Shortly after the shooting in Atlanta, I was driving to work and I heard the following news on the radio, “More unrest erupts following another shooting of an unarmed black man in Atlanta”.
I sat at the stop light thinking about the shooting in Atlanta and said to myself, “That dude was not unarmed!” That description is wholly inaccurate and dangerous.
The officer who fired the fatal shot was denied due process and immediately fired from his job. His partner was reassigned to ‘administrative duty.’
Police work is thankless and dangerous enough without the stoked hysteria and distortions of the profession and its adherents. Most people simply do not understand the use-of-force continuum that police officers are forced to consider in a split second, with lives hanging in the balance.
The media reporting in this case is misguided. Racism isn’t new and it will not go away. What is new, and becoming more prevalent, is the interest in pointing it out and calling out its perpetrators through both mainstream and social media.
In Atlanta, the suspect grabbed one of the officer’s Tasers and began to run off before turning and pointing the Taser at the officer, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
DID YOU SEE THAT?
Let’s take a look at what happened.
The suspect, was being placed under arrest for suspicion of drunk driving, a misdemeanor. He then resisted arrest and fought with an officer, which is a felony (or at least a high court misdemeanor in Michigan). He then removed a weapon from the officer’s belt, which is a felony. The suspect then fled while armed and turned towards the officers and fired the weapon, another felony.
So how can the media report that it was a shooting of an unarmed man?
How can people argue that “it was just a misdemeanor”, or “just a drunk driving arrest”?
The problem with the news media and the public, is they do not know anything about the use-of-force continuum, and the overwhelming majority of them have never been involved in anything even remotely close to a life or death situation.
An officer is not expected to wait to see if he gets hit or not, injured or not, before he returns fire.
The moment the suspect turned towards the officer and pointed what unarguably is a weapon, whether it was a Taser or a handgun, the officer would be justified in using deadly force.
Let’s review again what I heard on the radio, “More unrest erupts following another shooting of an unarmed black man in Atlanta.” Just removing the word “unarmed” would have made this statement more accurate. But why add “another” or “black” man? Agenda.
The use of lethal force, in many cases, reflects the risks inherent in policing and the duty to mitigate immediate danger to the public and police personnel. The overwhelming majority of people killed by the police are armed. Nearly half of all people fatally shot by police are white. Yet, most of these shootings draw little or no attention.
EVERYTHING GETS A HEADLINE
Living in a networked world has many advantages. We get our news online almost as soon as it happens, we stay in touch with friends via social media, and we advance our careers through online professional networks.
But there is a darker side to the internet and media, in general. They exploit these unique features to spread divisive ideas, racial hate and mistrust.
What has been exposed is the weakness of our media. This has allowed powerful media figures and companies to orchestrate disinformation campaigns. It has been done at the expense of the public’s health and safety and now, the police.
The anti-police sentiment has been amping up for several years. Adding race and police to a headline is another way to perpetuate the divide, and create more distrust in the police.
In the Atlanta case, the news could have said, “More unrest in Atlanta over police shooting.” Then the public could listen to, or search for, more details about the incident and make their own deductions. Adding unarmed and black to the headline is not helpful in any way.
IF IT BLEEDS, IT LEADS
Why won’t the media report the news that way? Because it doesn’t smack you in the mouth! It doesn’t sell or draw attention, and it doesn’t perpetuate the divide. In pointing out the police as racist, the media doesn’t have to ask themselves difficult questions about their own privilege or do the work of fostering social humility.
Are there some racist cops? Sure, but if we want to move forward, we need to stop taking an aggressive punitive approach to individual racism. This only divides the right and the left. No side is ‘innocent’ when it comes to discrimination.
The media has a duty to accurately and truthfully report the news. Adding race, or in this case, patently false information, does nothing but further the divide and causes dissention.
Being a police officer is a difficult and thankless job. Everyday police officers place themselves in harm’s way to protect others.
- Head on a swivel.
- Watch your six.
- Eat with your back to the wall, facing the door.
- Did they fuck with my food?
Turn on the news and learn about how bad you are. Get advice from the ‘experts’ on how to fix your bad self (more training).
Do it all again over again the next day.
By reporting this clearly false narrative, the media is making the job even more dangerous. Be careful of the media, and their agenda.
“Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “
We couldn’t agree more.
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