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Who Trained The Cop Killers To Shoot Guns?

In the uproar about two separate shootings of police officers in Southern states that took place within 24 hours of each other.

In Texas, Micah Xavier Johnson used a rifle to shoot and kill 5 police officers.

In Tennessee, Lakeem Keon Scott used a rifle to kill one person and shoot a police officer.

People have seized on one common factor in these two incidents: The murderers were both angry about the the incidents of police officers shooting unarmed African-Americans that took place earlier in the week.

There’s another common factor, however: Both were trained to shoot guns by the U.S. military.

There’s a twist to this story, though: Disproportionately high numbers of police officers are veterans of the U.S. military. In fact, the Department of Justice has a program specifically dedicated to funneling soldiers leaving the military into jobs in law enforcement.

Jason Dietch, a former Navy Seal and veterans rights advocate who served as a consultant to police departments after getting out of the military, warns of the dangers of creating a conduit to move large numbers of soldiers into civilian law enforcement. He warns, “Many people who have gone to combat for any amount of time have got some stuff that they need to work on… As a matter of fact, there are good reasons to seriously evaluate whether or not that is a good idea… You’re going to continue to expose yourself to violence, tension, stress, anxiety. You come back and become a police officer, the potential for retraumatizing is very high.”

Military veterans have higher rates of gun ownership than non-veterans. They also have higher rates of mental illness.

Some people can emerge from the military and put together peaceful lives, contributing to society in meaningful ways. However, the experience of being a soldier wrecks a huge number of Americans. This week, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a report revealing that military veterans kill themselves at an average pace of 20 suicides per day. That’s a higher rate of dead American soldiers than Al Quaida, the Taliban, or the Islamic State have ever been able to achieve.

Another Irregular Times writer points out that attempts to depict African-Americans and the police as being at war with each other are inaccurate and motivated by a desire to rush into new violations of Americans’ constitutional rights. However, the same systems that train Americans to fight in wars may be contributing to violence outside of wartime here in the United States.

The fact that time in the military is an experienced shared by police officers and the people who kill them merits more attention. It may be that if our nation didn’t have such a large military, we wouldn’t have as much criminal violence – by police officers and against them.

6 thoughts on “Who Trained The Cop Killers To Shoot Guns?”

  1. Al Hopfmann says:

    The two biggest dangers existing in current American local police forces are the militarization of police and the plans of Obama and other statist politicians to federalize local police forces into a national police force, kinda like what Hitler and other socialist tyrants had.

    1. Name says:

      plans of Obama and other statist politicians to federalize local police forces into a national police force
      Can you provide a backing/source link to something credible in written form (IOW, not an alex jones or surrogate website)
      BTW, all politicians are by definition statist, so why hadn’t local police been nationalized during G Washington’s presidency?

  2. Charles Manning says:

    This problem of law enforcement killings has more to do with the legal justification given to officers to use deadly force against persons who’ve been stopped for investigation or arrest. In criminal law, there’s a duty to retreat, if possible, if you’re facing deadly attack and have the opportunity to get away without using deadly force on the attacker. Our country should embrace a duty of retreat for law officers. It would have relevance to investigative stops, but also all other situations in which an officer justifiably feels threatened. In the cases of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, for example, the officers should have notified those individuals that they were being investigated on reasonable suspicion that they may have committed a crime. If at any point the officers thought they were facing deadly resistance, they should have retreated to a position of safety. The officers should have judged whether the suspect posed a danger to others in the vicinity. If not, or until such a threat became obvious, they should have not brandished their weapons. Upon retreating, the officers should have told the suspects that they were concerned that the suspects might be preparing to use deadly force. If the suspects then ran off, the officers should have been able to file charges against them for evading investigation. The officers should have notified any suspects that did not run off that they were required by law to remove from their possession any deadly weapons, placing them at a distance from themselves, and that refusal to do so would be a criminal offense. If the suspects disobeyed such an order, that would be a criminal offense for which they could later be charged. The bottom line is that if a suspect doesn’t pose an obvious or immediate threat to the safety of anyone, the suspect must be allowed to escape, rather than assaulted with deadly force. Current law authorizes officers to both threaten and use deadly force regardless of whether they can safely retreat and regardless of whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to others. I think both the Sterling and Castile cases wouldn’t have resulted in anyone’s deaths if these protocols had been followed. Even if prosecution for evading investigation might have taken a long time, that’s better than killing the suspects.

  3. Dave says:

    Charles Manning – a store is held up and the clerk has been shot dead. Police have a suspect on the ground who refuses to cooperate, something in his hand – a phone? a gun? Officer retreats, one of two things happen. Officer takes one in the back, or the suspect gets away (possibly to shoot another store clerk on another day) and ain’t nobody safe or happy.

    What do you really think would happen when word on the street is “show a gun, watch the man run.”? I would suggest you ride with a police cruiser for a few nights to see what these officers have to do to get badness out of your neighborhood.

    And when, as you suggest, a warrant is put out on the suspect with a gun who ran, who’s going to go pick him up with any success?

    1. Charles Manning says:

      Retreat issues don’t always arise. In the the scenario you describe, if police have a suspect on the ground, retreat isn’t at that point an issue. I believe it was when the officers first approached Sterling, but the retreat option wasn’t chosen, and look at the result. If they had seen Sterling with his gun drawn threatening to shoot someone, retreat wouldn’t have been an option, but the officers wouldn’t have advanced to an unsafe position, either.

      Talking heads have mentioned several times recently that the white mass murderers Dylan Roof and James Holmes weren’t killed or even badly injured when captured, in sharp contrast to Sterling and Castile. Other recent examples were the family planning murderer and the taxi driver murderer. This shows the use of deadly force isn’t necessary in all cases, not even when mass murderers are taken into custody. How do you explain why the whites in those instances received vastly different treatment than Sterling and Castile, or numerous other blacks killed by officers?

      Warrants are commonly used. They’re a reasonable substitute for killing suspects. Even people who clearly seem to be guilty of crime must be given a fair trial.

  4. Charles Manning says:

    Too bad this discussion didn’t continue, and doesn’t take place elsewhere (to my knowledge). Recent cases, including the one in which a caregiver was shot while lying on the ground with his hands up, show that a change in the law such as what I call for is desperately needed. The mainstream media and people who comment virtually never mention such a change. By the way, the change I’m recommending would affect law enforcement encounters with all citizens, not just minorities.

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