Wednesday, September 24, 2008

by the people, for the people

I am disturbed that so many assume we are cop haters because we want to question what happened. Ben Franklin helped create our police and firefighter force. He set it up so we could pay public servants with our tax dollars. Previous to that the citizens of a town took turns on their watches. I am grateful I don’t have to take my turn on night watch for the town. It is important to be grateful that these men and women do this for us and it equally as important to remember that they work for us. We are citizens of a country that we have to be active in or tyranny takes over. We are a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

I think it needs to be said that as far as we understand Brian started this. What he did is not recommended. I don't recommend shooting garbage cans and I don't recommend holding a gun to yourself. As much as we love him, we know if he had not started this, this would not have happened. He made the first poor choice. The police are responsible for responding to people’s poor choices in the most peaceful manner they can and sometimes the outcome is not good. What we are suggesting is that it looks as if the police responded poorly and if this turns out to be the case, whatever caused this poor response needs to change so this never happens to anyone again.

“SOLDIERS AND POLICE are supposed to be different. Soldiers are aimed at enemies from outside the country. They are trained to kill those enemies, and their supporters. Police look inward. They’re supposed to protect their fellow citizens from criminals, and to maintain order with a minimum of force. “ I found this quote online by Glenn Harlan Reynolds. I don’t know who he is or what his views are but I liked this quote.

In this tragic situation and in any situation it is important to question whether proper force was used or not. From our perspective it looked like Excessive Force.

Our stance is that from our perspective excessive force was used. Our view is from the street, as witnesses and friends. We don’t have the same information or perspective the police have but that is part of what makes our views valuable. It is our duty as citizens to question our government. It is not only our right but our duty. This is not just about this one particular case although it hits really close to home. It is our responsibility to ask questions and to do something about it if necessary when those questions are answered. We need to listen to other views and to adjust ours when appropriate. It is not ok to just sit back and criticize. If we want our world to change we need to be a participant in solving these problems.


Nicolas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
corocota said...

I second that

wjjim said...

You are right Nicolas this is the United Staes of America and last I checked we are supposed to be understanding of mental illness. We are also supposed to be able to freely question the actions of our people in power and engage in frank and open disscusion. Here are the facts that anyone who has heard seen or read the news accounts can not dispute.

1. Brian shot a garbage can crawled in his truck and called the police to come get him. He did not run around the neighborhood shooting and did not shot several times at the police.

2. Brian refused to come out of the truck and screamed threats. Last I checked people who are not in their right mind do this and while sadly to many act on their threats many don't. Yes the threats needed to be taken seriously but they are after all just threats as long as he is sitting in that truck.

3. After 12 hours the police felt the need to end this situation. Brian had still not fired another round and was contained is his truck not running around the neighborhood.

4. Several times during the standoff Brian pointed his gun at the police. My question is if they held all of the defensive positions and he was contained in his truck how could
he see the police to aim his gun at them? I am sure this happened but why? I am not a sniper or even much of a hunter but what happened to the art of concealment?

5. The police choose to use less-lethal force in an attempt to force an end to the situation. Where and why did the restraint of the first 12 hours go? One person can not hold off an army forever there is simply no need to act unless they act first at some point in time even a mentally ill persons mind shuts down and they subcum to exhaustion.

6. Brian did not fire the shot at the police officer until after the barrage started.

7. The police annouced there was 1 shot fired and that was by Brian taking his own life. I understand there being a fog of war but why did it take 24 hours for them to correct themselves?

8. Brian is dead and yes he is to blame. Even the creator of this blog has aggred with that but for some reason it seems that to many people have choose to ignore that fact.All they asking is why?

You are so right this is America and you have a right to your opiion the same as I do mine. I have no doubt that the officer was justified in shoting Brian and have never said anything to the contrary. What I have said and firmly believe is why did we put anyone in the position that they had to make that fateful choice? I would be every bit as angry at the people in charge and Brian himslef had he managed to kill or wound a police officer. These are brave people who do things and deal with people that truly are evil not just mentally ill. Why ask them to leave their defensive positions to assault a man in a fragile mental state. I am sure that they had more then one sniper in position who was capable of ending any threat that involved Brian leaving his truck to seek out victims.

To even compare this to Trolley Square is insulting or any other mass shoting is insulting. I do not ever recall anyone questioning the actions of the brave officers and customers in that situation.

