Damned if they do, damned if they don’t, redux

On September 1st, I posted an article with the above headline, showing how cops in Chicago were abused by locals when they tried to do their job.  The past two days have seen two more incidents where the cops just couldn’t win for losing.

In the first, a California Highway Patrol vehicle tried to stop a group of people performing illegal spins and donuts in an intersection – only to be attacked by those involved.

Clearly, those attacking the car (and performing illegal stunts in the road) have no respect whatsoever for law and order, and none for those trying to uphold and enforce it.

Next, a tragedy in San Diego.

A San Diego-area officer fatally shot a man who witnesses claim was mentally challenged and unarmed Tuesday afternoon, marking the latest victim in an unsettling series of black men killed by police.

. . .

Upon arriving, the first responding officer discovered a black male in his 30s frantically pacing back and forth, “not only endangering himself, but motorists,” Davis said.

The officer allegedly ordered the man to remove his hand from his front pant pocket. When the man didn’t comply, the officer drew his firearm.

A second officer arrived shortly thereafter and prepared to stun the man with a Taser. But as the officer prepared the electronic device, the man allegedly pulled out an object from his pocket, placed his hands together and took “what appeared to be a shooting stance,” Davis said.

Both officers discharged their weapons simultaneously, fatally striking the man with several bullets as well as a high-voltage Taser shock. He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead Tuesday evening.

. . .

Olango’s sister can be seen breaking down in tears.

“I called for help, I didn’t call for you guys to kill him!” she screams in the video. “Oh my God, you killed my brother!”

Again, more at the link.

Initial video released by the police appears to confirm that the officers did not fire until the deceased man pulled something from his pocket and appeared to aim it at them.  Under the circumstances, I can’t think of a single cop I know who wouldn’t have fired at him.  I’m well trained and experienced in the use of firearms, and I can assure you;  if I’d been there, I’d have fired too!  You simply don’t have time to wait until you know for sure whether or not the thing in his hands is dangerous or not.  If you wait, and it is a gun, you’re going to be dead before you know what hit you.  You dare not take that chance.

Another aspect is that several shots were fired.  Again, this is standard procedure.  I’ve written extensively about the so-called ‘stopping power’ of handguns.  In a nutshell, handguns have lousy stopping power compared to a rifle or shotgun.  It’s normal for multiple handgun rounds to be needed to subdue an opponent – and even that may not be enough to stop him killing you.  There are innumerable cases where a dozen or more hits did not disable an attacker.  Again, if I’d been in that officer’s shoes, and I’d been armed only with a handgun, I’d have fired multiple times as well.

Unfortunately, people aren’t going to consider the facts of the matter.  They’re going to react out of emotion:  anger, loss, shock, and anything else you can think of.  The protestors at the scene chanting “Hands up!  Don’t shoot!” were repeating a lie, the same lie that’s at the root of everything Black Lives Matter does;  but they no longer care that it’s factually a lie.  It’s become a meme, a cultural assumption that transcends factual truth.  They won’t be told, and they won’t listen to it even if you tell them a thousand times.  Truth has become irrelevant.

So, two incidents.  In one, criminals arrogantly attacked police for daring to interfere in their wrongful activities.  In the second, police were forced to defend themselves from what they had to assume was an attack;  yet, having done so, they’re being pilloried for “shooting an unarmed man”.  More riots and demonstrations are likely to follow.

Police can’t win for losing these days.  I wouldn’t blame the next San Diego cop who’s asked to respond to a ‘man behaving erratically’ call if he said, “Sorry – I ain’t going there.  Tell those on the scene that they’re on their own.  I’m not going to put my head on a politically correct chopping block for them any longer.”  Trouble is, if more police do that – and many of them are doing that, implicitly if not explicitly – then all of us are going to suffer from the inevitable breakdown in law and order.  Those thugs that attacked the CHP police vehicle will grow bolder, and move into our neighborhoods . . . and the cops won’t do a thing to stop them, because they know that if they do, they’re going to be blamed.

Mr. Trump was right during Monday night’s debate.  We need law and order.  It’s a foundational requirement before we can fix our society.  Yes, I know that certain elements in our justice system are inherently and unashamedly racist, or high on a power/ego trip of “Respect mah authoritah!”  We’ve examined their conduct in these pages many times before, and we know they need to be slapped down.  That doesn’t alter the fact that without law and order, our social structure itself is doomed.

So how do we get out of this handbasket?



  1. How do we get out?

    We don't. We have that civil/race war certain idiots are jonesing for and pick up the pieces after all the stupid people are dead.

