The writer uses straw man arguments, a common technique when the writer wants to misdirect a reader's attention. Nobody disagrees with the proposition that getting hit on the head with a rock hurts or may even kill you. As if anybody needs to be convinced of this obvious fact, he proposes hitting a watermelon with a baseball sized rock from 10 feet away, saying that this is what happens to a person's head. Then he goes on to say that Border Patrol agents should not be expected to stand still-- presumably within ten feet of the rock thrower-- while people are throwing rocks at them, as if anybody would seriously suggest that. Finally, he makes a great leap of faith, by stating that people who complain about suspects getting shot (for throwing rocks) are against the use of deadly force to oppose deadly force. In other words, this writer uses false arguments to conclude, essentially, that throwing rocks at Border Patrol agents always constitutes the use of deadly force, justifying a similar response by BP agents.
But this is not what critics of Border Patrol use of force policies are saying is the problem. The report that the writer criticizes (because it points out many instances in which the Border Patrol's use of force was unjustified) shows that in many, if not most, of the cases in which Border Patrol agents shot rock throwers the officers could easily have avoided injury from the thrown rocks. They could simply have taken cover, moved out of range or taken other evasive action. In many cases, the people allegedly throwing rocks were actually in Mexico when they were shot. In at least two cases that were reported, there is no way the offending rock throwers could have presented a danger to the U.S. officers. Finally, in the incidents where Border Patrol agents shot at suspects in moving vehicles, there is evidence that at least some of the Border Patrol shooters intentionally got in front of a moving vehicle in order to create a situation where the suspect could be shot for using a motor vehicle as a deadly weapon.
This is a sneaky writer with an agenda, but that's to be expected. For the record, in one of my previous lives, I advised law enforcement officers on use of force, including deadly force, and even provided training on the legal basis for use of force. All LEOs believe mightily that it is better to be tried by a jury of twelve than to be carried by a party of six pall bearers to your final resting place. In other words, a law enforcement officer's prime directive is to come home at the end of the work day. And officers understand that the government is obligated to defend them in any litigation that results from a shooting or other use of force.
No law enforcement officer is taught that he has to allow a violent offender to place the officer at risk of losing his life or suffering bodily injury without an appropriate response from the officer, up to and including use of deadly force. But, and this is the catch, an officer is told repeatedly that in order to justify the use of deadly force, he must be able to articulate why he believed that his life was in danger. In a fair inquiry, not to mention a trial, the officer will be asked why he did not simply step back a few paces so the rocks would not hit him, for example, or stay out of the way of a moving vehicle. Sure, the officer is always given the benefit of the doubt, but that does not mean he can act arbitrarily.
I truly believe that Border Patrol agents are in no greater risk of bodily injury or death than law enforcement officers in other jurisdictions. But when a law enforcement officer in any big city uses deadly force, there is invariably an inquiry or a trial, and in many cases, the state of federal government that employs the officer has to pay substantial damages. Even when the law enforcement agency finds that a shooting is justified, a shooting victim or his survivors may still bring an action to recover damages, and may still prevail.
I think this is where the difference lies. Since the victims of Border Patrol shootings are undocumented aliens, and in some cases are not even in this country when they get shot by the Border Patrol, the victim (or the families) find it very difficult or impossible to sue for wrongful death or personal injury, not to mention violation of civil rights, and recover damages. Most of the courts that have heard these cases have ruled that the court lacks jurisdiction or that the victim or his surviving family do not have standing. The Border Patrol also enjoys a degree of immunity simply because national security concerns are raised if there's an inquiry. In short, it does not cost the Border Patrol much, as far as I can tell, when its officers shoot an undocumented immigrant, whereas state and federal governments pay through the nose when their employees abuse their powers.
The State authorizes a law enforcement officer to use force, including deadly force, to defend himself against a violent offender. That is a great responsibility, and, invariably, all sorts of legal and moral questions arise from any use of deadly force. In my experience, the only way that a law enforcement agency can minimize costs -- legal, financial, human, social, there are a lot of potential costs -- is with officer training.
JLopez is correct in most everything said.
But that is secondary, and is being addressed by the government.
There is 'new' management at the Border Patrol.
There should be 'over sight' of the use of 'Deadly Force' by Federal Agents.
Federal Agents are known to shoot and to kill unarmed civilians.
Ruby Ridge stands in example.
Waco stands in example.
Kent State stands in example.
The issues JLopez brings up are focused on the Border Patrol and are unrelated to the stone throwers.
If anyone throws rocks at men or women with guns, do not be surprised if the gunmen shoot at the stone throwers.
To think that the men or women with guns will not shoot, to bet your life on their restraint, is foolish.
Especially given the recent history of those men with guns.
It has nothing to do with strawman arguments, it has nothing to do with legalities, it has nothing to do with 'right or wrong'.
It has to do with 'Life and Death'
Beware of antagonizing people with guns.
Whether they are sicarios for the Cartels or for the Government, it makes no difference.
Do not throw stones at men with guns, and then be shocked and indignant when they shoot back.
I agree with the use of force provisions outlined by Lopez. My problem lies in the fact that the the rock throwers are doing it to provide cover for themselves or others to make illegal entry. With the new stand down provisions you will new stand down provisions these people will be given exactly what they want. Once Again, rewarding bad behavior.
