Would You Have Killed This ‘Kid’? (VIDEO)
By Tim Carthon (Blog #21: Police)
Saddened. Torn. Exhausted. Simply exhausted.
*Sigh. A big sigh seems to be all that I can muster nowadays. How do we even feel about situations like this anymore? Can we even feel at all?
From what was reported yesterday by the Baltimore Sun, the police stated that the suspect, Keith McLeod, “…was shot to death by a Baltimore County police officer in Reisterstown Wednesday after trying to pass off a fake prescription at a pharmacy, then running from the officer…“
In the video above, the officer looks as though he’s defending himself, and he definitely has that lawful right to do so not just as an officer, but as a citizen of the United States of America, if he in fact is one. However, to me the question is not whether or not one has a right to self-defense, but more about what type of defense is used when exercising that right?
Gun deaths in this country have become so normal to where onset numbness has begun even in the individuals who have the biggest hearts. Sadly, an unfortunate amount of these gun deaths are by the ones with whom we’ve also entrusted the power to protect us, yet it seems as though they are increasingly only use the power of death on us. I try to look at these police shooting scenarios individually, but the haunting memories of previous, unnecessary, horrific deaths of unarmed civilians always seem to creep in.
The same thing happened when I first saw this video. When I initially pulled it up, I kept looking at the footage and wondering:
“Did he think he had a gun or something? Did he think his life was actually in danger?“
Then I stopped and looked again at the subject line of the article, “Police: Man shot to death by officer after faking prescription, foot chase in Reisterstown“.
“Wait, a fake prescription?“, I thought, “Citizens are now getting shot and killed by police for incorrect words on paper?“
Think about it:
The kid…yes, a kid…was 19 years-young. Keyword there, “…young. ” Now some people will say he was an adult. Technically, yes. At age 18, you can smoke and vote and sign your own documents without parental consent. So yes, technically he was an adult. However…
…when I tell people about me and performing as a classical clarinetist, I always talk about how I thought I was great back in the day when I first started playing. Once years passed and my training and skills increased dramatically, I had an epiphany:
The better I got, the more I realized how good I wasn’t.
You see, back then I thought I knew a lot, and later in life I realized that I had no idea what the words “a lot” even entailed. So ask yourself:
- How many ultra dumb decisions did you make at age 19?
- How much do you realize you didn’t know at age 19 now that you’re much older?
- How many times do you tell your teenage child(ren) to not do the very things you did at their age?
So yes, this kid made a really bad choice with the fake prescriptions and even taunting and challenging the police officer in the manner in which he did, but did he deserve to die? Is any gesture at all toward police that even in the slightest looks like you might attack them deemed a death sentence, even when you’re unarmed?
If so, then why are police officers even trained in hand-to-hand combat? Better yet, what’s the use of having that hand-to-hand combat training if the first and only thing they use for defense is a lethal weapon? If I could solve that dilemma, the fear of my son’s potential, untimely ‘death by cop’ would no longer haunt me.
Do you think that the officer had no other choice but to shoot and kill the 19 year-young Keith McLeod?
Tim Carthon; Advocate, Speaker, Author, Educator