    Somebody should inform the media that the Saxon is beginning to hate again.

  2. What most of these people want is for all police involved situations to be handled using less-lethal means. (tazers, bean-bag gun, etc)
    What they don't quite seem to understand is that even those can be lethal. That's why they are called "less-lethal" instead of "non-lethal".

    Many would be perfectly happy of America adopted the British policy of only allowing the police to carry a baton. Sorry, but the baton is not an effective defense against a gun.

    Too many do not realize that you cannot handle the criminal element with a fuzzy puppy / cute kitten approach. If you are going up against someone who is on something (or in some cases, off their meds), the soft approach frequently does not work. Someone on PCP may not respond to the tazer. Choke holds may be effective, but they are quickly turn lethal. ((actually, I have heard dozens of stories about guys who were high on PCP not stopping after being shot with a 9mm round.))

    Then there are the wretched few who would be perfectly content for the police to withhold confrontation until after at least one office is down. Even then, there would be cries, unless there were several civilian casualties along side that officer.

  3. How do we get out hand-basket?

    It begins in the home. If you don't teach the child to respect others and the material goods around them, you get what is going on today.

  4. Judy, you are correct – it has to start in the home. And it has to continue to the streets. Most, if not all, of the fatal shootings that have happened could have been avoided if people had complied with police instructions.

    Read this post for an interesting take on getting into, and out of trouble with the cops.


    The "what to do when you're pulled over" pointers from his dad are pretty close to perfect. I'd add, if you're armed, that you inform the officer of that, specifying the location of your weapon, and hand over your carry permit as well as your license and registration.

    And I'll emphasize one of the instructions – don't make any sudden movements, ever. Even if it's perfectly innocent on your part – reaching for your wallet, going for the registration info in the glove box – the officer DOES NOT KNOW THAT.

    A few years ago, I was taking an early-morning run/walk with my young teen daughter. Good father-daughter bonding time, good exercise, but we had to be careful in the neighborhood in the pre-dawn darkness, due to lack of sidewalks. So, we were in the habit of (correctly) walking on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. A car (taxi) approached, and we stepped into a driveway. Evidently, we must have looked suspicious, because not half a mile down the street, two police cars pulled up to us.

    We were told that someone had reported seeing a man and woman "acting suspiciously" in our neighborhood. They asked me for ID, which I wasn't carrying, as I was wearing running shorts.

    But here's the dumb thing I did, and it was only a little later that I realized it. I quickly reached around behind me, towards the pocket I usually keep my wallet in, without saying anything to the officers. Just an instinctive, no-thought action… and both of them instantly reached for their guns. Did I mention it was dark out, pre-dawn? Fortunately for me and my daughter, my movement was quick enough, and I didn't actually pull anything (like a black leather wallet I didn't have with me), out of my non-existent pocket….or I might well have been shot or at least would have had two guns in my face.

    My daughter and I both remained polite and pleasant, and after a moment of confirming that, yes, we lived in the neighborhood, and yes, we were out to exercise (pretty obvious, given our attire and the fact that we were both perspiring), they apologized for stopping us, and took off.

    I can only imagine how it could have gone had I been belligerent towards them, or if I'd had a wallet, which in the dark, could maybe have been mistaken for something else…

    I have to ask people who feel it's their right to be disrespectful or disobedient or think they should "play games" when they have an encounter with law enforcement… it's it worth possibly getting shot and killed? You may be right that the cop is stopping your for a flimsy or non-existent reason. But if you fight about it with the guy carrying a gun, if you do stupid things, you might not get a chance to prove it later. I'd rather be wrong than dead right.

  5. I have no useful suggestions.

    I am reminded that I long ago reviewed a case file for the defense and then asked the arresting officer "why didn't you shoot him? I would have" The arresting officer said he'd avoided half a dozen shootings that would have written up honestly as righteous and in fact had signed up to serve and protect not to shoot people despite demonstrated skills in the matter.

    Recently an officer was fired pretty much for endangering fellow officers when the first responder chose to defuse at some risk and backup arrived and killed the armed threat despite the first responder's choice to attempt defusing.

    Given that people are fallible errors will occur. There is a choice to err in favor of officer survival or to err in favor of subject survival. We've decided to kill some more or less innocents (Amadou Diallo?) that officers might survive. The choice of officer over innocent should be explicit. Some elements of society might prefer a different choice. Who is to say they are wrong?

