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Forums > Social Discussion > Police and Lethal Weaponry

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Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:I was wondering why police ever carry lethal weaponry around. I know it's much more common in the states than it is here in the UK, and I was musing about it.

Out of curiosity, what situation do they actually think will happen where they will be required to use lethal force? Say someone is mugging someone with a gun (the mugger has the gun, rather than the other way round wink), and the police intervene. Are they going to shoot the guy? Why wouldn't tasers stop him? Hell, tasers would work in just about every situation I can think of, and rubber bullets would work in most of the rest.

I know I feel very intimidated by police carrying either pistols or automatic rifles... It would be so easy to accidently kill someone. Why take the risk? And if we've outlawed capital punishment, then surely there is no ethical justification for killing crimminals at the scene of the crime, with no trial?

The police always seem to me to be members of the community, helping to solve problems and look after residents to the best of their ability. As soon as they pick up asault rifles though, then they become these impassive killing machines that you're afraid to go near or look at. That isn't a helpful transformation to make, in my opinion.

Any opinions?


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.


Gnarly Cranium
Gnarly Cranium

member
Location: San Francisco
Member Since: 16th Feb 2005
Total posts: 186
Posted:...And if the shepherd bossing the 'sheepdogs' around happens to be a 'wolf' himself? Like, say, Hitler. Stalin. Then what? They'll keep right on telling us it's great that officials are carrying lethal weapons, and they're our friends. As long as we behave ourselves.

My other problem with sheep analogies: the guy in charge of the sheep is herding them around and controlling them and using them, not to mention eating them.

Plus why is it necessary to use the 'wolves' own tactics against them? Nonlethal weapons work just fine there, too-- unless the goal really is just to kill them.

Why would anybody erect a 30 foot guard tower full of guys with AK-47s aimed at the 'herd' of 'sheep' just for the couple of 'wolves' that might be in there? How is that even reasonable? If something goes wrong, where will the bloodshed end? Even the peaceful citizens will end up -hating- a police force that guns down hapless partygoers, regardless of what sets it off. And from that hate you'll just end up with more criminals.

Not to mention, the idea that 90% of the population is sweet and gentle is BS. It doesn't even take 'extreme provocation' to set them off, more like just an 'excuse'-- heck, we've got barely a veneer of civilization as it is, just look what happens whenever there's a riot.

The whole thing is out of balance-- why is it fine for a policeman to shoot some poor drunk shmuck for reaching for their wallet in a suspicious way, yet somebody who commits rape or murders only gets quietly led away if he keeps his hands in the air, and then maybe gets a few years in jail? Since when is it appropriate to put the role of judge, jury, and executioner into split-second decisions on the part of policemen? I bet most of them don't even WANT to deal with that sort of power and risk.

Lethal weapons belong with the military. The ethics of government-sanctioned murder is a whole other issue-- but there it is. If it's outfitted for all-out war, it's not a civilian policeman.


I guess I have a weird perspective on this, though. The whole picture of police with guns just seems fundamentally screwed up, to me.


"Ours is not to question The Head; it is enough to revel in the ubiquitous inanity of The Head, the unwanted proximity of The Head, the unrelenting HellPresence of The Head, indeed the very UNYIELDING IRRELEVANCE of The Head!" --Revelation X


Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:Written by: Lurch

they aren't super human creatures to do our bidding. But they are trained, and some of them are very well trained, up to and beyond military training in various tactics.



Better-than-military training? Are you having a laugh? Are you seriously suggesting that Mall rent-a-cops who mostly eat doughnuts and direct people to the toilets are as well trained as the military? Please. I know that quite a few police officers in a town I frequent are... well, let's just say they aren't really very professional, shall we?

Written by: Lurch

you shouldn't ask them to take away one of the most important and useful tools they have to protect you and themselves.



If their gun is their most useful tool then there is a serious problem in the society that needs to be addressed. I'd say the most useful tool should be their cars, or their computer databases. Maybe even their friendly and compassionate attitude. There is a reason why the traditional symbol of law enforcement is a shield rather than a weapon. That is the preserve of the army.

On the 9mm issue: I thought officers were trained to use the "Double tap" method. Shoot the person twice in the chest and then a more precise shot to the head. I fail to see how emptying the clip of a gun in 4 seconds even vaguely follows that idea.

Written by: Lurch

You guys ask them to save your life, get into fights for you, take the rapists, the murders, and the drug dealers off the streets, and you're going to let the bad guys be better armed than the police? WHY?!?



You yourself said it wasn't their duty to get into fights for you... which is it? And most people aren't saying "Let the bad guys use AK-47s and Ingrams, the cops will do fine with batons and mace". They're saying "Why the hell can anyone at all walk into a WallMart and buy a semi-automatic weapon?"

That's the problem that people are raising. Police don't need guns when the population has no access to them either.

Written by: Lurch

I know for a fact they are required nearly everywhere before you can apply for a concealed permit.



A concealed permit? What do you think the percentage is of people who own a weapon applying for a concealed permit? The fact that you're not legally able to hide it under your coat doesn't make it alright that you can just keep it in your house without any kind of proficiency requirements.

Written by: Lurch

They are not idiots, and they are not your suicide puppets to dive into a gunfight to protect you.



No-one said they were. What he said was that, as a police officer, you have taken a vow to protect and serve the public. Where applicable this means risking your life. You accepted that when you filled out the application form. You actually think a police officer would be within his rights to say "I'm sorry you're getting mugged with a knife, but it's not my duty to risk my life so I'll just stand over here."??

Your quote seems to be blurring the line between "Military" and "Police". That line is there for a reason. Read "Night Watch" by Terry Pratchett. Vimes explains with his usual eloquence the difference between police and the army.

If I wanted someone with a gun, I would call the army. If I wanted someone to solve crimes then I would call the police.

Written by: Lurch, Unknown source

But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred in any given year.



But if we're going to pick holes in statistics then I could say that that's just the violent crime that got REPORTED and INVESTIGATED. I could also wonder who collected the data, who paid them, and why they were collecting it. I could also point out that the probability of you being a victim of crime is dependent on your gender, age, ethnicity and geographical location. That's why I don't like statistics, and consequently why I only stated one example, and was unsure of even that.

The quote you give is taken from a military man. Military men, by their nature and training, can only see the world in black and white. The military does not allow you the luxury of moral decisions. I'm sure a policeman will have a lot more grey in their picture.

