We had yet another shootout unfolding on December 5 in Miami, captured by news helicopters and terrified onlookers. What happened on the Miramar Parkway in Miami, involving the UPS truck, is an absolute tragedy.
Sadly, even before the dust had settled on that South Florida highway, the amateur “experts” from the internet had already taken to their keyboards to dissect the way the police handled the situation.
Let’s take a look at the facts we know so far and break down what happened.
Two suspects robbed a jewelry store, fired shots during the robbery, hijacked a UPS truck while taking the driver hostage, took police and the hostage on a high-speed chase on a busy highway, got stuck in traffic, then started shooting at police.
The police responded within 90 seconds to the silent alarm at the jewelry store and followed the hijacked truck to the Miramar Parkway, where the suspects opened fire.
The police returned the fire, killing the suspects.
The UPS driver was also killed amid the shootout, along with a civilian.
With bystanders stuck on a busy highway and the suspects shooting, there was no chance of negotiations. To protect the bystanders caught in the crossfire, the police had no other choice but to use deadly force, before even more people were hurt or killed.
Yet in the wake of this tragedy, many people seem to be blaming the officers for the entire incident with no mention of fault for the two men actually responsible for the shooting.
South Florida police have already dealt with heavy criticism after the Parkland shooting that left 17 dead, and many questions about the police response were unanswered.
This time police responded swiftly with force. Yet the public opinion is that of judgment.
If the police do not respond with deadly force, we’re labeled cowards. Respond with force, and we are murderous autocrats.
But in this situation, the options were limited and time precious to save as many as possible. Regardless of this fact, we are still on the losing side of public opinion.
The FBI is investigating the incident and stated that they are unaware if the civilians were killed by rounds fired by police or at the hands of the suspects. It is never the intention of the police to lose innocent lives. Indeed, we get into this job knowing that we ourselves may lay down our lives for the innocent.
This is where the quick-to-judge public opinion and the reality of protecting and serving divide.
What happens when we allow criminals to do whatever they want, with no interruption from the police? Should we let criminals hijack vehicles, take people hostage, and endanger hundreds of lives on busy interstates? Of course not.
Most of those who instantly lay blame on the police, regardless of the circumstances, have never had to make a split-second decision to save their own lives, as well as the lives of others. With all the training officers go through to be prepared, there is no turning off your body’s responses. They are scared, with heightened senses and adrenaline in overdrive that muffle your hearing and can even make it difficult to close one eye to aim their firearm. Until you experience it, you have no idea how you would react.
So, with this in mind, I’m inviting all the people that believe they can do it better, to don a police uniform and show us how it’s done.
My prediction is, they would soon find out that the world isn’t a utopian universe, and their minds would change after facing a life or death situation. Until then, they will go on enjoying living their comfortable lives with minimal terror, provided by the military and all my colleagues in policing they so despise.