So I think I may have over reacted to the so-called “murder” that I witnessed last week. The news stories I’ve read made it sound a lot less serious than what it looked like from my apartment, and sounds like the guy actually survived despite being shot in the face. I remember watching him being shot at least a few times, and seem to remember hearing around 15 gunshots total, then he was just lying there and I watched him as closely as I could for several minutes before the police showed up and he sure wasn’t moving. I never actually saw him getting hit, but he was maybe fifteen feet away and I couldn’t imagine how the shooter could have missed that many times, so I guess I just assumed there was no way he could have survived.
I talked to a friend who told me that gangsters and gun-toting drama queens like this usually don’t shoot to kill in these situations, that they usually aim high or low, and their real intent is, as he put it, “to show off their big dick,” and just scare the crap out of someone, but in reality the shooter is usually the one who’s scared because he’s probably never killed anyone before and especially not with all those witnesses. I guess that kind of psychology never occurred to me. If I pull out a gun and shoot someone, I would intend for them to die. I’d be afraid if I wounded someone they’d just come back for me later. But I’ve only shot a gun a few times in my life, and certainly never at a person, and I’ve never had any real desire to own one, so I guess I have no idea of the psychology of people who actually carry guns and would do something like this.
But there’s still a few things that bother me about this whole thing. First was when I went into the bar the next day for a burger and heard the bartender talking about it. Apparently she had called 911 before shots were ever fired and tried to convince the police to come in and break up the fight, but they had refused, saying it was too dangerous, even though the bartender, bar owner and a number of other innocent witnesses were all right there. Instead, the police waited down the street a block or two away for all the shooting to be done with so they could catch everyone while they were fleeing the scene.
I’ve told people this part of the story and everyone has seemed very shocked by it, but to me it makes perfect sense. The cops aren’t there to prevent crime, they are there to punish crime after it occurs, and naturally they are going to choose to protect themselves before they try to protect innocent victims, which I think would be the same for just about anyone.
But I often wonder if part of it is the fact that police want these types of things to occur, and purposely waited because they wanted a crime to be committed. The more gang violence that goes down, the more secure they are in their jobs and the more people support them. It also makes the gangs more likely to target each other than to start targeting police. Law enforcement really has no logical reason to try to prevent crime from happening, and crime prevention, quite simply, is not anywhere in their job description.
Besides, if cops were really interested in preventing crime they would have become teachers or social workers or YMCA counselors or foster parents. Those are the people that are truly making our streets safer.
I was afraid right after I watched that guy get shot that this would shake up my belief in anarchism and make me second-guess my distaste for police and law enforcement, since these are the kind of events people always cite as being examples of why we need police, but that certainly did not happen.
The other thing that bothers me is the fact that the news articles I read did not match up very closely with what I saw. Apparently the police reported that there were 40 people, all wearing white t-shirts. I remember 10-15 people, only a few of them wearing white t-shirts. They also weren’t clear on how many shots were fired, and one article seemed to imply that only one shot had been fired. I don’t see how these things could be possible. I don’t think I hallucinated all those gunshots, and I don’t see how 40 people could have all gotten away in the two–possibly three–vehicles I saw drive away. I didn’t see anyone fleeing on foot, though I suppose I could have missed a few, but there’s no way I could have overlooked 20-30 people fleeing on foot.
So either I completely mis-remembered the entire thing and essentially hallucinated, or the newspapers are not taking responsibility for the things they print, or the police are flat-out lying to the news reporters or just making stuff up to get them off their backs.
If I hallucinated the whole thing, that means that any witness to any crime could have the same problem and can see things in a way that’s completely separate from reality and not have the slightest idea that they were hallucinations brought on by raging emotions. This is one reason why I believe there is always reasonable doubt in a court conviction.
But I don’t believe I hallucinated. I think the newspapers are just trying to sell their papers so they can help feed our economy and make money for themselves, so they have to print a story before anyone else does, and the police are just tired of dealing with them; perhaps they’re tired of telling the reporters the story and having them mis-interpret it and have just given up, so they just tell them whatever.
Then people read all these articles and use them to form their opinions and world view… or they read stuff like my blog, where I have unwittingly exaggerated even more than the reporters I’m scolding 🙂