I like the ACLU and by extension the NYCLU.  I think that people questioning their government is the right thing to do and civil liberties are very important.

But sometimes I read something like this and I think that they should prioritize what they spend their efforts and attention on.  Here is a quote:

”When a guy with nothing more than a chair in his hands ends up dead, that raises lots of questions about the propriety of a police shooting,” said Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “When a guy like that ends up dead, you definitely have to ask yourself, ‘How can that be?’”

via Police Defend Shooting of Man Swinging a Chair – NYTimes.com.

There are cases of Police shooting people under questionable circumstances. Those need to be addressed and made right but that’s a different problem.  Civil liberties groups perform a valuable service to us all when they ask questions of the government and try to hold officials to the law.

Here’s why I think this case is not a good one for the civil liberties groups: the officer was in real danger and that apparently warranted her discharging her weapon. At that point the confrontation was over and sadly someone died.

Guns are lethal weapons and if the officer tried to “shoot to wound” then she may have hit a bystander.  TV and movies play up the idea that you can shoot someone and disarm or just wound them but that really romanticizes guns.

Guns kill, that’s what they are designed for. Last time I checked, the NYPD did not hire professional wrestlers or martial artists.  NYPD are trained for physical confrontation but they have to measure the risk and keep people out of harms way including themselves.

When a Police officer discharges their gun, they are supposed to do so aiming for the center of the targets body mass.  No movie scenes, no John Wayne moments, and someone will end up seriously wounded or dead. There are alternatives such as using a Taser, but how is that working out?