I fully understand that officers remember situations like this one.http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/dallas-police-officer-reportedly-shot.html
At the same time, there has to be a way to help prevent the wrong people being targeted under these kinds of circumstances. I'd certainly want to verify that the people on the other side of my door were police at 2am. The chances are a lot better that the real police have the wrong house than that a group of BGs have gotten police uniforms and targeted my place but being woken from a sound sleep with only seconds to figure everything out is a tall order for older guys like me. My reflex action isn't to open the door, however.
Here's the deal, as far as I'm concerned. My house has a wood plaque with brass numbers nailed to it indicating the address, mounted just above and to the right of the front door. There is a black box painted on the curb with my address number in contrasting white painted over it, at TWO locations—right in front of the front walkway leading up to my front door, and at the corner of the curb where my driveway exits. You would have to be a complete imbecile to NOT know that you were at the wrong house. If police were looking for my neighbors—neither of whose homes look anything like mine, by the way—and they shot me
for answering a middle of the night knock with a gun in my hand, I think I would own them. I would own the PD. I would own the city. I think that a good lawyer could make that happen, because we still have a second amendment—despite the efforts of traitors among us—and I have a natural God-given right to defend my home, my family, and myself from a middle of the night raid by anybody hostile to my interests, so long as I have committed no crimes.
Now, is it tactically wise to confirm who's at the door and why before deciding whether or not to open it? Yes, it absolutely is. But in another thread running to many pages now, we have people arguing that when George Zimmerman got out of his car, he assumed responsibility for the outcome of Martin's death. Other's have argued—incorrectly—that when he ignored the 911 operator's request to not follow Martin, he broke the law. The correct
answer is, of course, in hindsight, getting out of his car was a tactical error............but it was NOT ILLEGAL. He broke no laws by doing so.
I maintain that if the state (or local municipality) "licenses you to kill" by paying
you to carry a gun, both for your own protection, the protection of others (which turns out to be a Constitutional fiction, per SCOTUS), and for the apprehension of dangerous criminals, then you have a sort of fiduciary responsibility—JUST like some have argued that George Zimmerman did—to be certain that you are in the right place for this.
I am personally very tired of reading stories about cops who think that their tactics are beyond question, and when it blows up in their faces and they kill an innocent homeowner or his dog, they place the blame on the victim. It's immoral. When their superiors do it, it's doubly so.
I want to see our communities support our police. I want there to be good rapport between the two, and cooperation. Amendment IV of the Bill of Rights says "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, SHALL NOT BE VIOLATED [similar language to SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED], and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized
Amendment IV does not state that the homeowner must make tactically sound decisions for the amendment to be in effect. It does not require that he be the brightest bulb in the circuit. The language places the onus upon law enforcement, stating without any qualification or purpose of evasion (just as with the 2nd Amendment) that this right SHALL NOT BE VIOLATED.
Frankly, I don't care
if the victim answered the door with a gun in his hand. He was defending his castle.
Some are going to be very offended by my next statement, but if I have to choose between a cop who acted like an idiot by not confirming the address and got killed by a homeowner defending his home, and a homeowner getting killed for answering an unannounced knock on the door in the middle of the night with a gun in his hand—tactically sound or not—I'm going to go with dead cop and live homeowner every single time. A police officer has the same right to life that I do, but he does not have MORE of a right to life than I do. If he is stupid, it should cost HIM, not ME. I don't want to see either
person hurt or killed, but if injury or death is the result of someone's stupidity and failure of procedural duty, then I want the person who initiated
the stupidity to pay the price, not the person who is confronted by the other's stupidity—even if he could have made a more tactically sound decision, again, because the 4th Amendment doesn't require sound tactics. It requires law enforcement to meet a standard which was NOT met in this case. Therefore, THEY are responsible for the outcome, and the moral weight of it all rests on their shoulders. So when an unmitigated mutt like that officer's superior makes excuses and tries to shift the blame to the homeowner, I would like to see that superior's private parts crushed in a mangle. Why? Because it is HIS attitude which institutionalizes this kind of fecklessness with regard to a sworn police officer's oath to uphold the law.
And make no mistake, these kinds of errors are entirely
preventable, thus they are stupid. Furthermore, they are the direct result of law enforcement encroaching on the very clearly stated words and meaning of the 4th Amendment.............JUST like the current state of our gun rights in America is the result of liberals encroaching on the very clearly stated words and meaning of the 2nd Amendment.
So I hope that the dead man's family prevails in court, making it so expensive for this police department that they will never pull this kind of crap again. Maybe it will force them to reconsider their commitment to the social contract they made when they agreed to accept employment as police officers. Maybe some officers will decide that they cannot make that commitment, and leave the department. Good. We don't want cops like that. Maybe it will make others decide to rededicate themselves to the principles of good police work, attention to procedure and detail, and adherence to the ideals of good law enforcement. Good. We DO want cops like that.
I WANT successful law enforcement. Our communities require it. Despite this rant, I do NOT have it in for the police. But when cops get away with gunning down innocent people, when they act with contempt for the rights of the people as enumerated in the Constitution, then they have nobody but themselves to blame when the communities they police begin to treat them with contempt in return. That officer's superior did as much or more damage to the cause of community relations as the officer himself did.
A simple, "Yes, it is a terrible situation, and we are trying to sort out what happened and why. When we have more details, I will provide them." That's all the press needed to hear from him, and that's all they had any right to expect. They do not need to hear his opinion—which may be prejudicial to future jury panelists—about his officer's alleged innocence and the homeowner's guilt.
Other than that, I have no opinion.