Thursday, October 3, 2013

Trigger happy

If you've been following the news today, you probably read that a dangerous and sinister shooter drove through barricades, shot a police officer, and then headed for the Capitol before being shot and killed by the police.

And then you would have read, much later, that the 34-year-old African-American female dental hygienist driving the car was unarmed, did not shoot anybody, did crash into barricades and drive a bit wildly (she was being pursued by armed plainclothes police or Secret Security officers at the time, if that helps), and was shot multiple times in the head and neck--and that the barrage of gunfire that killed her did not, miraculously, hit or kill her one-year-old child who was in the back of the vehicle.

All of which just goes to show that both our news media and our police and security officers tend to be a bit trigger happy, don't you think?

Oh, I know, I know.  She could have been a terrorist.  She could have had explosives in the car.  You can't be too careful, especially in Washington, D.C. during a politically charged debate, etc. 

But maybe we've also gotten a bit too used to acting out of fear, and a bit too accustomed to police officers opening fire first and asking questions later, and that's an unsettling thought.

4 comments:

John InEastTX said...

I've been working with cops for about three years now - my advice in any encounter with one out in the field is to keep your hands in plain view and remain very, very still.

Elizabeth said...

This is heartbreaking, especially when after learning that the woman had a fall at work that caused a brain injury a couple of years ago. Everything went south for her after that, apparently.

What she thought she was doing will never be known.

Red - did you read Gladwell's "Blink" about the Amadou Diallo shooting? The police reaction in this case brings that to mind.

elizabeth

Red Cardigan said...

No, I've never read "Blink," but I just looked it up--sounds interesting. I think that it's *understandable* why police officers these days react the way they do, but it's not a good thing, overall.

Jeff Dickey said...

The police in what was once the United States have become "simply" another branch of the military. They are taught military-style tactics and given military weapons and armament, but have been taught to assume that the citizens they serve and "protect" are the enemy until and unless conclusively proven otherwise. When someone engages in behavior that could possibly be interpreted as hostile or dangerous, they're literally trained to shoot first and ask questions later. I have friends and family who are cops, and more who are ex-cops, and the change in mission has been obvious and commented on extensively in the alternative media — but the "mainstream" corporatist analogue cheers it on relentlessly. To question the tactics or (lack of?) strategy will get one either ignored or excoriated by the MSM as a "terrorist sympathizer"; after all, you're either "for 'us' or against 'us'."

It used to be different. I hope and pray every day that it will be again. But I have largely given up hope of returning home to a free America in my lifetime, and I have even less hope that what was once America will regain its freedom without massive, nearly existential violence in the Syrian model, where virtually all of the casualties and refugees will be simple, ordinary people.