Thursday, May 22, 2008

Leave It to the Chronicle to Ask Ignorant Question

This morning on Houston's east side, a man with a gun decided to go on a robbery spree. He robbed an individual at first, then proceeded to a Tacqueria. A Harris County Sheriff's Deputy drives up on the scene and practically walks into the man who is carrying the gun. According to the Sheriff's Captain, the Deputy was able to give an order to drop the weapon, the suspect didn't comply. Instead he raised his weapon, a clear indication that he agrees to forfeit his right to life. I read both versions of this incident on KPRC's website and on the Houston Chronicle's website. It looked like the Chronicle's article would actually report the facts. However, one sentence shows the reporter's ignorance when it comes to encountering armed suspects;
"He was not sure who fired first or how many shots were fired."
I sure hope he didn't ask who fired first as a way of seeing if the deputy was justified in shooting the robber. It's not about who shoots first that justifies the shooting, it's about who shoots first has the better chance of surviving the gun battle. Neither does the number of shots fired have any bearing on the justification. It takes time (proven in scientific studies) for the human brain to perceive the threat (robbery call, man with gun), devise a plan to respond to the threat (bring up gun preparing to shoot), IF the deputy is able to give an order to drop the weapon, THEN determine the suspect's reaction (not dropping gun, raising gun instead), brain commands finger to pull the trigger (oh **** shoot shoot shoot), perceive the threat has stopped (robber hit, runs off), brain commands finger to lay off trigger (stop shooting threat stopped). I put that "if-then" sentence in italics because there is not always an opportunity by the deputy to give a verbal command. Lawyers and reporters generally have an unrealistic view that police should always give a verbal command to a suspect with a gun pointed their way. By the time the deputy sucks in the breath to utter the words, the suspect has already made his decision to shoot and is shooting. However, officer survival isn't the lawyers nor reporters concern. The story here is a piece of crap decided to to robbing people and was stopped by a Deputy Sheriff and everyone should be wishing him a quick recovery. As for the robber, who cares?


JLee said...

It never ceases to amaze me when people question officers in these situations. I can't imagine having to face death on a daily basis and being questioned when you defend yourself against someone with a weapon pointed at you!

Lainey said...

I wonder what the lawyer or reporter would do in that situation? DUH!