Thursday, February 14, 2013

- Collateral Damage

I have confessed on multiple occasions that my worldview on this score is skewed, but in my experience, America's policemen are slightly less intelligent than average. Compared only to other civil servants, they may very well be above average, but not compared to the people that I deal with on a daily basis.

This of course does not make them bad people. I genuinely don't disparage anyone who is less intelligent than average any more than I do someone who is shorter than average. And in fact I have many friends and acquaintances who are policemen. As a rule 'the grunts' I find are pretty clear headed guys and have a worldview similar to my own. That makes them easy to get along with even if they may not have exemplary higher math skills. Not everyone needs to be great at everything, and calculus is used infrequently in law enforcement.

But modern America has adopted some cultural trends in policing that I find very troublesome. For instance, the various enforcement agencies of California finally tracked down the actual Chris Dorner, and in an affirmation of Patton's comment on the uselessness of fixed fortifications, burned him out of the house where he was holed up.

And it's a good thing they got to him when they did because the civilian body count was really beginning to stack up. In the process of searching for him they shot 3 people, killing one - a septuagenarian grandmother who they had somehow mistaken for the bulky ex military vet. In the process they gave rise to a cottage industry in "I'm Not Chris Dorner - Please Don't Shoot" T-Shirts and bumper stickers.

Meanwhile in New York City, the enforcement agents of the king of civilian disarmament Mike Bloomberg, shot 11 innocent civilians when called to confront a shooter at the Empire state building. They didn't kill any of them. Whether this is attributable to poor marksmanship or not, is still up for debate.

Then there is this story. A Baltimore police instructor shot a trainee in the head during an unauthorized training exercise. One can assume the training was in something other than firearm safety, but you never know.

This is certainly a trend. One cop accidentally shoots another. Cops "accidentally" shoot a convenience store worker. Cops sometimes even accidentally shoots themselves. One can assume those incidents really are 'accidents', but that offers no explanation for the civilian victims of the LAPD during the search for Chris Dorner.

Accidents happen, especially when you think the rules don't apply to you. Firearms safety is actually pretty simple if you are disciplined enough with it. But if you're someone who thinks that rules are for others and that you are enough of an 'expert' to not pay attention to them, you end up in the emergency room trying to explain to the police commissioner and your PBA rep why you were such an idiot.

I personally find the intentional but misplaced killings and shootings much more disturbing. Even worse, in this Chris Dorner case, reports are that the police intentionally burned down the building he was hiding in. For someone like me, that conjures images of the children who were bravely set on fire by federal officials during the Waco incident. And like that one, in this case 'due process' amounted to an incendiary grenade and a recruit with a good throwing arm. I appreciate that the police have the right to protect their own lives , but that seems a bit over the top to me. Maybe Dorner really did give them no choice, but I'm unconvinced so far.

Anyway, the real problem is cultural. We're approaching an end point. Soon everything will either be mandatory like health insurance, or forbidden like drinking from a 16 ounce cup. And since that kind of public regimentation involves making a whole lot of people do a whole lot of things that they would otherwise choose not to do, keeping order is going to involve the use of lots of force. That' s the way it has to be if we're all going to live in the magic rainbow world of progressive America with a unicorn in every pot. And when you have a bunch of heavily armed guys running around ignoring the safety rules and making up others as they go along, there is going to be some collateral damage.


chess said...

Well said....Most are so out of shape that there would never be a "footchase" so there tooss bullets around at anything that moves.
And I think they have been serving unicorns in the UK for the past few years.Soon the Alpaca-lyspe will come

Bzod said...

Eggs, omelet.

Somewhat related: Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) recently wrote a paper titled "Due Process When Everything is a Crime"

Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

A few years back, I had to deal with a local cop (not law enforcement related)that made me wish I never met the guy:

He was a rotten combination of a person who was barely literate, couldn't understand basic 5th grade level math, mixed with a toxic level of self-esteem and a total lack of ethics.

In an earlier era, he would have been screened out via the civil service exam. However, in the effort to better 'social engineer' the police department, those tests are now to a point where a profoundly retarded person could pass.

I have found out via a local sheriff deputy, that the guy I dealt with is hardly an outlier.

chess said...

Ditto to you Hell. Toss in firemen/paramedics who have watched too much tv that says we should worship all of em.

Anonymous said...

On "accidental discharges" (AD's) in the force(s)... anecdotally I'm going to say that the probability of an AD is going to increase when you handle firearms on a daily basis, multiple times. I manipulate my firearm at least twice a day, going to work and coming off shift. I haven't had an AD. My guess is one day, if I do this long enough, something could happen. My agency thinks so too, hence we carry Sigs with a decock lever.
Statistics have shown that most firefights the police engage in occur (don't quote me) at about 3 - 5'. During these engagements a huge number of police-discharged bullets never hit their target. I've speculated on this quite a bit.
Lack of training, lack of range time, lack of preparation. The older the officer the less engaged in the job they are and the more worried they are about getting home at night, making the OT or what have you.
Regardless in a place like NY the powers that be are going to ram down everyone's throats that the police are the sole authority in these matters, etc. Events like the ESB shoot beautifully exemplify that cops are people too and shouldn't be held up to some supernal expectation of performance. Of course that's NY and no one there wants to take responsibility for their own security.
Blah blah blah.
Excellent post!

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