Guest post by Myristic Mystic:
First, I don’t want to disparage the intentions of this individual (Dr. William J. Lewinski ) in any way in this post – he may be the most well-intentioned person who has ever lived, for all I know (just as Dr. Jack Kervorkian seemed to be, IMO), but of course we all know what road is paved with good intentions! And as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have police officers (or former ones) in the family, and many friends of my parents were “cop families”. I understand the fear involved, and I can’t say that I’d want to be an officer, even if I could (being too old now, among other things), because of all the issues that are often in play (such as the “politics” of the department). However, something is clearly wrong in the USA because there are just too many shootings of unarmed civilians relative to any other “civilized” nation, and probably the Somalia-type excuses for nations as well. What is it?
In a recent article in the New York Times, the author does seem to think that Dr. Lewinski is a kind of “Doctor Death,” for example:
QUOTE: “People die because of this stuff,” said John Burton, a California lawyer who specializes in police misconduct cases. “When they give these cops a pass, it just ripples through the system.”
Many policing experts are for hire, but Dr. Lewinski is unique in that he conducts his own research, trains officers and internal investigators, and testifies at trial… UNQUOTE.
I have a view that is a bit different, not that I don’t think that Dr. Lewinski is terribly biased. The odd thing is that I sort of agree with him! That is, what he has shown in his “training” and/or “research” is certainly possible, such as how easy it can be to shoot an officer who is approaching a car that he/she just commanded to pull over on to the side of the road. This does happen sometimes, but what is the percentage of the time that it does? How many thousands of times per day does a motorist get pulled over by an officer in the USA along? Thousands? Tens of thousands? If we are to believe that air travel is incredibly safe, wouldn’t we have to say the same thing about being shot by a motorist under these conditions?
Thus, the conclusion I draw is the opposite of Dr. Lewinski’s, specifically, if you are so fearful that you are likely to shoot unarmed civilians who move their bodies in ways you find threatening, then it’s time to find a new profession, just like John Madden decided to travel around the USA in a motor home because he feared air travel so much. Undeniably, many of the people who get pulled over are intoxicated, on drugs, angry at being pulled over, anxious, or even mentally ill. Such people indeed might make “strange moves.” And as other research has show, there seems to be a profile for officers who kill innocent, unarmed civilians. Why not try to “weed out” such people? Why do “research” that tells us what most of us already know or assume to be the case? Does this “knowledge” mean that officers should be allowed to immediately kill anyone whenever they feel the slightest threat? If so, how many such “kills” would an officer be permitted before those in charge decided that it was no longer acceptable? Essentially, Lewinski’s position is absurd, IMO.
My major concern with Dr. Lewinski at this point is that he may be perpetuating unwarranted fear, encouraging fearful, “trigger-happy” officers to stay on the job, and possibly even encouraging “good cops” to maintain the “blue wall of silence,” since they may be thinking that some officers are a bit more fearful but shouldn’t have to be imprisoned for making a bad decision (no matter how bad that decision is!). It’s unfortunate that Dr. Lewinski, apparently, is incapable of having more foresight into the practical implications of his testimony, research, and training program, assuming he isn’t entirely “in it for the money.” And in some states this mentality has extended beyond the police, with “stand your ground” laws. It’s the proverbial recipe for disaster – if it weren’t we’d see this same kind of phenomenon in other nations. How lopsided has the situation become?
I want to close this post with a notion that nobody else seems to be considering, that is, if effective “gun control” is at least part of the “answer” to the incredibly disproportionate number of shootings of this type. The idea is that if police were a lot less concerned about the kinds of shootings Dr. Lewinski seems to think they should fear whenever they are on patrol there, they wouldn’t be nearly as quick to reach for their guns and start firing. From what I remember, the vast majority of police departments were in favor of rather restrictive “gun control,” yet that doesn’t seem to be the case any longer. If it is, they are certainly not doing a good job of getting that information to the public, compared to how strongly they seem to defend just about all shootings of unarmed civilians by officers – this is especially true of police union spokesmen/officials. Considering the Cincinnati case, body cameras may not contribute much towards ending these shootings. Having a more “racially proportionate” police department might help, but perhaps mostly because the fear factor would be lessened substantially (a good example being how Michael Brown was described as appearing to become almost monstrous by the “white” officer who shot and killed him).