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But yeah, don't pull out a gun during a snowball fight--even if you're a cop. I should add that it takes a particular arrogance to throw a snowball at a dude with a gat--cop or not. Still, the more I see these cases, the more I become convinced that there's an appallingly low standard for those who are licensed to kill on our behalf. Maybe, given the type of people who want to be cops, this is as good as it gets. I don't know.

The fact that "there are only a handful of bad cops" cuts no ice with me. If only a "handful of McDonald's are spitting in your food" your not going to McDonalds. Likewise, I don't even ask the cops for directions. Better to take my chance with a dude on the street. At least if he decides to shoot me, he stands a chance of being prosecuted.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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