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There is much conjecture about a two-tiered system of justice in America, which conjecture comes closer to indisputable fact every day.  It is, as much else, a set of tiers delineated by class.  On the lower tier are Normal Americans, people who see the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, not a list of suggestions or a “living document.”  They fully embrace the rule of law with its fundamental pillars of the presumption of innocence, due process, and a criminal justice process without intimidation.  On the upper tier are the self-imagined elite: politicians, the academy, professional athletes, Hollywood and virtually all of its denizens, and whatever favored victim group is currently useful to the Democrat/Socialist/Communist narrative.  They embrace only the pursuit of power, and whatever means necessary—all is fair in defeating and destroying Normals–to achieve that end, though whatever power they amass will never be enough.

Inevitably, reality intrudes on their narrative, leading to severe cases of narrative dissonance.  Black lives matter, but only if they support the narrative.  Breitbart.com provides the basis for one of the most recent examples: 

Columbus Police Department officials released an officer’s bodycam video showing the seconds leading up to the shooting of a teenage girl. The chaotic video shows a fight in progress.

The Columbus Division of Police released a bodycam video showing Tuesday’s [04-20-21] shooting of a young black girl who appeared to be armed with a knife. The video appears to show the girl fighting with another girl as the officer opens fire.

The knife can be seen in the girl’s hand as she appears to attempt to stab the girl in pink. The officer fires his weapon and the girl falls to the ground. The video shows the knife laying beside her.

Columbus officials quickly released the officer’s bodycam video in “an effort to be transparent” about the incident leading to the officer’s decision to shoot. It appears the officer shot to save the life of the girl in pink.

The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave, and the Ohio State Police are investigating the shooting, which is the professional thing to do.  What is not professional, is the D/S/C response:  

The White House Wednesday condemned ‘police violence’ after police shot and killed teenage girl Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, after she appeared to attack another person with a knife.

‘The killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant by the Columbus police is tragic,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a prepared statement during the White House press briefing. ‘She was a child.’

Yes.  A Black child milliseconds away from murdering another Black child, which is an act so common as to be unremarkable to D/S/Cs.  Recognition of just how common would introduce unbearable narrative dissonance.

Psaki pointed to the racial disparities surrounding ‘police violence’ as part of the White House reaction to the shooting.

‘We know that police violence disproportionally impacts Black and Latino people and communities and that black women and girls, like black men and boys, experience higher rates of police violence,’ she said.

Psaki is, of course, lying.  Not only do Black people commit crimes, particularly violent crimes at rates far exceeding their numbers in the population, any assertion the police are killing large numbers of Black people is a particularly dangerous, vicious and destructive lie.  Race baiting attorney Benjamin Crump, smelling another big payday, immediately showed up and claimed Bryant was “unarmed.  

Bryant’s mother, and a great many others, immediately portrayed Bryant as a virtual saint:

One certainly can’t blame a parent for such emotions, but the same is not true for others.  NBC News reports on the case dishonestly edited the body camera footage to make it appear the officer was unjustified in shooting:

MSNBC dutifully supported the narrative:

Valerie Jarrett, who is likely part of the cabal actually running the country, was as predictable as NBC:The “knife fight” was rather odd in that only one person—Bryant—actually had a knife.  Normal Americans call this sort of thing “attempted murder.”  Is anyone surprised by this?

“Killed by the police,’ in the act of trying to murder another Black child.  And NPR, which reflexively supported the narrative, issued a sort of correction when its reporting was discovered, at warp speed, to be—what’s the word?—“false:”

The grand prize winner in the false, stupid, dangerous, and legally actionable mouth flapping sweepstakes goes to Lebron James, who posted a tweet with a photo of the officer, with this charming threat:

He quickly removed the tweet after being savaged by rational, decent human beings:

And when called on his reckless, racist hatred, he couldn’t stop digging:

Robert Heinlein was prescient on this, as on much else”

Abraham Lincoln said:

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.

Lebron James is far from the only person removing all doubt.  One Brittany Cooper, an associate professor at Rutgers University, and a Black woman of girth, had this to add: 

But beyond all of that, what are we gonna do about the way we don’t understand black girls as girls?’ she asked.

