I Have a Gripe

October 6, 2013

The Capitol Shooting & Deadly Force

This week there was an incident with a woman who was shot and killed by law enforcement after ramming the White House gates with her car and hitting a Secret Service officer.

After the fact of course, all the second guessing began. Did law enforcement need to fire on the vehicle? Did they know there was an infant in the car? If they did feel the need to fire, why didn’t they shoot out the tires?

The family of the woman came out and said that she was suffering from postpartum psychosis and they felt law enforcement didn’t have to shoot.

As always, there are three sides to every story; one side, the other side, and the truth.

While I am sorry this woman had mental and emotional issues, I must stand  behind law enforcement. These men and women put their lives on the line every day. Law enforcement in DC have an even more difficult job as they not only have to protect civilians, but Capitol landmarks, politicians, and more. They need to make split second decisions. This woman had already crashed a White House gate and rammed into a Secret Service officer, sending him onto her windshield. Another police officer was injured during a chase down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the Capitol. While she did not have a firearm, her car at that point was a deadly weapon. Did they know there was an infant in the vehicle? I don’t know. But she put her child in that vehicle and drove from Connecticut to DC that day.

I have never had a child and never suffered from postpartum psychosis. I am obviously not a doctor, so I really don’t understand all that encompasses this condition. I understand the woman’s family defending her situation and feeling the police should’ve done more to preserve her life. And I am sorry this woman lost her life.

I have many friends and family members in law enforcement and I can say with confidence that police do not use their weapons lightly. It is not something they look forward to doing and understand the ramifications of using their weapon. Did they know she didn’t have a weapon? No idea, but I doubt it. Again, the moment she sent a Secret Service officer flying, she used her car as a deadly weapon.

I will always give law enforcement the benefit of the doubt. Period.

I ask the questions to those second-guessing law enforcement, did you know if that woman had firearms in that vehicle? Did you know if her car was loaded with explosives and could’ve been a terrorist attempting to take advantage of the government shutdown? What would you have done if you had a weapon and had a car coming towards you at full speed?

It is important that law enforcement review every situation and determine if anything could be learned from the response. However, when an officer is put in that situation, all their training kicks in and they will do what they feel is the right thing to keep the area safe and protected.

Just like no one knew what was going through that woman’s mind, no one knew what was going through the minds of law enforcement on a second-by-second basis in a fluid situation in one of the toughest places to protect in the country.

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