Police defend fatal shooting of UW student

Andy Moynihan

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I actually think it has more to do with the notion that you 'should' feel bad about shooting someone, even if it's justified......and if you don't, then it makes many folks feel uncomfortable. I say that without sarcasm, as it's very true that it makes 'normal' folks feel uncomfortable if you're able to shoot someone and not feel devastated by it as they feel they would.

What it boils down to, and I do understand what is going on here, is that 'normal' folks feel......'uncomfortable' around killers and even the idea of intentionally killing someone else.....even if that killer has never killed anyone that he wasn't justified in killing......and that statements of remorse and regret about those killings, even if they were completely justified legally, ethically and morally, make them more palatable to 'normal' folks.

At the end of the day, the kind of callousness some of us take as a matter of course in the face of violence and death, is overwhelming, uncomfortable and a bit intimidating, or at least, very unpalatable to normal decent folks.......and as a result they view us askance.

Know the feeling--It's always the same, that sudden, imperceptible( So THEY think) change that comes over people near you in conversations at parties when they find out you're either :

A) a current or former cop

B) current or former military( federal/reserve/guard/state guard/whatever

C) any form of gun owner

And gods help you if you're more than one (in my case B and C, only recently been more or less made "former" by political crap like the rest of my unit).


Like you're some kinda dangerous animal slipped his cage and got let out amongst them by mistake when they should feel that everyone is a little SAFER because you are there. No one who does not intend to harm others has absolutely ANYTHING to fear from the vast majority of us but on some subconscious level they do. I blame our current media just exactly as much as I do human nature, however.
 

shesulsa

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No, it means that because you are a cop and should expect that someone is going to claim a completely justified shooting was still your fault in some way, and you must not complain about it when it happens. (said with tongue firmly planted in cheek)
I'm not arnisador and I've been trying to drop out of this thread, but this isn't what I expect.

I expect people to be people - good, bad, ugly, nice, respectable, not, whatever. I really have some great expectations, though, upon my fellow members of the human race as it seems high expectations are placed upon me ... and just about everyone else I know.

I carry words from my elders with me through life and always have. Tales retold from my grandparents and aunts and uncles and related to me by my parents are things I take into serious consideration and ponderance. Perhaps I'm the only who does that, I don't know.

My grandfather was a police officer and he constantly lamented his fellow officers who would boast, brag and over-justify their necessary actions. He felt very strongly about his job and felt a pressing importance to hang on to the understanding that - and these are the words his children repeated to me - "a gun is like God, only without a conscience; most people who wear a badge and carry one forget that they are not God, but the gun is." He recounted incidents where officers had to take down people because it was their job and then seemed to have no conscience about the taking of life, even if it was necessary. He pressed that you don't have to spill tears, writhe in agony and be "like a woman" to cope with the taking of life when you must do so.

I've spent a lot of time striving to explain this balance and regardless of my efforts, my words have been yanked into damp hanky status and it has been intimated that people like me want for cops to be sissy boys and hold an Irish wake over every death they must deliver. I've NEVER indicated that must be the case. But I refuse to swagger over the taking of life and I refuse to feel comfortable when those who are here to serve and protect do so. There is justification, there is necessity and then there is humanity.

If one must take life, then they must. We all would likely do better if we can accept that for our officers in law and soldiers at war.

When one must take life, a price is paid one way or another. There are good prices and bad prices and things in between. And we would all do better if we remember that.

I think losing respect for the loss of life is not a good thing. Lamenting the loss of life, even if death is imminent, necessary or even warranted is not weak, it is not misplaced sympathy, it is not bleeding-heart liberalism. The necessity to assign it as such indicates something, as far as I'm concerned. And it is a demarkation of the decline of our society. And it will prove to increase the gap between those who respect officers and those who don't and why and will continue to affect the scrutiny of law enforcement ... as well it should.

I sincerely wish all you officers who participate in this thread only the best. I'm out.
 

Makalakumu

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I have no problem with an officer taking a life when its justified. It's something that a police officer must do...and must be mentally prepared to do.

I DO think that "normal" people need to have a say in the matter, however. We spend our taxes on training people how to deal with the real animals in our society. The process it takes to do this changes those who choose to take up that mantle.

What concerns me is the same concern I would have if I were to train dogs for pig hunting. These dogs have got to be big and mean and aggressive, but just obediant enough to do my bidding and not turn on me.

I understand the process that needs to happen in order to do violence, but at some point, it needs to be reigned in. You can't just stand back and let it go or you are going to get tyrrany.
 
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Archangel M

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I actually think it has more to do with the notion that you 'should' feel bad about shooting someone, even if it's justified......and if you don't, then it makes many folks feel uncomfortable. I say that without sarcasm, as it's very true that it makes 'normal' folks feel uncomfortable if you're able to shoot someone and not feel devastated by it as they feel they would.

