I’ve made no secret of my opinion that Black Lives Matter is a racist activist group, funded by Soros, for the purpose of making race relations a “democratic win” in this election cycle. IMHO, it is a political sewer designed in such a way as to create race riots and get cops killed. OK, we know that already. Now what?
But I can’t leave it at that. There are things The Police are doing that are causing the deaths, and don’t need to.
Some background on me: I was a “Law Enforcement Eagle Scout”. Yeah, not a real cop… but we did get limited police training, we were the traffic cops at the Boy Scout Jamboree, for example. Got to do the MACE training ( i react very badly to it… which is probably the point…). Learned the “10 codes” for radio. AND we watched training films. Including “when to fire” training films. Had my first Judo training with the Scout Master. In short, we were Rooky Cop Wannabees with some training. So I’m not coming from this from no background.
So what’s the root problem, IMHO? Changed police procedures from when I took my training. Especially the change from the idea that anyone, even good guys, might be holding a gun; to what I see on TV now. “Have a gun, get shot inside seconds”. That’s just wrong. For me, this is a sanity issue and a 2nd Amendment issue.
Now I’m not going to use the individual names. Partly as I don’t remember all of them. Partly as I’m too lazy to look them up. But significantly because often the name is just not known to the officer responding. You respond to a situation, not a name.
First up, the guy who robbed a store and fought with a cop for his gun. Clearly a “clean shoot”. When you have a robbery, police are to respond. Even if just a handful of cigars. Then the black kid did what pretty much all the folks who got shot did (notable exception next…): they did NOT follow orders from the cop. In this case, the guy even got into a struggle with the cop for his gun. That is absolutely cut and dried a good shooting. OK, BLM decides to “make it’s bones” on this shooting. Pretty dumb, IMHO. It showed, to me at least, that they were just looking for a foil for their political agenda. To cause marches, riots, and “energize the base” of the Democratic Blacks (even if it cost the lives of Police officers).
Shortly after, like days:
A kid in park is playing with a BB or pellet hand gun. Hey, I did that when I was a kid. THEN, it was expected, now not so much and in some places is a crime. A bystander calls it in and even says it was likely a toy. Next frame, a police cruiser rolls into the park, hot and fast, pulls to a halt and the kids is shot dead. MAYBE 2 to 6 seconds from start to end. IMHO, that is murder in blue. Simply holding a gun is NOT a death sentence and ought not to be a legitimate shoot, ever.
Now why BLM chose to ignore this one, that would have had me marching with them, and push the first one, that causes me to class them as “Political Hatchet Organization” is an interesting question, but one I’m not going to explore here. All I can figure is that they had 2 or 3 days wrapped up in promoting (and it was media promoting) the first one and decided not to shift the narrative they were building. Or perhaps they wanted a ‘wedge issue’ between whites and blacks and didn’t want the one that would have unity in the masses… Whatever.
But in that second shooting, we see just what is wrong. Shoot first, find out the facts later. Hold a gun, gone to the grave.
Why is it that simply holding a gun ought NOT to be enough cause to fire, no matter how scared the officer is? First off, because people can cause themselves to be scared just by imagining things. FEAR ought to NEVER be justification (yet “fear for my life” is in many places the only legally accepted justification…) But in a more practical sense, there are many many reasons a person might legitimately be holding a gun. We trained on this in the ’70s. From what I see today, the Police have decided “Just shoot them and sort it out later” is better for them. Harsh evaluation by me? “Reality just is. -E.M. Smith” so yeah, and it ought to be.
One film, I clearly remember, was that “we” got a call of suspicious man by the railroad tracks. When we arrive, this “20 something” with a dark jacket turns, and starts walking toward us at a normal pace, starts to bend at the waist a bit and one arm drifts back. He looks a bit mean eyes locked on us. “We” (or more accurately, the film actor) repeatedly shouts “Hands Up!” “Put your hands UP!” “POLICE, PUT YOUR HANDS UP”, and he doesn’t… We were all supposed to have our “finger guns” out as the officer had his gun out, and shout “BANG!” when we individually would shoot. The guy keeps coming, reaches behind him toward his back pocket and BANG BANG BANG BANG a chorus of ALL of us “shot” our finger guns… the film continues as he pulls a card from his back pocket and shoves it up the camera saying “I am deaf and can not hear you, please write what you are saying”… Similarly there was a Japanese foreign exchange student near me (real case) who was shot by a home owner. Why? The guy was lost and wanted to ask for help. The homeowner was shouting “FREEZE!”, but the exchange student was new to English and didn’t know that “Freeze” was the same as “Halt” in our slang. Language matters.
