“A Man’s Life Can’t be Controlled by His Looks”


A man’s identity can either save him or kill him. In “Identities” by W.D. Valgardson, we see a clean-shaven man driving through a shady neighbourhood. He parks his stolen car and puts his wallet in his shirt pocket, and a ten-dollar bill in his back pocket. As he exits his car, he goes down a street lit by shops, and someone tells him to halt. That person was a cop. This cop had been following him through the town for some time. This officer, who was trained to see a shaven man in blue jeans as the potential thief, was inexperienced. The officer chose not to ask the man for any identification, but the man reached for it anyways. The officer wasn’t justified to shoot the man based on looks, the part of town they were in, and experience. The officer was seen following the man through the town, which means that he had many opportunities to either pull him over or call for backup instead of going to apprehend him by himself. The officer was driving when we learned that, “When the officer, who is inexperienced, who is nervous because of the neighbourhood, and because he is trained to see an unshaven man in blue jeans as a potential thief…” (Valgardson 2). This shows that he was trained properly, but he didn’t ask the man any questions or told him to stop. He is also shown as being nervous because of the neighbourhood, which may have caused him to act out of fear. Although the officer had many opportunities to stop the man, the man shouldn’t have reached for his wallet without telling the officer what he was doing. The officer acted out of fear instead which costed the man his own life. In the end, the man was killed based on the officer’s fear as he was in a bad neighbourhood, trained to see unshaven men in blue jeans as a thief, and is inexperienced.

Identities paragraph

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