Thing is, after 11th Sept, then the police haven't really DONE very much have they? Apart from acting as an obvious preventative measure. It's the army that went off, invaded Afghanistan, invaded Iraq, killed some terrorists (apparantly).

The whole analogy is simplistic anyway. In real life you can't tell who the wolves are by looking. They're white and go "Baa" too. Some of the sheepdogs might even be wolves. Hell, the shepard might be a wolf! Maybe a sheep will decide to attack another sheep because it grazed on it's patch too much. Maybe a gang of sheep will try to go somewhere different, and the sheepdogs will bite them to force them back into the lines desired by the shepard. Maybe it's just a stupid analogy that doesn't work in real life. shrug


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.


newgabe
newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali
Member Since: 3rd Mar 2005
Total posts: 4030
Posted:Ozzles, Let's be glad that we live in a country with an almost entirely unarmed population, (genuine shepherds/farmers do have them for 'wolves' ie dingoes)...where the Govts response to a mass shooting was to recall firearms and restrict their availability even further, NOT to upgrade the weaponry walking around the country, on cops or anyone else.



Cops/robbers/cowboys/angry young men... inseparable parts of a culture normalising violence and shootemup as resolution....where a one in a hundred chance of encountering violence is considered good odds!! augh. I doubt this is what the Founding Fathers were envisaging in their strategy to create a safe society. In fact the ghastly consequences of the 'right to bear arms'.. including the militarisation of the police force...are often used here as a reason why 'Bills of Rights' are a bad idea... better to have a right to anything that isn't specifically prohibited, for the common good



Lurch, your comment about Columbine was interesting.. have you seen the documentary Bowling for...?


.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....


Lurch
Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon
Member Since: 1st Nov 2003
Total posts: 929
Posted:Violence is needed sometimes. As painful as that is for most people to admit to. There are times, when violence is the only answer.



Kill or be killed, kill or let someone else be killed. You guys site tragic incidents where you blame the gun, what about all the time those same guns have saved lives? There is a lot that goes on in combat, and in everyday police life that people just simply don't understand. These guys aren't the bad guys. Yes there are a few corrupt ones, just as there are bad people in every other place of work. But they are far and few between, and are often weeded out quickly. If someone is not ready to take a life to save a life, they should *not* be a police officer.



Any LEO who says "I will never under any circumstances shoot someone" should never be allowed on patrol. Why are you guys calling deadly force encounters murder? You honestly think if those cops had known it was a wallet they would have shot him? Do you honestly think that they would kill any innocent person just for the hell of it? If you do, either you need to get some things sorted out, or you need to get new police officers. These are good people, and they're doing a job that most people could never do, there is no need to attack them. You guys expect them to protect you and the moment a bad guy shows up with a gun who are you going to hide behind? The guy who's gun you just took away? And you're still going to expect him to protect you? Bull



