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The last thing that I want to do is harsh anyone's pre-Christmas mellow. I've been pondering this story since I first ran into it on Thursday, and was not even sure that I wanted to deal with it. Here's a sterile synopsis:
Stanley Gibson was trying to find his way home.
The 43-year-old disabled war veteran was off his anti-anxiety medication and stricken with paranoia as he headed back to the apartment where he and his wife recently had moved.
In his confusion, Gibson ended up at an apartment complex a few blocks away, prompting suspicious residents to call police.
Officers confronted Gibson in his car, which was pinned between two patrol cars, ultimately firing a fatal shot. He was unarmed.
A breakdown in communication between supervisors and the firing officer might have contributed to the shooting...
There are so many layers to the incident that I'm not going to try to unfold all of them right now. I just can't. Please follow the multiple links from the Las Vegas Review-Journal website.
Suffice it to say that Stan Gibson's death resulted from a systemic breakdown of both social safety nets and law enforcement tactics. Mr. Gibson was suffering from cancer (acknowledged by the Veteran's Administration as linked to exposure to depleted uranium shells in the first Gulf war) and severe psychiatric disorders. Despite his family's continued pleas and reaching out to various agencies, no one saw fit to take ownership for assisting Mr. Gibson or his wife.
And now he's dead. An unarmed, confused man, shot in the back of the head as a result of apparent tactical miscommunication by the law enforcement agency.
Stan Gibson died long before he was killed, by a system that chews up, uses up, and spits out people when the person has nothing left to give. There are so many layers to this story that I can not bring myself to go into right now.
Living in America killed Stan Gibson. His wife has asked that his death not be in vain. I'm honoring her request by bringing this story to your attention. It's your choice whether or not you want to harsh your mellow today by reading further details of this incident.
Mine's already harshed.
Originally posted to All Spin Zone on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 07:08 AM PST.