So you’re a veteran police officer, sworn to defend the public and uphold law and order. You’ve been patrolling the meanest streets in your city for years. You’re constantly aware that at any moment, anything could go down. And you don’t even live on these streets. In fact, these days, most people on these streets don’t really appreciate you. You’ve worked hard to get your family a nice house as far away from where you work as you can.
And then, during a routine traffic stop, you approach a vehicle. The two male suspects flee the car, one of them carrying a handgun loaded with 23 rounds. You’re a little amped up now, especially since there’s been 5 people killed in the past 12 hours in this very neighborhood. You order the man to drop the weapon multiple times. He refuses.
While we don’t know exactly what happened next- did the suspect point the weapon (did I mention it was stolen?) at the officer, did he fire the gun?- we do know that the officer made the decision to shoot an armed repeat offender. Since the officer was wearing a body camera, there is a real possibility we will see exactly what he saw.
Either way, I’d like to pose the question to the violent protesters now busy destroying their own neighborhoods in Milwaukee: When is it okay for an officer to use deadly force? While I know it’s incredibly hard to reason with people so far on one side of an issue, it’s a question that deserves some deliberation among those that can keep a level head. If you were a law-abiding citizen, carrying your own weapon, legally, and someone pointed a gun at you, would you feel threatened enough for your life or your family’s lives to do something about it? What if you were an officer armed with a weapon and the knowledge that 5 people had been killed in the immediate radius within the last day?
Until all the facts are on the table, we really ought to avoid hypothesizing about what happened. But boiling it down to the most basic level, isn’t this completely in line with what we expect police officers to do? Whether the guy, or the cop (oh, and by the way, BlueLivesMatter.blue is reporting the officer who shot Smith was black), was white, black, Hispanic, Asian, whatever- if someone with a weapon is fleeing the police and refuses to drop the firearm, and even begins to appear like he is acting in an offensive manner, then that officer acted in self-defense. In defense of himself and those that live in that neighborhood. How about this Milwaukee: would you rather have had ol’ Sylville Smith be given that extra second to pop off a few rounds in a neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon? What if those rounds, which I would assume to be less responsibly placed than the cop’s, hit a couple kids playing on the sidewalk?
Of course, I’d be remiss to not bring up the national hot-button issue of the last couple of years. Black people being killed by cops is under incredible scrutiny. But you discredit your movement and the lives lost under legitimately controversial conditions when you burn your own community to the ground. Per the NY Post:
A total of six businesses were set on fire Saturday, 17 protesters were arrested and four officers were injured by flying concrete or glass. A 16-year-old girl was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after being hit by a stray bullet.
The violence continued late Sunday, when one person was shot at a protest of about 150 people. Officers used an armored vehicle to retrieve the injured victim and take him to the hospital.
One of the brightest, albeit incendiary comments to come from the chaos emanated from Sherelle Smith, sister of Sylville Smith:
“Take that s*** to the suburbs. Burn that s*** down,” Smith said. “You all want to hurt somebody, take that further out. Don’t bring it here.”
Whoops, too late, Sherelle. The “peaceful” protesters had already torched 6 local businesses, injured 4 officers, popped off their firearms, and hurt at least 2 of their own neighbors. Looks like the hardworking Americans lost again. Can’t really complain about the lack of jobs when you burn down the businesses that create them. And you can’t really blame a police officer if he refuses to enter into a neighborhood on your behalf where he is going to be targeted and harmed. Oh wait- yes you can. That’s the new American way.
Check out this 360 degree camera angle that shows the devastation of the riots. Nothing like burning down your local auto parts store to make the nation “feel your pain.” Sylville would be honored.