Tuesday, May 11, 2010

my opinion: how the GENERAL public views cops

There was an incident the other night. We live next to a grocery store on the "other side of the railroad tracks". A guy shoplifted and the store security detained him and fought with him in the office which is located near the front of the store. When police arrived, they tried to detain him. They used a taser, which was not effective. The guy pulls out a loaded handgun. They asked him several times to drop his gun to which he then pointed it at them. Both responding officers shot him several times. They tried CPR, but he did not make it.

First, I felt relief that HF wasn't working, and that I wasn't shopping during the incident. Second, it's hard for me to understand how something as "insignificant" as stealing beer can turn into a fatal shooting because of a poor choice. I feel for the loved ones of the guy that made the mistake of pulling out his gun, but I also feel for the officers that had to take a life, justified as it was. It's never a good thing.

The next day at church everyone was talking about it and extremely interested in talking to HF about the incident since he is, you know, the Fuzz. Among some of the comments he got, a lot of people were saying, "You guys shot him too many times!" Things of that nature.

I try to put myself in civilian shoes. It's not that hard to do. I'm only a year into LEO life. I probably wondered about these things. I didn't understand the protocol or the mind of an officer. I had no idea what their training entailed. But now, I see the other side. And now I think I have it figured out. I am generalizing here, but I think that the general public thinks of Law Enforcement as though they were in an old spaghetti western. Instead of shooting the bad guy dead when he points a gun at them, they are supposed to shoot their knee so they have to hop around on their other leg proclaiming "mah knee! mah knee!" At this point they can easily detain them without a gunfight. Or, they are supposed to shoot their hat off of their heads and send them scrambling after it to pick it up. Every time they reach to pick up their hat, the cop will shoot the hat again and again until the horse rustler has been run clear out of town!

Another one you hear often is, "But they didn't need to shoot him that many times!" or "They could've shot the weapon out of his hand!". Can you imagine if cops were getting that fancy during one of these life/death situations? It's not tv. They can't shoot a gun out of someone's hand in the middle of a life/death situation with the greatest of ease. And besides, there is all that unknown and potential risk involved when a person isn't completely relieved of the weapon they are holding. What if they started shooting at innocent people? It's been done before. And then there's the classic, "They knew what they were signing up for when they became a cop. . . " As if they are supposed to just let someone kill them because they "knew the risk involved"? I don't think I will ever understand the glorification of the person who points his loaded gun at someone there to help when they are the ones making bad decisions. I feel sympathy and sorrow for what led them to that point and I understand that they are someone's son/daughter, cousin, brother, dad, mom, etc. but it bothers me that the cops are ridiculed for difusing a deadly situation and the criminal that tried to shoot them are put up on some kind of pedestal.

Here's a clip that I found of what the public thinks cops should do. Remember, this is just my opinion of the GENERAL public. Obviously not everyone thinks this way. If that many at all. I think I am just a little frustrated with the questions and opinions of a few people. That's all. A little humor in a very frustrating situation.

15 comments:

jackie said...

I couldn't agree with you more. There is so much violence taking place these days in our city. I've read so many stories about teenagers getting shot by cops because THEY pulled out a weapon on them, but in the story you only read how they were good, did well in school, and the neighborhood is furious that the kid was shot to death by the police. Hello, he had a weapon. What are the cops supposed to do? If they pull out a weapon, the cops are going to respond.

Days later, it turns out these teenagers were gang members, had been arrested several times before, etc, but once they're killed, like you said, everyone is putting them up on a pedestal and angry at the cops. They don't understand the situation. All they focus on are the cops and how they shouldn't of shot the kid. I can't stand it!

Christopher said...

Great break-down of an issue the general public seems to have no ability to coneptualize. I can't begin to describe the frustation when hearing someone making those statements like "They shot him too many times", etc. I can't read the public comments under internet news articles on police shootings or I go crazy.

Momma Fargo said...

I have never understood why people second guess the police. We are trained to handle those situations. Many reasons come about why several shots are fired. Especially if there is multiple officers and a threat.

It sounds like the officers did their job and all the training saved their lives and the innocent citizens. In light of police memorial week, I am very glad to hear with that incident that another name will not be etched in the wall.

Dori said...

What I would like for the General Public to know:

That cop has a family at home and he/she will do every single thing in his/her power to go home to that family at the end of the day/night--and that every cop on duty also goes home. Decisions are made in a nano second--all of their training is so that the right decision is made.

It's horrific that someone lost a life. Nothing can change that. But what about the lives that were saved?! And if someone is strung out on something? And the taser made no difference? Shooting his knees isn't going to make a difference either. Sheesh. General Public. Those are the same people who make asinine comments on the newspaper's website.

MONICA-LnP said...

I totally agree with you.
In the beginning I would argue back now forget it-people are going to think what they want-they just dont get it!

Mama Hen said...

Good post. The general public just doesn't get it. I wish they would though...

thatladybug said...

We don't think about the lives that were saved. I think the media plays a part in the public perception of "well, did they have to shoot so many times?" Where are the headlines that read..."Officer defends himself, criminal dies," or "Officers are safe after defending civilians."

The idea that officers are defending themselves is not something the media wants the public to think about. They'd rather the public see these incidents as violent matter because violence sells.

We need to change the view the public has about these incidences. It's self-dense and the defense of innocent civilians. That's all that's going on here.

Maybe one day this will change.

TM said...

Such a great post. I can't tell you how frustrated I get when I hear people my age talking about these incidents, or just cops in general, they're 10x worse! They think that every single cop is out to get them. It takes everything I have to bite my tongue.

Slamdunk said...

Great post. I have always thought: the more graduates of the citizen police academies the better as it will be a few less people asking "Why did they shoot him so many times?" or "Why did they not shoot the gun out of his hand?"

Meadowlark said...

Another reason we have very, very few civilian friends. As you might guess, I'm fairly quick to anger - insult my officer or officers in general and one, I'll correct you instantly and two, continue and we'll no longer be associates.

Peace

Jenney said...

My husband (a police officer) is laughing his head off about the video.
We would like to say THANK YOU and AMEN to your post.

Rebecca said...

Well said, well said sista' I grow so tired of folks especially the news giving cops the bad wrap for shooting their gun (any number of times). End of the night The Mr. gets to go home. That's what we say. Great post. Love the poll too cute.

LM said...

So true. I think I would have a hard time not telling someone that the criminal knew the risk when they brought a gun to the robbery etc. Definitely can't read comments on police shootings in the news. I am looking forward to the news articles titled as thatladybug suggested.

Natalie said...

We're always getting, "It must be so hard for your husband sometimes because nothing ever happens here."
Um, yeah....

I've learned to look at it with a glass half-full approach that these people aren't messing with drugs and having domestic disputes to think that way, but it's definitely hard sometimes.

Thanks for this post! I read it to the hubs and he stated that "we shoot until the threat is stopped, and aim for the center of the target provided." So there you go.

danielle said...

My heart is breaking for the efamily of that little girl in Detroit who was killed by mistake. But my heart is breaking even more for the officer who was involved with that shooting....