I have a really good friend who is a Border Agent out of Lukeville AZ, I'm going to ask him to send me a couple of pictures of when he pelted with rocks and a couple made contact with his head. He received over 30 stitches just to close the 2 gashed he had on his head. If people are stupid enough to assault a person weather it be a regular citizen or a Police Officer/Boarder Patrol Agent then that person better be ready for the consequences. Any person with a right frame of mind will defend themselves from harm. At the end of the day I want to go home to my family and the rock throwers know that what they are doing is wrong and can potentially hurt someone really bad or even kill someone. Over all I think it's up the person being assaulted to use their own discrusion and if they feel theirs lives are at risk then they should be able to use whatever force is necessary to stop the attack. Keep one thing in mind as a police officer, boarder patrol agent any law enforcement officer and military they train us to stop the threat not just shoot at the legs and arms like they do on TV.
how far can someone throw a rock? accurately? it seems law enforcement - border patrol, or others - always want to rush to use force in nearly all situations. why can't the border patrol just draw back a little, out of throwing range, and wait out their opponents? why not call reinforcements, surround the perp from a distance and wait. it is only a matter of time before the perp will finally need to take a pee, drink something, sleep or whatever. wait for the moment of opportunity and then pounce on the perp.
but no... gotta pull out the gun and start shooting. mental midgets.
cops are bullies. they abuse their authority and along with it, the people they encounter. until the code of silence among cops is gone there will be abusive cops who lie and are quick to draw their guns.
we all hear about the crybaby stories about the pressure cops are under and how that translates into home lives full of marital problems and alcoholism. the mind who wants to become a cop is psychologically weak even before they enter an academy. social misfits.
Jack: One point of disagreement: It does have to do with legalities and right and wrong. One of my major points is that other law enforcement agencies have been forced to control their officers better, to provide better oversight and training. Why? Because the law allows their victims to sue and collect damages. Eventually, it gets to expensive for a state or federal government agency to justify the budget to their risk management entity, even if the government prevails at trial.
The Border Patrol enjoys special legal status, partly because of their jurisdiction, partly because of their location and some of it due to national security issues. They have been allowed by the courts to avoid liability because of the peculiar circumstances of their operations. In my opinion, the quickest way to get the Border Patrol to clean up their use of force policies is to make them subject to federal and state tort claims statutes and allow their victims to sue for damages, regardless of the nationality of the victims or their immigration status. Undocumented immigrants would still get shot, probably, but officers would have better oversight and training. Otherwise, management of the agency would have to explain to politicians and policy makers why it was costing so much.
In short, apply accepted economic theory to that area of law enforcement, and that is, make its operations reflect the true costs of engaging in that activity. That's what other law enforcement agencies have to do because of the possibility of being sued under the applicable versions of tort laws. As I often explained to cabinet secretaries and other elected and appointed officials: If you place your officers in a position or activity that is inherently dangerous, it will cost you. You will either pay the victims hurt through the actions of those officers, pay the officer's surviving family if he gets killed, or pay for intensive training, better equipment and better support. There are no short cuts, and there shouldn't be.
I agree that it's stupid to throw rocks at an armed law enforcement officer. It is even more stupid if it's a Border Patrol officer because their history shows they are quite willing to use deadly force at the slightest provocation. But if the victim did not assault the officer, or could not have hurt the officer, why should the law enforcement officer's employer not have to pay damages?
I never have said that the Federal government should not be responsible for the misdeeds of their agents.
The Federals paid for the errors at Ruby Ridge.
But the sniper was never prosecuted for killing that woman, with a baby in her arms.
But whether or not a Border patrolman is right, or wrong, in his/her decision to employ deadly force, does not matter to the person that is shot and killed.
If that person was assaulting the agent, then that person was not to bright.
If there was no reason to shoot, if the agent instigated the incident, all factors that should deprive the agent of immunity, I agree. Should/ could there be better over sight, certainly. The report published early this month or last, indicates the Border patrol is way 'out there', but the stone thrower has to be responsible for their actions, as well.
Stones can kill, Goliath is a Biblical example of what one well placed pebble can do to even a giant of a man.
Nuttz: Exactly. Not all law enforcement officers are gunslingers, but the main reason for that is that gunslingers get expensive. Since I m a cynic, I believe that government entities are reluctant to change their policies until they are forced to do so. The best way to force them is to make it expensive for them to continue with stupid policies.
Shootings by FBI agents are almost never deemed unjustified, and the internal investigations into those shootings are typically not reviewed by outside agencies, said Samuel Walker, a criminal justice professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha who specializes in police accountability and use of force.
Walker pointed to FBI documents obtained by The New York Times under a Freedom of Information Act request last year showing that no FBI agents were found at fault in about 150 shootings between 1993 and 2011.
no one should take justice in their own hands shooting a gun on pure reaction can result in a lost bullet hitting someone else who has nothing to do with the incident how about making the border patrol wear riot gear is it to uncomfratable for them there are tons of solutions for this what can happen when you ride a bike without a helmet tell me how many stitches can you get from that now are you gonna carry a gun instead of putting on a helmet are people so facinated by guns they resolve their problems with it unbeleivable
and where is the BP stand in all of this on protecting their employees why would the send their employees to certain area without proper sucurity or protection and this goes for their employees what happen to thier rights refuse to go to these areas how stupid can you be without proper protection goverment gets away with so much crap because we got so many people that can never see the big picture yeah shoot a the rockthrowers problem solved