Headshot a no-brainer
Riots, demonstrations, and protests are being organized across Los Angeles over the unfortunate death of one Manuel Jamines, 37, who was shot and killed after being (allegedly) drunk and (verifiably) armed with a knife, and (certainly) threatening the lives of others – I mean, that's why the cops were called in the first place. It would seemingly be a no-brainer that if you are walking around in public, carrying any kind of weapon, and making people feel threatened enough to call the police – intoxicated or not – that you're kind of asking for trouble. And I'm pretty sure there are policies in place that protect citizens from rogue cops doing drive-bys just for the fun of it. In fact, the officer that effectively neutralized the situation, which he was called in to neutralize, was Frank Hernandez, a 13-year LAPD veteran who, according to the Los Angeles Times, has used lethal force in two other reported situations. Essentially, the cop knew exactly what he was doing. There were enough lives on the line for him to decide that lethal force was indeed necessary. Yet, despite the fact that this officer did exactly what he was supposed to, exactly by the book, people want to throw rocks at the LAPD for being "mean."
There are two arguments fueling these protests, neither of which makes any sense. One is that Guatemalan immigrant Jamines didn't speak English, and so he didn't know that when UNIFORMED OFFICERS were POINTING GUNS AT HIM and telling him to STOP SWINGING A KNIFE AT THEM, the wrongfulness of his actions may have been lost in translation.
Look, it doesn't matter what you're doing, if someone is pointing a gun at you, and you don't feel like getting shot, the safest bet is to stop doing whatever it is you're doing. Beyond the obvious warnings Jamines received, it doesn't take an ESL class to understand that threatening people with a weapon is probably not something California citizens tolerate. Hell, I'm pretty sure that's even against the law in Guatemala.
Common sense aside, this is Los Angeles people: the cops speak Spanish. The attending officers were Frank Hernandez, Steven Rodriguez, and Paris Pineda. According to witnesses, and Police Chief Charlie Beck, they were all speaking Spanish when Jamines lunged at them with a knife raised over his head. So what's the next argument? They were mumbling? I think we can all stop pulling the language barrier card.
Then there is the "they should have just winged him" argument. If a police officer has to draw his weapon, it is not to look scary or seem intimidating. It is because he intends to use lethal force. He has evaluated the situation, and decided he is prepared to kill a person in order to protect the lives of others. When a cop decides to use lethal force, it is with the intention of LETHALLY FORCING a person to stop doing something dangerous. Not to slow them down. Not to scare them into submission. Not to clip them so they know "no seriously, you're not allowed to do that." You don't empty a clip trying to hit a flailing arm or leg – can you imagine if an innocent bystander was hit while trying to hit a 4" moving target? Or worse, if the woman that was being threatened by Jamines and her 4-year-old daughter were stabbed as officers took pot shots at the assailant's limbs? When lives are in jeopardy, and your job is to protect those lives, you don't take chances. You aim center mass. You aim head. You put the threat down – immediately, definitely, lethally.