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Annie Storkey

Don't shoot - I'm disabled

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Edited by Annie Storkey, Friday, 12 June 2020, 12:11
I had intended my first blog of the academic year to be about the trials and tribulations of being an AL, preparing for new modules and incoming students and then having your pc die a sudden death during an online meeting on the first day back (agonising enough for anyone but especially for a manic depressive who keeps her anxiety at bay by having an impeccably structured life unhindered by nasty surprises). But today I read an article on the BBC was website which moved me deeply and I felt I had to write on that instead.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-45739335 This article is both shocking and very, very sad. These people who died were unarmed and not committing any crime; one was naked in his shower. What they all have in common is lack of communication, some of them had learning difficulties or mental health challenges which meant they did not understand the commands they were given, one of them was deaf. 

Hey, wait, let me back track a little. It wasn't these communication difficulties which caused their deaths but the poor communication skills of the police.

This is not a blog on guns or police policy in the US, I value my sanity far too much for those discussions. But these police officers seemed to go into situations using aggression from the outset, shouting at the person even in the situations when they knew the person was disabled. Were they not taught any communications skills during their training? Do they act like this in their everyday lives? Do they not know anyone disabled: do they fear them or think them sub-human?

I've had bipolar disorder for 20 years and know lots of other people with the same condition. If someone is in a manic state, aggression will just heighten it and stress can be a big trigger. Manic depressives can also have problems processing instruction so even if they are listening to you they still might not have the foggiest what you want them to do. Similar issues happen with other mental health issues. But this goes far beyond disability, it seems that some people in authority think aggression is an acceptable way to carry out their job and that challenges can be met with violence. There needs to be far greater education on understanding the needs and experiences of people with disabilities, especially mental health and learning disabilities, and the communication skills needed to communicate effectively with them. But these are skills which will benefit all people, they are basic rules for engaging others in all walks of life in a respectful way. We need to resist a culture which thinks 'shoot first, ask questions later'. A little empathy will go a long way


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Kelly Y

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This story touched me as its too close to home as a mother of twins with ASD with one having a depletion in the communications chromosome (non verbal) so as a parent I felt that not only did the police let the boy down ( who previously might I add had been to the boys place before for call outs he had made to see swat cars as he loved the police) but he always made cake as an apology. But the woman who called the police in the first place not only is he obviously to the seeing eye disabled with Down syndrome but the woman got his name wrong and told them the wrong name so when the police barged in and shouted a different name the poor boy thought he was hallucinating so splashed a tiny splash on an officer so he could distinguish if they were real or not only to be shot. My son with the depletion of the communication chromosome will always live with me however, isn't it horrific when your penalised for being different and the guilt his poor mother must feel for letting her son live an independent life when she shouldn't feel any guilt at all because every disabled person should have the choice if they are able to live independently. Society and the police must do better the statistics are shocking. 

I'm so glad I read your blog much love sent your way 👍🏻

Least Famous 'Influencer' Ever

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Happens in the UK all the time. Police are always ready to kick off on the mentally ill. It's like they're itching for it. They love picking on people who won't be believed because they are 'crazy anyway'.

Police have attacked me in the past (smashing my head into concrete + other random unwarranted assaults) for my 'strange behaviour'.

If talking to people who aren't there deserves a kicking on the cobbles, well, I suppose the police are doing a great job! That's when they aren't tazering their own race relations officers... black eye

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/20/police-taser-race-relations-adviser-bristol-judah-adunbi (20 Jan 2017) Police Tazer Own Race Relations Officer - The Guardian

They're a bunch of *&%$holes as far as I am concerned. Stuff 'em! angry

Matt wide eyes

Me in a rare cheerful mood

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I spent a lot of last year looking into police executions of black people in the USA where that is considered acceptable and normal police procedure when they do not know what else to do.  They are a very good example of why our police should not be armed.  It is ceaseless, it happens every few days and the only people keeping count of the bodies are third parties.  Neither the police nor government are at all bothered by how many people are executed by the police in the USA.  And their society is hapy with that, that street executions by untouchable armed government officials is just fine.

Very few USA police forces train their staff in de-escalation.  I think Seattle is the exception and they have had huge success with it and recommend other forces take it up.

In Japan the police are trained in unarmed combat.  But I don't suppose that's effective when you're a middle-aged, doughnut-scoffing, car-riding gun-carrier who will never be found guilty of a crime for shooting an unarmed innocent black man in the back.

When I read this story about their when-you-don't-know-what-to-do-just-shoot-them policy being applied to disabled people too, I was lost for words.  I still am.

Just how thick do you have to be to not know using a Taser on someone in the shower is potentially lethal?  Would you give a gun and a uniform to someone who would use high voltage equipment in the bath?

The USA is such a horrible country full of such racist, bigoted, cruel, ignorant, arrogant people.  Caging puppies, cutting the toes off kittens, routine male genital mutilation, legalised street execution by the thick-as-shit police, perpetually at war and causing wars, teaching creationism, happier shooting their children than accepting statical truths, letting their own citizens starve on the streets, stealing foreigners' children, blocking UN mandates on matters such as the execution of doctors and children, decades of illegal sanctions against countries for purely economic reasons, extraordinary rendition, torture, keeping people prisoner for decades without trial, the death penalty, an out-of-control CIA that trains and funds terrorists and arguably runs the world's heroin trade, a country that bombs others for not being democratic and yet actually isn't one, where you have to bribe diner staff to serve you because they are paid so badly, blocking global attempts to prevent a climate catastrophe, refusing to give up biological weapons, developing battlefield nuclear weapons to circumvent nuclear weapons treaties - I have no idea why anyone idolises the USA.  We should be boycotting their products and refusing to trade with them.

The number one rogue state in the world is the USA.


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I was listening to radio 4 news programme when they played a recording of the incident, the presenter did warn it contained material some listeners might find upsetting, I burst into tears and found myself screeming stop at the radio, I had to cover my ears, it was so distressing, after, they interviewed the police officer who had shot him, he showed no remorse, he just kept saying he had to protect himself, but protect himself from what, he was not the person in danger, I just feel so helpless,


I agree with all Simon says about the US, it is the most aggressive and dangerous country in the world, the foundation the US of today is built on is one of annihilating whole nations of people who were living on the land and stealing their land,