Friday, January 01, 2016

Welcome to the Bungle

Let's start off the new year right, and take a look at several shootings around the country from the past week:

  • A Florida woman "accidentally" shot and killed her daughter, thinking she was an intruder.

“The homeowner’s story is consistent with the physical evidence and the witness’ statement,” the release states. “At this time, the incident appears to be an accidental shooting; however, the investigation is ongoing and it is considered to be an ‘open investigation.'”

The St. Cloud Police Department asked that media outlets not publish the names of the shooter and her husband, because the man is a police officer who has previously worked undercover. The victim’s mother works as an Osceola County Sheriff’s Office 911 dispatcher, the release states.

A 911 call captured the aftermath of the shooting, which was apparently confusing for those at the scene. In the call, a man can be heard telling a dispatcher that the victim “passed out,” saying she has a pacemaker and a heart problem. A woman later gets on the phone, and struggles to relay information to the dispatcher.

So the homeowners are a cop and a dispatcher, two people who are (even in Florida) presumably trained to observe and to handle stressful situations as they arise. Yet the "man" -- the police officer, mind you -- said nothing about shots being fired, he in fact lied and said she passed out because of her pacemaker. Oh, and we mustn't know the names of these lying morons, because they're cops.

North Las Vegas police reported the female officer was startled and thought the female family member was an intruder when she arrived home 11:30 p.m. Friday in the 3600 block of Kelcie Marie Avenue, near Ann Road and Allen Lane. Both the officer and her husband fired 27 rounds.

The officer shot at the relative, who lived at the home with the officer and her husband. She was struck in the leg.

The relative has non-life threatening injuries.

North Las Vegas police said no charges will be filed against the officer since it was an accidental shooting.

Twenty-seven shots fired inside a house, and only one hit. Yeah, these are definitely the people we need protecting the public safety. These dumb assholes need to be fired just because they're clearly unqualified to handle a fucking gun. And again, we are not allowed to know their names, BECAUSE THEY'RE COPS.

  • Finally, a Los Angeles man went postal and shot up his house, murdering his son's mother, girlfriend, and friend before the son finally wrestled the gun away and killed the dad in self-defense.

Christopher Morey, 33, called 911 to report a shooting at his family’s home. Four people were dead, sheriff’s officials said, including a man Morey shot: his father.

Morey’s father had apparently opened fire shortly after 8:30 p.m., killing his son’s bedridden mother, girlfriend and friend, said sheriff’s Lt. John Corina. Morey then wrestled the handgun away from the 54-year-old and shot him once, killing him, sheriff’s officials said.

Morey was booked on suspicion of murder and held in lieu of $1 million bail, Corina said. Prosecutors will decide whether to charge him with a crime.

“We’ll see what the D.A. wants to do,” Corina said. “We’re going to book him for what he did — he killed another human being.”

One of these things is not like the others, n'est-ce pas? If Christopher Morey had been a cop, the blue wall would have gone up, and he would neither be charged nor publicly named. But we have different rules for different people in this country, and just as the NRA -- a lobby for gun manufacturers, not gun owners -- has ridden a bullshit persecution complex into the ground, so too have law enforcement unions.

Then, of course, there's the infamous Marissa Alexander case, where a battered woman with no record fired a shot into a wall to keep her abusive husband away, and got sentenced to 20 years because Florida's justice system is a cruel monkey-fuck and their state prosecutor is insane. Alexander got released after over a year in prison, and is still under house arrest, even though she harmed no one. Meanwhile George Zimmerman murders a Skittles-wielding teenager in a parking lot, and has been free to menace the women in his life ever since.

This dovetails neatly with the increase in civilians being killed by police, sometimes shot like a fucking dog in the street, extrajudicial executions more than anything. The excuse is that the police officer's life is a constant gauntlet of peril and imminent danger, and they just can't take any chances. It's just so darned dangerous, even though line-of-duty deaths have steadily declined, even though farmers and construction workers are more likely to die on the job, even though no one made them become cops, and if it's so fucking dangerous, a normal person would just say "fuck it" and become a plumber or something.

Now, there's no doubt that kids like Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, and Mario Woods were not the sharpest tools in the proverbial shed, nor did any of them do themselves any favors in the events leading up to their respective demises. But all of them were situations that used to be resolved without bloodshed in the past.

The pernicious fiction that police officers are noble, misunderstood, unfairly persecuted saints has got to stop. There are good ones and bad ones, like any other occupation. The problem is that this particular occupation has license to kill, and an increasing propensity for that as a first resort, at which point they also decide that they don't owe anyone an explanation. The fact is that they are a protected class with special privileges that the rest of us don't have, nor do we have recourse to.

So the president feels the need to Do Something About Guns, and apparently is going to take a look at straw purchasing. That's a start, it's not a bad idea. It might at least have prevented the San Bernardino shootings, though again you have to wonder just how fucking stupid the guy that bought weapons for his durka-durka-mohammed-jihad neighbor must be.

But here are some better, if more difficult, proposals:
  • Change the "shoot to kill first, ask questions later" policies that most police departments seem to have in place now. Most of the high-profile shootings we've heard about could have been resolved with non-lethal force, or even just shooting them in the foot. The whinge that "we don't know if they have a gun" does not confer the automatic right to turn unarmed civilians into Swiss cheese. There has to be a more balanced approach in the middle somewhere
  • Maybe if more cops actually resided in or even near the communities they work in, they might be a little less paranoid.
  • A cop has a relative staying at their house, and they still go off and fire shots without bothering to check if it's an actual intruder, just blindly firing into darkness? That person should not be a cop, period. Part of the reason cops get special treatment is the good-faith presumption, that they have specialized training, experience, skills, that they know how to observe and assess a potentially volatile situation before reacting. The moron LEO couples in Florida and Vegas clearly have none of those things. That goes triple if the cop fires twenty-seven rounds, not to mention if they only hit the target once. Who's their shooting instructor, Stevie Wonder?
  • I have to have insurance on my cars to drive them. If I have a large dog, a swimming pool, or a trampoline, my homeowner's insurance will force me to pay extra freight for those things, or go without home insurance altogether. There is an economic incentive to be smart and responsible. We all understand that owning a gun is a constitutional right, but there need to be consequences for people who use them stupidly or neglectfully. Either throw them in jail for criminal negligence, or make them pay their share for the collective damage wrought by their irresponsibility. And it's time to look at making gun owners carry liability insurance. Not fair? Hey, I don't think it's fucking fair that my medical insurance premiums go up every year, in part to pay for all the uninsured shooting victims that go to the emergency room. Gun owners seem to be just fine with the rest of the country socializing the costs of the violence and death and damage. Where's our constitutional right to not get saddled with the costs of their bullshit? It's time to change that equation a bit.

All of these proposals are really just a single proposal -- accountability. For everyone. If you're a cop and you fuck up and someone loses their life, you lose your job and your gun, because you are not serving the public, you're endangering them. If you're a civilian and someone dies because you tried to be Deputy Dawg and killed your house guest because you're too dumb or lazy to see if it's really an intruder, or your 5-year-old grandchild finds your loaded Desert Eagle and "accidentally" kills himself or someone else, you're fucking responsible. You should go to jail, the victim's family should be able to sue you, you should not be allowed to own a gun.

It may not be fair to some, but the rest of us don't think it's fair that we all have to collectively pay for this nonsense. I don't want to take guns away from any responsible owners, but I think we're at a point there we need to insist that they be removed from irresponsible owners, whether they're cops or civilians. Quit treating these easily preventable instances of incompetence and neglect as "accidents" and that's half the battle right there.

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