Police in a Philadelphia suburb killed a man on Friday night. Admittedly, the deceased was being a violent maniac, but this doesn’t seem to add up to me. The suspect viciously attacked a woman. The Polizei pursued, and when the aggressor brandished a brick, they shot him three times. Thrice.
Now, while, in my Weltanschauung, the Polizei have no actual authority, it would seem that they nevertheless have the right to protect their own persons from aggression, just as each of us has a right to do this. All the same, one has to wonder about this situation. News reports are always sketchy and always to be taken with a grain of salt. But a brick vs. a gun? Three shots? Come on. Honestly, this strikes me as excessive.
Yes, I know bricks can do damage, but where is the bravery that these kops are said to have? It seems to me that they are often quite quick to shoot. And then bureaucrats have the guts and/or stupidity to wonder aloud why there has been a rash of incidents in which citizens kill a member of the Polizei. I am not advocating violence against the police; I am only saying that one must take stock of all the dynamics surrounding a situation. Police violence against the citizenry is one of them. Philadelphia has the additional ignominy of being a city which firebombed one of its own neighborhoods. The old-timers tell me that this event created a stifling level of racial tension. So much for the idea that authority creates peace!
It sounds like the suspect in question in this recent incident was a dangerous man and potentially mentally disturbed as well. But was it necessary to kill him? Maybe it was, but situations like this deserve better than the usual banal press releases from attorney generals’ offices.