Next Score View the next score

    letters | Police and the armed response

    How have we come to accept shoot-to-kill approach as normal?

    There is a basic issue that I haven’t seen discussed in regard to recent events in Ferguson, Mo. Why is it acceptable for a police officer to kill a citizen even if the officer is being threatened by that person?

    An example from Denmark is quite telling. Four years ago the house of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who had caused a controversy over his depiction of the prophet Mohammed, was broken into by a Somali man who had an axe and a knife. An alarm in the home alerted police. The police arrived a short time later and were threatened by the intruder. The officers shot him in the knee and the hand.

    A number of questions arise from this incident. Are the Danish police better marksmen than police in the United States? Are the Danish police better trained to handle life-threatening situations?


    Amazingly we have come to accept as normal that a police officer can kill someone who is coming at him or her with a knife.

    Get Arguable in your inbox:
    Jeff Jacoby on everything from politics to pet peeves to the passions of the day.
    Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

    Maybe we’ve finally reached the point where we won’t accept the killing of an unarmed teenager. We can hope.

    Paul Czerny