‘Ma’Khia Bryant was a child … and the way that she has been talked about as this, you know, because she was a big girl, so people just see her as the aggressor, they don’t see her humanity,’ Cooper asserted.

‘They have adultified her. We turn black girls into grown women before they even are able to vote,’ she continued.

‘I have watched folks across the political spectrum really defend this and say … and empathize with the officer, say that he didn’t have any other set of choices,’ she added:

‘What are we training police to do if they are not actually showing up on the scene and making the situation better for all involved? If you can’t figure out how to deescalate a 16-year-old, even with a kitchen knife, when you’ve got a gun and you’re a grown man, you shouldn’t be a cop.’

And of course, we have the usual, utterly uninformed and idiotic commentary about the use of deadly force.  A great many fools actually argued that kids fight with knives every day, so the police should just let them handle their little disagreements—with deadly weapons.

The Chair of the Congressional Black Causus, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) is upset police shoot for center mass: 

Erica Trav thinks a Nerf Football is just the thing to end deadly force encounters:

I wonder where a Nerf football would fit on a duty belt?  Another commenter thought a sort of bolo device would do the trick:

 “What about rubber”?!  In an otherwise sane and rational editorial, Brandan O’Neill added this bit of deranged conjecture:

Of course there is a discussion to be had about the American police’s use of lethal force. The militarisation of US police forces is concerning. Could Ms. Bryant have been stopped with a shot to the leg? That needs to be considered.

No she couldn’t, and no it doesn’t, but more on that shortly.

Hopefully an investigation into the matter will provide us with a greater insight into whether Reardon might have behaved differently, and what the police in general should try to do in situations of imminent violence. But the narrative that was instantaneously weaved around the killing of Ms Bryant was not about having a cool, rational discussion about how police should respond in life-and-death scenarios. Rather, it was about creating another simplistic morality tale that would allow the privileged activists of BLM, Antifa and other woke outfits to posture once again against the evils of the world.

O’Neill, who is doubtless well-intentioned, is like so many others, including Temporary President Joe Biden—he’s not well-intentioned–who in 2020, and before, wanted to shoot violent criminals in the legs. 

This is an issue I’ve often addressed, but obviously, one cannot address it nearly often enough.  So let us lay out the facts, the reality that is causing so much narrative dissonance in this case.

The Law of Deadly Force:  I’m borrowing from attorney Andrew Branca, currently the national expert on this subject.  His book–The Law of Self Defense,–is a must-have for those interested in this subject, and should be read and reread by anyone carrying a concealed handgun, or who might need to use force to defend their home and loved ones.  His website is here. While I’ve understood these issues for decades, and trained others in evolving sets of terms, I’ve found Branca’s terms most appropriate for our times.

The use of deadly force is justified when reasonably necessary to immediately end the imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to self or another.  These are three of the essential elements to be considered, often within seconds.  The first two of five, which do not generally apply to police officers—take the link to my 2020 article above—are omitted:

Imminence: One can’t use deadly force against a possible attack, or against an attack that might happen at some time in the future. The danger must be real, clearly about to occur–within mere seconds of occurring–or already occurring.  This does not require letting an attacker get in the first blow, stab or shot, only that a reasonable person would think an attack imminent.

Proportionality: the threat can’t be of humiliation or minor injury. If the only threat is of hurt feelings, any physical force is likely not proportional. An insult, no matter how nasty or obscene, cannot be followed by a gunshot.  To lawfully use deadly force, a reasonable person must believe the, or another, is facing an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death.

Reasonableness: A reasonable person in the same circumstances would be compelled to use deadly force.  It would be, in those circumstances, the only reasonable thing to do.  One need not be convinced,  beyond any possible doubt the attack will end in serious bodily injury or death, only that a reasonable person would believe it would.

Let’s be absolutely clear, under the law, because it’s common sense and reflects reality, knives are every bit as deadly as guns.  They are generally range limited, but the effects of a stab wound or cut/slash to blood vessels and internal organs can, and do, kill as quickly and as efficiently as bullets.  In light of the elements necessary for the lawful application of deadly force, let’s consider the Bryant case.  Keep in mind, as always, I’m working from media accounts and my police experience.  However, in this case—and this is not always true—the body camera footage seems likely to tell the complete story about whether deadly force was lawful.

