Contrary to what many want to claim, the police aren’t out there looking for people to shoot. While there may be some officers who are more likely to pull the trigger than others, there aren’t legions of men and women with badges looking to gun people down for sport.
Yet, on the same token, there are times when officers don’t screw around, nor should they, especially when there’s someone with a knife.
For example, I saw this video over the weekend (start at the 14:13 mark):
Warning: Graphic and Disturbing Footage
The suspect had a knife. That is considered a deadly weapon. The female officer in that video is fortunate to be alive.
Note how the taser did not stop the attack. It dropped the suspect to his knees, but it didn’t disable him enough to be apprehended. He then got up and closed the distance to the female officer.
Now, let’s compare that to Jacob Blake in Kenosha for a moment. While the Kenosha police have been less than forthcoming with information–which is almost never a good thing, in my opinion–video does appear to show Blake brandishing a knife. Yet Kenosha police didn’t shoot. They, too, tried to use the taser only for it not to end the confrontation.
It wasn’t until Blake reached into the vehicle, an inherently threatening act under the circumstances, that officers fired.
There are those out there who look at knives as “lesser” weapons, that they’re not really a threat and that people with firearms, whether law enforcement or private citizen, shouldn’t use those guns in such a circumstance. They’ll argue that the individual isn’t really “armed.” In fact, Jacob Blake’s camp continues to argue that Blake wasn’t armed despite knowing damn good and well he had a knife in his hands during the confrontation with police.
Yet let’s look at that video again. Just how quickly did the suspect close the distance with the female officer? Her life was clearly in danger, and I’d argue she was more in danger because she went to the taser first. I get that was probably protocol, especially in this day and age, but using the taser delayed her ability to react with a firearm when it was needed.
Luckily, she was unharmed, but still…
Look, I get that we don’t want police playing judge, jury, and executioner. Judge Dredd is fun on the comics page or on the screen, but that’s not exactly the world any of us want to live in.
On the same token, though, we’re seeing a lot of people telling police officers what they should and shouldn’t be doing in given circumstances when they know absolutely nothing about those situations. These are the same people telling officers to shoot people in the arms or legs rather than shooting to stop the threat, not understanding that if the suspect in this video had been shot in the arm, he still could have killed the officer.
The world in their heads is much more peaceful than the world that actually exists.