These days, cops tend to shoot first and ask questions later – and The State condones it. But I recall a time when there was such a thing as “response training”.
The trainee cop would be made to sit and watch a film, whilst in their hand was a push-button. They were told they would witness a number of scenarios – all of which had happened for REAL – where they would have to make a decision on when – or if – to fire.
When they pushed the button, the film would freeze and it would be assumed they had hit their target (this was a test of JUDGEMENT, not accuracy) and killed them instantly. But if the “suspect” shot at THEM FIRST, it would be assumed that THEY were dead.
Your Humble Scribe has SEEN this film – and it was most instructive. By the time you’d got out the mandatory, “Police! Stop, or I fire!” – you were TOAST. There was a pram with a midget inside, a guy who walked casually around a tree as he was being hailed – then swung around firing, a cop in poor lighting conditions who was slow in identifying himself, a man who reached inside his coat for a sign announcing he was deaf and dumb…
This is the reality of living in a “gun society”. And that reality has now resulted in us living in an atmosphere of FEAR. These days, cops just blaze away in CASE.
In England, a suspect is chased onto a tube train and despite being subdued by four “officers” SITTING on him, they fire five rounds into him, because they fear he might be a terrorist with a “button”. He turns out to be a plumber.
Two cops TAZE (Tazers can KILL) a lone woman in a car, on a routine traffic pull, because she won’t jump out of it and throw herself in the mud at their feet. She was talking to her husband on her mobile phone. After she’s finished writhing on the ground, the cop says, “Aw, it don’t hurt THAT much.”
Another routine traffic pull. Two cops fire at the BACK of a fleeing suspect who tries to grab one of their guns. Silly of him, perhaps – but it shows he is UNARMED. He survives their bullets – and HE gets charged with attempted murder.
These last two cases were shown on TV – with the authorities’ APPROVAL. In My Day, they’d have WIPED the tapes, for fear of them being used as evidence of police brutality.
But TODAY, that brutality is State Sanctioned. And thanks to post-9/11 paranoia, we accept it. So might YOU – until the next time you see that flashing blue light in your rear-view mirror…