Immediately, of course, the police officer – who has now been charged with murder. None of us know all the facts, of course, so there is still room for reasonable doubt to emerge but for the present, things seem weighted heavily against the officer. I don’t know what was going through his mind, but it appears that he did very wrong. Now, we’ll have a trial which will sort out the facts – unless, that is, the facts are so overwhelming against the officer that he pleads out. Time will tell. But in the larger sense, what do we know – so far – about this case?
First off putting out the caveat – this is stuff which is emerging as the case unfolds, and some of it may not be true. Having said that:
Scott appears to have been pulled over because of a broken tail light on his car. He may have attempted to flee the scene due to fears of being sent to jail over unpaid child support. Scott was the father of four children (some of whom, presumptively, he owed child support for). He was engaged to be married. Former Coastguardsman (some say an officer, but the picture I saw appears to be in an enlisted man’s uniform). Scott has ten arrests in his record: this is being downplayed, but I’m 50 and I’ve only got one arrest in my record (and not really in my record – me and some buddies were rounded up for drunk and disorderly in Norfolk, VA back in my Navy days and we were just dropped off at the base): having ten arrests seems a bit much.
So, a man is pulled over for a busted tail light and winds up dead – because he ran, and he ran because he feared going to jail over unpaid child support. Anyone see a problem here?
Why are our over-whelmed police forces pulling people over for busted tail lights? Was there nothing else the officer could have been concerning himself with during that time? Why is a man facing jail time for unpaid child support? I agree – a man who doesn’t support his children is a bum…but so is a man who cheats on his wife. We going to send him to jail? Along with all the adulterers in the world? In addition to, say, everyone who fails to hold down a steady job? Boozes it up too much? Not standing up and being a man is a wrong thing – but it isn’t a crime worthy of being sent to jail over.
In a rational society, no person would fear going to jail for unpaid debts – and so no one having unpaid debts would worry so much about a traffic stop that he’d run away from it. In a rational society, no one would care if someone has a busted tail light (or expired plates, or no insurance) and so the only time an officer of the law would take notice is if it were in connection to some other incident (ie, now that you’ve rear-ended another car, we do care a bit more that you’re driving with a busted tail light…here’s an extra ticket for you). In a rational society, there would have been no traffic stop – and if by some chance there was a traffic stop, there would be no cause impelling the detainee to run…wouldn’t really matter how bad the cop was, no one would be dead.
Here’s the real kicker – the reason police are avid to write up tickets for trivialities like busted tail lights is because our cities are strapped for cash. Our cities are strapped for cash, most of the time, because they are run by liberals who have driven the cities into something close to bankruptcy. The reason we send men to jail because of unpaid child support is because we went into a fit against “dead beat dads” (with no mention of the moms who shacked up with dead beats) and wanted to really punish those lousy guys…this was done because our liberals wanted us to. In short, because of a bunch of liberals, we’ve set up a system where trivial laws grind up people – and set up situations where a bad cop can come into contact with a poor fool and the poor fool winds up dead.
Who killed Walter Scott? An insane system killed him. We tell people – go ahead; have sex outside marriage. Produce children willy-nilly. We won’t censure you or, indeed, even mention that you might not be living a decent life. But when you do this, if you don’t pay the money we prescribe via the courts, watch out! We’re coming for you. We don’t expect you to be responsible and marry the girl you’re having kids with – but failure to pay her some cash after the passion has cooled? We’re sending you to jail for that one, buddy. So, no social opprobrium for being a cad – but there is a warrant out for your arrest. After all, we all know how guys who have four kids and are behind on their child support are otherwise upstanding citizens who hold down steady jobs… So, keep looking over your shoulder. There’s a cop out there, somewhere, and he’s just waiting for his chance to pull you over so he can write some revenue-generating tickets to ensure that the city employee pension fund is in good shape. And when you get pulled over, that warrant will pop up. Now, what do you do? Just go to jail, or run?
Pick one boys and girls – either an immoral society with no rules at all, or a moral society. Right now we’ve got a lunatic mish-mash of the two and it is killing people…and not just by having them shot by a cop. Think of all the young people who wind up dead because they grow up in fatherless households where no one teaches them decent behavior? And then these kids get a bit older and out in the streets and they don’t know how to act – and often act badly.