I could easily quote an entire chapter from this book justifying violence and killing by police when needed. You must look at the picture as a whole, and decide what is best. Picking out individual arguments isn't the way to do it. There will always be accidents, innocent people will get shot, just as innocent people will be hit by cars. Using the bad examples to taint the whole is unfair.



~~~~~~



In response to Sethis:



No, I'm not joking. Mall security guards are a far cry from police officers. I've helped in training scenarios for local sheriffs and PD. I've been the "gunman" and I've been the hostage/victims in school shootings and night scenarios. Some of them are extremely well trained, but most people don't realize it or know what goes into it. I'm not saying everyone is at that level, and there are no doubt some serious training issues in various areas. But the large majority are very knowledgable.



Again, I can't say anything for british cops, I can only talk from the experience I have with my own.



Perhaps "most useful" was not the correct wording to use. But their sidearm is the last resort, final determining factor in some cases. Why would you take that away from them? You expect them to protect you, that means in some extreme cases, they will have to take a human life in order to do that.



As for the 9mm. Police are taught differently in different areas, most general though is to fire until the threat is no longer a threat. If they fall at one, then you shoot them once, if they don't fall, or if they are still being agressive, you keep shooting until the threat is removed. You do not shoot to kill, you do not shoot to wound, you shoot to stop. In some cases, you will have to shoot to kill however, suicide bomber for example.



'two to the chest and one to the head' is known as a mozambique. The hollywood version. It can be a "standard" but doubtful among standard police. When you start getting special weapons and tactics thing change however. Shooting a moving target is not as easy as it might seem.



I said that legally they have no resonsibility to protect you, nor prevent crime. legally being the key word. They will put their life on the line to save someone, because that is the type of people they are. Not because it's "in their contract."



</font><blockquote><font class="small">Written by:</font><hr />

Police don't need guns when the population has no access to them either.





I agree, and I'll gladly you give me my gun once you take all the guns away from the criminals first.



Weapons bought over the counter are not the problem. Those weapons are bought legally, by people who are legally allowed to possess them. Illegal weapons are the ones that make it into the hands of criminals more often than not. Weapons in the hands of civilians has nothing to do with your original post anyways tongue



And no, you don't taser someone who has a gun pointed at you, natural jerk instinct would cause them to pull the trigger... so they might be shocked, but you'll be shot.





</font><blockquote><font class="small">Written by:</font><hr />

You actually think a police officer would be within his rights to say "I'm sorry you're getting mugged with a knife, but it's not my duty to risk my life so I'll just stand over here."??





Rules and responses change when they witness the act. But in a way, yes. Would you prefer that he tackles the person with the knife and gets stabbed in the process? As I said, they are simply not the type of people to stand by and let that happen, but no, they do not have a legal responsibility to put their life on the line for you. They do it anyways.



I'm not blurring the line between police and military, they are very similar in many ways. The quote I give is from a book written by an ex Army Ranger yes. He is also an ex police officer, and currently travels all over the world to help train Green Berets, Rangers, Marines, Fighter pilots, many many police agencies, FBI, ATF, SWAT, CHP, RCMP, and a few others. His co-author is also a highly decorated LEO. They know what they are talking about, and their statistics and stories are pulled from the actual LEO community.









There is a question that many departments ask before they will hire an officer, this is one of many... I want to know how you guys would answer:



You're a law enforcement officer. You're trained, equipped, and on foot patrol. You come around a corner and find in front of you a chain link fence, topped with barbed wire, extending as far as you can see to the left and the right. On the other side of the chain link fence is a law enforcement officer laying helpless on the ground as someone kicks him repeatedly in the head. What do you do?


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Gnarly Cranium
Gnarly Cranium

member
Location: San Francisco
Member Since: 16th Feb 2005
Total posts: 186
Posted:For a second time pretty much everything I've said is getting overlooked, so here's where I give up and bow out.

"Ours is not to question The Head; it is enough to revel in the ubiquitous inanity of The Head, the unwanted proximity of The Head, the unrelenting HellPresence of The Head, indeed the very UNYIELDING IRRELEVANCE of The Head!" --Revelation X


newgabe
newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali
Member Since: 3rd Mar 2005
Total posts: 4030
Posted:I thought what you said was very good and I was smiling and nodding when I read it. So thanks!

.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....


Gnarly Cranium
Gnarly Cranium

member
Location: San Francisco
Member Since: 16th Feb 2005
Total posts: 186
Posted:Ahh thanks newgabe!

"Ours is not to question The Head; it is enough to revel in the ubiquitous inanity of The Head, the unwanted proximity of The Head, the unrelenting HellPresence of The Head, indeed the very UNYIELDING IRRELEVANCE of The Head!" --Revelation X


FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:OK - my initial posts have been somewhat emotional - I would like to correct that and I have to excuse myself for this getting a little longer...



I'm happy someone does the job of a cop and that this "someone" doesn't have to be me (besides there are a lot of jobs which profile doesn't fit mine).



Even though so far I have not needed a cop really and that by the time I really needed one there was none even remotely, I guess that they are needed. Even though in the unlikely case that I get kidnapped (for the records) I DO NOT want snipers anywhere even close and no SWAT team... (funny enough I do have an alternative approach to my life and what happens within)... But i understand and tolerate that other people think differently.



To live up to the term "law enforcement officer", those officers should KNOW the law in the first place - this is (to my personal experience and conversations with lawyers) not the case



1) Becoming a police officer is more than just wearing an uniform, carrying a gun and running around like miami vice with the power to do almost anything to almost anybody.

2) By choosing this profession you actively KNOW what you are choosing (to deal with 10% 90% of your time)

3) Your duty is (foremost) to serve the public in the way you chose to... (MTA workers do it in the tube)



I can completely understand that an officer will shoot first in order to survive... (but somehow it's funny enough that cops die on the first hit while suspects need 20 bullets to go down... I guess we have to inquire with the great creator to upgrade the "good guys")...



15 shots in 4 seconds? Lurch I did real life shooting on a range and even though it might be possible - I strongly doubt that this was what happened that night. Sure enough I can come up with statistics that prove different.



Police officers are trained to shoot with a gun. They undergo (most likely) a much more intense training than any criminal (except maybe for the Criminal Intelligence Agency)... still they might miss - missing 22 times (even on a moving target) in 4 seconds... that's a hell of a lot of uncontrolled waving-your-gun-yehaa-shootout... those (4) officers should have been kicked out not just for killing an innocent suspect, but for endangering the public with 22 stray bullets...



True, these are isolated incidents and maybe we're all just a little upset with the idea of the police hiding and camouflaging all those other cases... (oops he's got no gun - ah, here have this one). Sure we cannot judge all policemen on the deeds of a few wackos (strangely enough we are all judged vice versa)...



I find it scaring when people do propagade that more guns will cause less grief... in Germany we have little guns in public hands and the statistics speak for itself... in the US you have the problem that you have so many guns circulating and your culture is very much based upon machism, therefore it's easier to gear up the police than trying to get the guns under control.



