The first police involved shooting of the year occurred hours after midnight when police responded to a report of shots fired in an ally in the University District. I’m not post to discuss the events that occurred but rather our reactions to them. More and more frequently I am getting my local news from neighborhood blogs. Their stories are often more inclusive and detailed than the papers, but they are not held to the same accountability which I think is the mortar supporting the foundation against the demise of the printed press.
The Phinney Wood blog provided a link to the suspect’s myspace page as well as to related news articles. With the over-saturation and hyper coverage of news in our culture I’ve been more compelled to troll through the comments of major news articles despite it’s lack of productivity. I wanted to share two comments from this event that I found interesting.
Amazing how many people can jump to a conclusion, and base their opinions, on such limited information. According to the article “They were shooting rifles in the alley”, “A neighbor heard the cops tell him to drop the weapon”, and the cops stated that the subject pointed the rifle at one of them. Reminds me of the time a subject crushed a mans head through a mirror and left him unconsicous in a public restroom. I arrived, yes I am a Seattle Police Officer, and I had to try and arrest the subject, who was obviously violent, and mentally ill. A fight ensued and a crowd of mostly people gathered around to shout, “Police brutality!” I knew the subject, from previous contacts, so I told him, “Ok, John! Tell you what. You get away from that guy, and I’ll let you go.” I then threw my hand cuffs at a male, in a suit and tie, and said, “Ok, since you know all about fighting combative subjects, you arrest him!” The subject stopped fighting and grinned, while staring at the suit. He also growled at him and showed his teeth. The suit ran away, and the crowd gave applause. The subject was so amused he gave up, got cuffed, and sat into the back of the patrol car. So my challenge is this. To all those people, who are so quick to tell a cop how to do their job. JOIN UP! “Be the change you wish to see in the world!” Or at the very least, do a ride-a-long. Then, when someone points a weapon at us, jump in front of the cop(s). Show us what a wonderful job you’d do. And TomR, whomever you are, think what you want, but know this. If you called SPD, and someone was threatening to kill you, the cops would put themselves between you and the threat. Regardless of what you think of them… Would you do the same for a citizen?
If this story is true, which it may not fully be its a good glimpse of the sad lives of our society in which we stand around like audiences to the gladiators. Organized sports no longer fill the void of chaos and savagery that it once did so we applaud an officers efforts to entertain us while we watch with disparaging tongue and wit.
The next comment sums up our collective world view on recent tragic events. I hope the families of all those involved return to a stable sense of normalcy sooner than later.
So I guess the tone I get from these posts on the Seattle Times is, if you’re a young African American teenager and are murdered or are shot and wounded, you had it coming because of the lifestyle you led. There is no benefit of the doubt and some people on here go so far as to post a link to the teenager’s Myspace page. This paper will detail a criminal history of a young black African American teenager to outline why his death happened. Additionally, when a teenager is killed, people here want to blame the parents and always ask where they were at the time of the incident and wonder why they didn’t do a better job of upbringing.
Yet, a UW student answers the door with a gun in his hand and is shot by Seattle Police and he has all the shadow of doubt in the world and it is considered a tragedy. If you doubt what I say, look back at the tone of the responses to these stories and read for yourself. It disgusts me to no end. Nonetheless, I think no matter who you are or how smart and charming you are and how good of a tipper you are, if you point a functional firearm at a Seattle Police officer, you run the risk of being shot. People have been shot for far less and I am sure, that knowing the victim spoke 3 languages or was a history buff was not a factor to consider when they discharged their weapons. All they saw was the business end of a weapon pointed at them. Far be it from me to condone the actions of Seattle Police but where is the wrongdoing in this?
-Tamao George Yasutake