Police shooting deaths — with officers as victims — have become a suddenly heightened concern in the past weeks. After two major incidents in July, the number of police deaths by gunfire for this year, with less than seven months over, is rapidly approaching the number in all of 2015, and has already reached the total number in all of 2013. Naturally, people who are in, or have connections to or empathy with, law enforcement, are speaking out with a degree of concern. One pastor, however, has a suggestion to stop police shooting deaths that most LEO probably won’t be on board with.
The Officer Down Memorial Page tracks line of duty deaths in law enforcement, sorting them by type. In 2013, this included 31 deaths by gunfire. In 2014, 47 police officers were lost to gunfire. In 2015, 39 police were lost in shooting deaths.
By July 17th of this year, 31 officers have already been lost to gunfire.
Two of those shooting incidents, and eight of those deaths — more than a quarter of all police deaths by shooting this year — have occurred in the last ten days.
Public figures, including politicians, celebrities, and social leaders, have spoken out calling for an end to attacks on police, an end to the shooting, and pleading for peace.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 17, 2016
I join the President in condemning today’s despicable, cowardly attack in Baton Rouge. An attack on our very way of life and rule of law.
— Vice President Biden (@VP) July 18, 2016
Many were quick to connect Sunday morning’s shooting to Black Lives Matter, though the motive and political affiliation of the shooter were not immediately evident.
DeRay McKesson, a well-know voice of the Black Lives Matter movement, told the New York Times that violence was not a part of his goal, saying
The movement began as a call to end violence. That call remains.
Enter controversial viral video preacher Joshua Feuerstein. You may know him as the Starbucks red cup guy — the one who tried to provoke boycotts of the coffee chain for using red cups at Christmas, rather than cups printed with holiday images. Along with other conservative voices, he insinuated a connection between the shooting and Black Lives Matter, particularly the recent protests. Further, in a new video, he offered his idea tp prevent police deaths by shooting.
I love Jesus. I’m a preacher. But you know what? I also carry a FM57, filled with 20 rounds of pure brutality right there.
Feuerstein, brandishing his weapon for the camera, declares what he will do if he ever thinks he sees someone pulling a gun on an officer.
That’s right, I’m gonna fill you with sixty rounds of pure lead.
Not only does he have this as his own plan, but he’s promoting it for others — specifically, Christians.
…we as Christians, we gotta start carrying guns, because we gotta protect our superheroes, our police officers.
In the event of a police shooting, it’s unlikely that most officers would appreciate a civilian further complicating the situation by adding additional rounds of gunfire. That’s aside from the fact that the whole notion of the general population arming themselves to protect police sounds like something of a reversal of the usual intent of the system. There’s also the concern that, if even trained officers can mistake other objects, like cell phones, for guns, a random person watching out for police t be attacked might be even more prone to such errors.
Feuerstein’s following wasn’t exactly pleased with his suggestion, either.
You are out of control, where has your vision as a pastor gone???
Only a fool would use the two statements “I love Jesus” and “I will shoot you dead” in the same sentence.
But Joshua, I remember you telling police officers, and us, that you’d give police officers your guns, “bullets first” if there was a law passed to make the guns illegal and officers were simply enforcing that law.
There’s no question that police shooting deaths must be condemned in the strongest possible terms, and must be brought to an end — but can America support Joshua Feuerstein’s notions of how to do so?
[Image via Facebook]