Updated: Jun 5, 2019
Calgary Police were involved in a shooting this week; their tenth this year and their fifth one ending in a fatality.
The media responded with praise for the officers heroic actions, along with their support for the law enforcement's - oh, wait no it turns out they threw the Calgary Police Service under the bus.
"For Calgary’s cops, trapped in public image hell, another ambulance carting off another person hit by police bullets is the worst possible outcome."
- Michael Platt, Calgary Sun
Actually, that's not the worst possible outcome.
A dead police officer on the streets of Calgary is.
A dead, innocent civilian on the streets of Calgary is.
But a criminal who's endangered the lives of Calgarians, who's put themselves on the wrong side of the law and had to pay the consequence, is not.
The first incorrect assumption made by the media is that a fatal shooting is the worst possible outcome. Don't get me wrong, lethal force should be used as an absolute last resort when dealing with a threat - but sometimes the only thing that will stop a threat, is lethal force.
The incident being referred to was the Police shooting of a 27 year old Calgary woman on Tuesday, November 29th .
The woman was found walking along 1700 block of 11th Avenue S.W. at 2:30 a.m carrying a knife in each hand, while punching car windows and building doors before charging at police while ignoring orders to stop.
Do you want to get shot? Because that's how you get shot.
Ignoring all orders to comply, the woman was only shot once and taken to hospital where she later died.
"If our cops are being forced to gun people down in record numbers, it’s time to ask why, and at least try to do something about it"
- Michael Platt, Calgary Sun
Gunned down in record numbers? Is this Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland?
No, it's a crazed woman charging at police officers with a knife.
But before we get any official statements from Calgary Police and have a chance to pour over body-cam footage, let's ask the guy across the street to weigh in.
"She was always really nice in the hallway. We knew each others' names. Our dogs liked each other. She was pleasant. She never seemed threatening or scary or anything like that. She seemed like a nice, normal girl."
- Neighbor (not a witness), Calgary Sun
Yes, this quote is taken from an actual news and media publishing company.
Turns out they shouldn't have shot this woman because the neighbour across the way said her dog took a liking to his.
Does waving around two knives while smashing out car windows sound like nice, normal behaviour?
In forest lawn maybe that's the norm... but back to the point.
The media has used this opportunity to push a headline stating that Calgary has the most police shootings in any city in Canada.
Which sounds dramatic until you realize that before this week's dramatic stand off we only had 4 fatal shootings compared to Toronto's 3, and we find out Montreal police are literally shooting so damn many criminals that they don't even keep statistics on shootings.
And maybe the fact that our city is dealing with an opioid crisis like no other city in Canada, might have something to do with it - but let's not mention any of that.
The point of all this, as it's pointed out by the media, is that something needs to be done about this "disturbing" trend?
Last week a man tried to run over police officers with his truck - was shot and killed by police.
Before that, a man with a machete was stabbing people in a Calgary mall - also shot by police.
Before that, a man was firing indiscriminately at vehicles driving past his home - was shot and killed by police.
So a trend of what? Making split second, heroic decisions in the face of danger to save the lives of Calgarians?
Yeah that's an awful trend, better cut that out.
Here we have a very professional police force dealing with very dangerous situations and being criticized for how they resolve them.
I mean, they carry these things on their belts called guns - probably for a reason. They might have to use them every now and then.
So just to be clear, we have a situation where police are presented with a threat to the public, the police stop that threat, and the media follows with criticism.
At this point I'm half expecting firefighters to be blamed for putting fires out.
There is always space for a conversation regarding the use of less than lethal force, but what the public and mainly the media do not realize is that sometimes only lethal force will stop a threat.
Though most people don't understand the use of lethal force, because they've never been in a situation that required it.
"Can't you just shoot the knife out of his hand?"
- Someone, probably
Well, this isn't a low-budget Steven Seagal movie, this is real life - and you've already got 45 pounds of gear hanging on your duty belt so suddenly a threat presents itself and should you go for the bean bag gun? Maybe the tazer - though the prongs might not make it through the jacket and - oh, you've hesitated and now the threat has closed the distance and you're dead.
All because someones more concerned about statistics of dead criminals than dead police officers.
All this to say - sometimes a rock meets a hard place, it's a spot where there is no black or white - just shades blending into each other. At some point, someone has to pull the trigger to keep the rest of us safe.
The very least you can do is give a thank you to the people who have to do the dirty work so you can sleep sound at night.
Just remember, there's a very fine line between primitive chaos and our society, and that line is blue.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jozef Lalka is a former Infantryman with the Canadian Armed Forces and founder of War Doll. Since releasing from the military, Jozef continues to rigorously train and expand his knowledge of a variety of weapons platforms and tactics.
Having earned a diploma in Media & Video production, Jozef works as a graphic designer, photographer and videographer while pursing a passion for current global conflicts and how they relate to historical events.