Patterico's Pontifications


Yagman: Off the Tased Student’s Case

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:19 pm

I read it in the L.A. Times. So it must be true.

I wonder what happened.

More on the Video of the Texas State Trooper Killed by the 72-Year-Old Man

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:34 pm

Earlier today, I linked a not-safe-for-work video of a Texas trooper killed by a 72-year-old man, to show that: 1) bullets kill people, even when they are fired by old people; and 2) police may be overly cautious about returning fire when an older person points a gun at them — a factor that could explain why a 92-year-old woman was able to shoot three separate cops in Atlanta.

I have more information about the shooting depicted in that video. (As I warned in the previous post, the link to that video is not safe for work, because the site contains sexual content, and the video shows a shooting, and contains graphic sounds of a police officer dying.) I think this new information is relevant to the current debate.

This link says:

On August 3, 2000, State Trooper Randall Vetter was killed with a Ruger Mini-14 .223 rifle. Trooper Vetter stopped 72-year-old Melvin Hale for not wearing his seat belt. Hale got out of his car and aimed his rifle at Vetter because he believed the traffic stop violated his constitutional rights.

It occurred to me that there are more parallels between that video and the Atlanta situation than simply the age of the civilian shooting the cop.

For one, some libertarians appear to be arguing that the police in Atlanta somehow deserved to be shot because they were serving a “no-knock” search warrant in a drug case. Because these libertarians oppose both no-knock warrants and drug laws, they appear to lack sympathy for officers serving that type of warrant in that type of case.

Presumably these same libertarians oppose seatbelt laws. Do they believe that police should expect to be shot if they enforce seatbelt laws? Do they believe that the crazy old man depicted in the video is a patriot, standing up for his vision of the Constitution? Do they believe that a man has the right to shoot a police officer if he happens to think a traffic stop is unconstitutional?

Libertarians (and others) argue that no-knock warrants increase the danger to civilians and police. They argue that shootings like the one in Atlanta are foreseeable and avoidable. There may be some validity to that point, and it’s a worthy debate to have. However, keep in mind that the same arguments could apply to enforcement of traffic laws. A traffic stop is the most dangerous situation for any cop. Does that mean we should not enforce traffic laws?

Libertarians argue that bad guys sometimes pretend to be police serving search warrants, in order to rob people in the house. I am here to tell you, this is 100% true. But guess what? Bad guys also sometimes pretend to be police conducting traffic stops, in order to rob people. Again, this does not mean that we should do away with traffic stops — or that we should conclude that citizens have the right to shoot cops at traffic stops, simply because they are sometimes conducted by bad-guy robbers.

The police officer in the video, by the way, was 28 years old. He was married and had an eight-month-old son. He was a human being who did not deserve to die. And the cops in Atlanta are also human beings who didn’t deserve to be shot — assuming that (as all media reports suggest) they were lawfully executing a valid search warrant on a drug house.

I am happy to have people debate the wisdom of dynamic entries to serve search warrants. I think there are good arguments both pro and con.

What appalls me is the mindset that causes people to leap to conclusions about the case (such as the woman being “innocent” or the search warrant being served on the “wrong house”) — and especially that demonizes police officers shot for doing their job.

For the umpteenth time, I’d suggest that people gather all the facts before leaping to conclusions. And recognize that old people firing guns can kill just as easily as young people can — and may be able to do so more effectively, because of the reluctance of cops to return fire at an obvious elderly person. The video linked above is compelling and disturbing evidence of that proposition.

Happy Thanksgiving

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:04 pm

I have said before that we should treat every day as Thanksgiving. But it’s good to have a specific day set aside to do so, to remind us of the importance of giving thanks for our blessings.

I hope everyone has a great day.

Balko Distorts the Facts In a Lengthy Screed About How He Doesn’t Distort the Facts

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:01 pm

Radley Balko has a lengthy screed about me today, which misstates my position in several respects regarding the Atlanta shooting involving the 92-year-old lady.


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