sloppily researched statistics



Back to topic: I KNOW that policemen are NOT trained enough to withstand the stress of their jobs and that there are more than enough who abuse their powers. For NO reason in the world Rodney King should have been treated like he was. For NO reason. Neither the chase, nor him resisting the officers justifies the brutality in which he was arrested.



And for the records: Yes I do know that cops are only humans (just like anyone else) - hence they have special responsibilities and if they can't live up to their job-requirements they should be looking for a different one (like anyone else).



Police does not receive enough psychological training and support while in service - just as teachers. This is another fact. They should be able to handle their job much more confident. Additionally they are not receiving enough payment. If they would, the rate of corruption and the rate of police- brutality would decrease.



There is not more justification for an officer shooting a nervous and maybe disturbed suspect, than there is for the suspect to behave stupid.



It's a myth that every citizen will behave completely calm facing the police - if he has nothing to hide... To assume that is just stupid.



Lurch - please don't take it personal - but in my perception your point of view and arguments sound NRMA-propaganda-brainwashed... shrug For sure you have no prob with (heavily) armed cops, as you can easily suspect your whacko neighbour to have 20 rifles, 5 AK47's, countless ammunition, a working WWII tank, a bazooka, a heavy MG (sure 9mm's are small rounds - may I remind you that standard NATO-caliber is only 5.56/ 7.62mm?) and maybe even a functioning ex-soviet MIG in his backyard... [/no exagaration] Again, please don't take it personal - US gun laws are a JOKE! And (to me) your arguments sound like as if you overestimate the power a gun actually holds... shrug



PS: L.A. (to me) appeared not very polite - just like New York - but VERY paranoid... please do not mistake politeness and paranoia! One comes from confidence, the latter from fear. And I prefer a confident society, rather than a scared one - whereas the scared one is much easier to control.



PPS: Yes Gnarly I also consider your post valuable, but am caught up in my own brainprocesses with this subject... abuse of institutional powers are a sensitive topic to me....

EDITED_BY: FireTom (1140584418)


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


Lurch
Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon
Member Since: 1st Nov 2003
Total posts: 929
Posted:My apologies Gnarly.

Your analogy of the 'shepard' bossing the sheepdogs around doesn't hold up so well. Yes the "shepard" may be a wolf, but sheepdogs don't put up with that too well, and if they do, than they aren't truely sheepdogs.

People brought into the German military for the most part did not have a choice, or they were brainwashed to the point that their morals were so heavily skewed that they actually thought they were doing the right thing. That has little to nothing to do with discussions of police in modern society. Even if you destroyed or removed all the weapons from the country, it wouldn't take very long for someone to start up a factory and start making more if the powers that be wanted it done. Sorry but that argument doesn't hold up to much.

Written by:
Say I have a taillight on my car out, like a couple weeks ago. I get pulled over. The cop comes up to me to ask for my license and registration. Sure, I might be a dangerous nutcase or something-- but how the hell does that justify the fact that this guy next to my car is carrying a -lethal- weapon ready for use? The sole function of that gun is to kill people-- that's specifically what they're designed for. Since when does 'serve and protect' also mean 'and maybe KILL YOU' ? There's no justification for police to carry lethal weapons. They are civilians, and they're here to help, not to hurt anybody. It's not like they even -want- to use them. It makes absolutely no sense. I -like- the police, being able to dial 911 when you catch someone breaking into your house is a beautiful thing-- but the guns still make me cringe.



I don't even know how to respond to that... So he has a sidearm on his hip. What is your problem with that? It is tucked away in a holster, that usually has at least 3 retention features that all have to be disengaged before the weapon can be drawn, and then there are usually at least one or more features on the weapon itself before it can be fired. A gun on his hip put you in no danger, it is as safe there as it is locked away in a box somewhere. All that shows is a lack of knowledge or experience with firearms. He probably also had a taser on his hip, along with OC, and an asp. All of which are designed specifically to HURT YOU. But you aren't scared of them? And why aren't you scared of them? Most likely because you know they won't use them on you without cause. If you've ever been hit with pepper spray or shocked with a taser you'd know they are something to fear. So why do you think a firearm is so much scarier? It's not because it might kill you, tasers can kill as well (albeit rare), there is a reason they call them "less lethal" and not "less than lethal," weapons.

Written by:
In my own state, the biggest city has a population of about 1 million-- even there, they had teams of police in riot gear, with armored trucks, fully outfitted with things like AK-47s. They also bring that stuff out whenever there is a protest, or on various other days of the year. And then they make sure to send out reporters to get as many clips as possible of passersby on the street saying things like "Oh it all makes me feel so much safer!"



Your location says you're from Oregon, which means your biggest city you're refering to is probably Portland. In which case I can guarantee you that Portland PD, nor Multnomah County Sheriff use AK's in their arsenal. I'm sorry to say this again but it screams of lack of knowledge. Very very very few riot squads use any sort of lethal force. The shotguns they have are usually loaded with less lethal, along with teargas and batons. If you have a problem with deadly force keep it to deadly force. They are not "outfitted for mass slaughter," the gear they wear is for their own protection, because they are about to wade into a unruley crowd in order to protect YOU. If them showing their mere presence is such an overwhelming authority statement that it works you into a frenzy then there are other serious issues at play there.

Written by:
Plus why is it necessary to use the 'wolves' own tactics against them? Nonlethal weapons work just fine there



Sorry, but they don't. An officer will go for less lethal if he has the opportunity to. Taser will come out first if he has a combatent suspect. But if there are multiple suspects, a taser is not an option. Nor is a taser guaranteed to drop someone. Rubber bullets rarely drop anyone, merely stun them. And some people can shrug off pepperspray like it was water. Especially if drugs are involved. There are times where extreme violence is the only solution. Whether you want to admit to that or not, it is the truth.

Written by:
why is it fine for a policeman to shoot some poor drunk shmuck for reaching for their wallet in a suspicious way, yet somebody who commits rape or murders only gets quietly led away if he keeps his hands in the air, and then maybe gets a few years in jail?



I never said it was fine to 'shoot a drunk'. That is not fine, it never will be fine. But there are more factors than just that, and you have to look at it from the officers perspective. If you're trying to deal with someone who is drunk, and combatent, will not listen to your directions, and they try and flee, or suddenly reach for something in their pocket. Is it safer for you to assume 'oh its just a wallet' or 'he has a weapon'? It comes down to training, and common sense, and common sense is not so common anymore sadly. Don't put all the blame on the officers for someone elses stupidity.

Why does the rapist and murder get quietly led away with his hands in the air? Because he gave up, he cooperated, and he was not combatent towards the police, they have no reason to get violent with him.


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Lurch
Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon
Member Since: 1st Nov 2003
Total posts: 929
Posted:I'll agree with you on a lot of those points FireTom. Becoming an officer is a lot more than just putting on a badge and a gun.

