Sunday, April 12, 2015

Too Violent Too Soon or Is This How We Cull The Herd?

Years ago, long before I went to law school, I witnessed the aftermath of a car chase. The man the officers were chasing was dragged out of his car, dropped on the ground and hit and kicked by two or three officers. What did I do?  Nothing. I regret I just drove off.  I hope I would raise hell if I witnessed something like this today. This was long before cellphones, long before Rodney King and long, long before Ferguson. I believe the man who was pummeled was white. I have no idea why he was being chased. The incident disturbed me, but not enough to tell anyone or do anything. Sigh... I am not proud of my inaction.

Years later, I represented a police officer who had been injured in a car chase. He joined the chase in progress.  My client assumed the the man being chased had committed a felony. In fact, the guy had merely been speeding and the chase ensued when a deputy sheriff of a rural county got ticked because the speeder wouldn't pull over. When the deputy commenced chasing the speeder, he had his eight year old daughter unrestrained in the front seat of his cruiser and he then smashed into my client's police car. At that time, the speeder got away, but was ultimately at his residence after his license plate was run through the system.  What a Keystone Cops-like experience. Fortunately, the 8 year old daughter escaped injury.

Unfortunately, I have also represented, in more than one case, the families of men who were gunned down by police officers. One man killed was the unarmed father of a suspect. All the decedents were unarmed at the time they were killed. None of the suspects had committed violent crimes.

These are examples of reckless acts I either witnessed or with which I had some participation.  Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line daily and many are real heroes.  But, sometimes, there is a disconnect.  Why are unarmed people being shot to death?  Why are innocent bystanders killed in silly car chases?  And, most disturbingly, why are a disproportionate number of African Americans men being stopped and even shot and killed?  There is something wrong with how we allow law enforcement officers to enforce laws. And, the fault lies with all of us who do not demand more.

We need to reevaluate how law enforcement personnel are trained and accepted into academies. Too many people, suspects and police,  are carrying guns out their and killing and maiming others.  Other countries don't experience the number of police/suspect vain violence as does the United States. When you add fear and bigotry and increasing distrust of officers,we are faced with perilous consequences.  There is a disproportionate number of minorities who are routinely stopped for DWB (driving while Black). Guns are too easily accessible for irresponsible and unhinged citizens. For crying out loud, this isn't 1880's Dodge City. Oh, I fogot.  Perhaps it is with the new Kansas gun laws allowing unrestricted carry for untrained and potentially unhinged citizens.  Perrhaps we will have future showdowns at the OK Corrals. 

You know, humans have no natural predators, except other humans. Are we wired to be violent and paranoid so we don't overpopulated the earth?  How messed up is the human race?  Really messed up. We need to stop!!!  We need to change!!!  The alternative is not just terrifying, it's sub-human.

Post-script - 9:09 pm. Blue Springs teen dies in wreck following police chase

1 comment:

  1. What I don't see is black police officers killing unarmed white men & claiming self-defense.

    As for the violence, the deliberate misreading of the Second Amendment is literally killing us. Maybe, when enough people have died, we will demand an end to this nonsense. Their are better treatments available for anxiety.