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by Peter Moskos

November 29, 2009

Four Police Officers Killed in Ambush

Holy Sh*t! Talk about an unwelcome back to the ol' US of A.

Guns, folks. Guns matter. I wonder if four police officers have ever been shot and killed in England. Ever. There was one police funeral in England when I was there, just two days ago. An officer who was killed when a flood-weakened bridge collapsed on him.


Anonymous said...

Pete, this is exactly why Randy Cohen is a clown. You know why I say this. -B

PCM said...

But I can't remember what Randy Cohen said that directly relates to this.

Anonymous said...

Cohen said that the dangers faced by lumberjacks and fishermen are no morally different than the dangers faced by cops, and that in fact the former two jobs are objectively more hazardous if we take a look at the stats, so it makes no sense to accord cops a special place in our society by virtue of the dangers they face. As I said, news like this about police assassinations shows why the ethicist is a sham, a man who dashes off liberal op-eds disguised as "ethics." -B

PCM said...

I agree.

But I still like Randy.

Anonymous said...

I like my son and he thinks the police do nothing more than wear funny constumes and drive around in cars with blinking lights that make strange, loud noises. So I guess there's no harm in liking Randy Cohen.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Randy Cohen on that. Police assassinations are rare. They just seem less rare because police officers use them as a p.r. opportunity. On duty taxi cab drivers are murdered at a greater per capita rate, for example. They keep a lot of drunks off the road, too. Heroes? Not many people seem to think of them that way.

Anonymous said...

The per-capita murder rate has nothing to do with the moral or heroic status of the departed. By your logic, Russian mobsters, who are murdered at a higher per-capita rate than any of these other groups, might have the greatest claim of all to the title of hero or at least might be morally indistinguishable from cops in light of the dangers they all face.

Here's the rub: taxi cab drivers are not sought out and killed *because* they drive taxis. Police officers are assassinated *because* they are cops. Choosing to be a taxi driver when you know there is a chance that you could be incidentally killed in a robbery does not make you heroic, but donning a uniform with the knowledge that it requires you to actively seek out mortal dangers on the public's behalf and that you also could be sought out and killed *because* you put it on *is* heroic and puts cops in a moral category apart from taxi drivers, fishermen, lumberjacks and Russian mobsters.

Not to argue from authority, but there is a pretty wide consensus about this in applied ethics. You and Randy Cohen are the principal dissenters.

Marc S. said...

Guns do matter. Oh to have been sitting in the back of that coffee shop sipping a latte.

PCM said...


Had you, a non-target, been sitting in the back of the room with a gun, that would have been good.

But let's not forget that the police officers all had guns and proper training, too.

Anonymous said...

What PCM said is especially true if, as reported in some media outlets, one of the officers was engaged in hand to hand combat with the suspect.

Wonder what the not guilty by reason of insanity law is like in WA state. Sounds like the shooter was sort of insane.

arglebargle2 said...

As with so many other stories posted here, I think there is more to this story which will never be exposed.

Random killing of innocent people is horrifying. Because they were police officers does not make it any more or less horrifying. I have the same issue with hate crimes, it is not just an anti-police stance.

The question is - was it random and were they innocent.

My first reaction when hearing of the shooting was... I wonder what one (or more) of the cops did to deserve it. Either dirty or abusive cop pushes wrong guy too far and pays for it.

Now that the suspect is dead, we will never know.

It will be interesting to watch the news and see if any connections (either lawful or unlawful) come up between the victims and the killer. Or if it was a general hatred of the police which led to the killings.

Side Question - Are Police murdered at a higher rate than citizens? I would have assumed the murder rate of Police would be lower. Of course distinguishing between the dangers of police work and 'normal' killings would probably be difficult.

PCM said...

Arglebargle2, I understand your questions. But there's something I don't like about your implication that somehow these officers got what they had coming.

This guy (and as far as I know, he's not dead yet) is a crazy child rapist/murderer.

Why is it so hard to see these police officers as innocent victims?

Anonymous said...

This guy (and as far as I know, he's not dead yet) is a crazy child rapist/murderer.

Maybe he didn't do the rape. If true, that would exlain a lot.

It is just too early to jump to any conclusions one way or the other. We should reserve judgment until all of the investigations are complete, although there is no time frame for that yet.

We still haven't gotten Christopher Monfort's version of what he was cheesed off over. Police say it was the Schene thing (which was and is pretty exasperating), and maybe that is all it was to it, but maybe there was more to it.


Jeff said...

To answer your question as to why the police do not get an assumption of innocence.

Because of stories like this...

I know there are honest police. But I see stories like that often enough to add a layer of suspicion to all of law enforcement. Especially in a case where something out of the ordinary happens, like 4 police gunned down in cold blood.

As more has been learned about the suspect, I am moving more towards the belief that they were all innocent victims. I would still like to learn the circumstances of how he chose them in that time and place.

Anonymous said...

This thing about Clemmons stealing one of the officer's service weapons is a new development. Quite a curious one at that.

DJK said...

Guns matter. Yes. You have to understand that this guy was a felon and was prohibited from ever owning a firearm of any type ever again. So, this just goes to show that the bad guys will ALWAYS have guns, no matter how many laws you create that take them out of the hands/homes of law abiding citizens.