Yesterday afternoon, a rookie cop responding to a call about a juvenile with a gun that was “probably fake,” according to the citizen caller, shot the 12 year old in question in the stomach. The kid subsequently died.
Details are scanty. The caller saw a kid playing with a gun, which turned out to be a BB gun, at a recreation center where other kids were present. He arguably did the prudent thing and called police, even telling the dispatcher that the gun was “probably fake,” but he just wanted to make sure. These days, many would find that action reasonable.
For some reason, dispatch didn’t bother to relay the probably fakeness of the gun to the responding officers, one of whom was a rookie; the other a ten year veteran. Supposedly, the rookie cop pulled his gun and ordered the kid to put his hands in the air, the kid reached for the gun tucked into his pants, and the cop shot him in the guts. That’s all we know so far.
With what’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri and all across the country, it seems to me that our local police are increasingly trigger-happy these days. Maybe “out of control” would be a better phrase. No doubt this will be just another “righteous shoot,” but come on now. A 12 year old? Really?
I realize this is just one more incident, one more needless citizen death at the hands of police in addition to the hundreds, I’m guessing as to the number, in recent years, but is it any wonder that many people regard the police as more an occupying army than a group of professionals there to serve and protect them? And where is this “shoot first and ask questions later” mentality in the police coming from? I know in my lifetime it has not always been that way.
For what it’s worth, I think that all these pumped-up muscle cars if not outright armored personnel carriers cops are now driving, the military firearms and equipment, and the constant ruling class drumbeat of Be Afraid of and Kill the Terrorists, Foreign and Domestic, has gone way, WAY too friggin’ far. The real terrorists sit in corporate boardrooms and live in gated communities. They don’t even condescend to walk among us Great Undercapitalized for the most part. If the cops want to keep us safe from them by going in and blowing them away, that’s fine with me. Unfortunately, there’s no sign of that happening.
But if you are a kid with a new Red Rider BB gun, the warning is no longer A Christmas Story’s ”You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” It’s more like “The cops’ll blow your ass away, kid.”