Last December in Miami, nearly two dozen law enforcement officers fired upon and killed two unarmed occupants of a crashed vehicle at a scene to which they were responding. Reportedly, the officers fired approximately 50 rounds in an initial volley, during which the victims somehow survived. The officers then took an approximate two minute pause before loosing another volley that witnesses say lasted about 25 seconds and ultimately left the two occupants dead. In all, subsequent investigations concluded that 23 officers fired a total of 377 rounds (!), and luckily left only the two occupants dead. Two small children in a nearby home reportedly narrowly escaped becoming innocent victims in this case of errant projectiles and two the responding officers themselves were wounded as well in the accompanying crossfire.
Undoubtedly, many will point to reports that the driver of the crashed vehicle allegedly shot and killed a police officer earlier that evening as justification for this nonsense. If true, this presumed fact hardly justifies the extreme excessive force displayed in this case or the fact that the officers in question killed another unarmed man who has yet to be accused of any wrongdoing, let alone the near death of innocent bystanders that these actions fortunately failed to realize (this time).
I am a reasonable person and recognize that police officers have an inherently difficult and dangerous job. As a combat veteran, I certainly understand these factors firsthand; however, these factors are not unilateral justifications for dismissal of good judgment and self-control. To that point, I could probably forgive the arguable excessive force demonstrated by the officers’ volley. However, there is simply no credible justification for the officers’ second volley following the two minute break, wherein supposedly highly trained and competent officers – (is this not one of the key distinctions that anti-gun statists commonly present as rationale for their de facto endorsement of differing standards between the citizenry and the government in the ongoing gun politics debate?) – supposedly could not discern that two unarmed and certainly seriously, if not mortally, wounded men no longer posed a credible threat to 23 armed personnel.
The nature of the shooting suggests the officers lost sight of their own training and that the officers, caught up in the heat of the moment, failed to listen to their radios or coordinate their actions endangering not only their own lives but the lives of the public (emphasis added).
Further, a direct witness to the incident stated that “the guy (presumably the driver) tried to put his hands up. And as soon as he put his hands up, [the gunfire] erupted again. And that was it for them. That guy tried his best to give up.” One witness indicated that after supervisors arrived and the scene was secured, some of the involved officers “were out there laughing like it was so funny because they got a free shot off [sic] them people.”
Were I a member of a grand jury and given the available case information, I would indict these officers for manslaughter just as surely as a hypothetical civilian gun owner would certainly be indicted for firing 377 shots in a supposed self-defense case that resulted in an additional unarmed, innocent bystander’s death. At the very least, individuals such as these who demonstrate an abandonment of level-headedness and judgment in high-stress, extremely emotional circumstances should not be considered fit for such duties. Certainly individuals in the populace that behave with such wanton and violently reckless abandon would rightly sacrifice their own right to bear arms and so should any agent(s) of the state that behaves in similar fashion.
I simply cannot accept as credible, or even take seriously, any statist’s opinion that gun control measures – particularly those related to ammunition restrictions or requirements for advanced individual training – are appropriate if those same measures are not extended to armed agents of the state. It is simple observable fact that, as irresponsible and sometimes downright evil individuals exist in civilian society, so too do they exist in America’s law enforcement organizations. What is good for the goose is certainly good for the gander, as the saying goes.