Then there are things like undercover officers of all sizes, races, and genders and from many agencies. If you don’t give them enough time to say the daily safe word, or show their badge, or tell you they are an office and the Bad Guy is in the bushes over there, well, it will not end well. And yes, undercovers do get shot by “friendly fire” some times. Or the homeowner who had someone toss a brick through his window (after getting death threats) and is standing in his own yard where it is legal for him / her to be armed in most places. Can you say “2nd Amendment right to keep an BEAR arms?”. There is a very long list of more and similar. Commercial pest control with a license and a pellet or BB Cap gun taking out a pest and the “guy across the street” doesn’t now that when he calls in (a property management friend had a guy deal with a ‘trouble animal’ that way). Someone with a mock gun practicing for a play. Bad Guy throws a piece over a fence and runs, you arrive having got a call of “Bad Guy with Gun” to find someone holding a gun… and don’t realize it’s the homeowner who came out to pick up “whatever” was thrown in his yard and is puzzled at it. Etc. Etc.
Then there is the shouting. “DROPTHEGM” doesn’t say much to many folks. Shouting it faster and louder isn’t as helpful as decent speech. It takes forks a couple of seconds to process a dramatic situation and react. Shouting and acting like Bad Dudes just causes many people to “lock up” as fear stops cognition. For me, I’m partially deaf. A couple of people shouting at once, I get zero information out of it. What have you got against old deaf guys?
OK, moving on…
Nest case, we get the guy who’s walking back to his car and the lady cop shoots him for ‘sticking his arm in the window’. Now lets see, what is THE most common thing a cop does in a stop? Demand “License and Registration”. When I’m pulled over for a ticket, I’m reaching for the glove box to get them “right quick”. Now one guy (not this one) was shot a few years ago for “Furtive Movements”. It was held to be a ‘good shoot’. He was reaching for the glove box. (Since then, I sit, hands on the wheel top center, motionless and only move when told to or when I get agreement to a statement that “I’m going to do this now, OK?”… It is absolutely stupid to expect people to do that or get shot. Now back at this Big Guy and Window: Sure, he’s big. So am I. So what? Maybe he was reaching in the window to get his wallet from the seat. You do not know, and NOT KNOWING IS INSUFFICIENT TO KILL SOMEONE. Was he just leaning on the car, forearmed folded on the roofline away from the officer? From her perspective she would see an arm “disappear” “inside”. I’ve often done that to rest my head on the forearm when I’ve got a headache. Was the guy being stupid? Sure. So you going to shoot every stupid person on the planet? We are ALL stupid sometimes.
Now we’ve got video out of the shoot of the “Guy in car with gun and joint”. This one SOUNDS legit, hell, even sort of looks legit when you look at “just the facts” as of 2 days ago. The guy had a rap sheet that includes shooting at cops and just got out of jail. But wait, there’s more:
He was seen smoking a joint by some unmarked out of uniforms who also (now) claim they saw a gun then. Maybe… but what evidence? Do these folks call for backup then? Do they call for uniforms to talk to the guy? Do they tell their Sergeant? Apparently not. (Slightly speculative). Did they work to deescalate? Nope. What did they do? Pulled away long enough to put on Bullet Resistant Black Vests over their civvies and come back, armed and dangerous, to ‘make their bones’…
Watching the video released today, we see them crouched behind a pickup, guns drawn, shouting loud, angry, and chaotically to “Drop The GUN!!”. The spouse is there, saying to them that the guy has a TBI – i.e. his cognition is dodgy anyway. They KNOW he’s high on weed, so will think slowly and a bit chaotically. Frankly, I look at that and think “Medical Case, needs a Medical or Family coolout”. Now you expect some kind of Faluja Doorcrashing Shouting to work on him? REALLY? IF he looks over and IF he can see straight, he will not see the world POLICE on your vest as it is behind the truck. He will see two angry white men with guns shouting at him. You really think that’s the right approach? How about sit back, you be the back up, have two cruisers roll up and “light him up” with the red (or blue) light, and announce over the loud speaker that he needs to surrender. Maybe put his wife on the horn to tell him it’s OK, but he needs to come in the house now…
This Is Bogus
This comes from the militarization of the police forces. The equipment and tactics are now much closer to what is seen in film from overseas wars in foreign lands than what it was “in my day”. CRASH doors down, guns drawn and ready to shoot, kill anyone with a gun, then say you are sorry. (That killed a white Marine in his home. He ‘reached for a gun’ as a hoard bashed his door down shouting God Only Knows what. They had the wrong house. Sorry! was what his family got for it.)
