Once again, we are hearing about a case of police overreacting and creating an unnecessary tragedy. This time, it was at a Wal-Mart in Northern Virginia. They were called there when a female employee began threatening customers and her co-workers with a pair of scissors. When the woman refused to put down the scissors, one of the officers shot and killed her. This, of course, could have and should have had a much different outcome.
Why couldn’t the police just have evacuated the place until the woman calmed down? Then they could also have left. That would have removed everyone from any imminent danger. There was no reason why she had to be forced to let go of the scissors. Should would have had to eventually relinquish them. At that point, the cops could have apprehended her. If I were a police chief, I would demand that my officers crawl on their hands and knees and beg a person to surrender, rather than risking a confrontation that could result in the loss of life.
But police departments all over the country have a habit of creating false senses of urgency which lead to unnecessary standoffs. Backing off will often accomplish the same thing as a confrontation, but without the same risk of life and limb. Yes, it might just might take a little longer, but so what? Shouldn’t the prevention of a tragedy be the cops’ number one priority? However, time after time, law enforcement opts for confrontation. When will they ever learn?