Friday, December 5, 2014

I have a concern............

and I thought I would voice it here and get some feedback from you my lovelies.

In light of the recent police vs citizens shootings/killings and the ensuing violence, I have some personal concerns about my well being and the well being of my intimates (family, friends, neighbors).

Let me say that if I were ever in a situation where I was told by the police to raise my hands above my head or to put my hands on the back of my head, I would be unable to comply. My shoulder joints do not move that way anymore. If I were told to get down on the ground and lay face down, I would be unable to comply. I haven't been on the ground of my own free will in 9 years. If I was asked to put my hands behind my back, palms up. Nope, I couldn't. Would I be viewed by the police as being hostile, or uncooperative, yes. But that would not change the fact that I could not, not would not, comply and so...........would I be tazzed, shot, have a knee in my neck? I think so.

I am a fan of police. They are supposed to keep me safe and protected from the others in society that are not law abiding. I have taught my daughter and my grands to be respectful, polite and appreciative towards the police. Has that changed?

Yes, in my mind. I am fearful of those that I hold in esteem. Should I dwell on something that probably would never occur to me because I do follow the laws, I am respectful, I don't get into questionable situations. Probably not, because that would don't do me any good. But then that also begs the question, who chooses to be in questionable situations.....those that the police are to protect the community from?......maybe.

There was an incident where a 71 year old woman didn't get out of her car quickly enough for the officer who saw a BOLO saying that the make and model of the car she was driving had just been used in a robbery.  He yanked her out of the car, threw her on the pavement and proceeded to sit on her to subdue her. While he handcuffed her, she had a heart attack and went limp. He thought she was faking and dragged her to his squad car and then as he was going to put her in the backseat, he saw she was blue. He then called for emergency services. She died. The make and model of the car was spot on, the license plate however was from another state. But the lady who had just had her hair done that morning when the robbery was taking place was still dead.

I am the most concerned for my grandson. When in a stressful situation, he does not respond to verbal commands well. As a matter of fact he just blanks everything out and just stands there. Does that mean that a police person could see that as uncooperative, hell yes. And Ry, when grown, will be over 6 feet tall and large framed. More of a threat to the police, yes. Would they hesitate to draw down on him, hell no. Chatter caught on lapel cameras of officers indicates that just by looking at someone they can "size them up" as troublemakers, or worse the "perp", without anything more to go on.

Albuquerque Police Department has been under investigation by the Justice Department microscope for way too many shootings of unarmed people. You may have seen on the news the one where a homeless man, with autism and other disorders was killed in the foothills of Albuquerque. The reason he was shot, he did not comply with verbal commands, he was large, he was seen as a threat and he wasn't supposed to be camping out in that area. The chatter on the lapel camera indicated that the one officer who shot him said that he was crazy and they would need to take him down? He was "crazy" according to them, mentally ill and needed to be taken to the hospital, instead he was taken to the morgue.

Another young man in Seattle was shot and killed outside of a convenience store. Why? The police were answering a man with a gun call. He, his brother and his cousin were leaving the convenience store when the police arrived on scene. His brother and cousin complied to the verbal commands. This young man had his earbuds in and did not hear the commands. When he did turn around probably wondering where his companions were, he saw the police officer, reached to turn off his i-pod and was shot dead on the spot. He had no weapon, made no threat to the police but he was dead.

Do I blame the shooters in these horrible scenarios? Yes/No. Does it make me anymore secure about the police. No. I do understand that they risk their lives every time they answer a call, but are they not accountable for their actions and choices like the rest of us? Do they not carry the burden of proof in judging situations? I've never been a police officer, but being human, I know I have misjudged situations. I have over reacted, I have found fault before I knew but rather just felt something about someone. But I have also not reacted to things when I should have. There is that double edge sword that always comes into my thinking. I try to see all sides.

I sorrow for all those that have lost loved ones to questionable police killings, I sorrow for the police officers who mistakenly harm someone. And more importantly, I worry for all of us.

But this all begs the question? Should I walk through life afraid? No. Should I be aware of my surroundings and circumstances all the time? Yes. Can I protect those that I love, Maybe. Can I make a difference in this question? I don't know. What do you think? Are we powerless or do we have a voice or choice in this dilemma?

17 comments:

  1. As in any group, there are bound to be a bunch of bullies. When those bullies tend to take command of a situation, chaos generally results. On a whole I feel that the majority of police are decent people but too many bullies in their ranks seem to have risen to the surface taking command of situations that all too often result in chaos.

    It is good that this is being brought to light and more attention is being paid, that more and more police departments are being analyzed and evaluated. I think good will eventually come of all the media attention and we will end up with more humane police departments that have been taught to take into consideration the frailties and flaws of the public in general.

    I feel many times the police are in situations where they fear for their lives and many times over compensate with power bullying. In a perfect world we would not need a police department because there would be no law breaking; but we reside in an imperfect world where policing of the public is a necessity.

    I understand your deep concern that the circumstances you have described could happen to any of your loved ones but I, for one, am not going to let that type of fear dominate or rule my life.

