Monday, April 13, 2015

Manslaughter Charged In Tulsa Shooting--Ideas To Prevent

Not again, not another shooting of a black man, Eric Harris, by a white cop
Who ran to avoid arrest for selling guns to an undercover cop and failed to on command stop
The story is not full of details but the officers must have tackled and were trying to restrain
Rather than use a Glock one of them used his Taser to try to Harris’ resistance contain
The cop was not full time, only a volunteer member of the Tulsa police force reserve
In the stress of the struggle with adrenaline running high he may have become unnerved
Reached for his taser but by mistake grabbed his gun instead
One shot and hours later at a Tulsa hospital Harris was dead
The tragedy occurred on April 2 and today on the news we learn
That Bates was charged with manslaughter for the difference between a gun and taser he could not discern
Tasers are the preferred choice if nonlethal force can a suspect refrain
Like toy guns they should be painted red or orange to avoid mistake and a suspect being slain
Two issues on this shooting come to light the first of which may come as a surprise
 Bates is 73 an age when most are playing golf not playing cop, a game where officers can die
The other is that without reserve officers many cities’ thin blue lines might not even exist
Definitely would not be enough officers without them to have a chance to crime resist
Tulsa has 130 reserve officers like Bates who must complete 320 hours of training
Each year surpass on the shooting range accuracy standards in order for the badge to maintain
The academy requires a 16 week course and 40 hours of training each year
It is hard to expect unpaid volunteers to higher standards of training  to adhere
But the training received should be reviewed and whether more than just shooting should be looked at each year
We know that with exercise and diet, 70 may be the new 50;  but 73 is not the new 45
The oldest age that an applicant to the Tulsa Police Academy to be able to apply
Perhaps to recertify each year a reserve officer must also be trained on when he cannot shoot
Also some stress testing and sensitivity training to make sure racial bias is not taking root
As Harris bleeding on the ground dying lay
A lot of callous f* words on tape were directed his way
This shooting is a tragedy not only for the victim but also for Bates
Killing a man by mistake will create trauma that will only if at all slowly abate
It is also a tragedy for the nation to give Sharpton another excuse
To rail from his pulpit that police forces continue to practice widespread racial abuse
© April 13, 2015 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet
Alaskanpoet for Hire, Poems to Admire
Poet Extraordinaire Beyond Compare
Rhymes for All the Memorable Times
The Perfect Gift, All Recipients to Receive a Lasting Lift

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