I’ve always hated the term trigger happy because I don’t think any officer is ever feeling joy when they pull the trigger. But I do think that questioning why they are trigger happy refers to a concept that I like to call discipline.
And discipline keeps us from doing the first thing that comes to our mind. Discipline can save almost any encounter if it does not need to be violent. And discipline and restraint are things that are going to play themselves out in the field, depending on how an officer responds to a situation. A lot of times what you might see, and again, I don’t want my comments to be taken in a vacuum, like it’s one person’s wrong. There’s never one person that is only at fault.
The officer involved shooting is a dynamic encounter. And it usually involves each person demonstrating some type of behavior that is provoking the other person. And it’s like it feeds on itself. If you look at it in terms of physics, one thing raises the anxiety level to here, and then that thing that raised the anxiety level to here raises it back up to here. And it’s like a set of dominoes that completely move themselves toward this fatal encounter.