I'm not trying to justify any of the incidents you guys have posted here, merely that there is another side to the story, and not all the facts are known to everyone. I agree that 41 shots is excessive, and I agree that there needs to be better training within the law enforcement community. That is being worked on, and there's not a whole lot more that can be asked of them than that. I'm not justifying Rodney King, nor any of the other incidents.

You are the first one to bring up the stresses of the job, and yes they are incredible. You're right in that many officers are not trained enough in dealing with them, and some not at all. But again, those are being worked on.

I understand that views on the gun cultures are extremely different in Europe vs the US

You're right, I have no problem with armed police officers. They are the good guys, I know many of them, I work with them. I see them quite often. I also don't have a problem with my neighbor having rifles, nor ammunition. The rest of that statement is a joke and unfair.

Besides, 5.56 and 7.62 are rifle rounds, far different from handgun ammunition as you should very well know.

My defence of them is because I prefer to defend my right to protect myself. And I will defend the right of the police to protect themselves, and the public as well. I don't see how either of those are unreasonable.

By the way, the entire quotation is "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life."


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Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:Written by: Lurch

My defence of them is because I prefer to defend my right to protect myself. And I will defend the right of the police to protect themselves, and the public as well. I don't see how either of those are unreasonable.



I think the entire point of what people are saying is that if there was tighter gun control, then you would never NEED to defend yourself with a gun. All you'd ever be commonly facing would be a knife/other melee weapon, for which there are plenty of defences, the vast majority of them non-lethal.

But my point was that Mall police carry pistols too, as do airport check-in staff, and god knows how many semi-trained individuals. The S.W.A.T teams are a slightly different issue, because they are competent. Their entire purpose is armed response (which I accept is sometimes necessary). What I take issue with is every person who does any kind of security at all, carrying a gun. Security guards over here are almost never armed, and never with a gun. The most beefed up security guard I've ever seen had a baton and handcuffs, and was probably thought "hardcore" by his co-workers.

Written by: Lurch

If you're trying to deal with someone who is drunk, and combatent, will not listen to your directions, and they try and flee, or suddenly reach for something in their pocket. Is it safer for you to assume 'oh its just a wallet' or 'he has a weapon'? It comes down to training, and common sense, and common sense is not so common anymore sadly. Don't put all the blame on the officers for someone elses stupidity



Strange... I've seen this happen once, and seen it on TV more often than that. If there is a drunk person resisting arrest, then the officer restrains them with a wrist lock or similar before slapping on the cuffs. If the guy reaches inside his coat, then he gets a baton to the wrist, and is then taken down by one or more officers. I don't see where guns need to figure into the equation.

Written by: Lurch

3 retention features that all have to be disengaged before the weapon can be drawn, and then there are usually at least one or more features on the weapon itself before it can be fired.



Strange, all I've ever seen was a strap across the butt of the gun, then a safety catch on the gun itself... When it's an officer holding a rifle/shotgun then it's just the catch.

*genuine polite interest, not attacking you* : What are the others?

Written by: Lurch

I agree, and I'll gladly you give me my gun once you take all the guns away from the criminals first.



Pray tell, how are we supposed to tell whether you're a criminal or not? The guns need to be taken away from everybody, because criminals aren't obvious and it's not a career path. Last I heard, the vast majority of murders were crimes of passion. That means that anyone, even you, even me, could feasibly be a murderer under the right (or possibly "wrong") conditions.


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.


Lurch
Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon
Member Since: 1st Nov 2003
Total posts: 929
Posted:I'm glad to see we're getting into more thoughtful responses.

I'm not arguing about the 'rent-a-cops.' To be honest they scare me too, as many of them are doing that because they couldn't make it on the police force. That said however, most mall cops around here at least don't carry. And a lot of security jobs specifically forbid carrying firearms.

Written by:
Strange... I've seen this happen once, and seen it on TV more often than that. If there is a drunk person resisting arrest, then the officer restrains them with a wrist lock or similar before slapping on the cuffs. If the guy reaches inside his coat, then he gets a baton to the wrist, and is then taken down by one or more officers. I don't see where guns need to figure into the equation.



Again, it all depends on the situation. I won't deny that most drunks can be handled easily with wrist locks or various other levels of force. But alcohol and drugs effect different people differently. I've seen it take four struggling fully grown rather large deputies to wrestle, and hold down one rather scrawny teenager who was on drugs. If it had been a single officer, and simple knock with an asp wouldn't do much. I completely agree that a non-violent solution to all disputes is definatly preferable, but sadly the badguys don't always agree with that. And the worst thing a police officer can do is back down and give up. Whatever force the badguy presents they must return, equally or greater than. To ask anything less of them is foolhardy.

Believe me, there have been multiple incidents where poorly trained officers have gotten themselves killed because of their reluctance to use deadly force. I could even hunt down a link to a dashboard video of an officer being killed (off camera, but with audio) during a traffic stop when the suspect walked back to his car, grabbed a rifle, and opened fire.. I won't post that hear because people do not need to see that, but don't think things like that don't happen.

Written by:
Strange, all I've ever seen was a strap across the butt of the gun, then a safety catch on the gun itself... When it's an officer holding a rifle/shotgun then it's just the catch.

*genuine polite interest, not attacking you* : What are the others?



Most agencies require 'level 3 retention holsters' for officers sidearms. Which is ironic because taser holsters do not usually meet those standards either.... Many officers are shot with their own weapon, which is saddening, and yet another reason you guys will probably add to your drive to disarm them. However that is why most places require the types of holsters they do. Level three systems have at least two physical restraints holding the weapon in, usually a strap and a thumb latch, and require the weapon to be drawn at a very specific angle to keep someone from walking up and grabbing their gun. There are stories of officers literally being picked up off their feet by someone trying to take their weapon.

As for the weapon itself, the number of safeties vary. Again, to people unfamiliar with firearms the systems can seem like little to nothing. Manual safeties are common, as are grip safeties to ensure that you have a propper grip on the weapon, and trigger safeties to protect against accidental trigger pulls.

Written by:
I think the entire point of what people are saying is that if there was tighter gun control, then you would never NEED to defend yourself with a gun. All you'd ever be commonly facing would be a knife/other melee weapon, for which there are plenty of defences, the vast majority of them non-lethal.



Making more gun laws will do nothing but remove guns from law abiding perfectly healthy good people. We don't need more laws, we need to better enforce the laws we already have. I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice to live in a world where firearms weren't needed though, and in fact I don't even have a handgun in my apartment right now. Yay me.

There was a National Self Defence Survey conducted by Florida State University in 1994. (No doubt you can find similar statistics to poke holes in these, I've never liked stats myself but they're interesting to read nonetheless)

There are approximately 2.5 million defensive gun uses per year. One every 13 seconds. That does not mean actually shooting someone, just that the situation was stopped by the presence of the weapon.

