Police Shootings

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Recently, in an area on the East Coast, an inordinate number of
police-officer-involved shootings have taken place. As a result,
several suspects have been fatally injured. Newspapers in the area,
quoting local "community activists," have editorialized that, with all
these shootings by police, "any citizen" could find himself dodging
police bullets, for no apparent reason at all!

Responding to the newspaper editorial, a Los Angeles Deputy District
Attorney, who is obviously community minded, submitted a five-point
plan. The plan is designed to assist citizens, who might otherwise be
randomly shot by police, in staying out of the path of police
bullets. The newspaper never printed it,but I thought you might
appreciate it, even if they didn't.

"I've devised a five-point plan to help citizens avoid being shot by

This plan may not prevent all shootings, but very few will take place
when the plan is rigorously adhered to. So, here are the rules:

1. DON'T COMMIT VIOLENT CRIMES. It seems elementary, but this rule is
lost on many. They do the crime, get shot, and then wonder how it
could possibly happen. They whine that it is so unfair. Well, Slick,
violent crime, like jumping in front of moving cars, is just a
high-risk occupation and in case you missed it, committing violent
crime makes police officers think you might not be a good person.

2. If you ignore rule No. 1, and the police confront you, DON'T RUN
AWAY FROM THEM. I know it's hard to believe, but that may make them
think you're guilty of something. Hiding in bushes or closets makes
some cops (mostly older ones) very nervous. They might even foolishly
conclude that you're up to no good!

3. If you disregard rules 1 and 2, and the cops catch up with you
anyway and inform you that you are under arrest, DON'T MAKE FAST
MOVEMENTS WITH YOUR HANDS. I know it sounds silly, but grabbing a
shiny beer can, a dark-colored wallet, or one of those snazzy and
real-looking replica guns may make police officers mistakenly believe
that you are about to hurt them.

4. If you disregard rules 1, 2, and 3, and manage to get what looks
like a deadly weapon into your hands, DON'T POINT IT AT THE COPS. We
all know that you're basically a nice person, but that may be lost on
the police officers confronting you. In their paranoia, they may even
believe they need to protect themselves.

5. If you disregard rules 1, 2, 3, and 4, DON'T BE ASTONISHED IF THE
too preoccupied to realize that you're normally a splendid person and
that you're just having a bad day. They may also be too preoccupied to
see that when you point a weapon at them in a threatening manner, it
is just your way of crying out for help. We both know that the whole
problem can be traced to the fact that your mother didn't breast feed
you, but some police officers are so cynical they just don't see it.

So, there you have it. If you really apply yourself and obey even some
of the rules listed above, I bet you'll avoid the vast majority of
police gunfire."

Cheri Lewis
Deputy DA Los Angeles, California

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