So, about the crazy ex-cop who decided the best way to show his innocence was to murder innocent people got the LAPD in such a frenzy they decided to kill on sight, regardless if the sight was their target or not. When they finally cornered the guy in a cabin where he could not escape, they decided to execute him by burning him alive – hearings, a trial, and a jury considered superfluous in their revenge.
I’m conflicted. For one, crazy-ex-cop openly declared war on the LAPD. His manifesto, no matter how well scrubbed by the media to fit the narrative, clearly indicated that he was going to kill cops and their families and gave no indication that he was going to be taken alive. While we cannot say for absolute that he was the one who murdered the daughter and her fiancé, it seems the most likely scenario. And we know for sure that in the shootout at the cabin he did shoot and kill a police officer.
When your life is in danger, you do not have to worry about juries, judges, or trials. You have the right to defend your life even if it means taking the life of your aggressor. Interestingly and somewhat counter intuitively, your aggressor has the natural right to defend their life, it’s just that from a societal point of view, there should be no criminal punishment for your actions while there is for theirs simply because they initiated the violence.
Cops run a little different. They actively seek the danger. They track down and chase the criminals, thugs, and violent in our society. Part of what makes the job honorable is that they understand that by doing so, they put their lives at risk. It is a dishonor to their profession to violate your rights in order to achieve a higher degree of safety, and because of that I cannot wholeheartedly agree that the LAPD was in the right to burn this guy to a crisp.
It was clear from the shooting up of anything that looked like the truck of the crazy guy (I avoid using his name for a reason) that the LAPD was going to execute him and make no attempt to take him alive. Granted, it was clear that he intended to take as many of them as possible and that his continued oxygen consumption posed a threat to police officers in the area, cops take on an extra degree of risk by accepting the authority we give them.
It’s not that I care less about the lives of police officers. Like I always seem to have to say – my dad is a cop – so seeing him return home safely every day is something I strive for. But he volunteers every day he puts on that badge to accept both the authority and the risks associated with it. This means even when there is a clear and present danger, he and his fellow officers must simply accept the additional risk and continue to honor the rights of the people they are pursuing.
This did not happen with the LAPD.
I realize the cops faced more danger, but they had the guy surrounded. There was no place for him to go and it seemed pretty clear he’d swallow a lead pill before being taken alive, but that was his choice. There was no need to ‘smoke’ him out (which would have had the cops shoot him), no need to burn someone else’s property, no need to do anything but wait him out.
Getting him alive probably wasn’t an option, but that was the option he chose. The cops should have done everything to try. Heck, our military has more rules of engagement than these guys do and they’re in war zones.
The guy was a crackpot, a danger to society, and I have not lost a Planck lengths’ worth of sleep over his birth certificate being revoked. But I do feel a lot of discomfort knowing that one of the largest police forces in the country has decided that they like the authority but do not accept the risk associated with it and can execute an American citizen at their whim.
There were no winners here.