We live in a strange time in history. Maybe it’s because people are constantly bombarded by 24 hour news stations giving us almost nothing but bad news because they only focus on things to panic about. Maybe this constant panic-stricken news has conditioned people to always expect the worst out of people, and, maybe, police officers are just as susceptible to this expectation of the worst. What do you think this is doing to our society? Do you think that this is changing the way that police handle situations?
I’d be willing to bet money that it is, and a recent tragedy in Wichita, Kansas, gives us an example of the kinds of things which we can expect to see more of as people (in spite of the facts) keep thinking that the world is getting more and more violent. Scott Shackford provides details:
Thursday night, Wichita, Kansas, Police sent out a SWAT team to respond to a 911 call that a man shot his father and was holding his family hostage in their home.
The telephone call was a lie. There was no hostage situation—but nevertheless a man at the home ended up dead, shot and killed by a police officer at his own front door.
Police right now are being tight-lipped about what actually happened at the home of the dead man, identified by relatives as Andrew Finch, 28, as the circumstances are still under investigation. Police did say they don’t believe Finch fired on police officers before they shot him, according to the Wichita Eagle. His family says he was not armed.
It seems likely that this was the outcome of a “swatting” prank that has finally reached its inevitable awful conclusion. “Swatting” is a nasty prank where somebody calls 911 and tells police a violent crime or hostage situation is happening at somebody else’s home. Police then show up with weapons to bear and end up terrifying an innocent party who is not doing anything at all. Often times the swatters use tech tools to conceal or change their number so that it appears to be local and credible.
Finch’s family says that he was unarmed and that police shot him when he opened the door to see why there were flashing lights near his house. According to the family, the police did not give warning before opening fire, which makes this look more and more like a murder case (or, at least, manslaughter).
This kind of thing is what we can expect to see more of as our society keeps focusing on violence and negative ideas about what is going on in the world which, then, combine with police forces that become more heavily armored and use more military-style weaponry.
It’s a disturbing trend, and, unfortunately, it’s not likely that the trend will decrease in the foreseeable future. At this point, the best thing that we can do is simply stay off of the police’s raider as best as possible, and be smart enough to not go looking for a fight.