On Thursday night, a 15-year-old was killed by the police in Northcote, near Fitzroy in Melbourne's inner suburbs. After leaving his home in an "agitated state", he stole two knives from the local Kmart. Emergency services were called. Police advanced on the kid, but when he advanced they retreated, firing capsicum foam and warning shots. When he didn't back off, the police opened fire. He died from the chest wounds caused by the bullets.
Since then, there's been debate about police tactics, particularly the "shoot to kill" tactic employed on Thursday night. However, it is easy to see that lives were under threat, and that other methods did not deter him. If shoot to kill had not been used, at least four more lives would have been at risk (to whit: those of the police officers).
I was in Melbourne that night and the next day enrolling at university. I can see exactly the police point of view, and quite honestly, think it outweighs the opposing point of view. If the scene was indeed as horrific as newspapers have played it out to be, shoot to kill is about the most logical course of action to take. Not the best, but the most logical. The kid was a real threat to people, and he had already withstood other deterrence methods. What would you have done? Thrown him a handful of Freddos? Better still, some raw meat and veggies so he could put those knives to better use?
Update 15 Dec: I re-read yesterday's paper. Apparently the police involved are distraught, or at least were at the time of printing. And understandably, too. It was absolutely horrific for everyone involved. I mention this to show that they are not heartless, soulless killers who didn't give a rat's about this kid, it shows that they did all they could to prevent the attack and finally, desperately, used a last resort.
I also note that I haven't said anything about the other side of the story. Family and friends have been mourning the loss, and the kid's mother has vowed to fight for her son - a legal battle, that is. There has also been speculation that the kid has been involved with a white supremacist group called the Southern Cross Soldiers, which may or may not have been a contributing factor to his agitation on the night of his death.
Update 16 Dec: New day, new light shed on the story. I'll keep updating as it unfolds. Anyway, three of the police shot at the kid and the other didn't because a colleague was in the line of fire. Understandable. Apparently the kid was shot in the leg at least once, maybe twice. It is unclear to me (due to the ambiguity of today's article) whether they shot his leg first, and he kept advancing; or whether they hit his leg as well as his chest right at the end. I will keep posted.