What it boils down to, and I do understand what is going on here, is that 'normal' folks feel......'uncomfortable' around killers and even the idea of intentionally killing someone else.....even if that killer has never killed anyone that he wasn't justified in killing......and that statements of remorse and regret about those killings, even if they were completely justified legally, ethically and morally, make them more palatable to 'normal' folks.

At the end of the day, the kind of callousness some of us take as a matter of course in the face of violence and death, is overwhelming, uncomfortable and a bit intimidating, or at least, very unpalatable to normal decent folks.......and as a result they view us askance.

I think you are closer to the facts on this matter.
 

arnisador

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Absolutely! I think it's too much that we require not only that an officer follow the law, precedent and department policy in such situations......but then, when declared perfectly justified in the rest, must adhere to some unwritten societal expectation, usually dreamed up by others with no experience doing what he's done, about how he should 'feel' about it all.

Eh, it's a 'societal expectation' of civilized behaviour that causes us to make laws and hire LEOs to enforce them, no?

Black humor is common and healthy among not only cops, but firemen (perhaps some of the blackest humor!) and Paramedics, coroners/medical examiners, undertakers, etc..........one CANNOT by hyper-emotional and hyper-empathetic in such jobs for very long.

This is a fair point. It is common and it is likely healthy--a useful defense mechanism. I recall speaking with a friend when he lost a patient the first time as a brand new intern just out of medical school, and a few months later when he had lost many--it was quite a different perspective, let alone between then and when he was just entering med. school. Black humour was the whole point in M*A*S*H, eh?

But it's pejoratively labeled as 'black' humour for a reason. My friend didn't encourage that attitude in the general populace--who would then want to become a physician?--nor, I imagine, teach it to his children. (I assume he has them by now--we've lost touch.) Distancing oneself from an act that is distasteful but necessary is useful. Convincing oneself that it was never distatseful in the first place can be problematic.

Certainly, and I see your point of view.......but the point here is that we're sharing honestly. I certainly wouldn't sit down with my local newspaper reporter and share these tid-bits because too many folks would NEVER get it........

What is the saying? If you like effective law enforcement and a good hotdog, don't look too closely at the process of producing either.......

......well I don't entirely think in a free society we should IGNORE how police protection is provided, but we DEFINITELY shouldn't bring extremely naive and unrealistic expectations to the table when we do so.

I do appreciate your sharing honestly an insider's perspective, and I understand that you wouldn't spin it this way for the general populace. Thanks for speaking your mind freely on it.

I also understand the frustations of those who naively expect that you can do law enforcement work without hurting people, medical research without animal experimentation, or do away with war by wishing it so. I'm not among them, but those who encourage us to be our best selves serve a purpose even when they're naive.
 

Makalakumu

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I also understand the frustations of those who naively expect that you can do law enforcement work without hurting people, medical research without animal experimentation, or do away with war by wishing it so. I'm not among them, but those who encourage us to be our best selves serve a purpose even when they're naive.

Bravo, Arni. This is why its always better to talk less and listen more.
 

sgtmac_46

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I have no problem with an officer taking a life when its justified. It's something that a police officer must do...and must be mentally prepared to do.

I DO think that "normal" people need to have a say in the matter, however. We spend our taxes on training people how to deal with the real animals in our society. The process it takes to do this changes those who choose to take up that mantle.

What concerns me is the same concern I would have if I were to train dogs for pig hunting. These dogs have got to be big and mean and aggressive, but just obediant enough to do my bidding and not turn on me.

I understand the process that needs to happen in order to do violence, but at some point, it needs to be reigned in. You can't just stand back and let it go or you are going to get tyrrany.
But before you can be the 'master', you have to have the most remote understanding of the job and what it requires.....and that doesn't include getting an understanding for watching TV. ;)

That is why many normal folks who participate in police training, or utilize a firearms simulator for the first time experience an EPIPHANY! It's as if lightening strikes....'OH! NOW I GET IT!'

We police in a democratic society, as it should be......and 'The People' have authority over the government.....BUT WITH that authority comes a RESPONSIBILITY of it's own.....to be EDUCATED AND INTELLIGENT with that command......and not base decisions on faulty assumptions and unrealistic and unreasonable expectations.
 

sgtmac_46

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If you think there ever was a "golden age" where this has ever been different I think you are sorely mistaken.
No such 'golden age' did ever exist.......American society is a violent society, and ALWAYS has been a violent society. We're violent because we are just a few generations removed from a frontier society.....and we hold values that separate us from the rest of the 'Civilized world'......even compared to places like Canada and Australia, two other frontier societies, we are violent.

