Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On the grand scale of things...

There are much worse things that can happen to a person when they assault a police officer than a punch in the face. Two teens children thug wannabes deeply misguided youth deciding to get physical with one officer is just a recipe for bad times.

When your friend is getting busted for jay-walking, and decides to get physically frisky with the citing officer, the right answer is "stand back, nibble popcorn, and be awed by friend or about-t0-be-former friends amazing stupidity" - not "jump in, and physically attack officer".

The first approach leads to a story you can tell your kids and grandkids and laugh. The second, not so much, and a possible felony conviction for assault on an officer as an ugly little bonus.

It shouldn't be necessary, but I will point out that "don't sell out cheap" is a good life lesson to live by in situations ranging from financial transactions to legal matters and on to matters of violence and criminality.

Managing to turn a jay-walking ticket into assault on an officer is, to put it mildly, selling out cheap. You can pay out a jay-walking citation for perhaps $150.00 or so - even if you win, you'll have spent AT LEAST ten times that fighting the case when you're on video hitting an officer...and if you lose, you'll get to pay all that money...get a felony record...and spend quality time with ugly felonious folks. Don't sell out cheap (also rendered, "don't be stupid").

That the local chapters of the NAACP and Urban League are drumming up public controversy rather than sending the much-needed message to children of all ages (right up to age 80 or so) that "hitting cops is bad, and when you do, lots of bad things happen - should be saved for SPECIAL occasions" at a minimum by trumpeting how a single officer, already beset by one assaultive teen mid-arrest/citation was "just plain wrong" to hit teen assailant #2 in the not just counter-productive, but borders on evil.

Teaching the community that cops are fair game who may not "hit back" is to set up members of that same community for violence and quite possibly perforation when that lesson is proven false.

To promote that "thinking happy thoughts" and sweet reason are the only options available to a police officer when assaulted with anything less than lethal force is to put officers and suspects at unnecessary risk.

A baton or pepper spray are not necessarily any better than a swift punch to the face, and if laws are going to be enforced, we need to accept that "Gee, perhaps not everyone will be sweetly cooperative" - to the extent that officers are allowed reasonable use of force.

Force is *never* pretty. A lot of other things aren't, either. However, in most of life while pretty is *nice*, it's a good long way from *necessary* in getting the job done.

Fortunately, though the SPD initially supported and then took semi-punitive action (assignment to a training unit) against the officer, the union (in one of the few instances when such organizations are worthwhile) is backing the officers actions in their entirety.

In the situation at hand, the officer should be commended for quick thinking and appropriate action while under assault by persons who might or might not be armed. The two assailants should be charged with felony assault on an officer.

And in one of the rare instances I would advocate such...if the NAACP and Urban League can't bring themselves to say something recognizing the officers restraint and handling in a bad situation gone worse, perhaps, just this once, they should consider holding their tongue.

The officer didn't start the fight. He didn't seek out a fight. But he did finish it, and without body bags or hospital trips for anyone involved. The officer deserves a gold star, not a tour with the training division and the public humiliation of the department announcing he is being required to review use-of-force training...before they even determine he actually did anything wrong (and the video tends to make one think...he didn't).

Stupid should hurt. Otherwise, folks don't learn from it, and keep repeating it to the detriment of themselves and all about them.


Jason Cato said...

I am glad I live in a town where jay walking is not illegal.

Firehand said...

Could add this to the "How not to get your ass kicked by the police" video:
"If your friend wants to start a fight with the officer, stand back or sit down and stay out of it!"