We close this week with the David Joseph shooting. Our hearts go out to Joseph’s family; this incident is all the more tragic in that David was so young and had so much ahead of him.
Our thoughts must also be with Officer Geoffrey Freeman. No matter your feelings on the incident, Officer Freeman finds his life in a very rocky place now. And we must assume, until the investigation and grand jury hearings conclude, that Officer Freeman meant no harm, that he just had a lapse in judgement.
Some will argue that this incident will show that it’s not all about race. I won’t entertain that argument here. That’s not the story.
Make no mistake: race will be a part of discussion. It should be part of the discussion. The media, in all it’s confused, bungling glory, should be able to distill this incident long enough to realize that this event is demonstrative of a systemic issue. The police are not trained in conflict resolution. This is particularly evident when the police are involved in incidents with African Americans.
The fact that this incident lasted only seconds tells you that this officer was not ready to resolve the issue. He went from 0 to 60 in no time. The situation may have called for force, perhaps a submission, but the officer went to his trigger far too quickly. There are steps in between asking a suspect to stop and using deadly force, especially when the suspect is unarmed.
We should contextualize this incident with race going forward: it’s an important discussion. But I’ll use my space to say that police aren’t well trained. The people we elevate to protect and serve our community do not do so to the best of their abilities when they are poorly trained in conflict resolution, which is a huge part of their duty. The police are the coercive arm of the government: we give up a part of our freedom so that they protect and serve us. I feel neither well-protected nor well-served when I see law-enforcement officers in my community gunning down a naked, unarmed teen.
More guns, less crime. Go out and buy yourself a gun!