Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I wanted to be a police officer my whole life to help people

That's a quote from a Noble OK cop who was testifying on his own behalf at a hearing about his manslaughter charge after he and another cop shot at a snake last year and killed a 5 year old boy instead of the snake.

The snake was not poisonous and was contained in a bird house. More than one shot was fired, and police did not originally release the information about the snake being non-poisonous (actually that information eventually came from an animal control officer in another town).

When I lived in Cleveland, Texas, near a heavily wooded area in East Texas, a dry creek bed ran across the back side of my lot. Whenever it rained the creek bed would fill up snakes would find their way to high ground (my yard or my neighbor's yards). Rattlesnakes in the yard where not uncommon after a big rain.

There was no shortage of guns on that street. People who live in rural East Texas have guns. But the weapon of choice for killing rattlesnakes was a shovel. I kept a shovel in the yard and all my neighbors did (actually I had a big lot and kept two shovels, one next to the house and one next to a tree away from the house).

The two Oklahoma cops are pleading guilty in exchange of two years probation. And give up their police certifications.

THe guy quoted in the title is so full of shit. That's not why he became a cop. He was 34 years old when he became a cop. That makes it pretty clear that police work was not his first occupational choice. He was drawn to police work after trying other jobs. But policing offered a combination of good pay and a fun way to spend the day. Getting paid to wave a gun around and shoot at stuff is every little boys dream.

You can be sure that if some neighbor had shot at the snake and killed the boy that this cop would be standing in line to arrest the offender and would have a ready-made self-rightous explanation of why the bad person with a gun should go to prison.

Maybe one of these we'll actually start holding police to a higher standard. But it won't be anytime soon.

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