Saturday, January 14, 2006

Choices

This will be difficult for many of you to understand, but my heart and prayers go out to the officer and his team that were forced to shoot the 8th grader in Florida the other day.

The student, Christopher David Penley has since died of the injuries that he sustained when a sheriff's officer on the SWAT team shot him.

It is every law enforcement officers second worst nightmare (the first being letting your fellow officers down). Killing an innocent.

There's a name for what the boy did, it's called Suicide by Cop, and it's far more common than many people would like to believe. What it means basically is manipulating the situation in such a way that you force a police officer or other law enforcement official to shoot you.

Look at this gun. Could you tell from a distance and in a high stress situation that it wasn't real? Would you want to be the one to have to make that judgment? If you're wrong, you and possibly others will die.

The officer that shot Christopher was doing what he was trained to do. He had no way of knowing that the gun that was raised on him was a spray painted pellet gun. He had no way of knowing that this wasn't a life or death situation for himself, his team, and the teachers and students of Millwee Middle School. Unlike what the movies have taught you, officers are not trained to shoot the gun out of the hands of the offender. If it gets to the point where an officer raises his weapon and prepares to fire, it is his job to use deadly force.

I don't know the name or anything about the sheriffs officer that pulled the trigger and ultimately killed Christopher Penley, but I do know that this will be something that will effect him for the rest of his life.

So while as a mother I am horrified that this poor young man died and I am terrified that something like this could possibly happen in my son's school, I am also grieving for the officer that pulled the trigger. Think about how you would feel. Could you live with yourself? Would you want to? Could you do it for around $30,000 a year?

Do me a favor, the next time you see someone with a badge, go up to them and thank them. It is a largely thankless job and I promise you that you will make their day.

6 Comments:

Anonymous a mom of 2 said...

I TOTALLY support this officer, and hope that he does not get any bullshit from parents, community, or (of course) the liberal asswipe media that will second guess him.

If the kid had a real gun and the deputy hadn't acted the way he did, of course he would've had to live with far worse consequences.

What a shitty job, and how badly we treat the people who perform it.

I don't even watch the news anymore because of things like this (and much worse), but I hope this isn't too horrific for the guy who had to pull the trigger.

Oddly enough, I grew up near this area, and went to Lyman High School in Longwood.

Florida is a suckhole, (not that the problem is confined to there by any means). Too bad his parents didn't pay more attention to what was going on with their child. I hope they don't blame the police for this.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Shirazi said...

You right here. And nicely put.

3:18 AM  
Blogger Andria said...

Thank You. It's a hard job. When you need an officer they can't get there fast enough for you... when you're running late you hope you don't run into one.
It is also one of the only jobs that doesn't have a clear cut set of duties... for instance, working traffic accidents is not actually part of the job. It's really just a courtesy that they perform to maintain order.
They are people too, and they don't get paid nearly enough for the type of things they have to deal with on a daily basis.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

I agree with you, Andria. And believe it or not... I am a liberal asswipe. But I do agree, and other like-minded people (liberals) do too.

Last summer near where we live, a 4 year old boy disappeared on his ATV on a rural farm around 7 pm. His Mom was bathing his two younger siblings, one under the age of 1. His Dad and older brother were doing evening chores. They found him a few days later, he had drowned. My husband was one of the volunteers who searched for him.

A lot of people (but interestingly, not the media) were bad-mouthing the Mom for letting it happen. But I prayed and prayed for her, to find forgiveness for herself, to find a way to go on for her surviving 3 children. You never know what the exact situation was... maybe he was a carefree spirited child...and maybe he ran out of the house while the other two were in the bath. She couldn't leave them right there on the spot, and perhaps once she did get them safely out of the tub and in a safe place to go fetch him...maybe that is when she discovered him vanished. Unless people have gotten the exact circumstances, how can they think she is at fault? Why do they judge, and not support her?

Sorry for the long comment. I guess the first commenter rubbed me wrong, insinuating that people who lean left are always going to be going against others. It's simply not true. Sometimes I think these things bother me more than most others, and that I sympathize with BOTH sides - the child who died and the mother who surely must feel responsible. This other child who died, and the officer who was only doing his job and protecting others.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Andria said...

Thanks for your comments.

I've always held that politically our similarities far outweigh our differences. We all want most of the same stuff in the end… we just have different ways of getting there.

Except those that are just hateful. But then I ignore them so they really don’t concern me.

Law enforcement is to me, almost more of a calling than it is a job. Officers (and firefighters) don’t rush into the line of fire because they are concerned about earning their paychecks. Most do it because they simply don't know how to do anything else, it is their nature.

We should ALWAYS give them the benefit of the doubt. Always.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heck, I can't even tell from upclose that it's a pellet gun. Time was that sort of thing never happened, because it rarely if ever crossed kids minds to do that. sigh. Modern times ... just not my thing.

It's Allen btw.

12:18 AM  

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