Earlier this week, a man was shot to death a little more than five blocks from my home. This wasn't a drug bust. It wasn't a team of radical terrorists threatening hostages. It was a lone suicidal man
who was killed by two Fort Collins police officers. I suspect these two officers would not have chosen to kill this man if they had another option.
According to the limited information made available, the man did not turn his weapon on the officers before they shot him four times at close range. The SWAT team was on its way to the scene when the shooting took place. Had SWAT been present, according to Fort Collins Police Services, there would have been more options to mitigate the situation in a non-lethal manner.
Is SWAT the only group of officers that has non-lethal means of disarming people? This tactical team is called on only in the most severe, threatening situations, which require special use of force. Doesn't it make sense to put at least some of these methods at the disposal of regular cops, who encounter dangerous situations everyday?
Laws are designed to protect citizens, and officers perform a dangerous – and often thankless – duty to enforce them. Suicide was made illegal to protect those who wish to end their own lives. Is this an illustration of a failure in our system to provide training and tools to law enforcement to uphold our laws and protect us as citizens?