We can't always see the line, but we know it's there.
Cops often make errors. They are human, after all. Add the badge to the blue uniform and you have a higher-than-average risk of getting shot.
Maybe that's what happened when a South Carolina sheriff's deputy pointed his gun at a little old white man and pulled the trigger.
The man, Bobby Dean Canipe, was driving a pick-up truck with expired plates. The elderly Canipe climbed out of the cab and reached for the cane. The deputy opened fire and later explained he thought Canipe's cane was a shotgun.
The video shows the Canipe kneeling in pain -- his cane aiding his fall -- and the deputy rushing to the old guy's aid. Canipe's wife, meanwhile, is seen exiting the passenger's door and rushing around the back of the truck to add her support.
"Please, Lord, help us," she is heard crying. Neither Lord nor the Lord is not seen in the video.
York County Sheriff’s Deputy Terrance Knox, the gunman, is heard crying as backup cops console him.
Canipe was hospitalized and has been released. We're guessing he has since updated his plates.
Whether or not the cop was behaving appropriately or stupidly is for the viewer to decide and, if the matter goes to court, a judge and jury.
Meanwhile there is a lesson for all of us. Cops can be dangerous, even for old white men with canes.
Had the victim been a Trayvon-aged hoodlum in a hoodie and the cop a white guy, there would be national outrage, we suppose.
But not to worry. Nothing to see here. Move along. Just and old white man shot six times by a big black cop who may have actually feared for his life.
Something good may come out of this episode. Imagine a 5th grade math test question, for example. "A cop is carrying a S&W Model 19 and fires six bullets at the 70-year-old man as he reaches for his cane. How many bullets are left in the gun?" Another question would be, "What is the only state in the union without a state police force?"
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The answer to the math question is zero.
The answer to the second question is Hawaii. And that's cause for wonder: Who did Jack Lord really work for is there was no Hawaii Five-0?
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