Monday, November 27, 2006

Drawing Down Some Lessons

Admit it. The first reaction was probably a chuckle upon hearing the news about an 88-year-old granny who got blown away by Atlanta police after clipping three of them with her gun. And maybe a nervous giggle or sigh of disgust at New York’s “finest” firing 50 rounds at three bachelor-party-goers, killing the bachelor.

From what I know about police work, which isn’t much but probably a little more than mere TV-watchers, the issues in these cases are not what the headlines suggest.

In Atlanta, cops had no choice but to blast away after they were shot while busting down a door, unannounced, in search of drugs that turned out to be a minor stash of pot. But could you blame an elderly black woman for plugging a bunch of guys in civilian clothes who were more than huffing and puffing her door down?

The big question here is the policy of “no-knock” entry to a place for which cops even may have a warrant. “No-knock” has been upheld by courts, but, clearly, it has some downsides.

(The first time I was eligible to vote, my first vote was against a Democratic senator – a liberal, even – who tried to inoculate himself against Nixonian “soft on crime” charges by sponsoring “no-knock” legislation. And it was why I bought a gun. Some time ago, I realized that owning one would not, after all, serve me or society very well. But you get the idea; if the armed power of a state can come into your living room without showing a warrant, then maybe you ought to try to equalize things.)

So, the issues are not who was right and who was wrong in Atlanta. It is about law enforcement techniques in which when everyone does it by the book, the “wrong” person gets it.

The same may or not turn out to be true in New York. I find it distracting that news accounts and protesters are up in arms about the 50 shots. Or about the fact the victims were not armed, because the police assumed they were -- for reasons good or bad that some commission will figure out.

The cops may well be wrong; probably are. But when a police officer draws a gun, he or she, by training, has to be prepared to shoot. There is no such thing as “shooting to wound.” You shoot to kill. With several cops firing into a darkened car that THEY believed was a threat, the number of rounds doesn’t matter. The only ones that mattered were the ones that killed the bachelor father of two and wounded his friends.

Just as in Atlanta, where the lesson is not about the age of the victim, the lesson drawn in New York cannot be about how many shots to fire but whether to fire at all. Because once that decision is made, it usually can’t be taken back.

The other lesson from New York is that the racist, Jew-baiting, lying, riot-inciting little fuck Al Sharpton should shut up.


  1. Anonymous5:17 AM

    I know this is a debate we have had in so many places and is a clash of two different cultures, but I think your piece simply highlights what happens when the ownership of guns is assumed as a 'given'. The cops burst in with guns, the householder is armed and the degree of escalation in a gun owning community is fairly obvious.

    This is what I USED to like about Britain. We didn't have a gun culture, the cops weren't armed and consequently the fallout, even after mistakes, was a lot less.

    I need to choose my words carefully here but now it's all different -at least in certain parts of cities. Thanks to a ghetto culture having developed of drugs and enforcers amid our ethnic minorities, some British cities are now as bad as America ever was and the attitudes of the police have changed accordingly. We have shootings on the streets of my city every week now - again in 'select' areas and policemen killing by mistake.

    Although there are fewer killings by police than in America, obviously because of scale, there are certainly many rash killings because of a lack of experience with firearms and when to use them.

    I fear we are headed on a road I hoped we would never take but failure to control imported weapons has led to gang killing culture which will now escalate as the cops respond in kind. Very sad.

    Brian F.

  2. Anonymous1:54 AM

    Agree with what Brian said, wish we didn't have the gun culture we have here. And very sad that Britain is going in our direction.