In 83.5% of these successful defenses, the attacker either threatened, or used force first.

In 91.7% of these incidents the defensive use of a gun did not wound, or kill the criminal attacker (and the gun defense wouldn't be called "newsworthy" by newspapers or TV news editors).

In 73.4% the attacker was a stranger to the intended victim.

In over half the cases, the defender was facing two or more attackers, three or more attackers in over 1/4 of the cases.

Written by:
Pray tell, how are we supposed to tell whether you're a criminal or not? The guns need to be taken away from everybody, because criminals aren't obvious and it's not a career path.



I'll agree to that as well. For gun control to work they must be removed from everyone. Legal and illegal. The problem is the only guns you can track down and make sure are taken care of are the legal weapons.

How do you know I'm not a criminal? You don't, you're right again. But I don't have a criminal record, I don't take drugs, I rarely drink, I have no traffic tickets, and no complaints against me. I've passed multiple criminal background checks by both law enforcement agencies and the federal government, and have taken multiple handgun safety courses. I don't fit the profile of a violent criminal, but you don't want to get into a profiling debate..

It is illegal for a felon to possess a firearm in this country. How about we start there?


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Medusa
Medusa

veteran
Location: 8 days at Cloudbreak, 6 in Per...
Member Since: 25th Nov 2003
Total posts: 1433
Posted:Post deleted by Medusa


Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:Medusa, while I do have strong opinions on the use of police forces to prop up illegal governments, that isn't really the issue here. It's more along the lines of "Why do police carry guns, and my problems with it" smile (rolleyes at me)

Written by: Lurch

I'm not arguing about the 'rent-a-cops.' To be honest they scare me too, as many of them are doing that because they couldn't make it on the police force.



So why aren't you more scared by the number of armed civilians out there? Surely that's even worse than semi-trained mall cops?

Written by: Lurch

And the worst thing a police officer can do is back down and give up. Whatever force the badguy presents they must return, equally or greater than. To ask anything less of them is foolhardy.



Yeah I know. I'm not asking them to give up and walk away when somone pulls a gun, I'm just sure there is a more effective solution to the problem than arming the police with guns as well.

Written by: Lurch

during a traffic stop when the suspect walked back to his car, grabbed a rifle, and opened fire..




I think it would be a fair statement to say he wouldn't have had that gun if he'd been in the UK. People don't carry weapons around in their cars or trucks here. It's just not done (except by serious criminals). If there is almost no risk of someone reaching under the seat and pulling out a Mag 50 AE or something stupid like that, then the cop doesn't need a gun in response.

Written by: Lurch

Many officers are shot with their own weapon, which is saddening, and yet another reason you guys will probably add to your drive to disarm them.



Yeah. smile

Written by: Lurch

Making more gun laws will do nothing but remove guns from law abiding perfectly healthy good people.



Written by: Lurch

I don't fit the profile of a violent criminal, but you don't want to get into a profiling debate..

It is illegal for a felon to possess a firearm in this country. How about we start there?



Most people are normal and law abiding until one day they find their wife in bed with another man, or the neighbor lets his dog crap on their lawn one too many times, or they get some snotty sales clerk when they try to get a refund. Then they go get a gun and shoot people. Criminals aren't just those who've been druggies and criminals all their lives. Normal people can go schiz too, and that's why I don't like the level of weaponry available to the general public in America.


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.


Medusa
Medusa

veteran
Location: 8 days at Cloudbreak, 6 in Per...
Member Since: 25th Nov 2003
Total posts: 1433
Posted:What I was trying to get at was the fact that you should be grateful that the police where we all live are not half as quick to use their guns or force to subdue people...which seems to be what this thread has turned into.

We should be far less uneasy walking past a police officer who is armed in our countries than somewhere like I mentioned above.

But that's okay I deleted the post.



nearly_all_gone
nearly_all_gone

Pooh-Bah
Location: Southampton
Member Since: 3rd Aug 2004
Total posts: 1626
Posted:Lurch, I'd like a response (if you care to give one) about the issue I raised earlier about escalation - surely readily available guns to anyone who doesn't already happen to have a criminal record is the main reason the police in the US have to carry guns?



I think that examples like the one you gave of police being beaten up on the wrong side of a chainlink fence are hardly as common as police drawing their weapons. The main reason police fire their weapons is in response to someone with a weapon pointed at them. I realise the ability to point a gun at someone is a good way of making them listen to you, but often it makes (innocent) people panic - people who've never even considered having a gun aimed at them. People like Amadou Diallo, for example/



The reason I keep bringing up gun control is that I think it is inseperable from the issue of arming police. I believe that, particularly in the US, if there were tighter controls on who could have a gun on both sides (so specific, highly trained units - like swat teams), there would be less gun related deaths of innocent people, less hold-ups, less car-jacks, less stuff like drive-bys (you ever tried doing a drive-by with a knife? Not easy!).. And I realise gun control is an issue many americans shy away from talking about, but seriously, you guys are 150 years behind the rest of the developed world in that respect. It's like the wild west never ended, it just moved into the suburbs. Hence the need for quick-drawing sherrifs.



The majority of UK policemen don't carry weapons, and buying a gun from a legal source is very difficult, particularly if you're not a farmer. We don't have a major problem with gun crime, and our police force seems as effective as the US one to me.


What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.
Thoreau


Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:Well you didn't have to, I was just making warding motions to prevent off-topicness. You do have a valid point that our police are very good and ethical, I just didn't want it to turn into a "Let's compare our police to other police".

Thanks for posting, it's a good point. smile


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.


Nephtys
Nephtys

resident fridge magnet
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Member Since: 3rd Oct 2002
Total posts: 835
Posted:issue 1: civilian gun possession:
It should never be allowed, in my mind. I don't understand the focus on accidental gun deaths, are non-accidental gun deaths less bad? I'm using stats from 2001 because that's the only year I could quickly find all the data for both countries on:

US: civilians allowed to own firearms
total population: about 281,500,000 (based on 2000 census)
gun deaths: 29,573 --> approx. 0,01% of total population

Netherlands: civilian gun ownership not allowed
total population about 16,000,000
gun deaths: 89 --> approx. 0,0006% of total population

nuff said, I think.

issue 2: police carrying firearms:

Well, Dutch police have carried firearms for as long as I can remember, and I'm not too bothered by it: not because it's always been that way, but because the police here actually killing someone is so incredibly rare that it's major national news when it does happen. Unfortunately I can't find any data on this right now, but I'd say it happens around once a year. I trust the police not to misuse that power.

An example: the man who shot Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh (big news in late 2004) tried to martyr himself by going down in a hail of bullets, he was firing randomly at the police to try and get them to shoot and kill him. I'm very happy that the police managed to merely incapacitate him by shooting him in the leg. (and a taser wouldn't have been much use in those circumstances)

However, this took place in a park: had it happened in an area crowded with other civilians, they might have been forced to shoot to kill to save innocent lives... and I'm glad they have the power to do so when necessary.

