On 18 March 2018, the police in Sacramento, in the dark of night, shot and killed an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, that was holding a cell phone while he was in his grandmother’s backyard. (This is similar to the shooting in Utah a few years back when an unarmed, non-black young man was shot to death while reaching for a cell phone as he was leaving a convenience store.) Comments from relatives after viewing the police body cam video of the shooting indicate that they believe that the police were very quick to start shooting and did not give the man, suspected of burglary, enough time to comply with police commands.
Here is the problem for many of us with this lethal shooting by law enforcement officers: why was this young man shot no less than 7 times? (Some early online reports claimed he was shot 20 times.) If, in the dark, his cell phone was mistaken for a hand gun and the suspect failed to drop the object after commands from police to do so, why was it allowable for the suspect (the suspect claim may be based on a case of mistaken identity, it really is not clear) to be shot more than once or twice in non-vital areas of the body (such as the upper legs) to neutralize any potential or perceived threat to police officers on scene?
In early December, 2015, several San Francisco police officers shot and killed an armed (with a knife) and possibly mentally deranged felony stabbing suspect (who was black), Mario Woods, in a scene that resembled a firing squad execution (from iPhone video taken by nearby pedestrians). One of the many neighborhood residents that attended meetings after the fatal shooting with city and police department officials asked the pertinent question: “Why not shoot him in the leg if you have to shoot?” This suspect was shot many (20+) times by multiple officers at very close range (perhaps from 10 to 12 feet or 3.5 meters away) in afternoon daylight when he was standing in front of the front façade of a building (with wall and closed garage door). It strikes me that in this situation the police could have used less than lethal force and may have been able to subdue the suspect (who was not responding to repeated calls from officers to drop his knife) by the use of long night sticks by two of the officers on scene where one would strike the suspect in his hands or wrists while the other would sweep a blow at his legs to bring him down for hand cuffing. In that kind of maneuver, the suspect might sustain broken bones but would not be killed. Alternatively, at such close range, one or 2 shots to the man’s legs would have brought him down for hand cuffing without killing him in a hail of bullets from multiple guns.
Law enforcement does not have a license to use excessive and lethal force when such force is not necessary.
Procedures and training programs for police officers need to be changed, need to be revised. Where is common sense in all this? It appears that “trigger happy” police may be behaving and reacting similarly to conditioned, trained attack dogs in certain stressful and rapidly developing situations. Again, there is a need for correction and modification in the protocols that police operate under and in their training.
The views expressed above are in no way to be interpreted to mean that we condone the thuggish tactics of groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa, who often take to the streets in the aftermath of such widely publicized police shootings (many of which – but not all – when the circumstances are reviewed are found to be justified). These violent groups are not part of a constructive solution but only serve to stoke the fires of anger and resentment and distrust.
other not so related thoughts
As to the strident calls for “gun control” orchestrated since the 14 February 2018 school shooting in Florida, we support responsible (not over arching) laws in this area. However, it appears that existing screening mechanisms are failing and agencies like the FBI are not acting on multiple tips as to potential mass shooters acting on their threats. Make no mistake, trying to do away with the 2nd Amendment is not the answer. (A fool former Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens, is calling for the 2nd Amendment to be dropped or repealed. That would take a new Constitutional Amendment to achieve and that will not succeed.)
Ask yourself this question: Do you really want to live in a society where only the police (who will follow or obey “lawful orders”) and violent criminal gangs and violent, criminal individuals possess guns? The illegal “black” market in guns, just as the illegal black market in drugs, is not going away anytime soon.
If, Heaven forbid, your home is invaded by violent criminals, who enjoy having and abusing power over their victims, what can you do? What will you do?
About the only thing you can do to protect the lives and safety of your loved ones and yourself is to own and become proficient in the use of one or more guns. Many times each day law abiding citizens deter violent crimes by bringing forth their guns. Most violent felons are similar to school yard bullies. When people stand up to them with sufficient force, they back off or even flee the scene. Thus, you can see now how these asinine signs advertising that a school or a shopping mall or an entertainment venue is a “gun free zone” invite and embolden predators who lack a functioning conscience and self-control.
Do not let anyone con you or deceive you into believing that you do not have a God-given, a natural right to self-defense.
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