We don’t have to eradicate racism – worthy as that goal is. We don’t need to tolerate diversity – though tolerance of diversity is often a good thing. We don’t need more studies and programs – though at least such things keep psuedo-intellectual pinheads occupied. What we need is to stop being insane. We need to be rational – reasonable – people. Rational people don’t send people to jail for unpaid debts – and they don’t tolerate men who don’t step up to the plate and do their duty. Just as soon as we start being sane, we’ll stop this sort of thing from happening.
Just as soon as we start being sane, we’ll stop this sort of thing from happening.
That may be easier said than done. We not only aren’t near the end of urban economic problems, we’re not even at the end of the beginning. Couple that with the growing distrust of law enforcement, and the situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. I’m thinking a good business to invest in would be one that makes body cams.
I think the distrust in law enforcement has two sources:
1. Race-baiters like Sharpton and Jackson (not to mention our President and outgoing Attorney General).
2. The police not being confined to their proper role – peace officers as opposed to revenue agents.
We can’t do much about the race-baiters, but we can reform the police…which is going to be hard because of the entrenched bureaucracy and, of course, the public sector unions.
One of the major things that could go a long way in restoring public trust in LE is a visible public initiative, particularly by metro and municipal police departments, to establish working relationships with citizens groups like homeowners’ associations and community watch groups. If that’s currently happening it’s certainly not being publicized.
I’m still of the opinion that the country, at some point, is going to experience significant civil unrest, and a solid, positive relationship between citizens and LE is going to be critical to the survival of our country as we know it. Of course, you and I have been saying that for the last 5 years, so obviously if it’s going to happen, it’s going to be later rather than sooner. As I write this, I’m listening to a local financial show that’s on the radio every Sunday morning from 8:30 to 10. The host is basically saying the same thing from a financial standpoint — that interest rates can’t stay at or near zero forever, and when they finally return to normal, there’s going to be a lot of pain. Which, of course, is the reason they’ve stayed low for as long as they have. One of the basic rules of Liberalism is that pain and risk are to be avoided at all costs. I know a number of people, both active and retired, who are or have been involved in insurance, financial planning, banking, etc., and I don’t know a single person who is not surprised that the Fed has been able to keep the ball in the air as long as they have. But just like an intricate house of cards, eventually it all has to come down, because it’s not built on anything, and it’s not backed up by anything. All that’s needed is some sort of trigger event.
Something I observed this past week kind of dovetails with your topic, and that’s the increasing incidence of road rage, which I think is a direct reflection of the increased stress level felt by an ever increasing number of people, particularly people who are victims of their own bad decisions. On Wednesday my wife and I were on our way to the local YMCA, and there’s a traffic light where we pull out onto U.S. 30 from the county road that runs near our house. Right turns on red are allowed, and I turned right on red, noting that the nearest car on U.S. 30 was at least 100 yards away. Normally I would have had ample time to accelerate to the speed limit of 60 mph without the on-coming car ever getting close to me. As soon as I turned, however, he must have floored it because in a couple seconds he was within 3 or 4 car lengths of me. Fortunately, our car is a 270 hp V6, and I floored it as well, excelerating from around 40 to nearly 100 before he finally backed off. When he caught up with us at the light where we turn off to go to the Y, he flipped me off and shouted an obscenity at me. It’s incidents like that that got me to carrying a firearm again, after letting my concealed carry permit lapse throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s. I’m way more concerned with road rage and car jacking than I am with being a victim of a mass shooting in a theater, restaurant or some other public venue.
Stress can cause people to do stupid and unpredictable things, Walter Scott was certainly stressed by the fact that he owed back child support — stressed enough to behave irrationally during a simple traffic stop. And, while I’m not defending the actions of this police officer, he certainly could have been stressed by the fact that a routine traffic stop might be turning into a life and death struggle. Something caused him to fire 8 shots into the back of an unarmed man running away from him, and it certainly wasn’t what he was trained to do.