I only support the police carrying firearms though, because they have a good record here. If they were too trigger-happy, I would rather take my chances with those few criminals carrying guns and actually posing a danger to the public (rather than to other criminals), because if the police force were too brutal or made too many fatal mistakes, people would lose faith in the police and in the power of the state as a whole to protect them and carry out the law, probably leading to more lawlessness.


everyone's unique except me


nearly_all_gone
nearly_all_gone

Pooh-Bah
Location: Southampton
Member Since: 3rd Aug 2004
Total posts: 1626
Posted:Written by: Nephtys

I don't understand the focus on accidental gun deaths, are non-accidental gun deaths less bad?


Well said. As is the rest of your post, particularly the last paragraph. I think that disillusionment with the police is at the heart of the initial post of this thread.


What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.
Thoreau


Sporky
Sporky

addict
Location: Glasgow
Member Since: 25th Jul 2005
Total posts: 663
Posted:Written by: _kevlarsoul_

I think that disillusionment with the police is at the heart of the initial post of this thread.



My own experiences with the police have left me extremely disillusioned when it comes to them. From several assaults where I have been the victim that have never made it past taking a statement (one left me in hospital for three weeks) to an investigation into computer fraud that almost made it to court despite the fact that I didn't actually own a computer at the time I'm going to say this: If you arm the police then you'd better arm me too so that I can defend myself against them.

If you give the police guns then more criminals are going to arm themselves and it will spiral out of control. Add to that officer related firearms abuses which are bound to happen within the first decade of police using guns and the risk that an officer might lose his/her gun I'd say it is a very bad idea.


Have faith in what you can do and respect for what you can't


Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:No, it really isn't. I have no problem with the police at all. I have problems with lethal weaponry on the streets I have to walk down smile

After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.


nearly_all_gone
nearly_all_gone

Pooh-Bah
Location: Southampton
Member Since: 3rd Aug 2004
Total posts: 1626
Posted:But surely if you had trust in the police, the organisation whose function is to be trustworthy and reliable in their attempts to protect the population, you wouldn't doubt their ability to bear firearms?

To me that's disillusionment. The police aim to be infalliable. They're obviously not. But to be outright afraid (however you want to put it) of them carrying weapons - seemingly for fear that they'll injure innocent citizens - seems pretty much the definition of disillusionment with the police, or at least their practises, which surely is what defines them as a group.

My opinion of your initial post, however carefully-worded so as not to be accusational towards the police, arose from the third paragraph:
Written by: Sethis

I know I feel very intimidated by police carrying either pistols or automatic rifles... It would be so easy to accidently kill someone. Why take the risk? And if we've outlawed capital punishment, then surely there is no ethical justification for killing crimminals at the scene of the crime, with no trial?


Sounds to me like you don't trust them in their training or ability to follow it through. Surely before we arm police, we must be sure they're not going to go out trigger-happy killing anyone who looks at them funny. So when you, an ordinary (I'm assuming wink ) guy goes out into the street and feels intimidated at being close to this person who is supposedly responsible and trustworthy enough to be given the power to instantly kill someone should the situation merit it, I think there's obviously, deep down in your beliefs(and mine), something wrong with the institution which has given this guy his gun.


What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.
Thoreau


Stout
Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada
Member Since: 12th May 2004
Total posts: 1872
Posted:I noticed a strong disillusionment with the police theme running through this thread too. Here, in Canada, we have U.K. style gun control laws, as in it would be just this side of impossible for me to go out and actually ( legally ) buy a pistol, and our police are armed.

So far, it hasn't been a problem, and police shootings are rare,,,really rare. As are accidental shootings.

Sethis, if you find the prospect of seeing lethal weapons on the streets you have to walk down simply distasteful, now might be a time to take a moment and appreciate where you live. I've to countries e.g. Honduras, where EVERY business has a guy with a gun standing outside, every bar, restaurant, store...there's a guy with a shotgun. Banks typically have three guys with shotguns outside and a guy with a pistol inside. These aren't police either.

If I have to see guns in the hands of anybody, I'd prefer to see them in the hands of the police.



jeff(fake)
jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 15th Apr 2005
Total posts: 1189
Posted:There are situations in which the police needs to have guns but it is simply irresponsible to have police marching around with automatic weaponry all the time in crowded places which seems to be coming into style in Britain now. Are they really going to open fire with so many civilians around? If not then why arm them in the first place?

It just seems that there is a lot of gratuitous arming going on.


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...


Stout
Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada
Member Since: 12th May 2004
Total posts: 1872
Posted:Just to clarify, you mean automatic weapons, as in machine guns right..not automatic (i.e. not revolvers) pistols.

There's lots of times that the police need guns, and hats off to British society for being able to go this long without having to arm their police. Machine guns, especially in crowed areas seem pretty excessive though. Am I correct in assuming that these weapons can be set to single shot?



jeff(fake)
jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 15th Apr 2005
Total posts: 1189
Posted:I don't know exactly what they were as I'm not a gun expert but they were about the size of an AK-47 and needed to be carried with a strap on the shoulder.

According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...


Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 27th Jan 2005
Total posts: 4145
Posted:oh, off-topic but funny, I saw a guy at Edinburgh airport (one of the security officers) walking alongside his mate, both big and grim-faced, with automatic weapons, and one of them wearing a pink charity wrist band. I wanted to take a picture, but I think he would've been unimpressed...

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Lurch
Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon
Member Since: 1st Nov 2003
Total posts: 929
Posted:Written by:
So why aren't you more scared by the number of armed civilians out there? Surely that's even worse than semi-trained mall cops?



I'm scared/laugh at the mall cops because they have the dillusion that they have some sort of power. They *want* to be cops, but can't for whatever reason. There are not many mall cops around here that are armed with anything more than an asp. I can't actually recall seeing one carrying, but I might be mistaken and there may be some out there.

I'm not scared of civilians carrying no. Why? Because people who can legally carry have to go through a process to make that happen. They have to go through a safety course, and they must apply for, and pay for a permit, which is not always granted. Some states it's difficult, if not impossible to obtain such a license. Oddly enough nearly every officer I have discussed the issue with fully supports the right of the civilian to carry, and even encourages it. Why? because the people who legally own the weapons, and go through the process to legally carry, 999/1000 will be the good guys. It doesn't take much to get that permit revoked, in fact merely showing your weapon in public once can easily cost you the right to carry ever again.

They don't carry so they can chase criminals, they carry so they can defend themselves if they have to. It's better to have a gun and not need it than need one and not have it.


Written by:
I think it would be a fair statement to say he wouldn't have had that gun if he'd been in the UK. People don't carry weapons around in their cars or trucks here. It's just not done (except by serious criminals). If there is almost no risk of someone reaching under the seat and pulling out a Mag 50 AE or something stupid like that, then the cop doesn't need a gun in response.



