Chief Charley Beck’s “Tragic Misinterpretation”

News about seven policemen firing on a pickup truck in what LAPD Chief Charley Beck calls a “tragic misinterpretation” is even more appalling than the ex-Los Angeles cop going whacko and killing people. Remember, this is just one nutjob the police are after, not an army. According to news reports, thousands of California police have their fingers and triggers and, as Beck says, “they’re under incredible pressure.” All to stop one guy who Beck says is “unbelievably dangerous, after all, we trained him.” Oh? I thought he was a former Navy reserve officer who was trained by the military.

Let’s all take a deep breath and look at the details of the guys who shot the pickup. Not one, not two, but an entire group (at least seven) supposedly highly trained law enforcement officers blazed away at the errant vehicle, almost killing a 70 year old woman and her 47 year old daughter who were out delivering newspapers. Oh, fuck.  Two women, not one big, black ex-cop inside the vehicle. Which was the wrong make, too. The cops shot at a Nissan, not a Toyota Tundra. The Nissan was blue. The Toyota was gray.

A tragic misinterpretation.

Is that a…euphemism…for a Mongolian clusterfuck? What did the policemen fail to interpret? That they weren’t supposed to fire up any pickup truck that wandered near a senior cop’s house? That they were supposed to check out the vehicle before opening up on it? That all the other cars they hit with stay bullets to say nothing of the houses that were peppered in the melee might not have been a particularly bright move? That maybe this is all getting out of hand?

Which brings us to another point. California Senator Dianne Feinstein seems to believe we’ll all be much more safe if weapons are taken away from us. I wonder how the people in Big Bear Lakes feel about her ideas. Big Bear Lakes Mayor Jay Obernolte says people in the little mountain town aren’t afraid of the roaming murderer who might be in the neighborhood. Is that because of the multitudes of police wandering around in the snow, rifle barrels pointed everywhere looking for a pickup to shoot? Well, no. “No, there’s no panic,” Obernolte said. “We’re very hardy residents here in the … mountains. Many people here are armed.” Does that mean owning a weapon might provide a certain security? Surely not…

President Obama is quite clear that he doesn’t ever want our policemen to be “outgunned.” He said that at an appearance in Minnesota as he pumped the legislators for a new weapons ban. Outgunned? The police have radios, body armor, helicopters and, maybe even more daunting, regardless of the reason for pulling the trigger, seldom does a policeman get punished for shooting the wrong person. Is this what we get with a militarized police force? Just like Vietnam…or Iraq…or Afghanistan…where guys let loose with everything they have at any shadowy shape that might be an enemy. Oh, shit. We shot Pat Tillman. Collateral damage. A “tragic misinterpretation,” I suppose General Stanley McChrystal might have called the Tillman slaying. The squad was under “incredible pressure,” just like those poor guys who defended themselves against two women delivering newspapers.

Unfortunately for us, the sheeple, as many police like to refer to us, we’re the ones who get shot. Best the government take our guns away quickly. Arm us with rocks, that should be relatively safe. Well, unless one lives along the border when the federal constabulary makes a habit of firing on rock throwers. Pebbles? What about rubber-coated pebbles? Or pebbles made of foam?

Maybe we should be limited to quill, ink and paper (or their digital equivalent). After all, the pen is mightier than the sword.

There’s another phrase echoing somewhere inside my head. Oh, yeah. Sticks and stones may break my bones, bullets may fuck me up beyond all recognition, but words will never hurt me.  Unless, I suppose, they’re misinterpreted.

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