EDITOR: A headline in Tuesday's paper said: "Santa Rosa City Council told to stay mum on shooting." Who is it that can tell any American citizen to "stay mum" on any subject? Especially our City Council members who we elect to be our voices?
EDITOR: Even if Andy Lopez heard the warning, why would he think it was meant for him? He was not doing anything wrong; he had a toy gun. His reaction was typical of an innocent person, turning to see what was going on. Turn suddenly; your arm tends to rise somewhat. This might have seemed like he was raising the gun.
Some years ago, after speaking to a summer student, I was crossing the parking lot at Petaluma High when a police car zoomed past me. Shortly, I heard, "Freeze! Get your hands up." Did I? No, I turned to see what was happening. Nor did the police shoot anyone, although they were responding to a drive-by shooting. Rather, they told the few of us in the parking lot to go inside while they apprehended the boys. No shots fired.
Now, it too often seems that lethal force is the first response. Andy hardly had a chance to react. The deputy shot him seven times, possibly even shooting while the boy was on the ground. Why? Panic? Reflex? I appreciate the hazards of the job and that we ask a great deal of our officers, but given their training and authority, we expect them to deal appropriately with dangerous situations.