen, not one of them is
trained to STOP & ASSESS if what's happening is appropriate. (Stop
& Frisk, they have down. Stop & Assess, no.) Instead of
deescalating, they'll just go along or jump right in causing the
situation to escalate. It's as if their individual decision making is
short-circuited by the pack mentality. This is how you get 7 cops pulling a gun on a 20 year old woman they believed bought beer (it was a case of water). Or a group of 5 cops who end up killing a man over loose cigarettes. Law
enforcement is ready, willing and able to deploy a level of
violence completely out of proportion for the alleged offense that's
So when a
cop gets shot, you take a group of people who are already prone to use
violence and give them more of an excuse to use it. That
work out well for us. So I definitely do not favor shooting cops.
Because they're already injuring and killing too many of us.
reality is that law enforcement in this country has a license to kill.
And this is not the fictional world of James Bond where the license to
kill is restricted to a handful of "00" agents. Because any
cop in this country
can kill while on the job with overwhelming odds they'll
get away with it. Even when a group of cops takes a man down and one of
them chokes the man to death
and does so on camera,
they'll still get away with and won't spend a day
in prison for it. Not for killing and not for seriously injuring the
Here in Escambia county, Florida, two
fired 15 bullets at a man who went outside to get cigarettes out
of his car. (The man lived.) The case was heard by a grand
jury who sided with the cops that
a man going to grab a pack of smokes from the car would "lunge" at two
deputies (wink-wink-nod-nod), so refused to indict. It would be one
thing if that were just the kind of place that Escambia county was, but
it's nationwide that we, the American people, refuse to hold law
enforcement responsible for the harm they do to those who do not
deserve it. From flash grenading a
baby then refusing to pay the baby's medical bills
to shooting a homeowner 6 times then dragging
him out to their patrol car,
tossing him onto the hood of the car and driving with him on the
hood like he was a deer they just bagged, the cops
who do such actions are defended
by their departments, and the local populace refuses to step up and
responsible. (Though it's the local populace that ends up
footing the bill when the civil lawsuit happens. Because it's our taxes that pay
the legal fees and settlement/judgment for the police malfeasance.)
the L.A. cops beat Rodney King and a riot happened when the good
citizens of L.A. refused to convict them of a vicious beating caught on
camera, Congress mandated that the attorney general collect data on
police excessive force and put out the stats annually. What
Congress failed to mandate was any kind of penalty (the usual one is a
loss of federal funding) to force the local jurisdictions to report the
the reporting of police killing us is voluntary.
So, guess what? Many jurisdictions do not. That includes the entire state of New York.
That voluntary aspect of the reporting results in
a significant discrepancy. In May 2013 a civilian group began
tracking people killed by the police and publishing it on their
website, appropriately called killedbypolice.net. Their data source
didn't depend on voluntary self-reporting. They used news sources
available to anyone including the FBI. (Strange how our government can
track our phone calls, emails and internet usage, record every
piece of mail we send through the USPS, but can't gather accurate data
on law enforcement killing people in America.) From May 2013 to the end
year, the civilian group had 764 dead. The FBI? Only 461 dead ----- and that's for the
entire year, not just the 8 months out of the year tracked
by Killed by Police.
If Killed by Police had numbers for the entire year, it would probably
be a 1000 or more dead civilians killed by law enforcement. The number
of law enforcement
officers killed in 2013? The FBI has that number. It's 27,
"27 law enforcement officers died as a result
of felonious acts." For 2014, the Killed by Police
site lists 1101 dead. The FBI? Sorry. No
data yet from them for the year 2014.
Of that approximately 1000 people killed by law enforcement every year
in this country, according to a Police Policy Studies Council
report 1 in 4 of them is unarmed. That
would mean around 250 unarmed
people killed every year by the police.
I claimed that the police have a license to kill because the
odds are overwhelming that they'll get away with it. From 2005 to 2011, the FBI's incomplete date
showed 2718 "justifiable" homicides (my quotes, not
FBI's) by law enforcement
officers. That's only 388 a year while we now
have evidence to reasonably believe that the actual number killed is
much higher. In that same 7 year time period
where a minimum of 2718 civilians
were killed, only 41 officers were arrested for murder or manslaughter.
A GOOD SHOOTING
Do I think all police shooting are "bad" shootings? No. As I used an
incident from my home as a "bad" shooting, I'll use another incident
from my home as a "good" shooting. Full disclosure: the cop in this
shooting was a neighborhood friend. As a Florida state trooper he pulled a vehicle over for a legitimate traffic stop. He
ended up shooting and killing the driver. The driver was armed with a
handgun. The driver fired the handgun during the traffic stop. (Into
the driver's own head as it turns out.) Upon seeing the gun in the hand of the driver, the cop
did not immediately open fire. Instead he repeatedly told the driver to
drop the gun. That's not based on the cop's statement ----- it's from
an eyewitness statement of someone non-involved who just happened to be
in the area. Then the cop opened fire. None of what I've said so far is
in dispute. According to the cop, the driver moved his hand with the
gun, at which point he opened fire. That's almost irrelevant to me. The
man had a gun. He took it out and fired it. He still had the gun in his
hand. He was given an opportunity to drop the gun. (If the driver was
capable of understanding what was being said to him with a
self-inflicted bullet in his brain, also irrelevant to me under the circumstances.) Even by my
standards, someone has a gun in hand which he's already fired, and he's
shot & killed......that's a good shooting. A sad situation, as the driver was a combat vet with PTSD, but a good shooting.
|That's arrested, not convicted. How many of the
41 were convicted? I don't know. That study only looked at arrests. But
this quote from a 2014 article from the "San Francisco Chronicle"
should give you some idea of the odds of their conviction, "In the past 20 years, at least 17 police
officers in the United States have been charged with murder for their
actions in line-of-duty shootings. None of these officers, though, was
convicted of murder — and most weren’t convicted of anything, according
to a Chronicle review."
If that isn't getting away with murder, I don't know what is. I used to
say that if you wanted to get away with murder that you should do it in
a certain area of New Orleans as it had a high unsolved murder
Now I say if you want to get away with murder, join law enforcement.
Just like James Bond, you'll have a license to kill.
The examples mentioned include African-American, Caucasian, Hispanic
and Asian-American civilians. (And I didn't even set out to make
this a diverse group. Those were just cases I knew about.) This is not
a problem that's isolated to the African-American population. It's not
just "Black Lives Matter;" it's "Our Lives Matter."
You might also want to read, "Dying from Terrorism Not Really a Danger, Losing Freedoms Is a Real Danger." And if you do get arrested, there's "15 Important Legal Points I've Learned from Watching "Law & Order""
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