The officer arrived at the scene of a domestic disturbance, with 911 reports that someone was trying to stab others.  As soon as got out of his car, a number of people, violently screaming, ran at him.  A girl, being pursued by Bryant, fell at his feet, and a man some media accounts have identified as Bryant’s foster father—we don’t know why Bryant wasn’t at home with her mother (no father appears to be involve in her life)—immediately kicked the downed girl in the head.  In a rational world, this might be something Child Protective Services might want to explore…

The officer’s body camera swivels, with his upper body—to this action, and immediately back to his left, where Bryant has changed direction and forced a girl dressed in pink against a parked car, and is unmistakably moving to stab her with what appears to be a kitchen knife with a blade of about 5”, which is more than enough to pierce any internal organ or blood vessel.

Bryant was screaming threats to stab people.  The officer ordered her to drop the knife, but she was running away from him, and mere fractions of a second away from seriously injuring or killing the girl in pink—a Black girl whose life should matter to someone—when he fired.  He could not possibly close the distance to try to grapple with Bryant in time to prevent her from killing the girl in pink, and he had to be concerned about the adult he just watched viciously kick a downed child in the head.  He would be foolish to try, as once again, knives are no less deadly than guns at close range, and police officers are not, ethically or legally, required to engage in hand to hand combat with people armed with knives, nor is anyone else. 

Why didn’t he shoot her in the leg?  Why did he shoot for center mass?  Why did he shoot her four times?! 

When anyone has legal justification to use deadly force, remember they are facing an imminent threat of serious bodily injury to themselves or others.  We’re talking very close range, do something or you’re dead in fractions of a second.  We shoot not to kill, but to stop.  We shoot, as quickly as possible, to stop the attacker from doing whatever they were doing to put anyone in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death. In this case, the officer had fractions of a second to stop Bryant from plunging that knife into the girl in pink, who she had backed up into a parked car.

The officer’s marksmanship was unusually good.  As I’ve often written, the police are generally not good shots, even at very close ranges.  The police shoot for center mass for two reasons: (1) because hits to that part of the body are most likely to stop an attacker as quickly as possible, and (2) particularly when people are quickly and violently moving—as Bryant was—one wants the largest possible target area, not only to get the desired stopping effect, but to minimize the chance of misses that could hit innocents.

Why didn’t he just shoot her in the leg?!  If we have the legal justification to shoot, we do it to stop the attacker as quickly and effectively as possible.  Shooting someone in a part of the body that any reasonable person should know would not achieve that result is not only dangerous, it’s stupid.  Shooting someone in the leg only renders them less mobile, not less deadly.  In this case, even if the officer were able to hit her in the leg—that’s a much smaller and much faster moving target than center mass–she was so close to her intended victim—scroll back to the photo–her momentum would have carried her, and the blade, into the body of the victim.  In the movies, good guys shoot people in the leg or shoulder, which immediately incapacitates the bad guy and saves the day, because it’s in the script.  It’s not like that in real life.

In addition, if you shoot someone in the leg, you’re going to make prosecutors doubt you really believed you were in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.  If you weren’t, why did you shoot them in a part of the body you knew likely wouldn’t stop them?

But why did he shoot her four times?!  If you have legal justification to shoot, you shoot as many times as necessary to make the attack stop.  If that takes one round, great.  If it takes ten, that’s entirely reasonable and lawful too. Remember, we’re talking fractions of a second, not minutes, not analyzing the actions of others from an office chair months later. Keep in mind one-shot stops with handgun ammunition are rare. One can’t shoot one round and pause for a minute or two to clinically analyze its effects when the attacker is fractions of a second from killing their intended victim. Combat experience also reveals one-shot stops with rifle ammunition are not a sure thing either.  Once an attack has stopped, shooting stops, and that’s exactly what happened in this case.