    You know, the police have been fooled by transgressors pretending to be something they are not so many times that they probably tend to approach each contact with trepidation ... "is this person really who he seems to be, or a pretender, someone who will kill me given the chance"? I often wonder if they are taught to "shoot to kill" rather than "shoot to disable"? Probably "shoot to kill" because "shoot to disable" would most likely end up in a huge law suit.

    I have no answers to your questions Oma Linda ... other than what my Mother once told me, "I used to worry about all kinds of things that could happen to you kids and your Dad; over the years I have learned that what I did not worry about is what happens .... ". That simple phrase has lived with me all these years and formed the way I live my life; don't worry about what could happen ... save the worrying for when something does happen and THEN deal with it.

    In the meantime, I do a lot of mini-praying. It seems to be working for me ... and I don't end up stressed out (at least not very often).

    I love you Oma Linda ... someday this situation will resolve itself and we will live in a better society. I pray that resolution will come soon.

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  2. Now that's a question.

    Years ago while recovering from an auto accident my sister was requested to stand on one leg as a sobriety test. She could not so they transported her. She was livid! And told them so at the station...continuously and quite loudly, with a few questions about ticket quotas and harassing blonde women.

    Thanks to a small town police situation, her husband was called to pick her up and "get her outta here!" She was not drunk but was temporarily disabled. In a different town she may have been in danger.

    My daughter was asked if she was going to "straighten up" after her reply, yes. The sheriff said, Good because if you mess up again, I will have to shoot you. Was this a "good ole boy" joke or was it truth?

    I have no answers.

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  3. You took the time to write this post and it deserves a comment. I don't so much admire the police. I think there are a lot of men being accepted to the police force that are not desirable. I think the police unions protect their members far too much. I think the "brothers in arms" protect each other, right or wrong. The South Bend Indiana department has a lot of issues. Members condemn those in their force that criticize some on the force. I suspect there are a lot of forces all over the country that suffer from the same issues as South Bend.

    I suspect if your department has these issues, you should be scared for your kids when they are old enough to be with their friends away from home.

    I try to stay away from political issues on the web, but this issue is a cancer that is being exposed more and more across the country. What can you do? I think the protesters are doing it. Peaceful protest to force politicians to make improvements....just like we did when we were kids in the 60's. I suppose not many would agree with me, but everyone's voice should be heard without prejudice.
    xx, Carol

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  4. I understand your concern and have a problem with unarmed people being killed. One problem is that most governments are cutting back on mental health budgets and cops are expected to deal with people who actually want to be shot. We recently had a situation where a woman was waving a shotgun at our cops and pointing it at them, and they had no option but to shoot back. Cops don't get over shooting anyone quickly or easily. But it does seem black people are treated by many police departments differently than the rest of us.

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  5. The bit about Ry worries me. My goodness, I don't even want to think about what might happen. It breaks my heart that you must. How does Ry respond to drills? Like fire safety drills... Could he benefit from learning to put his hands up by instinct. I know it sounds extreme, and angering that this has to even be thought about, but that's preferable to the alternative.

    My Boy is twenty-five year old Black Hispanic male who walks around with an eternal frown on his face. He is tall. He is very muscular. He goes to college and works for the City of New York University police. He gets stopped and frisked a few times a month. It makes him (and me) really upset. Some months ago, I found myself telling him that if he every get stop to follow the officer's instructions to the letter. "Don't look at them, baby," I told him. "Be submissive." It kills me to have to say those things to my Boy, but the alternative would be more difficult to live with.

    I understand your fears. And I'm a bit disgusted at our justice system for having allowed those who are meant to serve and protect, to terrify us instead.

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  6. I feel everything you have said, however I only feel this when I cross the border into the USA. I know, that if a police officer stopped me I would be terrified, and the only reason he might stop me is ????? I do know the police protect citizens but you have to agree with me that some policemen are out of control. and it seems to me that with everyone or anyone having guns - the new law is shoot now and ask questions later. With all these shootings going on and much more, its kinda scary and I have to admit there is a seed in the back of my mind that fears American Police. I grew up in a family that looked to Police, Firemen, School Teachers, Ministers - gee, even the milkman or Taxi Driver were protectors - well, in today's world that's not exactly so anymore is it. I would teach Ry right now what he should do in such a situation - kinda scary, but if you don't follow the orders yelled at you, anything could happen. We had a Mountie that recently out west that stopped a vehicle for speeding and there were 4 young men in the vehicle - they shot him through the window and took off. They were caught and now in Jail and a Father, Husband/Son is dead... FOR WHAT? We live in a violent society and a few decades where children watch TV and play violent games, then they take their games to the streets and schools. No fresh air and parking lot baseball games for those kids - just violence to watch and play - The protectors - The Police - I pity them today, when they stop a vehicle or answer a call - there's good and bad on both sides. WE are not powerless Oma and we do have a voice and we can protect those we love, but on the other side how does the next officer react to same situation when previous officer is gunned down. Rage, flipping over cars, burning buildings and stealing is definitely not the answer - where is the voice when all this happens?

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    Replies
    1. I agree it's out of hand. Don't get me wrong with the previous comment. I still go to the police for help and respect their authority. Sometimes a situation can get out of hand just because. On the other end I imagine the police are fearful too.

