The standard for regular citizens (or what the police all "mundanes") is this: No matter how deadly a threat you or one of your loved ones may face from someone else, you can be charged with a felony for engaging in self-defense, and especially if that self-defense is carried out via a firearm.
However, if you wear the Blue Costume, then there really is no standard at all. If an officer claims to perceive a threat, then deadly force can be used indiscriminately, even if innocent people -- or their pets -- are killed. As I noted in a recent post about a police killing in Fairfax County, Virginia, an officer who gunned down an unarmed man who engaged in absolutely no provocation received three weeks off from work and pretty much was exonerated by his superiors. That is pretty typical for this country.
In this post, I wish to deal simply with the shooting of dogs and how the rules differ between police and the rest of us. As Will Grigg notes here, a woman in Durham, North Carolina (the august place that gave us the Duke Lacrosse Frame in which police and prosecutors engaged in criminal activity but claim that their actions were legal and moral) is being prosecuted for protecting her child from a vicious dog attack:
Tasheka Beatty should have adopted that approach on January 11 in dealing with an aggressive dog that attacked her two-year-old daughter and threatened her husband. Instead, the Durham, North Carolina resident has been charged with felonious animal cruelty and “discharging a firearm in public.”At the same time, we read about an incident in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in which police shot a family dog because they were "tired" of trying to catch it:
“The dog was laying down asleep,” Beatty told a local television station. “My little girl got out of bed and went to the dog and that’s when he grabbed her. That’s what woke me up.” When the dog went after her husband, Beatty grabbed a shotgun. Then, rather than grabbing a shovel, Beatty tried to contact the local animal control department, which didn’t respond to several phone calls. She then took her little girl — who will require reconstructive surgery — to the hospital.
The next morning, frustrated by the predictable ineptitude of the animal control department, Beatty made the critical mistake of calling the police, who very helpfully slapped handcuffs on her wrists and kidnapped her at gunpoint, because that’s just how they roll.
A woman in Fayette County said police used her dog for target practice when she called them for help.Indeed, the only comments from the police will be to justify what they did. (No matter how outrageous their actions, police know that their governments and unions will have their backs.)
Elizabeth D'Auria said she and her sister found their two-year-old pit bull dead after calling 911 for help.
"There were pieces of the dog here. They didn't leave a note. They didn't leave anything," said D'Auria. "He died on that fence over there because he was trying to get away."
D'Aurio said she called Uniontown police after someone attempted to break in to her Evans Street home. She said at first the dog chased the person who tried to climb through a window.
"They told my sister that he wasn't trying to bite them and that he growled at them when they tried to put the noose around him, but they couldn't catch him and they were tired of messing with him and they just shot him," D'Aurio said.
D'Aurio said the dog was not being aggressive and thinks that police crossed the line.
"They shot him six times with a pistol and once with a shotgun. They took the dog and we asked them if we could have him back to bury him and they won't give him back to us," said D'Aurio.
Channel 11's Courtney Brennan contacted Uniontown police who did not wish to comment on the story.
I could fill this blog with stories such as these, but I think we understand the larger point. To police, our pets are nothing but target practice, but if one of us kills a dog that is attacking our children, we go to prison. That is the sorry state of affairs that exists in this country, and nothing is on the horizon to change it.