From everything that is currently known, the officer was entirely justified.  Not only did he use correct judgment, he saved a life, a Black life, which to the way of faux-thinking of most D/S/Cs, just doesn’t matter.  The only thing that matters is a white cop shot a Black girl, who was trying to kill another Black girl, but that doesn’t matter because RACISM! And COPS! And WHITE SUPREMACY! And of course, THE HOLY SOCIAL JUSTICE NARRATIVE.

His marksmanship was unusually effective, and he did everything right, none of which matters to D/S/Cs.  There is no evidence of racism in this case, none.  The officer saw a deadly threat and stopped it, and it would not have mattered what color Bryant was, which also doesn’t matter to D/S/Cs, because to acknowledge any of this, the narrative falls, not only for this case, but for every case.  We would suddenly be allowed to apply the presumption of innocence and due process; we would suddenly be allowed to judge each situation on its merits rather than applying a blanket, symbolic, racist narrative to all.

To be entirely fair, I’ve had conversations with people of good will and intelligence, people who should know better, but in situations of the lawful application of deadly force by the police, they shook their heads and said: “I know they were justified.  I know they followed the law, but there must have been some other way.  They didn’t have to shoot them.”

Sadly, in some situations, there is no other way.  Some fools have asserted if the officer did nothing, Bryant wouldn’t have stabbed the girl in pink.  No reasonable person, to say nothing of no reasonable police officer, in those circumstances could have possibly thought that.  If they did, they would be grossly negligent, and we don’t pay the police to stand idly by and let innocents die.  Bryant was uttering deadly threats, she had the means to kill in her hand, and she was charging a trapped victim in stabbing range.  She ignored the officer’s verbal commands, and left him no other choice.  He did not want to shoot anyone, but it was Bryant’s choice, her actions, that left him no choice.

Let’s be clear about one other thing: teenagers are no less capable of seriously injuring others, or killing them, than adults, and the laws relating to the use of deadly force apply no less to them than to adults.

Because there is no other way, we have police officers.  We pay them little enough to make life and death decisions in fractions of a second, and unless we want to do these things ourselves, we must be prepared to back them up when they make the right decisions, and to give them the benefit of the doubt, or at least consider mitigating factors, when they don’t.  The option is not no police, but federal police, who will be far less interested in dealing with actual criminals and far more interested in enforcing obedience to The Beltway.

Thanks to Lebron James, whose only dubious value to society seems to be his ability to play basketball, this officer’s career and life are likely irreparably damaged.  Should he be cleared for what seems a righteous shooting—unlikely in our two-tiered social justice system–he will surely face civil suits, which his city will doubtless settle, once again enriching Benjamin Crump whose legal skills are of little account.  Under the Harris Administration, Joe Biden, temporary place holder, it’s a virtual certainty the officer will be prosecuted for civil rights violations and his Police Department will be forced into a consent decree.  Should he remain in law enforcement, he will carry a target on his back.  That target will be there even if he leaves the profession.  In doing what we pay him to do, in saving the life of an innocent, his life is forever altered for the worse.

credit: babylon bee

In this, and other cases, we have to ask who will make the laws?  Who will decide guilt or innocence?  Will it be sober, serious, intelligent people grounded in reality, people who not only know evil exists, but that it may confront any of us anywhere, anytime, and maim or kill us?  Will it be people who understand sometimes the only way to stop a killer is to kill them?  Will it be people who are color blind, who will apply reality and the law equally to all?  Or will it be racist Democrats, socialists and communists, people who make their own reality and demand others live in it?  Will it be racist mobs?  Will it be people who can recognize reality in theory, but are unable to apply it in the real world just because reality ought to be somehow different?  Will we be a nation under the rule of law, or social justice?

There are also questions few, if any, are asking: why was Bryant in foster care?  What sort of parenting led to her trying to murder multiple people with a knife, and forced a police officer to shoot her to save lives?  Who bears responsibility for that?

And speaking of responsibility, Lebron James has deep pockets.  Perhaps justice might be best served by the officer suing him?  He’ll certainly have more than sufficient evidence of death threats, etc. in the very new future.

UPDATE, 04-28-21, 1600 MT:  Go here for an article about Bryant’s family.  As one might expect, her parents are not in the running for parent of the year.  There is also another video of the event from a different angle that demonstrates just how little time the officer had to react, and how Bryant’s father contributed to her death.