So I decided to look something up. I find the data interesting. Deaths involving vehicles outnumber police deaths by shootings, stabbings, and beatings combined. In fact, if you stack up vehicle related deaths, job-related illnesses (not sure what those are with regards to police work) a cop is nearly twice as likely to die by accident than as a deliberate act of malice. Though one can modify that some by assuming that occasionally when cops are struck by vehicles it’s intentional. It’s just unlikely to be majority of cases.
I can’t think of many other jobs where getting shot is a common hazard. In the US, anyway. Repo operatives, perhaps, might come to expect potential lead flurries. Bodyguards. Certain celebrities. Politicians. Of course, the Secret Service.
But, frankly, there are a lot of jobs that are more dangerous than being a cop. And none of those jobs give people the right to kill others without being held accountable.
So it’s not really that it’s a dangerous job, is it? It’s more some psychological twist that tells us because much of that danger comes from humans, we must automatically assume they need to be able to kill to perform their mission.
We have no chemical agent fast-acting enough to put down a potential threat quickly enough to make a difference. On the other hand, we don’t really have the motivation to develop it either. If you combined something that delivered a set amount of kinetic force and a chemical sedative to stun and then weaken the target, maybe.
It’s interesting that they came up with wonderful non-lethal means of crowd dispersal (pain rays and overt sonic bombardment, as it happpens), but there’s nothing they can do on an individual basis. Because criminals carry guns, all citizens must suffer the possibility of being slain if their interaction with the police doesn’t go well.
They say “Obey and you won’t get hurt.” But that’s not true, is it? What if you can’t obey? What if you don’t hear the command? What if the command is shouted, and confusing, and you don’t know exactly what it was? What if you’re disabled and can’t respond quickly enough? What if the cop mistakes your cane for a gun?
Because they fear for their lives, your life is endangered. Oh, it might not seem like it–especially if you, like me, are a middle-aged white guy. But, then again, I’m a middle-aged white guy with a cane who can’t move very fast, who is as likely to fall out of a vehicle (which could be mistaken for a lunge) as move smoothly, especially if I’m under stress. My muscle don’t obey me as they once did.
So, it might be just my anxiety, but I’d hate to be expected to obey instantly and die because I failed to do so. I’d hate to think my tortured body would become but a toy in a sadist’s hands when my body’s failure to tolerate additional pain became “resistance.”
I worry that my dog, doing her job, might make a cop “fear for his life.” And it doesn’t even matter which dog, since they’ve killed everything from pit bulls to jack russells in defense of their “lives.”
Another thing. Their dogs are police officers. Our dogs are nothing. They’re not family members, they’re not livestock, they’re not worth a moment’s consideration. Need evidence? Search for “dogs shot by cops/police.” Plenty of evidence to be had.
On the other hand, if a cop accidentally kills his partner because he’s a dumbass and leaves the dog in the hot car all day? No worries. THEN it’s a just a dog, right?
One way to give civilians the idea that they’re on a different “side” than the police is to show that the police look out for their own first and foremost, and take their job to “serve and protect” as a second duty. In certain circumstances, that’s understandable. In war one protects one’s fellow soldiers.
Except cops aren’t soldiers, and this isn’t a fucking war.