With the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri and subsequent fallout, there is a lot of second guessing going on. For myself, I am quick to forgive individual failings, and look to institutional biases to explain gross injustice, as the Brown shooting appears to be.
In this case, I look at a white police force in a black community, and hatred between the police and the people they are charged to serve and protect. Blacks are not innocent victims, as they are just people. Nor are the police free of guilt, as their culture supports violence. So when there is a naked confrontation, the officer has a choice: Shoot, knowing that he’ll likely get off, or back down, not knowing what will happen. Seeing a large angry man coming at me, and having only the basics of training in handling weapons, I assume I too would have shot and then hoped that my brother police officers would have my back.
For the black community, it is hard to watch one of their own gunned down, but more so knowing that it can be done with impunity; that the only justice will likely come from mob violence. They come from a culture that has endured untold indignity. This was best expressed in a Wayans Brothers movie I saw where, trying to get police to respond to a crime the only thing the black guy could think to do was to call 911 and say “White girl in trouble!” Numerous police cars responded instantly.
Being black in a society dominated by whites is hard to endure, which is why they have developed their own means of communicating. This is reflected especially in their music. They can dog whistle one another while we whites assume it’s just a tribal beat. But it is a bubbling cauldron, and it only takes one flagrant abuse of white power for the community to erupt. When that happens, the cops drop the public service masks and go on the offensive. Pictures of cops brandishing weapons at innocent civilians are disgusting, but the rage is mutual.
I didn’t sit down to write all of that. I was only curious about the fact that the Officer Daren Wilson, the man who shot Michael Brown, emptied his weapon. I was reminded of a shooting in Billings, Montana where the assailant’s weapon was a motor vehicle. There too the officer emptied his weapon into the driver. He was immediately suspended pending investigation, and a spokesperson at that time said that officers were trained to empty weapons in potentially fatal confrontations.
Why, I thought? The answer is obvious, but not if we are TV drama viewers. There, when people get shot they immediately drop, and are dead unless they have more than an extra role in the presentation. I put up the picture of Reagan above because, contrary to the official story, he has already been shot and does not know it. People do not drop when they are shot, and usually don’t even realize it for a period of time. The head shot is the best way to disable a victim, but cops are not that well trained in firearms. Anyway, who can say where to shoot when an officer is in panic mode? A large man presents a good target, and the torso is the best sure hit, the head a little more iffy. But it takes quite a few shots to disable an assailant, more so a large man.
If that is what happened.
So officers are trained to empty their weapons, create as many wounds as possible so that the victim will bleed out and lose consciousness as soon as possible. One shot will not do. In the meantime even if already hit, he is still a threat. The officer is in survival mode, and training allows him, even instructs him, to shoot, shoot shoot until out of bullets.