Many people are now familiar with the story of the Columbus, Ohio, police shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, who was shot while lunging with a knife at another girl.
The officer who shot her drove up in response to at least one 911 call, which said people were being threatened by a girl trying to stab people. The officer got out of the car and within seconds, he had to size up the situation and make the decision to shoot.
— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) April 21, 2021
Screengrab from the Columbus bodycam video. Police & the mayor say the girl in black was attempting to stab the girl in pink. Officer shot the girl in black just after this.https://t.co/zrTpAPHH8B pic.twitter.com/FEnpFZwoOy
— Steve Lookner (@lookner) April 21, 2021
Despite what appeared to be a clearly justified shooting, the officer’s actions were criticized by many on the left with a lot of bad takes.
But in the festival of bad takes, this one from Vox may be the worst yet. Because if people actually listened to this, it would likely get more people killed.
"It is worth considering whether [Ma'Khia] Bryant might have still been alive today if a mental health expert — or someone else trained in nonviolent deescalation — had responded to the call," says Merushka Bisetty. https://t.co/ceoI9fiuYF
— Vox (@voxdotcom) April 30, 2021
Bryant “didn’t have to die” if a mental health expert like the author, trained in “nonviolent deescalation,” was there, the article asserts. The article seems to have no concept of the actual situation with which the officer was faced. This is how the author describes “deescalating” a different situation.
Inside the house, I did not yell, nor did I order the teens to drop their weapons. Instead, I asked whether they wanted something to eat. Confused and suddenly distracted by me, neither responded, but when I walked over to the kitchen and started making them food, they followed me.
As I made them sandwiches, I asked them to help me with tasks, such as working together to set the table. I initially had them talk directly to me and not to each other. After a few minutes, both teens had left their weapons on the counter and were helping. Once emotions were regulated, we talked through the initial issue and resolved it, making a plan with the foster mom and my clinical supervisor about what to do should this happen again in the future.
Exactly when in the nine seconds that the officer had to assess the situation was he going to do that? By the way, this expert apparently doesn’t understand that yes, police have training in deescalation, too. But in the mere seconds, as Bryant is lunging toward the girl, really not even paying attention to the officer or what he was saying, when was he going to ask her if she wanted something to eat? Had he done something that stupid, the girl in pink might be dead.
The author goes on to blame the officer and society, saying that they were focused on the question of whether or not the use of force was justified.
These narratives are attempts to displace blame onto the victim and their family rather than on the systems that created situations that led to her death. The blame is swiftly placed on the young Black girl — or Black man, or Hispanic boy — but not the police officer who caused the fatality.
It could just be the “blame” was placed on Bryant not because she was black, but because she had the knife trying to stab the other black girl. That black girl’s life gets awfully short shrift in these horrible takes, in the effort to attack the police. Notice the terminology of Bryant as “the victim.” No, that would be the girl in pink. The author assumes the guilt of the officer, regardless of the facts.
It is worth considering whether Ma'Khia Bryant might have still been alive today if she HADN'T TRIED TO STAB SOMEONE. https://t.co/cfoI9MXvxq
— Ian Haworth (@ighaworth) April 30, 2021
This is insane, and ignored the facts.
If someone is about to pull the trigger (or in this case, stab someone) there is no time for deescalation.
If you have time, sure… But this wasn't one of those times. https://t.co/qQfF7UM0vo
— Pradheep J. Shanker (@Neoavatara) April 30, 2021
“Would you line to talk about it?” the counselor whispers as the teenager stabs the other teenager. https://t.co/LW5kI33szM
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) April 30, 2021
If a mental health person like the author had been dispatched, Bryant might be alive, but the mental health person might be dead. Meanwhile, the mental health person doesn’t necessarily have the training of the cop in use of force and how to protect all the people who may be in danger.
Had that wellness check been done by two social workers, they'd both be dead. Instead, another cop gunned down. As a former LEO, I dont know how anybody would want to be a police officer in today's world.
— Kevin Hitt (@Kevin_Hitt) April 29, 2021