Monday, May 15, 2006

Suicide By Cop Syndrome

Today’s story came from a friend. He sent me a news article from Maryland that I won’t post here because we’ve heard this story too many times before. Some kid had a serious mental crisis (too often fueled by illegal street drugs). He felt suicidal and instead of finding a tall building and doing a swan dive he got a weapon and taunted the cops to kill him.

Cops have seen every kind of possible human stress and are masters at dealing and negotiating with distraught people. Cops always want these kinds of cases to end peacefully because if it does not the violent results are sure to bring tragedy and lots of litigation. The real truth is cops are very understanding and want nothing more but to help these troubled people get whatever help they need to go on with productive lives.

Cops must weigh their own safety when dealing with armed and suicidal subjects. For some unknown reason there is a popular misconception that a knife or cutting instrument are somehow not deadly like a gun. That’s just not so. If anything the reverse is true. See my earlier reports and video on knives vs. guns.

Inventors are very busy trying to invent the perfect non-lethal device that would always bring these confrontations to a happy ending. Stun guns require that an officer get way too close to a knife-wielding attacker. Beanbags and use of shotguns to fire them have all kinds of public safety drawbacks. Perhaps someday some inventor will get really rich solving this problem.

As for today’s dead “teenager” he’s 18 years old and charged cops with a 9-inch pair of scissors. We can expect to see his eighth grade graduation photos get released to the press. The cops will be criticized for not shooting the scissors out of his hand. Mom and dad will cry and whine in lots of public displays while building their civil case against the cops so they may get rich off their troubled and now dead son. There’s got to be a better way.

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