Scott Tibbs

When lethal force is the only viable option

By Scott Tibbs, May 3, 2021

As I have said before, there are many examples of excessive force by police. Elizabeth Daly, Kathryn Johnston, Bounkham Phonesavanh, Isaac Singletary, Aiyana Stanley-Jones and Cheye Calvo are examples of that. Addie and Bob Harte were subjected to a SWAT raid because police mistook loose-leaf tea for marijuana. The Phonesavanh and Stanley-Jones cases were especially horrifying.

We should stand against police brutality, and we should oppose the militarization of police. I was the only candidate for Bloomington City Council in 2015 to oppose the Bloomington Police Department's attempt to acquire a mine resistant, ambush protected (MRAP) military vehicle.

The Ma'Khia Bryant case, however, is not an example of excessive force by police. It is an insult to victims of excessive force and police brutality to put her on that list. The Bryant case was an example of the police doing exactly what they were trained to do to stop an attempted murder in progress. If you watch the video and know anything about what police are actually capable of doing, then the only logical conclusion is that use of lethal force was justified and necessary.

In fact, shooting her was a pro-life decision. The police are obligated to stop violent crimes, especially when those crimes are happening right in front of them. By shooting Bryant, a police officer saved the life of the teenage girl Bryant was in the process of stabbing after screaming her intention to "stab the f***" out of her. Failure to act would have been a dereliction of duty.

Could the police officer have peacefully disarmed her? No. In the time that it took to draw a Taser, Bryant would have plunged the knife into her intended victim, probably more than once. Shooting her in the leg was not an option. Legs are smaller and more difficult to hit, and a bullet in the leg may not have stopped Bryant from swinging a knife into the other teenager's abdomen and piercing vital organs.

The video clearly shows that the officer could not have traversed the distance between him and Bryant quickly enough to tackle her before she stabbed her intended victim. There is no reason to believe shooting into the air would have distracted Bryant enough to make her pause when screaming at her did not, and that itself would have been a reckless act: Bullets do not magically disappear when fired into the air.

In a truly morally abominable statement, Black Lives Matter decried the fatal shooting of Bryant. But notice that they say nothing about the teenage girl that Bryant was trying to viciously murder with a knife. This is because the victim's life does not matter to Black Lives Matter. The BLM organization does not care about black lives. They care about bashing police.

Police have the authority to use lethal force to protect innocent lives. A brave policeman in Columbus did that, but no one is thanking him for saving the life of an innocent black teenager. The fact is that Bryant's intended victim's life mattered. She did not deserve to be viciously murdered with a knife. Thanks to the police, she is alive. We should be thankful for that.

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