I have been asked again and again about my thoughts on this, as perhaps many of you have. I have formulated a write up of my thoughts on the subject. I will post this below. However, I am interested in the thoughts of people here at AR. This includes our American friends as well.
I think this is an important discussion, especially in a world where morality, its origin and function are constantly analysed. Of course there is always the question of the vested use of power.
On the Toronto shooting:
Here is the thing: a teenager armed with a knife is cornered in a street car (A single teen with a close range weapon made only of sharpened metal). Multiple officers of the law (peace officers) armed with Tasers®, pepper-spray, clubs, guns, and gear blocks the only exit (A group of effectively armoured guards armed with long, medium and close-range weapons of varying technology).
This teen armed with a weapon that in all likelihood would be insufficient in a fist fight with five or more peace officers protected with vests and Tasers®, was shot at nine times and killed before being hit with a potentially non-lethal weapon. Also called into question is the apparent fact that the teen was not held at bay for some substantial time to be talked down by an official of some sort.
This is a logic argument.
Our peace officers are charged to protect and defend Canadian values and behave as representatives of Canadian society. Was the use of the weapon unnecessary? Surely, peace officers must be able to remain calm in some level of potential personal danger if they wish to be peace officers. We wilfully arm these men and women to protect us and defend us, even from ourselves. Did these peace officers fail in this task by not exhausting all measures available prior to firing a gun and killing one of us?
The peace officer used the power vested by us and may have failed to use that power to save and protect us. If this is true then that power we gave must be taken away. This is the contract between us and peace officers. We as a people must hold our protectors to high standards.
It is not a question of outright murder, this officer fired on someone posing a threat and breaking the law. But was that threat realistically high enough to warrant the immediate action and the particular use of force? And was that action a correct use of our vested power? If this officer sullied our name by misrepresenting us and or failed to protect us with the power vested in him that power should be taken from him and he should be tasked with making amends to us, the people of Canada.
Based on the current information; I believe that this power was not used in our best interest. I believe that more could have and should have been done to give a better chance for peaceful resolution. I believe that if the current information stands as the only proven account that this officer should be stripped of that power, which is a privilege not a right. I do not believe that this peace officer should be jailed. But we must make certain this is dealt with publicly and fully.
We must however wait on the evidence in full.
Criminal Code (R.S., c. C-34, s. 2.) defines a peace officer as:
c) a police officer, police constable, bailiff, constable, or other person employed for the preservation and maintenance of the public peace or for the service or execution of civil process…
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