This week we had yet another incident where someone with Special Needs came into contact with the police with deadly results. In Half Moon Bay an 18 year old holding a knife was shot and killed by police when she allegedly lunged at a police officer. The officer claimed deadly force was justified because of the danger the woman supposedly posed to the officer and the public at large.
The family called 911 because their daughter needed help. She may have gone off her medication. She was behaving erratically. She did have a knife. But did this standoff really have to end like this? All the facts aren’t known. The investigation continues; however, what we do know is that a young woman has died. She was someone’s daughter, someone’s sister. Is deadly force our only response? It shouldn’t be. Last year there was a very highly publicized shooting death of a homeless man in Southern California. Police were cleared of wrongdoing. But the larger question remains: is there a better way to respond to incidents like these? There’s an old saying that if your only tool is a hammer, every problem will look like a nail. So if your only tool for these sorts of incidents or confrontations is a gun….. This is the 21st century, shouldn’t there be a better response to a citizen in need?