It's been a rough couple of weeks in Georgia.
Governor "Dump Money on Police" Deal has been crying crocodile tears in the media, pretending to get emotional about how much his not-remotely-sufficient "criminal justice reform" is helping people like me. Well I've got news for you Nathan Deal. Your "reforms" aren't even a drop in the bucket. They're an insult. You know who actually had the balls to do something worthwhile? Democrat woman Keisha Lance-Bottoms, that's who.
So, as part of Deal's undeserved self-congratulations, he had this to say: “we are truly rehabilitating non-violent offenders, not hardening them, and further diverting them from dark and dangerous paths.”
Well, I can tell you for a fact that Georgia's criminal "justice" system is doing anything but rehabilitating non-violent offenders. Hell, they're even going so far as to harden literal choir-boys like myself.
And then, of course, we have the dead Air Force Veteran, who certainly was not diverted from a dark path.
Her name was Kimberly McCann. She lived in Cedartown (just up the road from where I live). I don't know her. I don't know her past from anything but news reports, and those news reports know little about her except for what they read in the police reports. But what we know, I believe, shows another example of a disturbing trend I've highlighted before: the police are exacerbating conflicts and causing crimes that otherwise would not have happened.
So, let's do what any good American should do: presume that the accused is innocent and give her every possible benefit of the doubt. Did she deserve to die this week? Maybe. But's let's presume that she didn't. Let's try to tell her side of the story (since she'll never be able to do so).
McCann had served in the Air Force. If she's like most veterans, she loved her country, made sacrifices to defend our freedom, and abhors the fact that we're slowly losing all of our rights to a violent police-state.
At some point in the past year, McCann had been (evidently forcibly) confined to a mental hospital at Grady. According to reports, this had something to do with drinking. That doesn't pass the smell test with me. Drinking isn't a mental health disorder. Were McCann's rights violated in this incident, giving her cause to dislike the police? We'll never hear what she has to say about it. But according to police reports, she was not fond of the Cedartown police as a result of this. Of course, if they had forcibly and without just cause had her confined to a mental institution (which is a felony in Georgia), then I suppose she'd have a good reason not to like them. And remember - we're presuming she's innocent and looking for any reasonable doubt about the story the media is telling us.
Incidentally, McCann's sentiments (we are told) were that the Polk County police are better than the Cedartown Police. If that's the case, then she either over-estimates the Polk County Police or has really good reason to dislike the Cedartown Police. The Polk County police are so bad that Polk County's Sheriff wrote a letter (bad conjugation and all) to the County Commission asking that the GBI be called in to investigate the police force because there were so many allegations of corruption (many of them from the police themselves).
According to news articles based on police reports (both of which are, in my experience, always wrong) trouble started brewing with McCann when there was a domestic dispute (the nature of which is unknown) in McCann's neighborhood. She called the police. When they arrived, they were slow about taking a report, which made McCann angry. As a result, she said the "fuck" word at the officers and gave them the middle finger.
I don't think I have to tell anyone reading this site that giving the middle finger and saying "fuck" is protected by the First Amendment and is not a crime. And of course, seeing that we're presuming Ms. McCann's innocence and that there is a heavy cloud of corruption hanging over local police, I don't think we can fault her for saying it.
Thereafter, the narrative gets a little messy. McCann evidently told the officers to leave, but they continued trespassing on her property. McCann evidently came out and cussed at them several times, demanding that they leave, but instead of leaving, they ended up at her back door.
I know we haven't gotten to this part of my story yet, but I have personal experience with the police needlessly terrorizing my family in a very similar way. I can understand why Ms. McCann - a woman living alone - would be afraid and upset in this situation. She had called the police to help her, but now they were surrounding her home and refusing to leave. As evidenced by the fact that McCann wasn't arrested that day, the police evidently had no reason to believe she had committed a crime.
And then the threats started. The police told McCann that they would arrest her for disorderly conduct because of her cussing. As was demonstrated in my case, nothing yet described about McCann's situation could possibly have been considered disorderly conduct. And remember, she's in her own home being harassed.
At this point, reasonably fearing for her life from the gang of armed men who are making unwarranted threats, McCann warns them that she has a gun. As we have mentioned before, it is legal in Georgia to shoot trespassing police officers who attempt to make an unwarranted arrest. Laws aside, the police start reaching for their guns. They have gone out to McCann's house, they have been ordered to leave. They have no reason to stay, and now they are ready to murder McCann rather than obey her lawful orders to stop trespassing.
