Monday, February 14, 2011

Suicide by Cop

I may be showing some insensitivity here, and if so, I am sorry.  It is not my intent.  Suicide is always hard on the people left behind, and I in no way wish to minimize the grief that friends and family are feeling.

In a study of 707 officer involved shootings between 1998 and 2006, conducted and published by Dr. Kris Mohandie, thirty-six percent of the incidents were incidents where the shooting was precipitated purposefully in order to force police officers to kill a person.  But the person who wants the officer to shoot them because they wish to die, but cannot kill themselves is not the only victim in such situations.  They put officers lives in danger, innocent bystanders lives in danger and with certainty they cause a great deal of emotional turmoil for the officers involved.

This morning Lakewood Police officers were dispatched to a domestic dispute.  When they arrived, a woman with a knife in her hand emerged from the mobile home she shared with a domestic partner neighbors say she often fought with.  Shouting for officers to shoot her, the woman pointed and waived the knife, but the officers held their fire.  The woman then ran back into the trailer home and shortly afterward, returned with a gun.  She continued to shout at the officers to shoot her, but it was not until she raised the gun and pointed it at officers, that they fired.  Three officers fired, and thankfully, the only person their bullets struck was the woman with the gun.

I admit that my first sympathy when I heard of this case was toward the officers who were put in this position.  It is a cruel and thoughtless act to force a police officer to shoot a person, and thereafter subject them to emotional turmoil.  I was especially saddened that this act was forced upon three Lakewood Officers.  As I see it, they have been subjected to so much.

I just want to say that though I am sorry that the woman who chose to end her life was successful, I am especially sorry that three of Lakewood's police officers will have to deal with this as well. 

I have not forgotten the special burden Lakewood officers still carry, and I hope that these three officers will not be further burdened.  And I am damn glad that in forcing police officers to shoot her, this woman did not cause any innocent bystanders or police officers to be hurt or worse.

Thank you for your service.  I have not forgotten the sacrifice this department has made to protect the people of their community.

No comments:

Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
As always, the photos we use are either my own, or in the public domain. Please let me know if there are any errors and I'll correct them immediately.