Sunday, June 01, 2014

A violent man will die a violent death (Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, ch 42)

So I was on Facebook, because I'm old and it's no longer fashionable. And I came across this post.

And that sounds like a terrible thing, right? A guy, murdered in his home by rogue police officers - that's a travesty of justice!

Yeah, it sounds pretty bad, until you look into it. But that's part of the problem with the internet - people post stories, and other people believe them without looking up the details.

Now, before I start, let me point out that I oppose police brutality. I understand that there is police overreach, and that criminal acts have been and will be performed under the cover of a badge. I mean, hell, I live in Albuquerque - I'd have to be an idiot to think otherwise.

The thing is, this one isn't like that. Not according to the available evidence. The police were, in fact, sent to the wrong address. But only after they arrived did things go straight into the crapper.
Waller exited his residence and entered the garage with a handgun showing. Police did not know if he was a resident or a suspect.

Investigators said that the Hoeppner gave Waller repeated commands to drop his gun, but the homeowner did not comply. According to the officer, Waller responded with "Why?" and "Get that light out of my eyes."

Hoeppner added that Waller eventually put his gun down on the trunk of a car. As the officer moved in to retrieve the weapon, Waller scrambled to pick it up, and then pointed it at the officer. The report said that this is when Hoeppner fired his weapon six times.
Waller wasn't an innocent man - he was a paranoid nutjob with a gun. And he felt that he had the right to point that gun at the police. Sure, they were at the wrong location, but they were doing their job. And what, exactly, are the police supposed to do when confronted with armed lunatics brandishing firearms? Lie down and bleed?

The NRA wants you to believe that an armed society is a polite society, and that the only defense against a bad man is a good man with a gun. But they're wrong. Because what is the defense against a good man with a gun? Or an armed man who believes he's good?

If Waller hadn't been a Second Amendment cultist, nothing would have happened. But he felt that he was had the right, and the knowledge, and the training, to act as some kind of lone vigilante protecting his homestead. So instead, he committed suicide by cop.

The only tragedy for Waller's family is that they didn't talk him down off the ledge; you have to wonder how long he'd been cleaning his guns and muttering angrily to himself. But the real tragedy is for Officer Hoeppner, who had to face the choice of killing a man or being killed himself. He made the right choice, but now he has to live with it.

1 comment:

Grung_e_Gene said...

If he was black Faux News would be lionizing the Officers and demanding to know why President Obama is dividing the Nation.