It’s reasonably well known that when an incident is viewed by a half dozen people, those people will provide half a dozen different accounts of what happened. There are lots of different factors that cause conflicts between eyewitness testimonies. Seeing the incident from different angles and distances are the obvious ones. But perception and bias are also at play. I recently had a conversation on Facebook with a couple of people after posting a video. Watch the video first, before reading on. Although, beware….
This video contains footage of someone being shot in a robbery. There are no close ups, no blood, no gore. It did not, as I understand it, result in a fatality. But watch at your own discretion.
I added a small comment when posting the video to Facebook. Karma was the key piece of vocabulary. Some comments referred to in, in essence, as an execution. I imagine they assumed he was killed, although the news article containing it suggests the two wounds were in the gut and leg and neither was fatal. I can’t confirm this. I offered comments supporting the policeman. If the local constabulary can’t intervene in a crime, what’s the point of having a police force in the first place. Opposing that view were comments pointing out the unruly and trigger happy attitude of many police officers, and the fact that robbery, even armed robbery, aren’t usually capital offences. Good points.
I’ve given their comments some thought. I still stand by my opinion. You see, I view this from the point of view of a Brit. I automatically make a couple of assumptions when police shoot a criminal. Firstly, that the criminal would have been given a firm verbal warning. Secondly, that the criminal would be shot only if he presented a danger to either the officers or the public. In other words, that he went for his gun. On that basis, the criminal deserved everything he got.
I believe that those assumptions probably weren’t shared by those offering a different point of view. Maybe they’ll comment here and let me know! I wouldn’t blame them. Police officers elsewhere in the world tend to behave very differently from British police officers. Which of us are right? There’s no knowing. The video doesn’t show us whether or not a warning was provided, not whether the thief went for his gun. So we fill in the gaps, perhaps unconsciously. For the record, if there was no warning, then I’d switch sides in this argument. But either way, I’ve got no sympathy for the bike thief. Live by the gun, die by the gun. Karma. How did you view the video?
We often see things through our own bias. Did you watch Breaking Bad? If not, you’re a lucky fellow/lass. You’ve got five seasons of the most wonderful television still to watch. You’ve possibly seen plenty of people gushing about the show. I rank it, without hesitation, as the finest made for TV drama ever. You don’t think much of my opinion, generally speaking? Well listen to the great Anthony Hopkins then. Read his letter to the star of Breaking Bad by clicking here. Brian Cranston plays Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who turns into a drug manufacturer, murderer, child poisoner, general bad guy. And you can’t help but empathise with him, relate to him and cheer for him from the first episode to the last. Nicest mass murderer you’ll ever meet…