23MAR09 There are NO Routine Traffic stops....

...only 'unknown risk' traffic stops.

Case in point, Oakland this last Saturday. The suspect opened fire immediately and killed two motorcycle police officers and ran off. He barricaded himself into an apartment and used a rifle banned in California and killed one more SWAT officer and wounded others. I'm glad that we all train that each traffic stop may result in violence, sometimes you can't do much about that, other times, you just make sure your tactics are adjusted as such and contact the driver correctly.

Complacency will get you killed. Also, if you are annoyed by how 'paranoid' the officer is treating you, get over it. Walk a mile in his shoes, and you'll understand. I was lucky, I was in Iraq and had a slightly looser ROE in that regard... I also make sure I don't get pulled over by actually driving the speed limit too... So far, my wife is the only one who has been pulled over! I don't know, maybe I just have that 'good guy' look or something (*knocks on wood*).

They call Tazers and other devices 'Less-Lethal' for a reason. Mainly, because they are likely NOT going to kill you 99.9% of the time. But there is always the off chance something bad might happen like in Michigan. These events are unpredictable, and shouldn't preclude the use of tazers. Nor should they be used as an excuse by CA, MA, and NY to ban tazers (which they require a license to own or use, along with pepper spray, mace, and other items for self defense... hmmm... don't want you to protect yourself? ...hmmm... damn Fascists). We watched a fantastic training film at Drill this weekend for Law Enforcement Officers, it was called "Surviving Edged Weapons". Several of the scenarios in which officers are killed involve mentally ill folks wielding blades, back when the video was made, the only 'less lethal' techniques for disarming these folks was to use a baton or pepper spray which inevitably led to more fighting and injury in both cases, and many times sadly resulted in officers having to shoot the mentally ill individual. Now, with tazers, they can completely stun a person and override the ability of that person to harm themselves and others. This is fantastic. However, contingencies like death from a tazer should not be overly blown out of proportion. It beats the heck out of any other form of blunt trauma device (baton, etc.) or OC spray (pepper spray, mace, etc) by taking the suspect down in a flash with minimal injury. Batons and OC sprays can result in death more easily than tazers! However, whenever force is used, it must be used ONLY when justified by the tactical circumstances... It wouldn't surprise me if the investigation in MI goes either way. It all depends on how the officers reacted and what the suspect was doing.

Regrettably, the mentally ill remain vulnerable to society at large. When left un-attended, they can harm themselves and others, yet its considered 'in-humane' or 'too expensive' to institutionalize them. So many remain on the streets of every city, and will inevitably become victims of violence committed by regular folks, criminals, and even police. Such victimization might lead the mentally ill to violence, in which you, or a police officer, may have to defend yourself against. In such cases, you will be the bad guy. After all, the individual who attacked you is 'mentally ill' 'insane' or 'mentally disabled' and therefore not responsible for his actions while you are just a judgmental bigot with a gun who shot him/beat him/etc... Go ahead, look up Police and mentally ill in any search engine...

Being a Catholic and attuned to social justice, this presents some challenges. I think our Church should lead the way in humane care and treatment of the mentally ill whom they expound are continually victims of our Justice system and poverty. I don't believe the Government has the ability, nor responsibility, to take care of something that we as community can do of our volition through charity. On the East Coast I'm sure there are still the mental health clinics run by the Catholic Church funded in part by tithe money and donations. That is the model that the rest of the Christian community and country should follow! Heck, why don't philanthropic organizations of atheists care enough to run clinics like that?

Nothing drives me more crazy at Mass than to hear a priest expound how the Justice system singles out the mentally ill. Thats bull. Mentally ill are in most cases the attacker. People are homeless for many reasons, mental illness is one, and those who are mentally ill should be taken off the streets and cared for. Those who choose homelessness should be left alone as long as they leave others alone (i.e. don't commit a crime). There are soup kitchens, and there are shelters. They aren't going to starve or die of exposure due to lack of care, just negligence of the self inflicted wounds of addiction. If they don't want to seek treatment, and we don't want to force treatment, let them be. We all have choices. As the economy crumbles, those who are dead weight to society will be victims of they're own actions and will suffer the most like they have since the beginning of time. We give them the chance to be a part of society, and we will treat them as humans, but once the raise a hand in violence, they need to suffer the consequence of that choice and face justice.

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