If you monitor the national media at all then you will know that Law enforcement has been in the spotlight lately. This spotlight says more about the folks who point the spotlight than the subject upon which they focus the light.
We now live in a world where critical thinking is rarely practiced. The only currency which seems to count is who is louder and who gets to talk the most. In the case made against law enforcement, we always see close-ups of groups of protestors to make the crowd seem larger. This makes it seem more impressive and intimidating which is the hope of those who wish to twist societal values using the banner of equal rights as a cloak. To say law enforcement violates a deadly assailant’s rights by shooting him undermines the argument of those who have truly been denied their civil rights.
Our media is supposed to report the news instead of swaying popular opinion. The national media is now really a “national advocate” for whatever belief they see as popular. They then service that belief for increased loyal listenership. The national media confirms misguided beliefs instead of presenting the truth, sometimes in soft and subtle ways. I can give two examples of the media serving popular opinion instead of truth.
I have heard Minnesota Public Radio repeatedly use the phrase “an officer shooting an unarmed man.” An assailant does not need to use a gun against a police officer to kill him. When someone tries to wrestle with a police officer, do you think they are wrestling with him to win a trophy? They are fighting with the police officer to avoid arrest and that can mean taking the police officer’s pistol away from him/her and shooting the officer with it. If an officer reasonably feels this is the case, he may use deadly force against an assailant. This was exactly the case in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting and it was confirmed by witness testimony yet the media still references this event like it is a cornerstone for some great cultural movement.
Another phrase used by the national media is a “killing by a cop.” Killing is an illegal act and can only be proven in a court of law, not the court of public opinion to which the media panders. When an officer pulls his weapon and shoots an assailant, he is using legal deadly force. Deadly force is something that we citizens have formed through laws and given to police officers to use so they can protect us from those who might harm us. Using the phrase “killing by a cop” without a preceding legal verdict against the officer is bush league and an affront to the First Amendment.
Next time you go to a restaurant and the waitress asks what you have decided to eat, can you make a decision? Now imagine that your decision will either result in another’s death, your own death or lengthy litigation and loss of your profession-even if you’ve done nothing wrong. That is the decision an officer has to make when her/she decides whether or not to use deadly force. We train officers to use reasonable logic in their decision to use deadly force but they cannot read the mind of someone who seeks to do them harm. Peace officers are trained to enter a situation that has no rules and then try to apply the rules of civilization to solve the problem; this includes the use of deadly force. They are not, however, trained to be clairvoyant. And please don’t even try to tell me that police officers are trained so that each snap decision is perfect when, five minutes later, you still can’t even decide on whether to have the chicken or the fish.
I think law enforcement is blamed for the high arrest rates of minorities for one reason; laziness. It is much easier to blame law enforcement for high arrests than to simply do the work of improving your own culture so they are not tempted to involve themselves in criminal activities. They should have other opportunity which they can seize to support themselves through hard work. We should see law enforcement as the canary in the cultural coal mine who is telling everyone something is wrong by high arrest rates; then fix it. We shouldn’t blame law enforcement for alerting our country that something is so wrong in certain corners of America that the arrest rates are inordinately high.
I believe Law Enforcement has been one of the few constants in adherence to a set of morals and standards which made the United States an excellent place to live. If law enforcement is in the spotlight, perhaps we should follow the light to its source. Perhaps it is here we will first find the problem that causes all of those arrests and also an insincere media capitalizing on all of those uninformed, loyal listeners seeking confirmation that their own actions are not their own fault.