Line Of Fire
On Wednesday the police in Pasadena, California shot and killed an innocent teenager, Kendrec McDade. They justified it by saying he "made a motion to his waistband".
Allow me to be very clear about this... no officer of the law should EVER be allowed to use the excuse that he "thought" someone has a gun as a reason to murder them in cold blood. Either the person has a gun or they don't. And the last time I looked we were allowed to own guns, even carry them around for fun. Using a gun in a criminal manner, though, makes you liable for any consequences but being murdered in cold blood simply because the officer in question has an overactive imagination is not a good enough reason.
So I went looking for statistics to see how many U.S. citizens the police kill every year and you know what I found?
Even though the Crime Control Act was passed in 1994 requiring State Attorney generals to collect the data and make it public such reports are piecemeal at best. The information is being obscured and it's easy to understand why because if we REALLY knew how many people the police kill every year, and the number is obviously a staggeringly large one, (179 people were alone tasered to death in 2011) there would certainly be an outcry of tsunamic proportions.
But what the people don't know can't hurt the cops. Only us.
Rachel Maddow's first book, Drift, was lovingly admired by the New York Times book reviewer Janet Maslin. She sums it up by saying "And thank Ms. Maddow for picking this and every other fight that “Drift” provokes. It will be a smarter public debate than the kinds we’re used to."