Well, this is awful

A North Carolina teenager suffers from schizophrenia. His family calls the cops for help during an episode.  The first officers on the scene taser and restrain the boy, Keith Vidal, 18 years old. Another car rolls up, and, according to the boy’s parents, Mark Wilsey and Mary Vidal, the new officer on the scene decides to handle the situation his way:

“We don’t have time for this,” Wilsey recalled one of the officers saying before he fired in between the two officers who were holding the teen down.


You can guess what comes next:

The Boiling Spring Laes Police Chief has cleared his officers of any wrong doing at the scene. Chief Brad Shirley says an internal review shows his officers did not break any laws.

That may not be the last word. The local prosecutor is investigating:

DA Jon David offered few new details other than that the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) had been called in to investigate. He said that it would take time to determine if a crime had been committed…

…but the parents have their doubts:

the family said that they were not invited to attend….Outside the press conference, the family held signs, demanding justice for Keith Vidal.

It is early days, of course, and the lawyer for the cop suspended after the incident says his client will be seen to be innocent, which is the presumption until a jury says otherwise.  All the usual disclaimers apply.

But on the facts established so far (like this one: “The first unit on scene reported a confrontation in the hallway, but told Brunswick County Dispatchers several times that everything was OK.”), this looks very bad indeed.

And even if there are mitigating circumstances that come to light, still, this is what happens when guns are the first tool you reach for instead of the last.

That’s the deep problem with American gun (nut) culture.  There are just too many guns out there, available to anyone “responsible” or not.  The reality, of course, is that there are lots of situations where guns are inappropriate and lots of people for whom guns are just a really bad idea.

Some of those people are cops.

The last full measure of the misery of this story?  The same couple whose kid  was just gunned down in front of them just lost their daughter to a car wreck.  I can’t imagine…

I hugged my son extra hard when I got home last night, I can tell you.

Image:  Pieter Breughel the Elder, The Triumph of Death, c. 1562.


Explore posts in the same categories: Cops, Massive Fail

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3 Comments on “Well, this is awful”

  1. 3boxesofbs Says:

    That’s the deep problem with American gun (nut) culture.

    This IS NOT an issue of the ‘gun culture’ at all. Rather it is a symptom of the militarization and ever increasing control of our society by law enforcement.

    This is a problem with the idea we can pass enough laws to make society safe — well when those ‘law enforcers’ start demanding instant obedience this is what happens.

    • Tom Says:

      Thanks for reading. Militarization of law enforcement is a part of evolving gun culture, IMHO — your mileage may differ. It’s all part and parcel of the gun-as-first-not-last -resort pathology enshrined in, inter alia, Stand Your Ground laws.

      • 3boxesofbs Says:

        Then why didn’t the 1st two cops shoot him?

        Why are firearm related deaths, injuries, accidents all trending down while increasing number of people own and carry firearms?

        This is not a ‘gun culture’ issue. And what in the heavens name does “Stand your Ground Laws have to do with a COP shooting a person on the job?

        Can you not see this as part and parcel with the overbearing, over reaching government?
        We have the NSA and other three letter agencies spying on everyone. We have the federal government dictating what schools should teach. We have city and state governments dictated what we can and can not eat.

        And all backed up by the power of the firearms in the hands of law enforcement. Not gun owners in general — you’ll note (if you care to do the research) that gun owners in general injure fewer bystanders, use their firearms more often in defense without firing a shot.

        If it was a “gun-as-first-not-last -resort pathology” wouldn’t we see more deaths and injuries, not less?

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