Black Lives Matter protesters hold signs as they stage a demonstration outside Sacramento (Calif.) City Hall on March 22, 2018.
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

“The officers feared for their lives, so they shot … ”

So many police shootings contain this narrative. Scared police officers in a stressful situation. They were afraid. They thought he had a gun. He ran. He was coming at them. Again and again, the narrative fed to us is that these trained professionals were unable to handle the stress of a tense moment and made a “split-second decision” that ended with someone losing his (or her) life.

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I have a question.

Why are ordinary citizens, who do not have the training that police officers go through, expected to handle these high-stress situations and act calmly and rationally when the police aren’t? How does that make any sense?

When you sign up to be a police officer, you know what you are getting into. It’s not a surprise.

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You are there to protect and serve. It is expected that you could be in a tense situation with a suspect. You signed a contract to put your life on the line to serve the people in your community. You willingly went into that agreement.

More importantly, you went through weeks of training—training that ordinary citizens do not go through.

You presumably were given information on how to de-escalate situations, how to approach suspects and when to use force.

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Why does none of that training come into play when you are out in the field and encounter an unarmed black man? Why are you suddenly so afraid that your only choice in every single instance is to shoot him until he is dead?

We know you are taught how to shoot someone to simply stop their progress, so why is it always lethal force? Why aren’t these people ever taken alive and given their day in court?

Why does every little shadow or noise make you jump?

How are you out there in uniform with your badge, your gun and your partner being so afraid of the general population?

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If you are so scared, why the hell are you the police?