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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

On The Flip Side...

So, I've been writing some recently on police and security officers who overstep their bounds and have been caught treating the public they're sworn to protect with an utmost disrespect.  This is a moment I'd like to take to come out in defense of the officers who are doing their duty, and simply trying to make it through another day, and who look at the big picture when dealing with what we see as the small stuff.

It seemed it wasn't a happy-sparkler-waving day for two BART train officers on this 4th of July, when reports came in that a man was "drunk and wobbly" on the platform of the station.  They arrived by train, and within one minute, the belligerent man rushed at them, smashing a bottle that he hurled at them, and waving a knife, all while unsteady on his feet.  One officer shot and fatally wounded the man, who later died at the hospital.

My first question, as was on the minds of many others as we think back on two other shooting incidents in the past eighteen months, is - why did they need to shoot to kill?  I still am questioning why the fatal shot to the torso, rather than the leg or somewhere that would knock him down, but I'm not in their shoes, and perhaps instinct told them "It's him or us."

As one poster said, "Oh, boy, it's Monday morning.  Let the quarterbacking begin!"  As a public, we are quick to judge what sounds like a horrible civil rights violation, but it still keeps coming back to this:  don't do things that are going to require police coming after you, and it reduces your chance of being shot at dramatically. 

When I think about the situation - the man was unsteady on his feet near a dangerously electric rail that isn't hard to fall on, and he was rushing the officers with intent to harm - it does make sense.  This man could easily have knocked any bystander or officer down on the track, or fallen himself and derailed a train, harming innocent passengers.  No matter how you slice the tomato, it's still a tomato.  The man was proving himself to be a menace to society. 

In today's society, I often think there is more empathy for the criminals and the irresponsible than there are for the innocent victims. 

People have been up in arms regarding the BART officer who shot Oscar Grant while he was handcuffed and lying facedown on the ground.  First, the shooting was accidental - no evidence supported the racial claims of the public.  Second, Grant was resisting arrest and carrying drugs.  I don't care how minor the crime, when we attract police attention, we run the risk of such things happening. 

Did Grant deserve to die?  Did this man at the Civic Center station?  I don't know, it's not my place to judge such things.  Did they put themselves in a precarious situation?  Indeed they did, as I have, and have suffered life-changing consequences, so I'm not just talking out of my ass here. 

This may have happened in the Bay Area, but it's not exclusive to San Francisco.  The distrust of authority and government is growing.  The swell is rising a bit more each day amongst the public, until a tidal wave will crash ashore, and it ain't gonna be pretty.  When 'The Man' takes out a civilian, it's not the wrong or right of it that causes the public to roar, it's the strike against one of their own in a battle that's only just the beginning of a new kind of civil war.

KGO -ABC7 News, San Francisco

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