Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Issue is Deadly Force.

June 3, 2021 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( I will never understand how difficult policing can be, because I have never had that experience. However, I can only imagine that is can be tough on many days, and extremely dangerous. With that being acknowledged it seems the idea of fearing for one’s life causes different reactions based on the situation, and the group of people that are being encountered. This is beyond problematic. As we begin to unpack what this means, and how it effects our people, there are some things we need to consider within community. If an officer brings a gun to a knife fight and can’t de-escalate the situation there is a problem. If an officer can’t de-escalate a situation with a minor, we have a problem. If the officer has to use their gun on said minor and feels there is a reason, they should shoot to kill we have a problem.  No one is going to make me, regardless of the situation, believe a 15-year-old with a knife had to be shot dead by a trained police officer. Why this situation, which resulted in the police being called, occurred is an important discussion; however, it shouldn’t be discussed during a conversation about deadly force.

There are too many instances whereby police officers encounter violent suspects that directly threaten their life. However, they are able to apprehend the suspect without the use of deadly force. All of a sudden, they know how to de-escalate a dangerous situation. There is no playing the judge, jury, and executioner. It is a shame that when may black people look at the news they tend to know when the suspect is shot…there is a high chance the person is black. They know that in that moment the deceased has become guilty. They aren’t a victim as the excessive force will far too often be justified. Far too often orders and bullets fly simultaneously. The victim will be picked apart…anything to justify a life being taken. Unfortunately, there will be times when those from our community will assist in this behavior by furthering the discussion of black-on-black crime. That is another issue to unpack entirely because if black on black crime is an issue…so is white on white crime. It seems no one is ready to really unpack that reality as it would lead to so many other uncomfortable discussions.


A 15-year-old child died not simply because a community failed her, but because a trained police officer decided to shoot her four times. Yes, she had a knife, but he decided to shoot her four times. No warning shots, no attempt to de-escalate…just four deadly shots. Let’s create a similar scenario whereby our 15-year-old with a gun is a white girl with a knife in a physical conflict with another girl. In this situation does the office shoot four times or do all that he can not to have to fire that weapon? We know the answer…she lives to be returned to her community so that she can get the assistance she needs to turn her life around. She is a human being an even if she made mistake in her fearful state her life should not be destroyed. She can still make a positive contribution to society; she just needs to have the right people around her to advocate for her and set her on a good path.

Nothing about this situation is a problem; anyone can get caught up and end up in a situation that is a reflection of the issues they face. The problem is this compassion is not displayed for all people. The problem is that our black children and people are seen as predatory, criminal in nature, and inhuman. This is what is in the foundation of America and it has been breed into the very fabric of American society. This is the dark uncomfortable truth that is written into the laws and statutes, and into the culture of policing in, not all but, too many parts of this country.

It’s unfortunate when you live in a society that value animals more than the life of a human being…especially when black. There are many arguments that can be made to try and malign the issues black people face in this country, however, the problems remain. There are too many encounters with the police whereby deadly force is the issue. We’ve been forced to watch people that look like us be verbally abused, beaten, and shot to death by a professional whose goal should be safe apprehension of a suspect so that they can have their day in court. No, this won’t always be possible, but it should be the goal, and there should be fairness involved. Policing isn’t a job for a person that can’t deal in fairness, and acts upon their prejudices and racist beliefs.  Ending deadly force and holding officers fully accountable for violating the rights of citizens in this country has to become a priority; there is no meaningful counter to that. No one should be arguing for officers that misuse deadly force.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

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