An explosive holiday season

December 24, 2009

Oxnard police shot and killed a man to avoid this happening. Was it worth the sacrifice?

One of the things that I think irks people on the left in the anti-war movement is the military/government’s concept of “acceptable losses.” You know, letting a few casualties slip by for the sake of the rest of mankind. If the loss of a few hundred innocent people means saving thousands or millions, than it’s A-OK, right?

I’m not saying that the truck driver Oxnard police blew away yesterday was an innocent man. Right out of a scene from a bad remake of “Speed,” this guy hit the gas full speed down the Ventura Road corridor, eluding police in a high speed chase, plowing into parked cars, and injuring a motorcycle cop who swerved from certain death.

It’s worth mentioning that the 70 propane tanks this guy was hauling could have blown sky high, incinerating Oxnard as we know it into sheer oblivion.

What I am saying is that perhaps police could have approached the situation differently, and instead of shooting into the truck’s front cab just to slow down or incapacitate the driver, a 46-year-old Oxnard man would still be alive today.

A few weeks ago I blogged about the debate over excessive force. Last week, we published a cover story on suicides by cop: those sad cases where a gunman or hostage taker is just asking for a bullet between the eyes.

But since Oxnard police shot and killed the truck driver, we’ll never know how or why this incident happened. (He’s dead, and dead men don’t talk.) Maybe he was ill, suffering a heart attack or seizure that caused the truck to careen out of control. Hell, the man could have needed medical attention, not a chest full of lead.

Maybe his brakes went out, or there was some other kind of system failure making the vehicle uncontrollable.

Of course, maybe none of this is true, and the guy really had snapped, laughing maniacally as he led police on, knowing this would be the final joyride of his life.

And, like one of the big rules of crime scene dissection, a million eyewitnesses could see the same event, and each one will have a different account of what happened. So we’ll never really know exactly what went down yesterday in Oxnard, aside from an official police report and another addition to the county morgue.

That’s why the phrase “acceptable loss” is one of the biggest oxymorons this side of the English language. A loss? Certainly. Acceptable? Not a chance.

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One Response to “An explosive holiday season”

  1. Ron Rice Says:

    As a police officer of 20+ years I get sick and tired of people sitting ignorant in their chairs at home commenting on the actions of police officers. First off, if you had what it took to be a Law Enforcement officer you might have the ability to think past the misperceptions that television and the news media portray about Law Enforcement.
    There are no acceptable losses, period. Law Enforcement Is one of the most complex career fields there is. That’s why it’s a hard job to get.
    I will not comment on the Oxnard PD officers actions because I was not there. But I do know that it is a very professional organization dedicated to protecting the community. And that’s what they did.
    Get up off your chair and do a ride-a-long with Oxnard PD and learn the facts about Law Enforcement for yourself. Or, become an officer yourself if you could pass the: written exam, oral interview, background investigation, polygraph, captains interview, psychological exam, medical exam, 6 month police academy, 26 week field training program, 1 year probation, and make good decisions 99.9 percent of the time.

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