In contrast to the facile, often nonsensical, excuses offered to justify the needless shooting, killing, someone who fails to comply with an officer’s lawful command, Wagoner, Oklahoma Officer Benjamin Blair did something remarkable. He didn’t shoot. He didn’t kill.
From the Wagoner Tribune:
Blair was involved in a high-speed pursuit that turned suddenly into a wild chase through the wooded area in Gibson Station. When Blair walked up on the suspect lying facedown on the ground, he drew his weapon and told the suspect to show him his hands. Instead of complying, the suspect jumped up and took off running. Blair could have very easily squeezed off a shot as a nervous reaction, or he could have emptied his clip as the suspect ran away.
But he didn’t.
Whether or not it would have been a righteous shoot is a matter for debate, as nothing in there suggests the threat of harm, either to Blair or anyone else. But there’s no reason to have that debate, because Blair didn’t shoot.
“It’s training,” Blair said. “I’ve been on combat missions overseas and I’ve been well trained here. I noticed he wasn’t trying to swerve at other traffic during the pursuit, which is something people will do if they want to commit suicide by cop.”
Blair’s keen eye also kept his trigger finger at bay.
“When he got out of the car, I noticed he was wearing sweatpants, and that told me he probably wasn’t carrying a weapon in the waistband,” Blair said. “Then, when he jumped up, I could see his hands, he didn’t have anything in them. There was no reason to shoot. I knew all along there was the potential, but I didn’t want to shoot him.”
Notably, Blair swiftly and thoughtfully processed the information in front of him, such as the fact that the person was wearing sweatpants, which makes it essentially impossible for the guy to have a gun because the waistband won’t hold its weight. The ability to think it through, where others might shoot first and think later, if at all, deserves praise.
Instead of loss of life, Blair, assisted by Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office deputy Aaron Torix, brought in a suspect who will live to see the proper punishment for his actions.
Officer Blair made it home for dinner that night, and the suspect lived. This is how crime stories should end. Well done, Officer Benjamin Blair.