No excusing shooting by Fort Worth Cop

What Aaron Dean did was not surprising given the Fox News-ification of police work, where viewers have come to believe that officers are in deadly peril at every moment.

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Atatiana Jefferson

Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed in her home by a Fort Worth, Texas, police officer, Aaron Dean on Oct. 12. He has been charged with murder.

AP Photos

I must disagree with William Choslovsky’s op-ed on Thursday about the police shooting in Fort Worth, Texas, of Atatiana Jefferson.

I was a regular police officer in Richardson, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, for 26 years. I answered countless calls similar to the one that resulted in Ms. Jefferson’s death. Having read the call comments that came to then-Officer Aaron Dean about this call, and having watched the body camera footage, there was nothing about the call that should have been the cause of “adrenaline running.”

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Should Dean have announced himself at the first open door? Best police practices would say he should have. Would Dean have been startled to see someone in the window, most especially if they were pointing a handgun? Absolutely.

If, in fact, Ms. Jefferson was pointing a gun, did Dean respond in the only manner available to him? Not at all. He didn’t identify himself as a police officer. He didn’t move quickly to the side, which would have prevented Ms. Jefferson from seeing him in order to shoot at him, had she been inclined to do so.

Frankly, what I think Dean did was not all that surprising given what I would call the Fox News-ification of police work, where its viewers — and viewers of other media — have largely come to believe that American police officers are in deadly peril every moment they’re at work.

They aren’t.

The reality is that the number of officers killed each year has been in decline, much like the crime rate. While a police officer murdered in the line of duty is frequently a national story, the much higher rates of fatal injury in other occupations means that law enforcement and firefighting aren’t even in the top 10 of hazardous occupations.

Something I have experienced with great chagrin, especially since the events of September 11, 2001, was references to law enforcement officers as “warriors” both in public writings and in material directed to law enforcement. In my view, nothing could be more misguided. Aside from ignoring the overwhelming majority of what constitutes day-to-day policing, describing the police as warriors flies in the fact of declining crime rates and populations who feel as though the police are an occupying force in their neighborhoods.

Diana Powe, Beaverton, Oregon

S.E. Cupp’s curious view of personal freedom

A few points I’d like to make to columnist S.E. Cupp with respect to personal freedom:

Should we all mindlessly defend Facebook and Google’s track record as a bad actor, and take a hands-off policy toward their attempts to create monopolies, stifle competition and sell our most personal data, simply because we might happen to use those platforms?

I like talking to my friends, but I don’t like my privacy being sold to the highest bidder.

No, we mustn’t reign in game and video violence, because, after all, those companies have the right to feed us sadistic, depraved and murderous behavior in massive quantities. Is that what Cupp is saying? They apparently have the right to make children immune to, and uncaring about, violence against others, because after all, it’s good for profits, right?

How could a kid who has witnessed countless thousands of murders and acts of sadism via media possibly turn out to be anything but a wholesome and upright citizen?

Of course it would be a violation of our rights if we had Medicare for all. What right does the government have to keep private insurance companies from denying us the coverage that we need, while nonetheless bankrupting us when a serious illness strikes?

The people who have “hijacked” (Cupp’s word) our health care are the insurance magnates who care not a whit for anyone’s suffering or death, as long as it boosts their profits.

It sounds like Cupp subscribes to the notion that everything in American society is golden, as long as “Big Gubmint” stays out of the way.

Thank God there are Democratic candidates who stand for something other than business as usual.

Jeff Granger, Rogers Park

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