Here’s a note to those who expect perfection from our police force:
Imagine waking up in the morning, enjoying breakfast with your wife and two kids, strapping on your policing gear, and leaving the house, knowing that it may be the last time you ever see your family.
Before we go on, stop there and seriously ponder it. It’s not gratuitously dramatic. It’s real life for every police officer who works in the field.
So you get to work, you go through the administrative tasks for the day, and you head out to your car to start your work day. The day is full of calls and incidents. Some sound like more trouble than others, but you know, because you’ve been trained, that each call could be your last.
With every call, you go in physically armed with a gun and your gear, mentally armed with your years of experience and training, and emotionally armed with the goal of making sure you go home alive tonight.
Whether through personal experience or training, you know that when you arrive on the scene, things can happen in a split second. You can take nothing for granted or it just may cost you your life. A seemingly innocent interaction could go south quickly.
You’ve seen it in the news, and you’ve probably witnessed first hand, that criminals don’t always cooperate when you ask them to stand down. In fact, in the last few months, suspects and criminals have been emboldened and are fighting back more than ever before. And the public is more skeptical and almost excited at the chance to show up with their phone.
Depending on where you’re an officer, there’s a wide range of people who are or are not on your side. Even the range of support you receive from your own city and mayor varies wildly.
If you get into an altercation, adrenaline starts pumping fast. You hope your training will help you maintain control, but you’re also human. If someone strikes you or tries to harm you – or does harm you – you’re that much closer to losing control. It all happens so fast that it’s easy to make one little mistake that could turn everything sideways.
People wonder how the officer in Kenosha could have shot Jacob Barnes. If you’ve seen the video, you know that Barnes was trying very hard to get into his car. The officer didn’t know why or what was in the car. He may have seen the kids, but he couldn’t have known what Barnes was after.
But does that justify shooting him? Perhaps the officer had seen this video:
The suspect in this video fought off several vicious beatings before he made it to the front of his car to reach in and grab a gun that he then used to shoot both police officers. If I were a cop, and I had seen this, I’d think twice about letting anyone near their car.
There’s a reason why officers give people an opportunity stop in their tracks. It’s because officers, generally speaking, do not want to use force, and they definitely don’t want to kill anyone.
Killing someone doesn’t just affect the family and friends of the deceased. It can have permanent effects on the officer who shot them, as well. It’s not something you ever want to do. But you know, when you take the job, that it could happen. You just hope you never have to pull the trigger.
Perhaps the video above explains why an officer may shoot at someone going into his car. But why fire so many bullets? Were seven shots really necessary?
Consider this video, taken by an officer’s body cam, in which an officer shoots repeatedly at a suspect, but they just keep advancing:
You can see how quickly an officer can fire off multiple shots. One could fire seven shots in the blink of an eye. And if the suspect keeps advancing (which didn’t happen in the Barnes case, but this is more to illustrate how an amped up officer could fire so many shots so quickly), you can see why an officer may keep shooting.
During the Democrat National Convention, we repeatedly heard that they are the party of empathy. But it’s a sort of selective empathy.
They’re very quick to empathize with the people that commit crimes and draw the attention of the police, but there is absolutely no empathy for the people who risk their lives to clean up the messes of kids and adults who can’t follow the law.
No one deserves to die, but when people put themselves in a position that can get them shot, like committing a crime or resisting arrest, you have to know and understand why anything could happen.
I could never do the job of a police officer (unless it was confined to driving in the left lane on the highway and sheparding people in the Pacific Northwest from the left lane to the slow lane, where they belong), but I certainly appreciate those who do.
Like with everything else, there are some people who do it really well and very fairly, and others who, for whatever reason, act unreasonably or even crooked. But you can’t let those who do a job poorly drag down an entire profession.
Police work is very stressful and difficult, and I think they deserve our support. (Talk about doing a job Americans don’t want to do…)