Bernadette Fife

Bernard “Barney” P. Milton Oliver Fife was a character on The Andy Griffith Show. Barney was played to absolute hilarity by Don Knotts.

If you don’t remember the show, Barney was deputy sheriff in a town where absolutely nothing ever happened, but Barney was always at Defcon One. It was his constant over reaction to every situation that provided much of the hilarity in the show. Sheriff Taylor was routinely tasked with having to minimize the damage that Barney wrecked upon the citizenry.

To prevent fatal damage, Sheriff Taylor authorized Barney to have one bullet, and that was to be kept safely in Barney’s shirt pocket. Sheriff Taylor felt that by the time that Barney unbuttoned his shirt pocket, fumbled out the bullet and got it loaded in his gun, that whatever “imminent danger” Barney perceived would have passed. Hundreds of fictional lives were saved over the years by this policy.

I bring up this humorous fiction to talk about the recent police shooting in Oklahoma. Obviously keeping the bullets separate from the gun is not a real world solution to the problem that plagues us now, but some sort of “time out” need to be implemented.

What I find most disturbing about the situation, other than shooting an unarmed man walking away from you with his hands held above his head, is that the female officer pulled her gun, while her male partner pulled his stun gun. What was different in their training, or their psychological makeup?

From the dashcam you can see that there are more officers arriving and the officers clearly have a numbers advantage. They even have a helicopter overhead. The “perp” wasn’t going anywhere, and wasn’t even a “perp”, just a guy whose car broke down.

It’s hard to imagine anything breaking down this badly in real life. In fact, I’m sure that the writers of The Andy Griffith Show would have rejected the story idea. Not even Barney Fife was that incompetent, or scared of the public he was supposed to be protecting.

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