You know that infamous Vietnam War-era comment to the effect that “it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.” Well, one thing I don’t get … Oh, OK, one of many things I don’t get, is the tendency in recent years for law enforcement agencies to respond to reports of despondent individuals on the brink of self-destruction by dispatching teams of armed, aggressive police officers. So, you’ve got a guy actively contemplating the dark attractions of the eternal sleep; do you really think you’re going to make things better by creating a situation in which the fellow gets his wish merely by making a sudden move for his cell phone?
Such was the situation in Cottonwood, Arizona, recently, when a woman reported that her boyfriend was considering suicide and that he owned a gun with which to do the deed.
A 22-year-old Iraq War veteran who talked of suicide was located unharmed at a local fast food restaurant after more than 10 Cottonwood Police Department officers and four members of the Verde Valley Special Weapons and Tactics team surrounded the trailer home where he was believed to reside. …
Uniformed in full military gear, including a bullet-proof vest, a SWAT member patrolled the neighborhood carrying an automatic rifle slung over his shoulder and a pistol at his hip. Several SWAT members were seen carrying automatic rifles.
Note that the situation was resolved not by the invading army, which evacuated five homes during its efforts, but after the poor bastard who triggered this response with his bout of depression and was oblivious to the drama unfolding at his home called his girlfriend on her phone. He was having a burger at a restaurant and ended up chatting with the lone officer who went to meet him.
In their defense (because they’ve fielded some criticism), police “said the response by CPD was customary when an armed suspect is reported.”
But is the poor bastard really “an armed suspect”? It sounds to me like he’s having a bad day. It almost got a lot worse — though it’s true that law enforcement didn’t actually “destroy the village.” They just scared the shit out of it.
Here’s a thought: If you have a friend or relative suffering from a severe case of the blues and you want him or her to survive the bad patch, call a shrink or a priest and leave the cops out of it.