So why I do not agree with your position I respect what you have written here you were respectful and never rude. I only wish our politicians and media could disagree with an eye to the fact that we may not always be right. If more facts come out and Brian had somehow escalated the violence before the swat teams acted I will be the first in line to admit I was wrong. I just want to see a complete investigation and I respect the fact the Farmington police have called for the state to do the investigation.

corocota said...

sorry this is the original comment posted by a different name:

Brian Wood was probably a good man, no one questions that, his state of mind at the time showed differently though. He challenged the police, he shot at them several times when the police used non-lethal force. There is no excuse for Brian wood. I am sorry for his loss, and I am sorry for the officer that had to defend himself, and the community, and take a life away. No one understands how painful that is. Your pain is understandable, but your judgments are only an emotional reaction. If it were my dad, or brother, I would have been devastated, and would have wanted another way. But the fact remains that he shot at the police, and therefore was shooting into the neighborhood. If someone is terrorizing the neighborhood, it will not be tolerated, this is the United States of America for crying out loud. Your pain is noted, but your judgments are not justified. The man could have raised his hands in the air at any moment and given up, but he didn't. He wanted a show down. Cornered? OF COURSE! Would you want someone that is temporarily out of his mind to run around with a gun and who knows how much ammo? Look what happened to that Korean kid at trolley square, do you think he knew that would happen a week before? I doubt it, he probably had problems he was dealing with, and then enough was enough, and he lost it. But did they corner him? unfortunately not, because they didn't have time, and the worst happened! We are lucky SWAT came in and cornered him, we are grateful that SWAT was there to be shot at instead of civilians with no defense. I am sorry for Brian, but what happened had to be done, YOU WERE NOT BEING SHOT AT, PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES. The police handled it correctly and safely, and for that I am grateful they did. Brian's choices lead them to take action... you have no right to be angry at the police for protecting Brian's family and community and even trying to protect Brian. If you are going to be angry, get angry at Brian.

September 29, 2008 8:30 AM

MommyHood said...

Yes, we should question our govenrment and officials. But as a person of the Farmington Community, I also have the right to question Brian Wood. Why would he purposely put his community in harms way? He knew what would happen when he called the police over and then refused to ge out of his truck holding two loaded weapons! Why did he shoot at his garbage can in the first place? What was the need for that? To show power over someone? It was obvious he was angry with someone or something. I can not put his anger on the backburner and say but he was such a wonderful man. He may have been, but that day he let his anger and pain overcome him. As someone has once noted, the man a trolley square was an angry person! Look what anger did to him and hundred's of people! His actions affected that many people deeply and personally. I personally would rather have one person leave this earth, than a half dozen or so more! Sad yes, but okay to feel! Especially to those of us living this close to the incident. I am sorry, but I am glad no one else got hurt! My opinion, hard decisions come quickly, but it is those who have been trained well who make the decisions for us based upon safety and security. Yes, I am saying GOOD JOB FARMINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, FIRE DEPARTMENT and EMT's. They all were there that day and risked their lives for me and my chidlren!!!!! Not an easy job, but where would we be if we did not have them!

Mary said...

Excessive Force/Forced Suicide
"first learn to use your wits, then learn to use the weapons"
More than one person has asked this question--
"To be or not to be--that is the question. Whether tis nobler
in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
or to take arms against a sea of troubles. . ."

