Nowadays every Monday morning at 7 am I'm on KNON Radio 89.3 doing a radio version of "Get Off My Lawn," pretty much the same thing you see here except that I'm naked.
If like a lot of people you find that the effect of "Get Off My Lawn" doesn't last long enough into the day and you need to re-crank, you can get another blast any old time by listening to podcasts of the naked radio version.
So this morning on KNON we got back into last week's fatal shooting by a police officer of James ("G-Code") Harper at Dixon and Bourquin Streets.
Mainly we discussed when, if ever, police officers are justified in shooting and killing fleeing suspects. In this case, more specifically, we were talking about fleeing and fighting suspects. This guy fought the cop, jumped a fence, fled, fought the cop again, jumped another fence, fled, fought the cop again, all down the block. Three fences. Witnesses said Harper fought violently with Officer Brian Rowden before and after each leap. Finally, as Rowden told investigators, he was exhausted, beat up, over-heated and worried Harper was going to get the best of him, so he shot him.
Many of my callers on KNON said they felt the shooting was unjustified, that nothing Harper did deserved a death penalty and that Rowden should have used his Taser or martial arts or something or should have simply given up the chase and called for back-up, in which case Harper would have gotten away.
My position is pretty simple. Harper did not get a death penalty. He got shot. Death penalties are in court. Getting shot is what happens when you fight with a cop. And should happen.
Fuck Tasers. And martial arts. In a real knock-down drag-out fight, those are just good ways for the cop to screw up, miss, piss somebody off even worse, embolden the bad guy by letting him see you're not taking him down to the ground and wind up getting shot and killed yourself.
It's not supposed to be a fair fight. It's supposed to be a totally unfair fight. The cop is supposed to win. Every time.
Look, I'm not an idiot or a Nazi. I'm not talking about fights that the cops start because they've gone dog-crazy. We all know that happens. You've seen the video. I've seen it on the street. When that happens those cops should be busted, put on trial and, if convicted, tossed in the slammer like anybody else who attacks a human being unjustifiably. I get that. You get that. We all get that.
But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the guy who's running because he's on parole and he just got caught at a dope house. Rather than give up, he fights the cop. Where do we think this stuff goes?
Some people want to make a big deal about whether Harper had a gun and where on his body he got shot, like this was an Olympic sporting event with all kinds of gentlemanly rules of fair play for both contestants.
I opened the show this morning talking about where it goes. It goes to January 23, 1988, the day a 25-year-old Dallas officer named John Glenn Chase got into a scuffle on the sidewalk in downtown Dallas with a homeless man named Carl Dudley Williams, 34. Williams got his hands on Chase's service revolver.
On his back on the sidewalk with Williams holding his own gun over him, Officer Chase pleaded for his life: "Don't shoot me," he said. "I'll help you in any way I can."
A voice or voices in the crowd -- later it was disputed how many -- shouted "Shoot him!" Williams shot Chase once in the face, walked off a few paces, came back and shot him twice more in the head. Chase died.
That is exactly where every fight with a cop goes in the mind of every policeman and policewomen out there, if they allow somebody to get the best of them in a fight. One of my callers this morning suggested that in the Dixon Circle case last week Officer Rowden shot Harper because Rowden was embarrassed about losing a fight. I think that's an absolutely crazy-headed suggestion.
Put yourself in Rowden's shoes. You've got a gun. This guy keeps beating on you. You can feel yourself fading. Does anybody honestly believe your thought process is, "Oh, this is so embarrassing. If he bests me in fisticuffs, I shall never again be able to hold my head amongst my teammates."
What kind of crazy-ass shit is that? That's not what you're thinking. You're thinking, "If he gets over on me and gets this gun, I'm going to wind up on my back pleading for my life, and he's going to shoot me in the face."
Why do you think that? Because that's what it is. That's real life. That's what really happens, not some imaginary theoretical crap like you've got an Olympic panel of judges grading you from one to ten on how well you employ your Taser: "Lovely pirouette ... and fire! ... oh, too bad! A miss. That will cost him dearly with the judges."
It's not supposed to be a fair fight. It's not supposed to be a fight. If you make it a fight, the cop needs to win, quickly and decisively, every time. If you make it a hard fight, you get shot. That's not the death penalty. That's, you get shot.
Anyway, to see me naked, tune in to KNON 89.3 next Monday at 7am. I'm told it's causing wrecks on the freeway.
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