How about a little subtlety? Have a plain cloths with a “Vote For Bill” hat and pamphlets knock on the door to verify before the big hit. Maybe use all those bits of Spook Gear to verify sounds of drug dealers instead of TV and “Oh, Dear, need to tuck in Mary”. How about just a google of the address before you go in guns blazing? Or Google the name on the warrant and match it to the address?
No, we’ve gone whole hog into “Crash and Shoot First, clean up later”.
That isn’t policing, that’s war.
Yes, I know it’s a hard job. Heck, I was headed that way and got intro training. I have several cops as good friends and a couple of family. But a hard job does not justify “Shoot anyone with a gun.” It just doesn’t.
After decades of indoctrination (at least since Waco… where “to make ane example” of someone a whole tribe was murdered, rather than just send the sheriff who knew the guy up to knock on the door, or even easier, just wait till he drove into town on his weekly run.) after that much time, there are a whole lot of broken cops with broken methods and training. The doctrine of Overwhelming Force First is for the battlefield, not the day job of policing. Too many errors killing too many folks who don’t need killing.
The POLICE need to “deescalate and back off” more on the “man with a gun” calls and be firmer on the “riot in the street” mobs in riot. One, the riot, you let “have space to destroy”, the other doesn’t even get the minute to assess what the hell is going on, who you are, and what “DROMPTHGYNOW” means… It is NOT CRIMINAL TO HAVE A GUN. it is NOT A DEATH SENTENCE TO BE DEAF OR ON DRUGS. And it would really really be nice if you all had decent uniforms. Some “Crabby guy in a baseball cap and black vest” does not say “COP”, it says “BAD DUDE”. YOU shouting “BAD DUDE” via your clothing ought not to get ME shot. There was a reason for the funny hat and the shiny badge, and that reason didn’t go away.
Frankly, to me, it looks a whole lot like a Left Wing Agenda has crept into doctrine. Demonize the Gun, PC Riot is fine. That needs to end. It is causing you to kill people. Maybe they are not nice people, or maybe some of them did bad things sometimes. That ought not to be a death sentence. Really.
Policing needs to be demilitarized. I know, not as sexy as SWAT, but less shooting and killing. You can always fall back to SWAT for the kinds of stuff it was originally for. Bank robbers with hostages. Armed Gangs Attacking. Terrorists at the Mall. Leave the home invasions for the crooks and the street shootings for the gangs. Frankly, watching the news now, the only difference I see between the Blue Gang and the Street Gang is that your equipment is better and sometimes you wear identification that is clear. Oh, and the lawyers and politicos back you up… Now that is from someone who is 100% pro-cop and wanted to be one; what do you think the occupied oppressed communities think of you? And you wonder why they run. Hell, I’d run if I saw folks with guns out shouting like a mad man.
We need to get a whole lot more community policing. There ought to have been a beat cop in that neighborhood who knew who this ‘regular’ was, knew he sat there in his car each day, said “How’s it going?” a few times, knew he was TBI and self medicating, knew the wife’s name and to knock on the door and ask her to get hubby cleaned up… and who knew if a call came in of “strange man in a car” that it was nothing much.
