I continue to be dismayed by the Portland Police Bureau's use of a stun gun to subdue Ms. Brandi Hess, who was experiencing a diabetic episode. Yes, I know she was combative and striking the officers and medical personnel. Yes, I am very happy that she got the medical help she needed and is still alive. Yes, I am very glad that she was not beaten, nor sat upon by a 250 lb. officer, nor had ribs broken, etc. I am very happy that she was not shot. I am happy that she does not have brain damage.
I do not think the police were wrong to assist her in receiving medical aid. I do not think that Brandi was wrong in her management of her diabetes. I'm not blaming either of them. I wasn't there.
But I do wish it had happened differently.
After a little more research (maybe that should be the title of my blog), I learned that this sort of thing is not that uncommon. Probably every 6-12 months, some poor diabetic, behaving erratically as a result of diabetes, somewhere in the USA has an encounter with the police or authorities, where she or he is beaten or subdued in a manner which seems excessive to me. Sometimes, the diabetic dies. Sometimes, somebody sues. Here's a story about a driver who crashed, suspected of being drunk, was actually low. Here's another story. And another.
I learned that if you do searches for news including the words "diabetic" and "police", you will find some pretty sad things, such as this story about Hallie Shanklin's mother being convicted for Hallie's death. And that's not even going back very far.
I'm not sure what to think about finding out that I am, at nearly 42, still so naive and hopeful to think that a person with diabetes can receive good medical care without being beaten or tasered or blamed for poor diabetes self-management. I don't like to think that injury at the hands of the authorities is one of the possible side effects or complications of diabetes (type 1 or type 2).
I like my hope. I like to think that the world can be a good place to be. And I will continue to look for examples of people being kind and helpful to others. And I'll keep trying to be a wonderful person who is kind and helpful to others. Somedays I do it. Sometimes not so much.
I find, for me, that it's hard to be kind when my feet hurt. Maybe the police officers were responding out of their pain, rather than out of their compassion. Not unreasonable.