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?