It was 2 a.m. on December 31 when Tolan and his cousin, Anthony Cooper, were confronted in the driveway of their home by Bellaire, Texas, police officers. Police officials say the officers suspected the two young men were driving a stolen car.Bellaire is a prominent, mostly white suburb in southwest Houston.
What the police described as an altercation took place. In the end, a white cop shot an unarmed black man, again.
I guess this story has been in Texas papers but only now, nine days later is it hitting the national media. Just the other day, Preaching to the Choir posted an essay about police violence, even offering the benefit of the doubt: "Or are our police doing the best they can at a difficult and dangerous job?"
Here's my comment to her post in its entirety:
My idea is that many police officers are unfit psychologically. These need to be weeded out or given desk jobs. New hires should meet higher standards; there must be ways to screen for extreme racism or the tendency to abuse power.
However, all that should always be accompanied with recognition of the fact that most officers are "doing the best they can at a difficult and dangerous job," as you said.
I'd like to add something to that. I think it may be about power. It may be about how people tend to abuse their power. What better examples are there than policemen shooting unarmed "suspects?" But, involved in this age-old problem of power management, if you will, is the continually expanding attitude in America of violence, or the threat thereof, being the answer.
Our frequent commenters who promote arming citizens as the best response to the violence in our society, I feel, have it wrong. They are perpetuating an increasingly bloody cycle which has no good end. I can understand, let's say the shop owner in Newark or Jersey City, who has to close up the store late in the evening, alone on the dark streets walking to his car with the days receipts in pocket. I'm not talking about him. I'm talking about the rest of you.
What's your opinion? Should young Tolan have been armed to protect himself from the police? Would that have helped?
Do you think there's a connection between the legitimate gun owners and all the misuse of firearms we read about, whether by the police or by criminals?
Please leave a comment.