CNN reran this video from January, which shows two Nashville police officers arresting 18-year-old Tondrique Fitzgerald near the Kirkpatrick Community Center on the east side of the city.
What would have been a simple arrest for an outstanding warrant quickly turns into a contentious situation as Fitzgerald resists arrest while his friends taunt, heckle and even threaten the officers.
“You know how it’s Ferguson. You know how those white people get down,” says one of Fitzgerald’s peers. “You better tell ‘em you need backup, better watch the news to see what’s on there.”“Man, they some b!$&*es,” they continue. “I’d beat his a%$ if he take off that badge.”
Officer Nicholas Kulp and Officer Kelly Cantrell were the two at the scene. Officer Cantrell politely asks the crew to back up several times, but they continue to agitate.
“Back up. Move on,” says Cantrell.
A member of the group replies, “They gonna have to shoot.”
Fitzgerald was finally arrested without any incident and the two officers were commended for keeping their cool under duress.
“The officers did their job professionally like they do every day,” a police official told WKRN.
Kudos to Kulp and Cantrell for their equanimity. But I think all gun owners can learn something from this encounter. Mainly, don’t let agitators get under your skin. Resist the urge to escalate a situation at all costs. It’s not easy, it never is, especially in the moment, but the focus should always be on getting away from trouble in one piece. Getting involved with or reacting to hecklers is (a) only giving them what they want and (b) going to lead to bad things.
Are you confident in your ability to ignore tolls, instigators and idiots? If you’re not, you may want to work on that, particularly if you carry every day. Also, how do you think the officers responded in the video? Would you be able to keep your cool in that situation?