It's the age-old question returning to haunt us in the highly charged episode of Brian Wood. One can't help but wonder, if Brian had been given the opportunity to talk with someone would he have chosen to continue resisting that 'sea of troubles' or could he have been coaxed into handling his 'outrageous fortune' in any number of better ways?
Suicide is a condition of seeing life only in the black and white--of refusing to see another way out. Everyone, but the angelic, can relate to moments of depression or personal dysfunction. In our moments of loss of personal balance sometimes what is appropriate behavior becomes confused. Sometimes we have the sense and ability to pull ourselves together and to "act appropriately." Other times we are in such a deep hole we have no glimpse, no vision as to how to recover or reconcile what we consider the "stupidity" of our own irrational actions. It seems like the end of the world with no good way out.
No one knows that mind and heart of another and no one probably knows the full details of that clash with Brian's spouse. Yet everyone knows all too well the sickening possibilities of a disagreement with a partner. Men and women have been at odds with one another from time immemorial. It is always devastating, demoralizing and divisive for BOTH partners. We kick against life because we fail to perceive our own best interests. When we think of ourselves as inadequate, foolish or unworthy, we tend to model those qualities becoming more inadequate, foolish and unworthy.
Crashing your life against another's is common human condition and is negative and depressing. What will the wife and young son take from this experience? There is place for every conceivable emotional response, particularly guilt, grief and remorse. They are left to pick up the pieces, recover their lives and add to the perceptions of how life is--depending on each of their own perceptions--on how they see it.
It is always best to use your "wits" when dealing with a volatile circumstance and of course the use of weapons of protection can be a blessing. Weapons are for the sacred duty of defense--the defense of the defenseless, of home, country and family. A man who turns a weapon on himself is choosing a poor option--probably because he could not think of another.
If only another solution could have been put in place for Brian's case! This is where common sense and intelligent intervention could have turned this event to a win/win. Better methods for dealing with suicidal human beings should have been applied in this case. For 12 depressing hours Brian had his own weapon poised on himself ready to bring relief to his troubled situation. For 12 depressing hours many agonized because they were not allowed to at least offer a vision of other options to Brian.
When you unload pepper spray, . . . ., and . . . on an a depressed person who was seeing life as one big, serious crisis, why would it not seem like the end of the world. What would be the use! It would be easy to think there was no way to reconcile the big fat mess you'd gotten yourself into. Why? Why? Why? Was no one allowed to try to help?
This day, everyone lost-- including the SWAT team, the Farmington policemen, the neighbors and friends, the parents, the wife and child. It will be a permanent, self-perpetuating loss if citizens cannot get this sorted out.
It will be a loss if other methods of official intervention for de-stressing potential suicides cannot be put in place as a last ditch effort to save a human being.
No vendetta is necessary. No vigilante action is approved or acceptable. Citizens need not look down upon law enforcement individuals of good intent and moral behavior. The system needs to be resolved to include cases like Brian's so that "excessive force" is not a mistake for which we apologize over and over--so that "excessive force" does not become an all too common threat to the ordinary citizen.

Jeff said...

We all gasp in horror when we read about the punishments in Middle Eastern Countries (for example getting your hands cut off for stealing, public stoning, etc .), but the overwhelming show of force, displayed in our small town last week rivaled these tortures and the first Gulf War, Desert Storm.
One of our own, a fireman, scoutmaster and friend to all received such an unjust punishment. Over a 12 hour period, on Monday, he had eleven percussion grenades thrown at him (these are designed to blow out your eardrums). A ridiculous amount of pepper bombs were shot at him (these burn your eyes and throat to a point of submission). His truck was destroyed in his driveway by a robot, owned by the bomb squad. He had tear gas canisters blasted through his window. He had no food or water or bathroom breaks. He was not allowed to talk to his family or friends because they were not state certified hostage negotiators (he was the only hostage involved).
While all of this was going on, our police chief, Wayne Hanson, kept telling the media that they were working very hard for a peaceful resolution to this standoff. After making this statement to the news, he decided to give peace one last chance. They lobbed more grenades and pepper bombs at him, along with flash bombs (designed to blind you). Finally, while he was on his knees rubbing his sore eyes, they rushed him and shot him.
The smoke from the grenades had not even cleared when it was announced on the police radios that he shot himself. His family and friends were shocked by this news. It was very hard to believe, because Brian loved life so much. He adored his son and had a lot to live for. After almost 24 hours of grief, Chief Hanson informed the media that Brian did not kill himself, but that the police did.
Right before the final assault, Chief Hanson informed the media that Brian was talking to the negotiator and was not making any demands. He held no hostages and made no threats. He was just trying to figure out how to end this.
This fiasco in Farmington raises many questions. First of all are grenades, flash bombs, pepper spray and tear gas the right way to achieve a peaceful outcome to a non-violent situation? I equate this to cornering an animal and the tormenting it until something bad happens, then blaming the animal. The constant barrage of grenades, bombs and gas are the equivalent to a public stoning.
Our government is designed to allow the smallest towns and rural areas to govern themselves. This is to keep bigger government from taking over a small town where they don’t know the circumstances or situation as well as local authorities. Farmington has 17 police officers on its force. Apparently Chief Hanson felt that these 17 officers were incapable of handling this situation so he called in several more outside agencies and formed a joint task force. It was the decision of this task force to end this standoff. They simply got tired of waiting; after torturing this caged man for 12 hours they found they could not break his will so they simply overwhelmed him by force. He probably could not hear or could not see what was coming. He probably wonders why he was shot. They knew he was a good guy, a great dad and that everyone seemed to like him.
Well, I wonder this too and I want some answers. If Chief Hanson doesn’t have them, then he is dead wood needing to be pruned.
Jeff Richards