Wednesday, June 13, 2012

One of those days

Ever have one of those days where nothing goes quite right? A man threatens to commit suicide. The police, always helpful, fire 33 rounds at him. Of the 33 shots discharged, only four or five hit. No more donuts for you. And as of last word, the poor man is still alive.

Read the story here.


Matthew M said...

I have never understood this whole police trying to stop suicides. What business is it of theirs anyway?

Anaxagoras said...

Since the mental health profession has tried to "play" in the "field" of medicine by adopting the medical model, suicide has become a matter of individual, preventable health as well as matter of public health. The logical end of this is that a person about to shoot themselves is just like a person about to die of a heart attack. The paramedics and fire trucks rushing in becomes the necessary solution to both scenarios.

But the medical model does not do justice to the complexities of mental health. So you are correct - it makes no sense.

Visibilium said...

The traditional American rationale for outlawing suicide, or in some states, attempted suicide, goes back to the Christian suicide prohibition, which, in turn, was based on the denial of self-ownership.

The important point to remember from a law enforcement perspective is that EVERY SUICIDE IS A HOMICIDE, and one frequently sees that suicidal folks channel their self-anger into anger against others quite easily and quickly. It was appropriate in the interests of public safety that police officers responded to the suicide call and that they attempted to disarm the suspect.

Regarding the number of shots, let's be gentle. In real life enforcement and self-defence scenarios, missing at short distances is quite common. By definition, self-defence involves an element of surprise. It's immediate and unavoidable. Otherwise, it's murder. No innocent victim has time to plan for the perfect shot pattern when the balloon goes up.

That's not to say, however, that one is always doomed to miss during one's "mad minute". My purely anecdotal view is that mindset and mental preparation is the key factor in how one responds to such emergencies.