We need traffic cops who, rolling up to a truck stalled in the street, don’t shout at the owner when he gets out and walks toward them (asking for help?). I’ve had cops shout get back in your car (well, really, used a loudspeaker). While I did a perfect pirouette and back to the car, the fact is I was a “Big Guy being shouted at”… for getting out of my car. A perfectly normal thing for people to do. Frankly, the level of paranoia that looks like to the average Joe and Jane just makes them wonder about your sanity and are they going to get shot. Hell, I had that feeling in a traffic stop when a 9 foot tall (or so it looks when seated) Hispanic officer came to the window over my shoulder. Head doesn’t turn that far to say “Howdy” and he looked very tense and fidgety. Look, I get it. Tough job and you want to make it home alive. One in a 1000 will be a Bad Dude and you need to be ready for that. But you are past the point of negative returns. Add in guns drawn and shouting and I’d be frozen or confused too. I’d be thinking “What did I Do?” not “comply with the shouted mumble”… if it were “GET OUT OF THE CAR” would I think “Don’t do that, shout I have a Gun?” (BANG I’M DEAD) or “Do it and he’ll see the gun as the jacket flaps open” (BANG I’m DEAD)or shout “I HAVE A CCL” and hope I don’t get (BANG I’m Dead) for non-compliance with the get out order? Or take a few seconds to work through it all (BANG I’m DEAD). And I’m a white guy with no priors…
Now remember that black guy, shot sitting in his car, in front of his girl friend, for having a Cary License and a legal gun.
The Cops, faced with a street war from the worst of the worst, have now made it their style to approach everyone in street war mode. That just spreads the street war. It is essential to stop spreading the violent behaviours and narrow them instead. Policing is all about DE-escalation of violence, not gearing up for more and faster and causing it to precipitate.
As a gun owner, the way “modern policing” has moved to “See A Gun And Shoot” is horrific.
As a partly deaf guy, the way “modern policing” has gone to “shout chaotically and then shoot” giving no time to decipher the shouting is horrific.
As a regular guy, the way “modern policing” has “strange men in baseball caps and tee shirts shouting” instead of clear uniforms concerns me. Not just as it just doesn’t say “COPS” without taking some time to read the fine print, but because any yokel can get baseball caps and tee shirts printed (the better to do home invasions with…). Nice patches. Funny hat. Leather utility belt and bright shiny badge, those don’t take ‘think time’.
Then there is that whole “home invasion first” thing… Yes, I know. A friend who collected monthly rent for a living had a shotgun blast come out the apartment door when he knocked. Well, really, a bit after he knocked, then walked two steps away… after that he stood to the side and knocked… So yeah, I get it. But really, a knock and ask can work wonders. (Have a partner to the side with a shotgun, if desired, and others in the bushes outside windows and the back door too, if justified). Do remember, though, that today you will likely be on camera, even if you are a SWAT team streaming toward that door. The days of “surprise breach” are already limited. Being suspected of drug dealing ought not get someone on the wrong end of a broken door, dog shot, kids terrorized, and 10 guys with Assault Weapons (real ones) looking to shoot anything that makes them nervous. (That’s happened).
You, the “boys in blue” and now “girls in blue” too are the ones who have been escalating. IMHO, that’s not the job. It also doesn’t look like it is working out all that well. So much resentment is now in the communities that there’s a lite war between the Black and Blue gangs going on. Both sides getting jumpy and killing the other.
No, I don’t know how to fix it. I’ve pointed out where it looks wrong to me, but I can’t say for sure that would “fix it”. I do know that it has eroded my comfort with Police On Duty. (Still fine with them off duty, but on, the “jumpy” is showing). Now I’m lucky enough to live in an upscale place where the cops are pretty good. I’ve talked to an undercover in his car and asked what he was doing, then caught clue and said “Working, I see, never mind” and me and my flashlight went in the house leaving him and his stakeout alone. (Drug dealing a block down, now gone, so folks have to drive to the other side of town ;-) I’ve helped a cop trying to catch a kid who broke into a car and had a nice chat about flashlights (why he had a short plastic one and I had a 4 cell Maglight… City got sued ’cause some perp got conked on the noggin and it did some damage). I’m lucky. I’m in a place only 1/2 way from My Old Home Town to the methods in Newghetto America… The question is how to get the cops there, to act more like the cops here, and how to get the citizens there as comfortable as the citizens here in working with the cops.
I’d start by having people from a community policing that community.
That trust building, I fear, will take a generation of trust building and NOT shooting “Man with Gun” on sight.. It will take time for the cops there to stop demonizing their citizens, and for the citizens to stop demonizing the cops. It will start one friendship at a time and one deescalation at a time. One “Jimmy, does your wife know you are smoking weed in the car? Look, man, just finish that one and don’t be doing it tomorrow, ok?” at a time. One “If that’s a gun in your car, best take it back to the house. I’ll be back in an hour to check on you.” And maybe one “Officer Obie, I made some cookies for you…” at a time…