Kemberly Groue, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As police-involved shootings have come to dominate headlines, the question nobody wants to ask is perhaps the most obvious: Why are we seeing the need for police shootings in the first place? The answer to this question is neither easy nor comfortable, which is why most people, especially on the Left, do not ask it but consistently keep the focus on the police and not the broader and deeper issues. 

Every police-involved shooting represents a failure of some sort. Certainly, in some cases, they are the product of poor training or shoddy investigation, other times simply the result of circumstances beyond the officer’s control. 

Far more important than police shootings being considered as the result of specific circumstances at the time of the shooting, however, they are indicative of a community failure — a breakdown of the normal safety nets that keep people from hitting rock bottom where, in the midst of crisis, their irrational behavior spills into public view and becomes a threat to others.

The teenage girl shot by a police officer just last month in Columbus, Ohio who was a split second away from stabbing another girl, or the 13-year-old gang member who had a handgun he was firing just prior to being chased and shot by a police officer, represent tragedies birthed not by the police, but by society. 

The breakdown of the nuclear family, the substitution of digital “friendships” in place of actual human contact, the waning role religion plays in people’s lives, and the failure by governments and taxpayers to fund programs needed to care for the mentally ill, constitute but a few of the factors accounting for the increased violence in today’s society. 

Add to this list the many political factors at play, such as the permitted influx of illegal aliens that include gang members from Central America, and the unwillingness of public schools to discipline students who commit violent acts against other students and teachers, and we have a society primed for violence. 

Police officers do not wake up in the morning looking for someone to shoot. However, in the cultural dystopia prevalent in so many metropolitan areas today, it should surprise no one that these men and women in blue find themselves ever more likely to be drawn into circumstances not of their own making that require the use of force. 

Making matters worse, instead of tackling the far tougher issues such as those noted above, the popular cop-out is to simply blame the police.

This is much the same way the Left looks at mass shootings as a form of “gun” violence because it is an easy gambit from which to push the political agenda of gun control. 

Experts who objectively and apolitically study mass shootings conclude that these rare events are hardly at all related to actual “gun violence.” If the goal of studying such tragedies is to discern actual causes and develop meaningful solutions, what we really need to be looking at is our culture’s current obsession with “violence” as a means of catharsis; whether shooting up Asian spas because of sexual insecurities, or setting city blocks afire as a way to protest racial injustice. 

Answering these questions, and the pathway to seriously addressing violence-involving guns (not “gun violence”) becomes far more clear.

Just as Democrats will never solve mass shootings with more gun control, we will never stop police-involved shootings by waiting until such shootings occur and then dissecting them. Whatever justice comes from after-the-fact trials does absolutely nothing to address the root causes of the shootings in the first place. Such proceedings do not answer the fundamental question of why there is a need for the use of lethal measures by police. 

The answers to police shootings are not to be found in police shootings, but rather in all those many moments leading up to when the trigger is pulled. Only, for example, when we take the time to begin to figure out why teenage girls feel emboldened to pull out knives as a way to win an argument, or why 13-year-old boys join armed gangs in order to gain “respect,” will we have any hope of being closer to solving the problem of too many “police shootings.”

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.

Bob Barr represented Georgia's Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dan Tyree
Dan Tyree
3 days ago

A great idea would be to not make the cops believe that they and others are in danger

2 days ago
Reply to  Dan Tyree

I am sorry but the girl that was going to be stabbed was in danger. Floyd, who was high on drugs, had a bad heart, was not following lawful orders, could have been a danger. In fact he was a danger to himself when he was placed in the back of the police cruiser and was violent there was a danger to himself. The black man that didn’t follow lawful orders and went back to his car to retrieve, what a gun, was a danger to the officers and others. I forget but the hands ups don’t shot black man/child was a threat to the officer and others. He was a big dude and a blight on his community. That hands up crap was the biggest lie, well there are so many biggest lies when it comes to blm that maybe I over stated that lie.
No this article is very correct but doersn’t go far enough. The family break down and these parents that really aren’t parents till thier kid gets killed then that kid was the best kid ever and I am getting lots of money now, yhea for me. No these parents should be prosecuted in my opinion, as many should be. Since the inception of welfare the black family break down has sky rocketed. Now this may have occured too in the white poor families but I hvave not seen studies on that.
No cops don’t want to shoot anyone. Who needs all that paper work, kidding but true. Nobody wantys to shoot another person. Well by far, almost nobody does.
Oh the media, blm (because blm allows blacks to blame everyone else, does allow accepting responsibility for yourself and actually makes you less of a person, has encouraged more violence and caused more deaths than any movement that I can remember), our schools and their treatment of racism is a big lie. In fact all of these organizations (blm, media, schools, big tech, politicians, and even the military leadership, fbi leadership, DOJ leadership, might as well say all govt leadership and even some police leadership, has been bought and paid for. These super rich that have bought all of this and have successfully divided us, which was easy, have the upper hand at present. We will see how this all ends and hopefully get ur country back and keep on our path of making it better for all truly. We can hope and that hopefully will come about peacefully but may not

Dan Tyree
Dan Tyree
2 days ago
Reply to  Pawn

How about pants up don’t loot ?

George Lukens
George Lukens
2 days ago

Less than 5 percent of officers ever pull their guns let alone shoot them. Maybe it’s time for accountability for the people. If you break the law you will most likely interact with the police. If you refuse to cooperate and try to escape YOU are the one that put yourself in a position to be shot. And then add a weapon on your person. The escalation you just caused is upped the stress for the cops. You are responsible for yourself. Quit blaming everyone else for your problems. Nuff’said.

Anita Wasemann
Anita Wasemann
2 days ago
Reply to  George Lukens

That sounds way too sensible to be acceptable to lefties.
Excellent points, but these truths will never reach whom they need to reach.
Too much power and money to be had in keeping the status quo.

Larry E Thomas
Larry E Thomas
2 days ago

I agree that most shootings are the result of problems in the neighborhood in which police have very little to do with.