If a pitbull was barking, growling, and rushing your neighbor's young child and you had the means to stop it what would you do? In that split second would you debate whether the animal is possibly actually kind and gentle, maybe just protecting what it mistakenly perceives as danger, or violently attacking an innocent? Does it matter? Will you get to interview it's owners, talk to the neighbors, the veterinarian? Get an afternoon to make the the decision on whether you would allow your child to play with the dog? No. You would see what is only possible at that moment and make the only decision that is acceptable. Stop the attack. Wait, couldn't you have paused to first go and get the owners and see if they would help? Maybe called the dogs name (what was it again?), keep calling if the first two attempts don't succeed during the attack? No, you would stop the attack. You would not hesitate because the reality is that the risk of failure in the moments you've been given is unacceptable. Not an easy or comfortable decision. Then consider that you may be faced with the decision more than once and know full well all of the possibilities because by now the scenario is not new and the different choices and their repercussions have all played out. Having that knowledge, does it alter your decision or do you react to the unfortunate circumstances that you have been presented with and decide that neither the child nor you have asked or caused that situation and understand that the actions of another (regardless of the intentions) presents an imminent risk of serious injury or death of other innocent victim and you are lucky enough to be in a position to help.
Of course it's easier to read about however it turned out and then blog your opinion about how you would have done it better. But someone has and will again make that real decision and live with the eventuality. Being educated makes the decision a little more comfortable. Those who are innocent always come first when the actions of another appear violent or are violent because that is realistic. It's not pretty, or perfect, or comfortable, but it is real.
When someone has so lost touch with reality that they cannot comprehend simple commands, let alone follow them, and that person is not only violent, but acting, or about to act, violent against the police officer trying to do their job (whatever that job may be in that moment), my advice would be thus - center mass is easier to hit and just as effective in eliminating the threat to your person as a head shot.
Police have to act in the moment. This offends me, not at all. It's when we execute the insane that my ire is earned. I can't begrudge a guy/girl for doing their job and trying to make it home at the end of their shift, intact.
Yes, police should shoot mentally ill suspects - if necessary. Because they do not always understand what they are doing and cannot control their tempers or emotions, mentally ill suspects can be extremely dangerous. Police officers need to be on full alert when dealing with any suspects because the unexpected can always occur without warning. There should also be additional training for police officers on dealing with mentally ill suspects and how to handle them without anyone getting hurt.
Why kill a person that does not even know right from wrong. That is like killing a little kid, it is no right. The police department or U.S Army should train the personals to arrest a mentally ill suspect without killing that suspect. Mentally ill people need help not death.
Even certain innocent people can get shot by well trained firearms officer, so genuinely mentally ill should be treated with great care, as most police I would imagine are unsympathetic towards things they don't totally understand. Also, what if a person does things they can't help, like offend people unintentionally?
Police should not shoot mentally ill suspects. This vague description of a suspect does not warrant violent intervention. Someone being "mentally ill" does not mean that the are necessarily more dangerous than the average person. "Mentally ill" suspects have the same rights and deserve the same respect that any suspect does.
Does a mentally ill person have to be shot when he is having an out of reality experience? Perhaps sometimes when he is engaging in an activity that poses severe harm to others. It is a judgement call for the police to make, but police do need better training in how to distinguish a mentally ill person from another who is just intending to do harm. I have a mentally ill member in my family and my biggest concern is that someone will misunderstand what he is doing and kill him. Families of mentally ill people, I'm sure, have had the same concerns. I tell my family member that if the police ever try to question him he should sit down and make himself be as harmless to them as possible. I understand that police are out there every day putting their own lives at risk and I fully expect them to protect themselves and the public from harm. But mentally ill people often do not understand that their behavior seems unusual or threatening when it is not. Many of them do get shot or beaten unnecessarily. This is a problem that I think society ignores as mentally ill people are shunted aside. I do think police should be trained in recognizing symptoms of mental illness and trained in ways to deal with it without a situation ending in the death of a mentally ill person that is temporarily out of control of himself.