People always see news articles about police shootings with an innocent bystander as the victim, and automatically side with the victim. Yes, they are innocent, and it is a misunderstanding, but no one ever wants to hear what the police officer has to say. The short story Identities by W.D. Valgardson tackles a similar topic. The story tells of a man who goes for a Saturday drive through a seedy neighbourhood unbeknownst to societies stereotypes. During a misunderstanding the man is shot by a police officer who thinks he is reaching for a weapon opposed to his wallet. The policeman is justified when he kills the man because the officer tells him to “halt,” the officer feels threatened, and the officer is not trained properly. In Identities, the police officer shoots the man because he believes the man is reaching for a weapon. This comes about when the officer tells the man to “halt,” and expects the man to automatically freeze. In this case however the man decides to reach for his wallet that is hidden in his shirt pocket. In the neighbourhood this takes place, it is assumed that the man is of the troublesome type which only adds to the assumption that the man has a concealed weapon. Police officers are trained to stop a person before they can hurt anyone, and the man looks to be reaching for a weapon he will use to harm others. People will argue that he should not shoot him even though he moves his hand towards his pocket. If the officer waits a split second longer and it is a gun, the officer will be dead. Furthermore, this officer should not be stationed in that neighbourhood. The officer “is inexperienced, [he] is nervous because of the neighbourhood, [he] is suspicious because of the car and has been trained to see an unshaven man in blue jeans as a potential thief” (p.3 paragraph 4). Already faced with the pressures of having a new job and being positioned in a high crime area alone would make any person nervous. Seeing as this story takes place in the 1900s, this officer does not have the stress-relief and profiling training that officers of today receive. This training would have helped the officer stay calm under pressure and not assumed the man’s identity. This officer has not received proper training from his station and is not to be blamed completely for the station’s faults. The officer is not at fault for the shooting of the man and is justified because the officer tells the man to “halt” and stop moving, the officer feels threatened by the man, and the officer does not have proper training.
Identities Paragraph-Sarah Lilley-Block C-19pwqsw