By Timothy W. Shire
September 12, 1998
The tragic death of a Regina boy Thursday needs to be seriously discussed as there are several issues, not the least of which is that apparently the Regina Police Department has reinstated the death penalty and even more unsettling that they have chosen to make this example a juvenile
It is so easy to write a paragraph like the one above because the emotional content of a child beingshot by a policeman. The act of killing a child was simply not an act of self defense No matter what the police story, or whatever circumstances come out, the evidence is this, one shot would stop the knife threatening boy, two shots indicate that the officer involved compressed his finger twice not just to stop the possible assailant, but to end his life. As it turns out the police had responded with two dogs and four policeman.
The issue I wish to address is repetitive, I realise this but that suggests even more how important it is. There have been so many similar incidents of this in this province that it is boring to relate them all, last year the young gun toting woman (Cyr) shot and killed by Regina police, the La Loche man with a knife and so on, both victims drunk and irrational at the time.
The facts of all these incidents are the same. In a moment of stress and elevated emotions the accurate aiming of a hand gun is simply not possible. As a result, police are trained "only" to shoot to kill, the only reliable and safe instruction is to make it automatic for the police officer to do what he has done repeatedly to the point that it is a thoughtless process. Shoot the target in the largest portion of the body directing the round toward the heart. There is no alternative.
Pick up a pencil see if you can accurately point it at anything. A pencil is the length of a policeman's gun barrel. Now imagine yourself really excited and anxious, your aim decreases to perhaps 10% of what you could do in a calm mood. Now realise that the weight of the pencil is that of a dictionary and you will see why it has to be "shoot to kill". The chance of you hitting anything deliberately is simply not there. If the target is further then twice the length of your body he/she is out of rang for your anxious wobbling hand. Yet, the round coming out of the barrel is lethal up to two hundred yards.
To think this through imagine yourself out deer hunting, but let's consider what it would be like if the deer just might shot back at you or perhaps have a concealed knife. The rules of the hunt are that you have to run about a block first before you are allowed to shoot. But instead of your regular rifle you have modified it to have a no stock to rest on your shoulder and the barrel is six inches long. In order to shoot you will need to hold your arms out steady so you can sight the weapon. With rules like that we would be up to armpits in deer dung.
Based on this, do you honestly think anyone, police or otherwise should be allowed to carry a handgun? A hand gun is a crude killer, rarely does it hit the intended target and because of its small size it can be carried by the law enforcement officer who will reach for it instead of consider other viable alternatives for restraining a threat.
Think of this, if the policemen summoned to North Regina had responded and come up to a 15 year old kid without their guns, would they have been able to find a way to protect the youth and the people in the neighbourhood from the threat he poses? Clearly you can see there were a lot of alternatives, but because they were wearing guns that they have been trained to use to kill people, they did what they were trained to do. Don't blame them, they were doing exactly what they were trained to do.
Two policeman could have escorted the youth at a safe distance along the street until more help arrived to subdue him. They were equipped with portable radios and could just as easily guarded the public until trained personnel wearing the proper protective gear could approach the child and disarm him. Since we now know there were four policeman and two dogs one wonders if they had received any training in anything but hand gun usage.
Instead they drew their guns and ended his life.
I want them not to have that option. No guns. We can't have them and neither should they, for exactly the same reason.