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  1. #1
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    Feb 2006
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    Mind Trapped by - Police vs Citizens - Reaching for a gun?

    --The incident---
    The above video is the body cam from the officer who shot and killed Daniel Shaver.

    The basics are, swat responded to a call, engaged a suspect leaving his room. Gave him a bunch of orders while threatening to shoot him and letting him know he could be killed, if he did not comply perfectly. He made a mistake and was warned, then after being ordered to crawl towards police, he reached for his waste band, and was shot 5xs with what appears to be an automatic riffle.

    Now a bunch of brouhaha has been made over this. The officers went to trial and was acquitted. Yet when you watch the video, it does seem very wrong. I think it boils down to this. Police are allowed to shoot someone without ever seeing a gun, based on the simple belief that they had a gun. I think the disconnect is right there. No one else is allowed to act this way, nor is this considered acceptable for anyone else. As long a police are allowed to shoot and kill people without ever seeing a weapon to justify their belief of danger, then their belief is not held to reality as a reasonable expectation. Everyone else must have reality line up.

    To draw a contrast, suppose I was told by a some nut that terrorists were in the streets, breaking down doors and raping and killing everyone. So I run to my room, grab my gun, then when I hear someone at the door, totally believing them to be a terrorist, I throw the door open and open fire.. killing my mail man.

    Now, if a terrorist had actually been outside my door, then my actions would have been justified, and my tactics reasonable but because the reality did not line up with my expectation.. I would have gone to jail for murder of some degree.(See 1,2 & 3). In all the examples the reality did not line up with their expectation, and so they went to jail. The last one regarding baiting is particularly interesting, because basically the man escalated the situation needlessly.

    -- Part of the job.
    I expect that a major concern will be to say that police face daily threats and thus are justified, where as Terrorist raping in the streets are hardly a reasonable expectation. Ahh, exactly though. See it is the "belief" that is appealed to. As long as an officer truly "believes" that a person is a threat, then the reality doesn't matter, and by and large they are given a pass. So my belief in terrorism or such a threat is what is the crux. By appealing to the terrorist as rare, you are really saying that you don't believe I believed that's what was going on. however that is not the problem. Police are already held to that standard. If The jury believed, that the officer didn't really feel threaten, then he would have been found guilty. So that is really not the point of contention here.

    We can use much more conservative examples.

    First rule, if it really is reasonable, then it is reasonable for everyone.

    So, if reaching for your waist band is reasonably a threat of a gun, then it is a threat of a gun to everyone in all situations. There is nothing magical about being a police officer that makes an action become a threat, when it isn't to anyone else in an similar circumstance.

    Example 1-
    I'm walking down the road open carrying as is my right and legal, when I see a guy in a parked truck I think did something wrong to me. So I yell at him, and say "i want to talk to you". The man responds by getting out of his car in an angry manner, and reaching into his back seat. Immediately I fear for my life, as I believe he is reaching for a gun. So I shout "HEY HEY HEY!!" As he pulls out a long object I believe is a gun, I open fire hitting him.

    Suppose the man dies. Was I justified in my actions? Or guilty of murder?
    A.. Is my belief justified?
    B.. If the long object was in fact a shotgun, was I justified?
    C.. If the long object turns out to be a cane.. was I still justified?
    D.. If I have a badge am I now justified?
    E.. What if I feel badly for making a mistaken identity (both him and the cane)?

    How is each relevant to your distinction?

    If we allow police to be held to a different standard, that is decidedly not a "higher" standard, they are "super citizens" with a license to kill and maim, and we are just going to have to accept that. Lets not kid ourselves, and let us call it what it is.
    However, if we should hold police to at least the same standard we are, then we are justified in feeling something is wrong with the above incidence, and the many like it. (This means that D is not relevant)

    Man shot his son, thinking he was an intruder.. Booked for murder

    Man thought person was trying to force their way into home, shot and killed the man.. now charged with murder.

    Man shot intruders, going to jail because he "baited them" by acting like he wasn't home.
    "He was confronted by a situation: Do or die," Meshbesher said. "Or at least he thought so because a month earlier he had guns stolen."

    *4* Huffington Post reacts with idea to disarm police
    To serve man.



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