Officer Alex comments on last weekend’s fatal shooting
Before words are put in my mouth, that’s not a mockery of any hashtag-related marketing gimmicks: It’s a statement of fact put as simply as I possibly could.
Chattanooga was unfortunate enough to have a fatal shooting between a citizen and police officers, and while we will not discuss a single aspect of that criminal case that’s still ongoing (besides being against understandable house rules, I have no more facts than you have from your local news sources anyway), the questions from this incident are the same in almost every case and therefore are worth addressing.
Last weekend’s shooting is being repeatedly compared to the non-shooting of another citizen in December of 2014. Court record shows Ms. Julia Shields was driving through a local neighborhood shooting from her moving vehicle. No one was struck, and she was eventually confronted by a police officer, who, based on what he (and only he) saw at that second, challenged her to drop her gun. Lo and behold, she did.
Bafflingly, there was an immediate and desperate attempt to make this a racial issue (Ms. Shields is Caucasian) and as is often the case, the insistence on such despite any remote connection to it distracted people from the fact it was a matter of compliance, not race. Ms. Shields didn’t survive because she was white any more than because she was a female or a possible fan of catfish “noodling.”
She survived because she was told to drop the gun, and did. People didn’t want to believe this was possible, so…they didn’t. I’m OK with that, but the insistence on revisionist history and implying they knew more about what the officer was thinking than the officer did is just too ludicrous to go unchallenged by someone as career-impaired as myself. You can talk crazy—but you’d best be prepared to share the mic.
I watched a citizen’s video of the recent event on Facebook, one of several, actually, since it all took place in broad daylight, and for four straight minutes I listened to a man who knew the decedent by his first name asking him over and over to just drop the gun and “let the baby go.”
The officers in the background could be heard begging him over and over to drop the gun. And when shots rang out on the video for whatever reason that prompted them, according to a police press conference afterwards, the man apparently never chose to drop that gun.
(The news stories also said an officer put himself between the gunman and the child, hence the “baby” comment, but I’ll leave that fact out, despite it clearly being a factor in how the incident ended, as well as being a significant factor in separating this even further from the above-referenced non-shooting in December 2014.)
My concern here goes beyond the obvious concern for the deceased’s family, the community we are all a part of, and the cops that are going to have to wrestle with these memories for the rest of their lives (not to mention their own immediate families as well).
My concern includes the insistence on not learning a lesson from these horrible events to maybe, just maybe prevent another one from occurring in the future. Instead, the focus is put on a distraction that in itself will only promote more violence instead of focusing on the actual cause that could prevent it.
Ms. Shields made a choice to drop her weapon. This young man apparently made the choice not to, and in doing so took away everyone else’s choices as well.
Please…let’s not just learn from this tragedy. Let’s learn the right lesson here, not someone’s desperate agenda for validation. We owe it to ourselves—and we certainly owe it to the young man some believe is being used as a pawn in a counterproductive game.
When officer Alexander D. Teach is not patrolling our fair city on the heels of the criminal element, he spends his spare time volunteering for the Boehm Birth Defects Center