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Inane Risk

May 13, 2019

According to a recent news story, a young woman saw a police officer walking through a Newfoundland shopping mall carrying a carbine. Now it strikes me that when the police have their weapons drawn, it is time to be someplace else or at least to keep your head down. The last thing anyone should do is to interfere with an armed officer.

But that's what this woman did. After she took a photo of the cop, of course to post it on Facebook, she went up to him and asked him if people in the mall were at risk. When he reassured her they had everything under control, that merely inspired her to complain online that the police hadn't kept her informed of what was going on.

Now it's hard to conceive of a stupider or potentially more dangerous act than this foolish woman did. When the police have their weapons drawn, it's for a reason: they believe they will have to use them. In this case, the incident turned out to be a false alarm, but as too many tragic stories testify, when the alarm is real, people die. Approaching a cop under these conditions is madness. It also puts the officer at risk because having to deal with some civilian idiot distracts him or her from focusing on the situation. And in putting the officer at risk, this woman also put herself and other bystanders at risk.

Then there is the childish whine that the police hadn't kept people informed. Let's see. The cops have two issues to deal with. One is a potentially violent situation in which people could be injured or killed. The other is public relations. Does anyone with a functioning brain believe their attention should be on the latter? If you want to know what was going on, wait for the press conference.

One final point. If the situation is in a public place and the police believe bystanders are at risk, they will evacuate the area. You don't need to know why or what is going on. All you need to know is that the police think you are safer if you are somewhere else. Leaving is the best strategy. Whinging about not knowing why you have to do so demonstrates a juvenile lack of gratitude for those who are putting their lives at risk to save others.