Do as I say and we make it alive?

Once, during a 30 minute span I asked a walking companion to keep track of how many times I cinched up my pants.

I prefer the freedom of loose-fitting clothes. The choice might be fashionably frownable but comfort supersedes form.

It turns out they lost count after six, however they were convinced it was at least a dozen because I kept adjusting my pants every few yards.

Another time I counted how many times I cinched my pants while conducting mundane tasks around the home: washing dishes, making the bed, folding clothes. Four or five times that I was aware of, but how many gestures do we make that we’re not aware of?

I thought about that the first time I read a story years ago of cops shooting a suspect they believed was reaching for a weapon when he motioned toward his waistband. Turns out the suspect on that occasion—like many others— was unarmed.

I remembered all this recently while watching video released by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department of a deputies involved shooting.

In the footage Erik Talavera was the subject of a traffic stop for allegedly towing a stolen trailer in El Cajon.

Authorities said deputies believed Talavera had a firearm as he exited his vehicle.

Turns out he had a knife.

Authorities also said Talavera failed to follow deputies’ verbal commands and he was shot during the encounter.

On the video voices, presumably of deputies, are heard shouting “…(on) the f—ing ground!” “don’t…don’t…move!” “hot stop in progress..get on the ground!” “do not move!” nearly simultaneously. Those commands are followed by gunfire and then Talavera crumbles to the ground.

A National City police detective also received a gunshot wound to the leg during the incident. He and Talavera were treated at area hospitals and are expected to recover.

The question of Talavera’s guilt aside, the questions that intrigues me most are: how exactly is one supposed to get on the ground without moving? How is one supposed to not move yet get on the ground?

How do police and the public avoid a potentially fatal encounter when communication and misunderstandings abound?