The killer mentality afflicting America’s police and our leaders’ failure to do anything about it

While police shootings (I’ll get to them in a minute) dominate news coverage and gather the most attention, there are several big issues with how America’s police are doing their jobs.

A. A cavalier attitude toward human life;

B. Racism and profiling (does anyone believe police don’t treat minorities differently?);

C. Misplaced priorities — we’re all concerned about officer safety, but let’s not lose sight of the fact they’re first responders who are hired, trained, and paid to go in harm’s way, and public safety should come first. Above all, we don’t want them dealing with the public while in a hair-trigger mental state, or making life-and-death decisions hastily;

D. Disregard of citizens’ rights; and

E. Aggressiveness (as exemplified by the arrest of a couple who simply asked for driving directions); you should be able to ask reasonable questions without being threatened with arrest for “resisting” or “obstructing.”

America’s policing has spun out of control, and nowhere is this more clearly visible than in the rash of unjustified police killings of citizens that hit the news recently. Police shootings are extremely common in America, compared to other civilized nations. Although the exact circumstances of each case vary, certain commonalities are seen in cases of police shootings of civilians:

1. The victims tend to be minorities; police are far less likely to shoot a white person.

2. Many victims of police shootings are unarmed, and some are innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever.

3. The victims include women, children, and elderly people.

4. Police often shoot with scant provocation or justification.

5. Many police shootings reveal a hair-trigger temperament on the part of the police, who typically made little effort to find out what was happening, or to make a realistic threat assessment, before pulling their guns and using deadly force. As a result, in recent months we’ve seen an elderly man with a cane, a man reaching in his car to get his driver’s license, a child in a park with a toy gun, and a young man purchasing a toy guy in a WalMart get gunned down by police.

6. In many police shootings, the police made no effort to subdue subjects by non-lethal means, and used deadly force as a first, not last, resort.

7. Instead of shooting a subject once or twice to stop his behavior, police nearly always fire many rounds — sometimes dozens —  which (a) ensures subjects will not survive and (b) puts bystanders in grave danger.

8. After subjects are down, police almost never attempt to render first aid or attempt to save the subject’s life, and sometimes prevent first responders from doing so.

9. It is very rare for police to admit a mistaken shooting. They are much more likely to lie and cover up a shooting of an innocent person.

10. Cops almost never suffer any consequences for killing someone, even if the shooting was unjustified. It’s extremely rare for killer cops to be prosecuted, most aren’t disciplined, and if there’s a settlement it’s paid by an insurance company or taxpayers.

Does any of this strike you as ethically wrong and repugnant to our moral and human values? Do you get a sense that the bullying of ordinary citizens by police and the degree of police violence against citizens has gone way beyond any legitimate policing needs? Yet this week, America’s top law enforcement officer, the FBI director, praised America’s police, refused to admit there’s a problem, and made no mention of a need for changes or reformsRoger-Rabbit-icon1.

Your Comment