"Because an unarmed 18-year-old black young man is dead.
Because an unarmed 18-year-old young black man is dead.
Because an unarmed 18-year-old young black man is dead." -Eugene Cho
But was he unarmed?
But was he "unarmed" in the sense of "not able to mete out serious bodily harm" even if he was not carrying a manufactured weapon?
The FBI's definition of Aggravated Assault is:
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines aggravated assault as an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. The UCR Program further specifies that this type of assault is usually accompanied by the use of a weapon or by other means likely to produce death or great bodily harm... Source
The first part of the definition reads "...specifies that this type of assault is usually accompanied by the use of a weapon..." Since this is listed first, common English usage implies that this is the default definition. The second part, the part that is highlighted by ERJ in the quoted material, explicitly states that the FBI (the de facto authority in the United States) recognizes that manufactured weapons are not necessary to inflict severe injury...or death.
The simplified definition of Aggravated Assault is...an assault that is so violent that the victim could have died had the stars so aligned.
It is fair to ask how often Aggravated Assault occurs sans manufactured weapons. Are we only talking about Bruce Lee, Mike Tyson and Mixed Martial Arts champions (say one tenth of a percent)? Or are we talking about any reasonably athletic man sucker punching or otherwise viciously assaulting an unprepared victim?
In fact, in 2011 more than one-in-four aggravated assaults (26.9%) involved "Personal Weapons: (hands, fists, feet, etc.)" Source
In short, our most authoritative source of lawful information (short of the Supreme Court) recognizes that "armed" is not identical to "carrying a manufactured weapon".
Thou Shall Not Murder
To murder is to deprive another of their life in an unlawful manner. The Bible is very clear that not all deaths are murder. In fact, the Old Testament (the Law) specifies many circumstances when killing another is not only "not murder" but is a Divine directive. More recently, theologians developed the concept of a Just War.
Suppose a duly authorized officer of the law happened upon a 290 pound man physically pummeling a child. Suppose that after repeated attempts to intervene the officer was unable to deflect the 290 pound man from his assault. At that point, would the duly authorized officer of the law be negligent in his duty to protect if he did NOT escalate to lethal means? What if the 290 pound man was attempting to acquire even more lethal weapons than his fists to escalate his assault? Surely, at that point, the policeman MUST subdue the 290 pound man by ANY means available.
Pull the child out of the story. Removing extraneous detail from a sentence is common advice given to writers to determine the proper use of I/me. "Freddy and me are going to the store." Pull Freddy out of the story. Does it make sense? Does it sound right? "Me am going to the store."
It is also a sound way to sort out the baggage in issues of morality.
The policeman was doing his job of maintaining public order. The 290 pound man assaulted him and fractured is skull (the eye orbit is part of the skull). What magic makes the policeman heroic if a third person were involved but a jack-booted thug if the person with the fractured skull is the policeman himself? Doesn't the policeman have a family? How does it serve justice if he does not come home every day with all of his fingers, toes and neurons. How does it serve justice if he dies due to blunt force trauma to the head?
Brown and Trayvonne
Strong, athletic and, sometimes, violent men. Were they "unlawfully deprived" of their lives? I think not. I think they were bullies. One ran into a man capable of defending himself even when pinned down and being beaten. The other ran into a man who took his duties as an authorized Law Enforcement Officer (sometimes called a keeper of the peace) seriously. Yes, they were deprived of their lives but I believe it was lawful. Count the number of times "authority", "authorized", "authoritative" and "duty" were used in this essay. It was not an accident.
And some parting advice for those who fear, "that could have been my kid", there is great wisdom in 1 Thess 5:22 which is sometimes translated:
"...avoid even the appearance of impropriety..."
We have a duty as parents to teach this to our children.