Is it just me or does it seem that, lately, a week does not go by without a policeman shooting some poor kid. I believe that the black victims tend to make the news as this smells of racialism, keeps viewers glued to their television sets and sells newspapers. Whether it’s “hands up don’t shoot”, toy guns or “I can’t breath” the slogans have captured people’s attention and the likes of reverend Manning are quick to capitalize on the incident to advance their own agendas. However the situation is tragic, these events are fanning the flames of racism and young people are dying.
Now, I can understand that it is not easy being a police officer. They put their lives on the line every day for the good of the community and we have to respect that. But why do they have to shoot to kill? What happened to shooting people in the leg, or the arm/shoulder that reaches for a presumed weapon?
Is it necessary for them to unload their guns into the perpetrators? It would seem to me that if they were unsure about a situation, especially situations involving teens, wounding would be the appropriate choice of action.
Having listened to my father talk about his experience as a policeman in the early fifties, it also appears that the car has transformed the relationship between policemen and citizen. Before police cars came to be, policemen walked their beat and were much closer to the people. By walking around they had time to talk to the citizens on the street, building relationships. By being more accessible, they were more respected and trusted. They were more likely to personally know the kids, and their parents, and therefore less likely to pull out their guns on anyone.