The L.A. Times reports: L.A. County deputies kill three armed suspects. A deck headline emphasizes the number of shootings this year, and the sheriff’s recent call to investigate officer-involved shootings:
The weekend incidents bring the total number of deputy-involved fatal shootings this year to 13 and come within days of Sheriff Baca’s call to quickly investigate such shootings.
The lede sentence also emphasizes how many officer-involved shootings the department has had this year:
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed three armed suspects in separate incidents over the weekend, bringing the total number of fatal deputy-involved shootings so far this year to 13.
And emphasizes high in the story:
The recent spate of shootings comes less than a week after Sheriff Lee Baca called for an expedited investigation into a deputy’s fatal shooting of an unarmed man in Athens on Sept. 14. Baca said later that he would convene a panel of experts to examine deputy-involved shootings.
Department officials said the panel would study whether deputies need additional training.
Here’s the thing, though: in each of the shootings, the suspect was armed:
A deputy was injured during a gun battle in one of the three shootings, and suspects’ firearms were recovered after each incident, said Steve Whitmore, a department spokesman.
Now, I’ll give the paper credit for this: the article does not bury that fact. That paragraph is the second paragraph of the article, and I’m pleased to see that.
But my question remains: if each of these shootings was justified (as it appears from the limited evidence we know so far), why does the story place these shootings in the context of another shooting that may not have been justified?
If editors think there is a Larger Truth to be gleaned from what does appear to be a high number of shootings, let them seek it. But the correct question to ask may not be:
why are sheriff’s deputies shooting so many people?
why are so many people pointing guns at and/or shooting at sheriff’s deputies?
I wonder what would happen if they put that question to patrol officers on the street. Consider it a suggestion from Patterico’s Assignment Desk.