Tuesday, February 28, 2006

New things for Northern Virginians to be depressed about

Story ideas stolen from The Agitator
1. This morning, I are breakfast at Bob Evans.  Five minutes after I was done with my meal, I stuck my credit card out where passersby could see it and read the newspaper was I waited for my waittress to pick it up. 
Fifteen minutes later, no waittress.  I'm wondering what's up.  About then it occurs to me, Bob Evans is one of those restaurants where you take your money to the counter. 
Luckily, I wasn't paying cash because judging by this story, if you leave your cash on the table at a crappy breakfast restaurant and walk out, it can get your ass killed.
(And even if these kids DID dine and dash, are we really to the point of killing people over $26 restaurant checks?)
2. With all the things the VA legislature is doing wrong right now, (like, oh, say, passing an anti-gay marriage amendment so clumsily written that if it passes, domestic violence laws will no longer apply to straight unmarried couples*.) the Washington Post obviously chose the most pressing to write about in an editorial this morning.  A seatbelt law.
If I end up a libertarian, blame my state.
(OK, AND the people on UU theology who keep asking what's so great about free speech anyway.)
*Not meant to imply that the law would be less evil were this not the case, but at least it would be better written.


TheCSO said...

Um, I don't see what's so unreasonable here. This guy wasn't shot for allegedly skipping out on a check. He died because he was in a vehicle whose driver was trying to kill a cop by driving over him.

Chalicechick said...

If the cop's story is true, then why are his bullet holes in the SIDE of the truck?

Pretty hard to kill someone by driving past him, IMHO.


TheCSO said...

First off, bullets do weird things and will end up places you wouldn't expect.

Also, one of the kids in the car is even quoted in that article as saying the vehicle was "swerving" after the officer opened fire. It appears that the officer fired to stop an immediate threat. That threat continued to exist until the vehicle stopped moving. A wounded guy swerving around, threatening to crash through the front of that IHOP and possibly injure or kill more innocent bystanders inside, is still a threat.

It is unfortunate that Hollywood's portrayal of firefights is widely taken as more realistic than it is. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with movies being "cinematic" instead of "realistic" - they're entertainment. But you can't apply how violence works in the movies to how it works in real life.

And to answer your question, no, it's pretty easy to kill someone by driving past them. You do it by swinging around your several thousand pounds of metal for another pass. Or by swerving again at the last moment so they don't have time to react. As long as the vehicle is still moving, it is still a threat.

Chalicechick said...

Does this count as a marital spat?

Ah well, anyway, if the kids got to the car and the officer was still on foot, they had more or less gotten away.

They had no reason to run him down whatsoever.

I find it more likely that the cop was overzealous.


Will said...

ridiculous. There was no reason for a police officer to jump/stand in front of a car.
I cannot believe that people are seriously defended the escalation of this situation.

I highly recommend a wonderful website. www.theagitator.com

TheCSO said...

The one witness account which has been published so far, no matter how negatively the Post tries to spin it, still supports that the officer was within his department's policy. One of the kids in the car admits that it was swerving all over, and that they wouldn't have heard anything the cop said because they had the windows up and the radio blasting.

So why did the driver, rather than STOP THE VEHICLE, instead decide to swerve wildly? From what one of the kids in the car has said, they were clearly presenting an immediate danger. Taking off and swerving around are NOT normal reactions to a uniformed police officer.

Now, you can argue that the Alexandria PD's departmental policy on use of force against vehicles should be revised. Some departments have much more restrictive policies for this sort of incident. That is an administrative decision and has no bearing on the individual officer involved in this shooting. He appears to have acted in accordance with his department's policy, and that's all we can ask of any patrol officer.

It sounds like this was an unfortunate incident involving some kids doing stupid things. I do have to wonder, though - how much media attention would this have gotten if those kids HAD run over the officer? An accident, of course. A tragedy. But I doubt it would have gotten anything close to this level of attention.