Monday, 28 January 2013

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The first forty-five were mistakes, the forty-sixth an accident The headline at the LA Times reads "Torrance neighborhood edgy after mistaken shootings," and the phrase "mistaken shootings" refers to the fact that there have been multiple incidents in which Los Angeles and Torrance police officers have opened fired on people who don't remotely resemble proud cop-killer Christopher Jordan Dorner: two Latina women delivering papers for the Times and a white man sneaking in a morning surf. But calling these incidents "mistaken shootings" downplays both the extent of the mistake and the severity of the shootings. Consider the state of the truck driven by the Times employees: I'm not sure what I find more disturbing: the fact that two members of the LAPD put at least forty-six bullets in the back of that truck or that the barrage only wounded the two women in the truck. Not that I wish them further injury, mind you, only that I'm uncomfortable with the level of incompetence such "marksmanship" seems to suggest, because the police are out in terrible force and they are angry. If you live where I do, you don't need to watch the news conferences or know that over 50 members of the force (and their families) are in protective custody to notice, and feel unsettled by, the heightened police presence in Riverside and Orange and LA counties. I literally can't go to the doughnut store without having to stand behind four grumpy sleep-deprived cops.* I understand why the 15 and 91 were crawling with police vehicles last Thursday, as Dorner shot the officers in Corona a few miles from my apartment, but given that the search is now centered around Big Bear, I'm not sure why the continued police presence is necessary. Especially when, since the "mistaken shootings" that happened last week, people who drive pickup trucks of any make and model are being encouraged to find alternative means of transportation until Dorner is dead or custody.** Because you never know when an angry sleep-addled cop who can barely hit the back of an SUV will open fire on you because of who you could be, but clearly aren't. Having a standing army of incompetent shots occupy a few counties may not be the best way to calm civilian nerves. This strikes me as generally true, but even more so when the only stated targets are cops and the only victims unrelated to law enforcement personnel have been shot, mistakenly, by law enforcement personnel. *By which I mean, when I went to the doughnut store this morning, I had to stand behind four grumpy sleep-deprived cops. **This despite the fact that the burnt husk of the truck in question was located on Saturday night.

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