Wednesday, July 25, 2012

To Serve and Protect

There was an officer-involved fatal shooting in South Dallas last night.  Police were responding to a kidnapping call at a location known to be a "drug house".  Four suspects fled the house, and one was shot and killed after a lengthy chase filled with multiple fights with one of the police officers.  Rumor quickly spread through the neighborhood and beyond that the suspect was shot in the back by the officer.

Hundreds of "angry" people soon filled the streets to "confront" police, prompting a call for SWAT along with other reinforcements.  Meanwhile the parents of the slain suspect stated that their son was unarmed and fleeing when he was shot in the back.  Later, the Chief of Police stated that he believed the suspect was shot in the abdomen and the hand.  He also stated that he did not believe that any of the suspect's family actually witnessed the shooting, saying that family members make similar claims "on almost every shooting."

While there are legitimate questions surrounding what transpired up to the shooting, I couldn't help but think how this happens nearly every time, if not every time, that there is a shooting involving police.  That holds true across the country, not just in Dallas.  People rush to judgement.  There is a predetermined mistrust of police.

It is true that many cities have suffered from police corruption, but the ones who have suffered the most are the police themselves.  Most police officers are good people, placing their lives on the line every single day to serve and protect people that they do not know.  Nation wide, 57 police officers have been killed in the line of duty this year alone.

All of them are human as are you and I.  While training helps a police officer to prepare for such encounters, do you really think that any human being is truly "prepared" to respond perfectly or as some machine during a struggle for his/her own life?  I leave the question open for you to ponder.

We don't have all of the facts and evidence in this case.  It will take time to collect evidence and statements from those involved and from witnesses.  Let's calmly let those entrusted with such things take the necessary time to make a fair determination, report their findings, and to follow up accordingly.

Meanwhile, perhaps we can think kindly of and pray for all of the police men and women who take an oath to serve and protect us, and who do so every day.

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