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  7. It's one of those things I try not to think of. So far, during the few times I've had to deal with police I've come away with nothing worse than a ticket. But I worry about my son, who's skin is my same shade of caramel, but who really has a hard time respecting authority until they've proved to him they are are someone worth listening to.

    I also have a friend married to a police officer. He's a hell of a nice guy and I worry about things that might happen in the heat of the moment. I wish I had an answer for you. All I can say is I understand too.

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  8. Your post has hit on so many of my own fears for myself and my loved ones. I have an autistic nephew who wouldnt comply with verbal commands and a brother who they would deem a threat and not hesitate to gun down. I have always feared police and uniformed services. I don't know why, I just know they never gave me the warm fuzzy feeling of security from their presence. As a child they frightened me, and as an adult they still do. I could hide behind my mother when I was little. As an adult I have to pretend I am not terrified they will find some reason to demand to see my papers, search the car, search my person, find some fault with me. Police don't inspire comfort or confidence in me, only fear. I don't know how to fix the problem that seems to be on the rise of "them" gunning down "us". I, personally, feel powerless against what seems like a rising police state.

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  9. Both sides of the fence are sadly mired in violence. I once had an officer pull a gun on me for the same reason as that lady in your example. My vehicle matched one that was used in a crime. I was pulled over, then a bull horn told me to get out of the car with my hands in the air. When I looked back, the officer was behind his open car door with his gun leveled at me. I was terrified I would make a move he would interpret as aggressive. That was 25 years ago and I remember the fear today.
    I also had a good friend whose husband was a cop. He was gunned down after stopping a car for a broken tail light. Each side has basis for its fears. I have no idea what the answer is but I hope someone smarter can find one. As the others said, It would be prudent to school Ry in what he should do if he is ever approached. I understand your fear and hope there is a solution.

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  10. After reading all the comments, I am gonna stick my neck out here.

    Do we compare the number of all those shot instead of black, tan versus white, bad guy. good guy? Compare the behavior in the incident and truly be nonjudgmental? Until we can do that, I think no one can point a figure or sing a reason.

    Officers are trained to react to a perceived/real threat the same way. A citizen also now has that same right though it was a long time coming. The world is changing sadly and we will have to change with it.

    There are many situations that can be mistakenly perceived as a threat. To remain safe, we must follow the guide lines as closely as we can as do the officers.

    I also have a story of a state trooper who unbuckled and held my grandson and comforted him as they removed my daughter from the vehicle.

    There are good and bad in all colors and all walks of life in the United States and out of it. It is not for us to judge but to do the best we can by our personal actions.

    God help us all.

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  11. Oma Linda, I don't know what to say? I have been reading through everyone's comments. I truly think there is bad and good in everything. You have to take care of yourself and your family, as best as you can! Try to be wise and be aware of all your happenings around you. If I couldn't move the way the cops wanted me to, I would try to tell them I couldn't. Don't know if that would help? I also feel so bad for Ry. Try not to worry! Live ;o) Big Hugs ;o)

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  12. You and yours are protected by one very important thing. You are white. Yes some white people have been shot and or brutalized by police but percentage wise? Hardly ever. If a cop is so afraid for his life that he shoots first without understanding the situation, without even trying to understand the situation, then they need to get a different job. People are not given the opportunity to comply. A guy holding a toy gun in a store that sells toy guns is shot dead. In an open carry state. Why? Because he was black. He wasn't given any opportunity to comply. He was a black man holding a gun and so he is now dead. Children walking to school are stopped and searched. Why? Because they are black. I could go on. This is a racist country. Black people have been killed with impunity since the day they were brought to this country in chains. I know most cops are good people except for the fact that they don't ever call out the bad cops which just gives the bad cops carte blanche. Which makes the good cops not all that good. They see it and they do nothing to stop it. The other cops standing around while the one crushed that black guy's trachea in a choke hold just stood around and watched him do it. For selling loose cigarettes. None of them tried to stop it.

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  13. This is a heart-stopping post. THe comments are good. We can discuss all we want, and still, if and when a situation occurs, there is no time to act or react. It is a blink-of-the-eye time frame. Scary to think about, but I have no idea what the solution is.

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  14. Oh my.....I have held this fear for a long time myself (re Autism and lack of understanding) and I do not know how to lesson your fear. I worry all the time my boy is travelling to and from school, and our Police don't carry guns. School tries to discourage him from telling everyone that he has "issues", but I tell him it is the first thing he should say if approached by the police...and just hope that he doesn't "zone-out" as he calls it. If I was in your situation, I would go and visit the local office, and ask them directly what they can do to help you help them. (though I know I don't know how possible that would be for you) XXX

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  15. A fine post and valid questions, concerns and fears. Just a couple of weeks ago, my son has been badged as a police officer. He will begin work later this month. I fear for his safety and I fear for his mental well-being if he ever finds himself in a situation that where he might have regrets. I think it can happen easily. But I think that what Ellen said is even closer to the point. There's a huge bigotry issue. I'd like to see us evolve past that one day, but I don't hold out a lot of hope.

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