The last thing you want to be involved in, if you’re a police officer in 2017, is a shooting. Everything you do is going to be analyzed, but not in real time. Rather, they’ll be analyzed frame by frame, with pauses, and with silly questions like “what were you thinking when…”

From Rockwood Tennessee comes a 2015 video of a police officer involved in a shooting incident that I think teaches some excellent lessons. In the video the officer has just hiked up a mountain looking for a stolen jeep that tried to evade him, and he confronts the driver, telling him to stop, and that he will “shoot your ass!” So, the genius involved does exactly what he shouldn’t: he slams the car in reverse and tries to run over the cop. Nice.

The body cam footage shows the police officer empty the magazine on his Glock 19, and do a very competent combat reload after the vehicle stops. He then carefully approaches and finds the suspect shot in the face. Sadly, this is not a happy ending. The suspect who tried to murder the officer with a car is not only still alive, the hospital released him, and he went into hiding. While he later turned himself in and was released with a GPS bracelet, the long story is that there will need to be a trial for felony vehicle theft, reckless endangerment, and assault on an officer.

A grand jury was convened to look at the body camera footage and concluded that the officer was within his rights to shoot the suspect. But the reason you won’t hear about this on the national news is that the suspect was not a minority. He was a white male, and as a result, there was no one to complain that this guy, who tried hard to earn his own Darwin award, was somehow mistreated by police.

So, the first lesson, if at all possible, try to get attacked by a white male.  If at all possible, hope that it’s a really stupid white male.  The second lesson is, finish the job.  Dead men do not tell lies.  If you have to shoot someone, this is not the time to try to trick-shoot the guy in the ear.  Shoot him dead!  Let me repeat:  dead men tell no lies.

Thankfully this officer went home to his family.  You would likely be less lucky if someone tried to run you down and you used your gun to stop them.  The question would be, why didn’t you move?  Why didn’t you run away?  The grand jury might take a different view.

This officer was lucky.  Not all officers are so lucky.  Sometimes District Attorneys and grand juries make bad decisions.  Sometimes the police officer loses much that they hold dear because some dumbass decided to take them on.  In my view, the cop ought to always get the benefit of the doubt.

Remember, when you drive home tonight, that the difference between good and evil is often that guy or gal in blue in the black and white car that keeps you and your family safe. Thank a police officer. They deserve it.

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