Is FEAR to blame in recent police involved shooting at Oregon school?
It seems like every week news breaks of a school shooting. This time it hit home for the Eugene, Oregon community and as the story broke on social media early reports showed that this time was different. The sad reality of the instant reaction of reports that no student(s) were involved or injured brought a (sort of) sigh of relief, which is telling of the sad state of affairs across the country. Is this because locally we feared getting national media attention? Wall to wall coverage of how this could happen here, again. It has now been 20 years since the 1998 Thurston school shooting that took 4 lives (two at the school and the suspect’s mother and father at home). Is a human life considered less valuable once they become an adult? Have we become desensitized to situations where police take a human life? How do we collectively agree (or disagree) that it was “justified”?
No one will know what exactly was going through the individuals involved head’s leading up to this fatal moment. But for Charles Landeros a history of activism against police brutality paints a pretty descriptive picture. Any person of color, understandably, lives every day in fear of how a simple interaction with police can turn fatal in an instant. Was this situation an example of police brutality towards a person of color? That debate is being had across social media platforms and at dinner tables across Oregon. It is impossible to know because the released officer body cam shows Landeros in the process of being detained and pulling and discharging a 9mm pistol in the direction of the officers on school grounds. An action that will, in almost every case, lead to either the individual or the officers leaving the scene in a body bag.
Landeros was a beloved person in the community and, from all accounts from friends and loved ones, a loving father. Many people have came forward offering high praise and positive feedback on the life of Landeros. Though the aftermath of this awful situation is not without detractors. It seems like the same people who one week are pleading with local and national government to arm teachers and eliminate gun free zone delegations at schools were also cheering on the police as a life was taken. A life of a supporter of the second amendment who was legally carrying a concealed weapon. The second amendment is designed to protect the citizens against tyranny and against government officials who threaten our individual safety and security. Does this include police officers? On school grounds? It’s easy for anyone, not of color, to say what they would do but until you walk in someone else’s shoes you can’t say how you’d react.
There is zero evidence to support a theory that Landeros went to Cascade Middle School with any intention to harm anyone but it is pretty easy to say that as police intervened, in what the local news has described as a “custody dispute”, fear took over. Fear of living out the same fate that Landeros had often spoke out against. Fear of being wrongfully painted as a threat to the safety of those in or around the school that day. In today's world we often look for heros and in a divided nation often times it is difficult to determine definitively who those heros are. In this situation it is my opinion that, from the video evidence, that the officers actions were in fact justified. I personally do not believe this would have ended this way if Landeros had left their gun at home. But unfortunately that is impossible to say. One thing we can say for certain is that fear was to blame in the shooting death of Charles Landeros.