"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted." -D.H. Lawrence
 

sgtmac_46

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Eh, it's a 'societal expectation' of civilized behaviour that causes us to make laws and hire LEOs to enforce them, no?
There's a vast difference between societal expectations as a whole (which really aren't anti-police) and the unreasonable and often irrational expectations of various interest groups.

This is a fair point. It is common and it is likely healthy--a useful defense mechanism. I recall speaking with a friend when he lost a patient the first time as a brand new intern just out of medical school, and a few months later when he had lost many--it was quite a different perspective, let alone between then and when he was just entering med. school. Black humour was the whole point in M*A*S*H, eh?
It's part of it.

But it's pejoratively labeled as 'black' humour for a reason. My friend didn't encourage that attitude in the general populace--who would then want to become a physician?--nor, I imagine, teach it to his children. (I assume he has them by now--we've lost touch.) Distancing oneself from an act that is distasteful but necessary is useful. Convincing oneself that it was never distatseful in the first place can be problematic.
The issue in this case is in HAMMERING HOME the point that our drunken armed suspect was the fault of his own death, and countering the view that it was simply 'tragic' rather than 'tragic idiocy'.......black humor is a separate issue.

I also understand the frustations of those who naively expect that you can do law enforcement work without hurting people, medical research without animal experimentation, or do away with war by wishing it so. I'm not among them, but those who encourage us to be our best selves serve a purpose even when they're naive.
They may serve a purpose, but they often do more harm than good........much like the 'naive person' who destroys an animal research clinic studying cures for human cancer.

Even beyond my LEO experience, I have to admit that i've always been one who has always been annoyed by irrational idealism......perhaps it's simply my ENTP personality.
 

Andy Moynihan

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There's a vast difference between societal expectations as a whole (which really aren't anti-police) and the unreasonable and often irrational expectations of various interest groups.


They may serve a purpose, but they often do more harm than good........much like the 'naive person' who destroys an animal research clinic studying cures for human cancer.
.

I trace our current problems back to, for lack of a better expression , the "hippie movement".

What began as simply a counterculture for an anti war, peace and love type of thing, swung too far along the path. What happened was they tried SO HARD to make life better for their children, that they inadvertently ended up making them WORSE.
 

Makalakumu

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Ok, so how can a normal guy, who has no desire to become a cop, educate himself so that he "gets it" a little better?
 

jks9199

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Ok, so how can a normal guy, who has no desire to become a cop, educate himself so that he "gets it" a little better?
Contact your local police department. There are probably a couple of options available. You might be able to do a ride-along, where you spend a shift riding as an observer with an officer. This'll give you a chance to see what a cop's day is really like. You might also be able to do a citizen's academy. These are programs where you'll attend something like one class a week, and they'll have presenters from different parts of the police department tell you about what they do. K9 might come in, and do a demo one night, patrol tell you about their job another, detectives another night, and so on. It's a glimpse into the different parts of the police department, and often shows you some of what goes on behind the scenes.
 

Makalakumu

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Contact your local police department. There are probably a couple of options available. You might be able to do a ride-along, where you spend a shift riding as an observer with an officer. This'll give you a chance to see what a cop's day is really like. You might also be able to do a citizen's academy. These are programs where you'll attend something like one class a week, and they'll have presenters from different parts of the police department tell you about what they do. K9 might come in, and do a demo one night, patrol tell you about their job another, detectives another night, and so on. It's a glimpse into the different parts of the police department, and often shows you some of what goes on behind the scenes.

That actually sounds like fun. Thanks for the recommendations!
 

sgtmac_46

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I trace our current problems back to, for lack of a better expression , the "hippie movement".

What began as simply a counterculture for an anti war, peace and love type of thing, swung too far along the path. What happened was they tried SO HARD to make life better for their children, that they inadvertently ended up making them WORSE.
Read the book 'Lila: An Inquiry into Morals' by Robert Pirsig.....he has an excellent commentary on that very topic.
 

sgtmac_46

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Ok, so how can a normal guy, who has no desire to become a cop, educate himself so that he "gets it" a little better?
Sign up for the citizens police academies that many agencies run, where they educate the public on various aspects of police work, usually one night a week......bonus, most folks have a blast doing it!

And the ride alongs, which folks ALMOST ALWAYS get a kick out of doing.......be careful, though, many find it addicting.......and end up leaving their normal life forever! BE WARNED!
 
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Archangel M

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Sign up for the citizens police academies that many agencies run, where they educate the public on various aspects of police work, usually one night a week......bonus, most folks have a blast doing it!

And the ride alongs, which folks ALMOST ALWAYS get a kick out of doing.......be careful, though, many find it addicting.......and end up leaving their normal life forever! BE WARNED!

Thats how I wound up here. Hes right. And thank god for it... I still look forward to going to work.
 
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