Last week, a former fire fighter from a neighboring town was shot dead by a local police officer. The officer was responding to a 911 call that reported a man severely beating a child. When the officer approached, the man shouted something and raised a gun, aiming it directly at the officer. The officer fired twice.The man died on the way to the hospital.
The news story in the local paper had a headline that read, “Victim Had the Greatest Heart” or words to that effect, and went on to quote friends and relatives about how the victim was such a good person and how it was all such a tragic mistake. What was never mentioned was that the victim was indeed a very good person – when he was sober. What was not mentioned was that the dead man had a history of violent actions and arrests when he was intoxicated, and there was absolutely no doubt that the dead man had been carrying a loaded weapon.
Several of the other incidents that made headlines this past year featured similar cases, such as a young man who robbed a convenience store and attacked a policeman, and was shot by the officer, but whose family insisted he was a good-hearted young man. Or the young woman who tried to run down police officers on foot with her car. She had been previously arrested for various problems, including another high speed chase, but her family insisted she was a good girl. Or the St. Paul man who tried to run down two police officers with his SUV. Family said he was good hearted, despite the fact that he had a court-ordered restraining order because of violent actions. Or the Denver man with a felony record who was driving a stolen car and was shot when he tried to run down two police officers, also described by family as “good-hearted.”
I’m sorry. Good hearted people don’t beat up others. They don’t steal goods, money, or cars. They don’t try to run down police or shoot at them. And, if one of these so-called “good-hearted” individuals gets shot by police officers who are threatened with weapons or vehicular force, the officers shouldn’t be vilified. Yes, it’s always regrettable when a police officer has to use a weapon, especially when the results can be lethal… but in a nation with 300 million firearms, like it or not, there are going to be cases where people who break the laws and attack police in one way or another are going to be shot.
Just don’t tell the world that people who’ve perpetrated violence, robbery, and assault are good-hearted. That’s not helping anyone, especially those unfortunate unarmed individuals with no criminal record and no acts of violence who are truly good-hearted and still get shot, by either police or criminals.