Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Walter Scott Shooting

Typically, I strongly recommend a five-day waiting period before people get all hyperactive and think they know the entire episode to some chaotic event.  In this Walter Scott episode.....I can make three observations.

First, this is North Charleston.  Around the 2005/2006 period.....this was considered one of the most dangerous places in the US to walk around. Drugs, gangs, and chaos reigned.  It's a town of 105,000 residents and it was deep into serious trouble.  A decision was made by the city leadership after they saw strong hints of people vacating the area and escaping off to towns around it.  The decision was to build up their police department and get fairly enthusiastic about law enforcement.

The town might have been predominately white twenty-five years ago.....but as the crime escalation started to occur....'white-flight' had already started.  North Charleston had dealt various cards to regain stability and stop the chaos.  Sadly, this meant a higher chance of residents in town (more black than white) getting pulled over for questions or small traffic violations.  Walter Scott could have driven in hundreds of cities and never been pulled over in his entire life.  But North Charleston doesn't have those odds.

Second....Walter Scott was formerly married and owed around $18,000 on back-payments for child support.  Being a warehouse guy and fork-life operator.....he's making next to nothing.  The odds of him ever making enough to cover a regular monthly payment?  Zero.  It's nice that the legal system has invented child support payments.....but it only works if you make enough pay to cover yourself and the payments.

What the guy feared was that the cop would see some warrant for his arrest....arrest him.....and put his one job into jeopardy.  Without that one job.....he's one step away from street-life or living with relatives.  So, when he freaked out.....he had justification to freak out.

Third....I still can't understand the necessity of pulling a gun on a unarmed guy who was running the opposite direction.  If Walter Scott had shown a gun and started running.....maybe there's some justification (marginally, I admit).....but with no gun and running....there is zero justification.  What was the cop thinking in terms of a threat?  There is no threat.  This is the same type of mentality that you'd see when some cop comes to an enclosed yard.....enters....encounters a family dog....and shoots the dog with no logic or reason.

The charges?  It's between murder-in-the-2nd-degree or manslaughter.  In either case, I don't see the jury giving the guy more than fifteen years.  But I don't see this guy surviving in a state prison more than a year or two.  Some gang hit will occur, and this guy will never finish his 'trip' in the state prison.

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