We’ve got a bit of a two-fer today, as both events are causing us great vexation.
First off Walter Scott being gunned down in North Charleston, SC. If you haven’t seen the video of Walter Scott being shot by a police officer, here it is. Aside from the obvious attempt of the officer to plant something and the fact they officer was charged not with manslaughter, or self-defense, but straight up murder, and the racial stink that permeates the whole thing, there is one more vexatious point: How can a trained police officer fire eight rounds at a target moving away from him at no more than 30 feet and only hit the target once? Where did the other seven rounds go? The Projectile Fairy didn’t capture them and put them under the officer’s pillow that night, of that we’re fairly certain.
Which tells me the North Charleston Police couldn’t train a goose to shit, let alone teach their officers how to use the spectrum of force and when to increase the amount of force used with a subject. That’s Policing 101, usually about Day 2 of rookie orientation. For those who don’t know about the spectrum of force, here’s a good discussion.
From our perspective as a citizen it’s simple enough to follow. Simple presence of the uniformed officer, a commanding voice and attitude, hand control, active restraint, or baton, then chemical (OC spray, or Mace) electrical discharge weapons like a Taser or a Beanbag Shotgun, then the firearm. Notice the escalation, from simple, loud, commands (“Stay in your car and drop the keys out the window”) to pulling the sidearm and everything in between.
There are exceptions of course, based on the situation. If you pull over a guy and he gets out of the car with a shotgun and brings it up, you tell them drop the weapon and get your firearm ready to go, as the suspect has escalated things (Suspects don’t necessarily care about escalation of force protocols) and you have to react appropriately, immediately. We’ve got no problem with that, at all.
The Walter Scott shooting is another thing. That went from an out of shape 50 year old with no obvious weapon or threat to the officer, running away, to an officer planting evidence after firing a clip at the suspect. Had it played out sensibly, the officer would have got back in his car and followed Walter Scott for another 200 yards until he ran out of run and collapsed on his own. Cuffs, backup, done with minimal paperwork and less fuss.
Was Walter Scott in fear for his life? We don’t know, but the dashcam footage showed a reasonable traffic stop and a compliant citizen who panicked in front of a cop with less experience with spectrum of force than my dog. At least the dog has the smarts to back off when the cats give that low, rumbling hiss that translates across species into “Eff Off!” We would also strongly recommend that every officer in North Charleston go back to the range and prove they can actually hit targets, center of mass at 10, 20, and 50 feet. We don’t need idiots sending rounds all over the neighbourhood because they can’t shoot straight and that includes the police.
Senator Mike Duffy’s trial for Expense Fraud and charges of General Assholery is in its first week. Up here our Federal Senate is populated by appointment of the Prime Minister. It’s a reward for being a fart-catcher with rules that are looser than Amish sphincters after a binge-eat at the All You Can Eat Burrito Bar at Applebee’s. Hiring a convicted serial rapist as your personal assistant is considered bad form, but that’s about it. The caveat with this kind of demented-emperor oversight is that you say good things about the government and every program they bring forward is simply wonderful for all Canadians.
Did Duffy go jowls-deep in the feed trough? Sure he did; all the Conservative appointees do, just like all the Liberal appointees did when the Liberals were in power. Up to the elbow in free trips, expense fiddles, hiring cousins with no work experience, or the easy fiddles of simply not showing up for work for two years at a stretch, but someone managing to cash the paycheque from your cushy digs in Mexico. No committee work, no endless bladder-crippling meetings, no Question Period, nothing more exhausting than flying to Vancouver to do a 20 minute speech about how a government program is simply wonderful, words pre-written by the PMO and delivered with the standard half-hearted enthusiasm of a long-time party hack who has been phoning it in since 1988. Then there is the crippling stress of having your assistant file the expense claims, which can only be relieved by flying to a foreign climate to rest and recuperate, on the taxpayer’s dime.
To be frank, our Senate is a joke beyond redemption that costs us millions of dollars every year for the members of the chamber of Sober Second Thought to roll around in the trough. We get more value for money from the Dominion Carillonneur when she plays K’naan’s Wavin’ Flag on the Parliament Hill bells. At least you can walk by the Hill and go, “What the heck is that song, holy crap, it’s that World Cup thing! Kewl!”
With luck the Duffy Show will play out as expected just before our upcoming Federal Election in October. The Harper Government will be painted accurately as mean-spirited micromanaging bullies. Then the voting citizens will be confronted with a choice of None Of The Above on our ballots.