To Shoot or be Shot

Whether we like it or not, the constant threat of being forced into situations requiring us to make split second decisions about the use of deadly force, where the lives of ourselves and others hang in the balance is a fact of life for officers. It is the sword of Damocles we all live under, and that few who have not experienced it can understand.

“Unarmed” Does NOT Equal Harmless
In all the news articles about the Michael Brown incident, reporters make a point of emphasizing that Brown was “unarmed,” as if that meant that there was no way he could have harmed the officer, and the officer knew that, but decided to shoot him to death anyway. However, no matter who officers are dealing with, there is always a gun close to that person. It’s the gun on the officers hip. While the holsters most officers wear have some security features to help them retain their weapon in a fight, they are rarely anything more than a button or lever, intended to prevent the gun from falling out accidentally, when we are chasing or fighting with someone. This is a dilema for officers, because any features that slow down a would-be cop-killer from getting the officer’s gun will also slow down the officer trying to get his gun out, when the suspect is already armed and ready to attack. Breitbart has an article about officer killed by “unarmed” suspects.

Officers Aren’t Omniscient
I hate to break it to you, but The badge is not some sort of mind reading or threat decoding device. The fact is that officers have to wager their very lives on every decision they make about everything everyone around them does every second, without the luxury of having much information at all, let alone all of the information the public gets from the media blitz after the fact. What’s more, people with the gall to physically fight officers tend to be violent criminals, who carry weapons, making a wager that he’s suddenly turning to surrender all the more foolish.

The Badge is a Bullseye
Hell, even walking into a store to get coffee could be a life or death incident for officers. Just like the four (white) officers murdered by Maurice Clemmons (a black man) in Lakewood, Washington in 2009 (BTW, you notice that there were never any protest about black men killing white officers following that one). And just last night, two NYPD officers sitting in their patrol car were murdered. Anyone around us could potentially be a whack job looking to splash their name on the headlines with our blood, just because we wear the badge.

Hesitation Equals Death
While the idea of using deadly force against another person without a crystal clear deadly threat is unthinkable to most people, that is only because it is so far outside of their daily reality, that they have never truly taken the time to think about the consequences of such cautious action. Ask any officer or soldier, and they will tell you that in a fight, even a moment’s hesitation can lead to serious injury or death to yourself and others, not to mention the devastation to the family you don’t leave behind.

If you wait to get a clear view of what an apparent adversary is doing or holding, before you decide how to react, then you will have given them on eternity to ensure the success of their dangerous intent. Even the most basic, broad side of the barn, proficiency requirements for officers requires them to be able to hit a man size target from across the room multiple times in the span of two or three seconds, if their weapon is already out of the holster. Depending on lighting conditions, the movements of the suspect, the design of what ever they’re holding, and your state of mind when the movement occurs, it could take you a few seconds to decipher what exactly you are looking at. So, if they are drawing a weapon, that’s effectively the same thing as giving them a few free aimed shots at you before you even begin to react.

Who Made The Bed?
In the end, it’s almost always the suspect who creates the deadly force situation, through their non-compliance, and threatening actions. Sure, there are bad officers, Who shoot people without legitimate justification, just like there are scum who kill officers just for wearing the same uniform as someone else they have a problem with, without consideration for whether the person they just murdered might have actually been their idea of an ideal police officer, but the vast majority of the time, that’s not what you’re dealing with.

In the end, if you don’t want to get shot by the police, just remember that they are probably scared shitless of being killed by you, leaving their young children to make their way in the world without them, and their spouse left to raise them alone. And if he is one of these racist serial killers with a badge Al Sharpton and friends would have you believe are hunting black man, then arguing or fighting with him just makes it easier for him to come up with a story to feed the grand jury. So, just cooperate with them on the streets, then complain to their supervisor or the courts later, when everyone is in a safe environment.

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