I want to address the recent pool party incident in McKinney, Texas, where police officer Eric Casebolt used what was arguably excessive force to detain 14-year-old Dajerria Becton.
Casebolt resigned on Tuesday after footage from the incident went viral.
Why do I want to discuss this incident? What does this have to do with gun ownership, gun rights and the Second Amendment?
More than one might initially think. Here are four points to consider:
Coming in Hot
Looking at the video it’s abundantly clear that officer Casebolt is a threat. He is running around like a lunatic (note that that tumble turned into a tactical roll at the outset of the video), yelling at everyone. Sure, he’s a law enforcement officer but that doesn’t change the fact that he is armed and angry. Bad combination.
To quote McKinney police chief Greg Conley, “Our policies, our training, our practice, do not support his actions. He came into the call out of control, and as the video shows, was out of control during the incident.”
As a gun owner, my first instinct is to get as far away from that man as possible. I do not want to be around when he pulls his firearm — which he does when some teens confront him after he slammed the victim to the ground.
My takeaway, you see someone coming in hot you run in the other direction. Now, I’m not saying run from the police if they’re pursuing you, but if you are in the vicinity and you see a officer flying off the handle, get out of the way ASAP — or as Arnold might say, “GET TO THE CHOPPER!”
Teach Your Children Well
To quote Graham Nash, “Teach Your Children Well…”
What I mean by this is that while right is right and wrong is wrong, there are certain maxims that trump common morality because not everyone prescribes to the same values. For instance, even if the cop is in the wrong, don’t resist his instructions. Live to fight another day and take the issue to court as opposed to attempting to resolve it in the street or at the scene.
Obviously, if you’re life is endanger all bets are off and do what you got to do to protect yourself. But in this particular scenario, the best thing for the girl to do would have been to simply and calmly comply with Casebolt’s commands.
Yes, in the heat of the moment it’s very difficult to do, especially when you know that you are not doing anything wrong and that your Constitutional rights are being violated. Nevertheless, you should comply.
Teaching your children this lesson could save their lives. The focus should always be on de-escalating the situation and the best way to do that with an ornery officer is to follow his orders and be as polite and as accommodating as possible.
Media Wants a Race War
Perhaps aside from the Obama administration, there is no more divisive apparatus in this country than the mainstream media. Coming from a fraternity that has an institutional culture that praises the saying, “If it bleeds, it leads,” the fact that the media wants to stir the pot should be a surprise to no one.
For many media outlets it’s not about getting the story right or presenting the facts, it’s about creating controversy and stoking the flames to pit blacks against whites, cops against citizens, one neighbor against the other.
This incident was no exception. Immediately, the media emphasized that Casebolt was white and Becton was black to play up the racial angle. Was it really a factor in this story? I’m inclined to say it wasn’t. I have a feeling that Casebolt would have responded aggressively to almost anyone who got in his way.
To that point, Jane Bishkin, Casebolt’s attorney said the following, “He believed that those who fled were possible suspects. He was not targeting minorities. In fact, he also detained a white female who you do not see on the video. His effort to gather information was hampered by some teenagers who were instructing others to defy police instructions.”
The lesson here is to remember that the media always has an agenda — one that is not just to inform and instruct.
Walk a Mile…
Nothing will justify Casebolt’s behavior, but perhaps we should try to walk a mile in his shoes before we begin throwing stones.
“The video that everyone has seen only depicts a small part of Eric’s actions that day,” said Bishkin, who explained that prior to the pool party Casebolt responded to two suicide calls one of which involved a man who shot himself in the head in front of his family and another in which a girl was threatening to jump of her parents’ roof. Casebolt was able to calm her down so she didn’t jump.
“With all that happened that day, he allowed his emotions to get the better of him,” Bishkin said. “Eric regrets that his conduct portrayed him and his department in a negative light. He never intended to mistreat anyone, but was only reacting to a situation and the challenges it presented. He apologizes to all who are offended. That day was not representative of the 10-year service to the community of McKinney, and it is his hope that by his resignation the community may start to heal.”
It was a stressful day for Casebolt, but still, it doesn’t excuse his behavior. It should also be noted that Casebolt had won “officer of the year” in the past. All of this leads me to believe that Casebolt isn’t a bad guy, rather he just had a really bad day.
We’re all human. And before we judge one another, we should really get to know each other’s story.
Yeah, so that’s what I learned or was reminded of in watching this pool party incident unfold. Avoid threats, teach your children to comply with law enforcement, be wary of a divisive media and walk a mile in one’s shoes before you outright condemn them for their actions.