Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Knock, knock

If I randomly walked up to a house at 1 a.m., pounded on the door, then shot and killed the confused occupant because they responded to my knock while armed, they'd lock me away.  And rightfully so.

So why does a uniform and a badge grant immunity?
Lake County Sheriff's Office deputies shot and killed a man they assumed was an attempted murder suspect on Sunday, but they now know they shot the wrong man.
In the early morning hours, deputies knocked on 26-year-old Andrew Lee Scott's door without identifying themselves as law enforcement officers. Scott answered the door with a gun in his hand.
"When we knocked on the door, the door opened and the occupant of that apartment was pointing a gun at deputies and that's when we opened fire and killed him," Lt. John Herrell said.
"Law Enforcement" -- itself an unhappy devolution from the idea of 'peace officers' -- has become a hair-trigger exercise of force by organizations that more closely resemble an occupying army than the neighborhood constable.  It's a sad thing to ponder whether they've become as dangerous to those who live in crime-ridden areas as the criminals themselves.

Police demand official immunity is such botched circumstances.  I say that's asking to be above the law.  If you know you'll face consequences for misapplying a license for deadly force, you're more likely not to use such force when other options are available.  This alone would reduce the overuse of SWAT teams.  Not to mention making sure they actually have the right address before going in, guns and adrenaline at the ready. 

"With great power comes great responsibility."  Such occupations need a "one-strike, you're done" rule.

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