Put Away That Gun


Recently a U.S. District Judge sentenced former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager to 20 years in prison on the charge of second degree murder in the shooting of Walter Scott. It’s an extremely rare occurrence when a police officer gets convicted for killing a citizen. It’s a rare occurrence when a police officer gets held accountable in any meaningful way.

Talking Heads perform “Slippery People” in the 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense.


Cops spend far too much time at the firing range and not enough time learning to de-escalate a situation. Shooting a gun vents the effects of testosterone. De-escalation requires calmness and patience. When calling a cop to help resolve a situation, it’s a roll of the dice whether that cop will spin things out of control or resolve it peacefully, the way a peace officer should. In some neighborhoods, calling for a cop is absolutely the last resort, because the cops can’t be counted on to behave professionally and with restraint.

Carolina magazine (serial) (1921) (14589564829)
The New Negro, a 1921 pen and ink drawing by Allen R. Freelon (1895-1960).

The Staple Singers had a hit with their cover ofSlippery People” in 1984.


One police officer convicted. Police kill over one thousand citizens each year. Are over 99 percent of those killings entirely justified? If even 50 percent of the killings were justified in the eyes of the law, when will the other 500 or more killers who acted outside the law be convicted, even though they carried a badge? A badge is not an excuse to hide behind, it is a public trust to be borne with solemn consideration of the responsibilities the citizenry expects the bearer to uphold. Whose streets? The people’s streets.
― Vita