  6. tannasmarchat:

    you might be a bit surprised to find that some of the British Bobbies are actually armed while on patrol. If armed with a handgun, it is always carried concealed. Plus, if forced to shoot, his fellow officers will ostracize him. A no-win situation. BTW, the gun stays at the cop shop, and never goes home with him. Every round must be accounted for at end of shift.

  7. What can be done? Nothing. Not right now anyway. If a rotted tree is in the process of crumbling and falling you're only going to get hurt trying to keep it from doing so. Get out of the way, protect your loved ones so they don't get caught under it either. Use the time to sharpen your tools and prepare for the hard dirty work that will need to be done once it hits the ground and the branches stop falling.

    Unload your assets that are in marginal areas before they're over run and worth nothing. If your town is looking like Ferguson sell out before it shows up on CNN. Take the money and run. Move as far away from the threat as possible so you're amongst your own kind and a part of the community when the wheels finally come off for good. When the marauding bands of lawless show up you've got numbers, community and firepower on your side. Look at history and look at what happened in similar situations and try to plan accordingly. Being in a town with a diverse vibrant mix of Bosnian, Serb and Croat wasn't a recipe for survival in Yugoslavia. Being one of a handful of Tutsis in the Hutu neighborhood was a death sentence. Being a German settler in occupied Poland or any German over run by the red army. A Christian in Syria or Iraq etc etc.

  8. I sympathize deeply with the good cops caught in this mess, and frankly expect that most if not all of the organizers behind "'Black Lives Matter' will fry in hell. That said, There is something deeply wrong with the police culture in America. Officers who can be shown to have grossly violated the law, or gratuitously endangered the innocent are routinely defended by their unions, and punished far too lightly. Police regularly confiscate video of police interactions, despite repeatedly being told by the courts that they have no shadow of a right to do so. Violent 'dynamic entry' raids for matters as trivial as private gambling (poker games) or traffic warrants are far to common, and often end in tragedy.

    The police have actively contributed to the hostile environment in which they now find themselves. That the BLM idiots are swine, and the politicians who pass pettyfogging regulations the police are expected to enforce on the poor are vermin does not excuse the idiocy the cops indulge in on their own.

    We who want to respect and support the police need to demand that they hold themselves to a better standard than they currently do.

  9. Will: "you might be a bit surprised to find that some of the British Bobbies are actually armed while on patrol"

    Color me shocked. Seriously. I wasn't sure (it's been a few years since I sat in my police history classes), so I checked Encyclopædia Britannica. The article there indicates that they are armed only with the baton.

    "if forced to shoot, his fellow officers will ostracize him."

    no surprise there.

    Thanks for the update/correction.

  10. We certainly can't get out of it unless the laws are seen to apply equally to everyone. When is the last time an officer was disciplined publicly for unconstitutional behavior? The increase in lawlessness has come about with the increase by the cities (sanctuary, anyone?), states (ignoring federal law) and federal government (Constitution, what Constitution?) in ignoring the laws they wrote when it is convenient for them. And since the FBI made it so clear that the laws are not going to be equally applied to all by rubbing our noses in it this summer, no one should be surprised by the people rebelling against what they see as an unfair and unreasonable system. It's starting at the lowest level, but an increase in lawlessness is really unsurprising with the current state of the law and those responsible for enforcing it.

  11. I could've sworn I wrote this before (when this was first posted), but obviously I dreamt it or somesuch thing… *sheepish expression*

    To get to my point (sorry)…
    Mr. Grant, you say "…I wouldn't blame the next San Diego cop who's asked to respond to a 'man behaving erratically' call if he said, "Sorry – I ain't going there. Tell those on the scene that they're on their own. I'm not going to put my head on a politically correct chopping block for them any longer."…"

    and I find myself thinking only "I'll bet Olango's sister *wishes* with *every fiber of her being* that the officers who responded to her desperate plea for help with her mentally ill brother *had* said *exactly that*.

    Because if they had said "No thanks, not going there!" or something similar, her brother would not have been killed by those officers. The question of whether or not his death was justifiable is irrelevant to that point. If the officers hadn't shown up, her brother might still have died, of course. But *she* wouldn't have the burden of knowing that *she* was the reason the people/person who shot him to death was/were even present to do so. I cannot imagine the soul-deep agony she must have felt in that moment.

    I know this post is from September, but I was scrolling through the archives and I saw it, and it impacted me just as powerfully as it did the first time…and I was surprised (and embarrassed) to see that I hadn't posted my comment then…so I posted it now…I apologize if that's inappropriate, and I assure you I intend no disrespect whatsoever.

    God bless! 🙂

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