There have been a number of officer involved shootings in the news recently. Mike Brown and Tamir Rice are two of the more high profile ones, while there are several lesser known officer involved shooting around the country.
We here in Rapid City are no different. Last night (20 Dec), officers responding to a call wound up shooting and killing a man who allegedly charged them with a knife.
The story is just 12 hours old, and already the parallels between this incident and the ones I mentioned above are already being drawn.
"He didn't have to shoot"
"He could have used a taser"
"He could have shot to wound"
The problem with all the above scenarios is they miss some very salient points.
1) When being charged by someone with a knife, the Tueller drill becomes very prescient.
2) It's winter time in South Dakota. This means that heavy outer garments are the order of the day, whether it's a flannel shirt, heavy Carhart-type jackets, or even hoodies. Prongs from tasers have a hard time penetrating these materials meaning there is absolutely no guarantee that deploying one would have been successful.
3) Police officers and concealed carriers alike are trained to shoot to stop the threat, whether that takes one shot or 20. Add to that the adrenaline rush of an unknown situation, the inherent instability of aiming a handgun in a stressful situation, it may take more than one shot to stop the threat.
4) This situation reportedly took place inside a residence. Adding to the confusion of an unwanted individual in a home, you have all the nooks and crannies of a home that provide little hidey holes for someone to hide in.
Now, since this incident took place in a Native American housing area, the charges of racism on the part of the Rapid City Police are already being thrown about by commenters on Facebook and other outlets, even though the race, age, and other pertinent information about the suspect have not been released by the department.
This coming on the heels of an anti-police brutality march on Friday.
What these protesters and the ones throwing race into this don't tell you is that officer involved shootings are an equal opportunity affair.
In 2012, a man was shot by deputies after leading them on a chase.
Also 2012, a Wyoming man was shot after leading police on a chase.
Then, there's the one that rocked the city in 2011 and left two officers and the suspect dead.
in June of this year, a man ran from police on a four wheeler and pulled a gun. The results are pretty typical.
2013: Man with a butcher knife.
Seems to me the one thing all of these incidents have in common is someone was doing something they weren't supposed to and made some bad decisions with weaponry in the face of an armed person.