Thankfully they didn't kill her. Instead, they do the right thing and leave.
But they come back out again later that night. Reports claim that there had been a 911 call reporting that there had been a gunshot at McCann's house. Was there actually a gun shot? We can't know. Evidently police recovered no evidence of there having been one (and if they did, the news didn't tell us). Was the call a fake? A hoax? Someone getting payback against a woman who had called the police earlier that day? We don't know. I know for a fact though that people make fake 911 calls.
When the police arrive at McCann's home again, she's upset, but tells them that she is fine. They leave.
So, now the stage is set. We've got a corrupt police force which we know is ready to murder without any rational cause, and which is prone to make arrests for no reason. We've got a woman on edge, a person who loves and served her country, but who has repeatedly had her rights violated by the dangerous thugs on the police force. She's also low on sleep, having been bothered in the middle of the night by more apparently unneccessary police activity. The police have dumped gasoline on the kindling - now all they have to do is light a match.
And they do it the very next day.
On May 7th, McCann goes driving through Floyd County past a school zone. According to the police, she was speeding (nevermind the fact that no one was harmed, that school zone speed limits are absurdly low, and that police drive as fast as they damn-well please through the school zones). Was she actually speeding? Well, based on my experience, probably not. The police pull people over whom they don't like and write them bogus tickets like it's a sport.
So, the blue lights start flashing. And what should McCann do? Well, if you want my opinion, she should stop. However, I think we can see that it would be reasonable for her to try and run. She very reasonably believes that the police are dangerous, because they are, and she very reasonably believes that the police are out to get her, because her past experience demonstrates that to her. The news can tell us that she ran because she's "mentally ill" all day long, but this looks like a reasonable (albeit incorrect) course of action.
Oh, and did I mention there's a blue-light rapist on the loose? Yeah, well, that'll make you think twice about stopping too, won't it?
And what happens from there? You can guess. All we really know is what police told us. There's a car chase. People crash. Shots are fired. An American veteran ends up dead. Georgia's domestic army has shot their 11th citizen in 11 days.
And yet again, I'm forced to ask, "Since when did traffic violations warrant the death penalty?" Look, I get it: she shouldn't have run, and at the point that she ran, people's lives were put in danger. She responded badly. She shouldn't have done it. But can't we manage these situations without killing people? Is speeding in the school zone worth someone dying? If not, then here's an idea: maybe we should stop chasing people down like animals over it. How about this: take a picture of her license plate, run it through the database, and send her a ticket in the mail. If she wants to dispute it, she can show up in court. If she doesn't show up, tack the price on to her property taxes or her car tag tax for next year. See how easy that could be? You got your revenue and no one died. And listen, I understand that isn't a perfect solution. People will slip through the cracks and blah, blah, blah, but is that worse than killing our veterans on the side of the road and putting our officers in danger? Look, if you don't like my idea, come up with something better, but what we're doing here isn't working.
And I'm also forced to ask again, "Might we not avoid these problems altogether if the police would stop pushing fragile people over the edge?" Listen, I can pretty much guarantee you that this incident would not have happened if this woman hadn't been abused by the police in the past.
So, again, we've got a case here where there's a pretty serious problem, and the person in the middle of it isn't the world's most sympathetic character, but I'm still convinced that situations like this - almost all of them - could be avoided if the police would start respecting the citizenry, if they could stop pretending everything is a serious crime, and if we could have common-sense solutions instead of a constant barrage of gun-slinging and excessive force. And I want to make clear that I'm not saying McCann was in the right. All I'm saying is that we, as Americans, as Christians, or as moral people of any stripe, owe it to this woman to presume her innocence. If I was sitting on a jury and the evidence that I've been hearing in the news was all I had to consider in this case, I'd find that there was a reasonable doubt about whether or not Ms. McCann needed to be shot. Wouldn't you? Unfortunatly, she's not going to have an opportunity to have her case heard. She can't give a defense. She's dead. And when I turn on the radio or see newspapers on the stand in the convenience story telling only the police side of the story, well, I know how that feels, and I can't keep quiet about it.
Let's stop nibbling around the edges Georgia. We need real reforms. We need more than politicians like Nathan Deal putting on a show for the cameras. Let's stop killing our citizens, and let's stop driving ordinary Americans down a dark path.