The Dec. 27 letter from the former Maine resident regarding outrage toward the police (“Outrage justified as police murder black men and women”) misses the point and adds to the hatred, as do the claims of so many others who say that the police are murdering people.

Murder is, by common definition, the unlawful taking of a life with some malice aforethought.

Police officers do not go to work to drive around looking for people to shoot and do not shoot innocent people minding their own business.

Individuals who get shot, and killed, by the police have done something to draw the attention of the police in the first place. In most cases, the individual then fails to abide by lawful orders of the police and, in too many cases, the individual then attacks the officer, forcing the officer into self-defense mode.

If you don’t want to be in a position to interact with an officer, obey the law. Attacking an officer is never justified.

No police officer wants to shoot and kill anyone, but when they’re forced to do so, it changes their lives forever – and not in a good way.

Each case needs to be looked at, including all the facts, before an unjustified claim of murder is alleged by members of the community.

Should police methods be reviewed? Sure. Should the justice system look within to ensure all those accused are treated fairly? Sure.

At the same time, the community needs to look within itself to identify and report those who commit crimes and assist the police in locating and arresting them.

We cannot give criminals a free ride because of their economic status, race, religion or any other factor. When the community insists on holding all criminals accountable for their own actions, the number of police involvement and shootings will drop dramatically.

Gary Phillips