Wolf Blitzer has never stuck me as a particularly intelligent man. No intelligent man would willingly stay on board the sinking ship that is CNN. Then again he could still be there simply because nobody else will take him. Either way he decided to demonstrate his lack of intelligence by asking why police officers shoot to kill:
Blitzer’s questions arose during a discussion on the unfurling conflict in Ferguson, Mo. over the fatal police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
“They often shoot to kill,” Blitzer said of police. “Why do they have to shoot to kill? Why can’t they shoot a warning shot in the air, scare someone off if they think they’re in danger. Why can’t they shoot to, injure, shall we say? Why do they have to shoot to kill?”
Toobin said police are trained to “never fire a warning shot” and to “never fire a shot to injure.” He explained that if police fire their guns, they must “accept the risk” that they are “gonna kill somebody.” Adding that: “If you are not prepared to kill someone, don’t fire the gun.”
A firearm is considered a deadly force weapon and for good reason, they cause major bodily harm that can lead to death. Using deadly force is only acceptable in most areas if there is an immediate risk of great bodily harm or death. If anybody, whether they be a police officer or a peaceful human being, doesn’t feel that they are in immediate risk of great bodily harm or death they shouldn’t be employing a firearm in any way.
But what’s the harm in firing a shot into the air? The fact that Blitzer even asked that proves that he doesn’t understand how a firearm works. What goes up must come down (unless it achieves enough velocity to escape the effects of gravity but no man portable weapon can do that yet). If you fire a shot into the air the damn bullet has to come down somewhere and there is no practical way for the shooter to know where in the hell the bullet is going to land. It may land in an empty parking lot or it may land of grandma’s head. And attempting to inure somebody with a deadly weapon is really fucking stupid. Even if you put a hole in somebody’s extremity they still risk the possibility of bleeding out. It’s the same risk somebody would face if you ran a javelin through them.
The reason use of force continuums usually discourage using deadly force weapons for any situation not needed deadly force is because employing a deadly force weapon necessarily makes the situation potentially deadly. This isn’t rock science, it’s common sense. If a police officer needs to scare somebody they can grab a baton and extend it.