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Tuesday, December 1, 2015


I have all respect for police officers, considering the nature and danger of their job, but there is the matter of responsibility. And self-control. Regarding the series of events in recent years wherein (usually) white police officers kill black men or teens who are usually either unarmed or armed with lesser caliber weapons than the officers, a thought occurred to me after hearing (yet again) how the (usually) white police officer shot the black person because the officer "feared for his life." 

You would think if there was one occupation where the ability to control NOT being in fear for your life would be a required prerequisite, being a police officer would be that job. And since many police officers are combat vets, you would think being able to maintain your calm and NOT let a dangerous situation make you act violently and impulsively out of fear would be something they were already familiar with. 

But maybe investigation would find that the majority of these officers who do shoot black people were combat vets and that maybe THAT is the problem in itself -- being involved in chaotic firefights where you might be tempted to "let all hell break loose" in a fearful encounter out of fear for your life or in revenge after seeing your fellow soldiers and friends killed. 

More needs to be done to train police officers to be able to respond appropriately and proportionally to threats. I find it very hard to buy the "I feared for my life" response when the officer has a gun and is 10 feet away from a suspect who is armed with a rock or a knife or nothing at all. Maybe it’s a matter of prevention. Perhaps better psychological evaluations are needed to prevent ex-vets with PTSD from becoming police officers in the first place. 

And for those officers already in the field, why don't they train them to use Tasers, or to shoot for the legs in such situations instead of "kill zones"? And I can't help but wonder what the statistics are for incidents of officers killing unarmed or lesser-armed suspects who are white instead of brown, compared to the scenarios we've been seeing over and over again. 

Is it just a matter of white officers fearing black males as opposed to white males in an otherwise similar police / suspect encounter? What's sad is that I even have to ask such tragic questions at all in this day and age. Sometimes I feel like D.W. Griffith’s unapologetically pro-Klan and unabashedly racist film "Birth of a Nation" was made a year ago instead of a century ago.