So says PJMedia in this article.
As we drive slowly along 83rd Street, we see gathered near the entrance to an alleyway just east of Avalon a few members of the local street gang, one of whom is perhaps responsible for killing Jermaine Murray.
In an ideal world, you and I might approach these young men. We might radio for another unit or two to assist us, as the mere sight of our slowing and the opening of our doors might very well set them off running in all directions. What’s more, one or more of them might be armed, or there may be guns secreted nearby for ready access should some rival venture across Avalon looking to settle up for Jermaine’s killing. These and many other things cross our minds as we weigh the possibilities for our course of action.
What do we do? We drive on, for we are not police officers in an ideal world. We are police officers in Los Angeles in the year 2016, and we know there is little to be gained and much to be lost if we get out of our car and engage these young men. If none of them runs and none is armed, if everything goes as pleasantly as things can go these days, we will at the very least be given a load of grief, first by the young men themselves, then by the many family members and other sympathizers who, attracted by the commotion, will soon emerge from nearby homes and apartment houses.
And if one of them runs? Well then we might have to chase him, and if we catch him we might have to hit him, an incident that will be captured on cell phone video and posted on YouTube and, if the footage is sufficiently inflammatory, broadcast on local television news. And if one of these young men is armed and we have to shoot him, and if video of the shooting does not clearly demonstrate that we were fired upon first, we will see our chain of command abandon us and pronounce our tactics unsound, this despite the fact that few of our superiors have actually stood in our shoes. And we might see that video become a national news story, one that will prompt the police commissioners, the mayor, the governor, and even the president of the United States himself to offer their unschooled opinions on the deficiencies of our actions.
So, as we are not fools, we drive on. And if one of those young men should later fall at the hand of a gang rival, or if one of them should venture over to Main Street and shoot some other member of Jermaine’s gang, well then, we’ll go code-3 to the crime scene and ring the area with yellow tape and stand around while the homicide detectives sort things out. And we’ll go home and tell our family and friends how sad it all is, but what can we do?
. . .
Change the particulars and the same principles apply to almost any city you can name. Murder rates are soaring in Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Baltimore and elsewhere as the police in those cities, acutely aware of the politics of the moment, attune their behavior so as to minimize risk – not the risk to life and limb, which they accept and prepare for as part of the job, but the risk to their livelihood that arises when the tactical decisions they make in the blink of an eye are viewed through a political prism for months or even years. There is no amount of training that can prepare a cop for that risk; there is only the choice to avoid it.
There's more at the link.
This is the 'Ferguson Effect' in action. It's happening all over the country . . . and frankly, I can't blame the police at all.
On the other hand, it means the rest of us had better be even more prepared than usual to defend ourselves, our loved ones and our possessions, because criminals who might threaten us know they have less to fear from those who are supposed to protect us.
That's a very sobering thought.