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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Until You Are Willing To Put Your Life On The Line, Shut Up.

"Witnesses say that just after midnight Saturday Yatim brandished a knife and exposed himself. No one was hurt, and all the passengers were able to exit the streetcar onto Dundas St. near Grace St.
In a video shot by a passerby, Yatim can be seen standing alone near the front of the streetcar as officers surround him. Then nine shots were fired and a Taser deployed."




If you watch the video above, police asked Yatim multiple times to drop the knife and warned him clearly not to come any closer or they would be shooting him. What more could they do? Should they do? Would you do? Risk your own life for the sake of a kid doing what Sammy Yatim was doing?

http://globalnews.ca/news/748701/protest-planned-for-streetcar-shooting-victim-sammy-yatim/ 

"And hundreds of Torontonians participated in a protest march Monday evening to bring further awareness to the police shooting that has raised the ire of many across Toronto....The shooting has sparked a flood of anger at Toronto police, who have suspended an officer involved in the shooting...The crowd chanted “Shame!” with a handful of protesters angrily confronting police monitoring the march. Marchers briefly stopped outside a local police station, venting at the force’s handling of the incident."

Being a policeman or woman is a very dangerous job. Many of the people you encounter in your day--even a normal day--don't want to see you. A few want to harm you. Many of them are at the worst moment of their lives. And in some instances, your life is on the line as you do your job. And that job, in many cases, is to protect the citizens of your city or society from these types of angry, hostile, sometimes violent and in many cases crazy people. 
Could police have handled the Sammy Yatim situation better? Probably. Maybe they could have found a way to get him off the streetcar without shooting him. But you don't know that for a fact. He wasn't waving a knife at you or moving closer to you. What would you do if he was doing that? I know what I would do. If I gave him a clear warning not to come any closer and he did that anyway, I would have shot him too. What if he had a bomb under his shirt? Or had planted one on the streetcar and had a remote control device in his hand? What if he had a gun you can't see? What if he just got close enough to throw the knife at me? None of us know the true facts because we weren't there and we may never will. 
But we know what we see. And that is clear. Yatim had a knife, had done something very bad on the streetcar and risked the lives of passengers and now the police. At that point, he wasn't backing down or being cooperative. In fact, he was doing the opposite. He was moving towards the police in a hostile manner.
No, Sammy Yatim made his own destiny. He is the one who took a streetcar full of normal citizens and put them in peril, then ordered them off the streetcar. And he is the one who pulled a knife and came at police. He did all that. And for that, he died. If you put yourself in these positions, then you are asking for the possibility that you are going to be shot by highly trained police who know when the moment arrives that you can no longer negotiate and talk him down safely. 
His mother says she can't understand why police killed her son.
His mother and others describe him this way, 

"A kind, gentle, shy boy."

His friend described it this way, 

"What happened between 10 p.m. and midnight remains a mystery to Schifitto, 28, who says Yatim’s alleged conduct on the streetcar is out of character.
“He was so polite, so quiet,” said Schifitto. “He was a very quiet, respectful guy. Something must have set him off.”


Maybe he was that. But on the streetcar, he was a mad, somewhat crazy, young kid not listening to people pointing guns at him and he was wielding a knife. That is what he was. In that instance, he was going to get shot. What he was otherwise really doesn't matter. When you do what he did that night, you are going to get shot if you don't back down when you are told to do so. 

And if we really want to know the facts, and not what biased people are saying, or protesters that will pretty much march for any cause these days as long as it is sexy, then let us take a look at who this kid really was.

http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2013/07/30/sammy_yatim_shot_by_police_was_trying_to_get_life_back_on_track.html


"The 18-year-old had left his home in June after disagreements with his father over smoking pot and not having a steady job, friends say. He was struggling to live independently and get his life on track.
Some friends remember Yatim, who moved here from Syria five years ago, as hard-working and bound for a health care management program at George Brown College in September. Others say he had fallen in with the wrong crowd and was always armed with a knife."

Fits of anger. Exposing himself. Drug use. Threatening those on a streetcar. Carrying a knife everywhere he goes. Doesn't sound like a polite young guy who is stable to me. In my experience, people who carry a knife everywhere they go are either in trouble or looking to get in trouble. Toronto is not Harlem. It is a quiet, very safe city. Or, it used to be before the Sammy Yatim's came here. I have never thought about being in any danger on a streetcar. Maybe I should from now on.

 "Another school friend, who asked not to be identified, said Yatim carried a knife everywhere and even bragged about owning a gun. But the friend didn’t think he was capable of harming anyone. “For him to stab somebody, I don’t think he had the hand-eye co-ordination.”

These are the facts. And if you were that policeman, what would you do? Until you are willing to put yourself and your life on the line, you should shut up. You don't know the facts and you don't know what it is like to be in that position. I know this: If he broke into your house and was wielding a knife, possibly had a gun, and you had a gun when he came towards you and also your family was there and exposed, you would shoot him without hesitation. And you would be entirely justified in doing so.

"Yatim is also believed to have practised Systema, a Russian martial art that can involve hand-to-hand combat and the use of knives and guns."
 
It isn't popular to say this, but Sammy Yatim decided his own fate and that is all there is to it. Possibly the police could have subdued him without shooting him, but that would have been them doing more than they needed to. Sammy Yatim could have easily stopped the end result. By backing away, putting down the knife, and dropping to his knees. He did none of that. And now he is dead. That is something he caused himself.
When the facts come out, that is likely exactly what we will see. Until then, all the shouting is not going to change anything.
There are lots of incidences where you could claim that police abused the power we give them. This was not one of them. This was just a simple incident of someone who put himself in a crazy and dangerous situation and got shot dead because of what he did.



 

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