This was a hunting rifle. We have a lot of forest land over here, and there are a lot of hunters. Oddly enough it's almost universally required to go through a safety course as well before you can hunt. Demanding sporting weapons from people is going to cause a huge uproar, some of these "weapons" have been in families for generations. Rifles are not exactly a common problem, as they are unweildly for close fighting, but that is what the guy had, so that is what he used. If he didn't have it, but there happened to be an axe in the back of his pickup, no doubt that would have come out. Maybe the officer would have had a better chance, maybe not.

Written by:
Lurch, I'd like a response (if you care to give one) about the issue I raised earlier about escalation - surely readily available guns to anyone who doesn't already happen to have a criminal record is the main reason the police in the US have to carry guns?

I think that examples like the one you gave of police being beaten up on the wrong side of a chainlink fence are hardly as common as police drawing their weapons. The main reason police fire their weapons is in response to someone with a weapon pointed at them.



While the issue of weapons available in stores is off topic, I'll touch on it anyways.

It's part of American culture, and other than gun specific shops, or a couple sporting related shops the large majority of places selling firearms sell sporting specific weapons. Hunting rifles, Shotguns etc. There is a process to buying guns, some states are easier than others. Yes I *could* walk into a store, and buy a weapon, but there is a background check in the process and paperwork to be done. Many states require a 3 day waiting period between purchase and possession, just to help curb any 'passion' purchases. Remember this is the US, there are a lot of farm boys, there is a lot of rural land, and shooting is a hobby/sport to us the same as bowling. You may find it disturbing, but thats our culture, and I don't expect you to understand that.

The question about the officer on the other side of the fence is a question commonly asked to people applying to become police officers. Noone has yet to reply to that question.

Written by:

The reason I keep bringing up gun control is that I think it is inseperable from the issue of arming police. I believe that, particularly in the US, if there were tighter controls on who could have a gun on both sides (so specific, highly trained units - like swat teams), there would be less gun related deaths of innocent people, less hold-ups, less car-jacks, less stuff like drive-bys (you ever tried doing a drive-by with a knife? Not easy!).. And I realise gun control is an issue many americans shy away from talking about, but seriously, you guys are 150 years behind the rest of the developed world in that respect. It's like the wild west never ended, it just moved into the suburbs. Hence the need for quick-drawing sherrifs.



I won't disagree with that. But like I said, we don't need MORE gun laws, we need to better enforce the laws we already have. Those 'crimes of passion' are a small percentage when you take all the aggravated assaults, repeated domestic abuse, armed robberies, and drive bys into account. Those people who are known criminals, with a criminal background, are not getting their weapons legally. That is the problem, not Rick the business man with a gun so that he can protect his family from those people. And 'rick' is going to be the first one the police are going to come to to take his weapon, because his is registered, and they know about his, and can track it down for sure. There is a reason people don't like to register their weapons in this country, and it's not because they are criminals.

Crimes of passion will happen either way, if its not a handgun it's a knife, or its a fork, or a ballpoint pen. We live in violent times, the aggravated assault rate has gone up in the US, along with Norway and Greece 5x since the 60's. Canada, Austrailias, and New Zealand have gone up 4x. Sweden Austria and France 3x, and Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Scotland, and Switzerland have all doubled. If it's not handguns it's going to be something else.

They say (statistically) a life is saved by the legal use of a weapon for self defence every 1.3 minutes.

Bowling for Columbine was a farce. Of course you can go around and pick out the craziest people and make us all look insane.

Written by:
I'm using stats from 2001 because that's the only year I could quickly find all the data for both countries on:

US: civilians allowed to own firearms
total population: about 281,500,000 (based on 2000 census)
gun deaths: 29,573 --> approx. 0,01% of total population

Netherlands: civilian gun ownership not allowed
total population about 16,000,000
gun deaths: 89 --> approx. 0,0006% of total population



I don't have the information to look it up, but again that is unfair. Of course there is going to be a higher percentage of gun deaths in a country where guns are more prolific. The use of guns isn't the issue, the violence of the civilians is. You also cannot look at the death rates, as no doubt there are many many many more cases in which someone survived. Aggravate assault is a much more accurate statistic to look at. Examining those, and removing any notion of firearms, and I'm guessing those statistics will start to become very close. As in, the aggravated assault rates per capita (regardless of weapon choice) are probably fairly close.

Written by:
Sounds to me like you don't trust them in their training or ability to follow it through. Surely before we arm police, we must be sure they're not going to go out trigger-happy killing anyone who looks at them funny. So when you, an ordinary (I'm assuming ) guy goes out into the street and feels intimidated at being close to this person who is supposedly responsible and trustworthy enough to be given the power to instantly kill someone should the situation merit it, I think there's obviously, deep down in your beliefs(and mine), something wrong with the institution which has given this guy his gun.



That is the nature of the problem then, it's not the guns, it is the police. I know there are bad cops, I know there are [censored] cops. But I know the large majority of them are out there to help, and they take it very seriously. I trust my officers, and I trust the deputies I work with, maybe that is the difference.

Written by:
There are situations in which the police needs to have guns but it is simply irresponsible to have police marching around with automatic weaponry all the time in crowded places which seems to be coming into style in Britain now. Are they really going to open fire with so many civilians around? If not then why arm them in the first place?



You admit that there are times when weapons will be needed. Okay, good. That is a step forward. Now are the bad guys going to give the police fair warning so they can go to their lockbox and get their weapon before its needed? When things go wrong, they go wrong quickly, and it's usually only a matter of seconds. There is no time to run back and get your gun, or call in for someone else to come with one, by then people could be dead.

Like I said before, It's better to have a gun and never need it, than need one and not have it.

Written by:
Just to clarify, you mean automatic weapons, as in machine guns right..not automatic (i.e. not revolvers) pistols.



Again, there are incorrect terms being thrown around here. And I suspect its due to media terminology, and lack of knowledge. Most all police issue rifles (in the states) other than a few for special teams like SWAT are all semi-automatic. Meaning you must pull the trigger, each time, for the weapon to shoot, and it will only shoot once for each pull. Automatic weapons fire as long as the trigger is pulled. I can't say anything for what European police carry, but pretty much all assault rifles can be set to single shot yes. They would not just 'spray' into a crowd of people. You yourselves say police involved shootings are extremely rare, so why are you so afraid of them?


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ducky2108
ducky2108

A little bit of a board whore
Location: Glasgow
Member Since: 18th Dec 2005
Total posts: 147
Posted:You say it's better to have a gun and never need it than to not have one and need it. However, in the UK at least, the need to have a gun has been pretty much wiped out by our gun laws. In this country, the NEED to own a gun just doesn't exist, due to the fact that only criminals have them (and some farmers and hunters etc.-These are only ever shotguns though. I think owning a firearm with a rifled barrel is illegal without a very special permit).

Yes, maybe if you took away the guns from the law abiding populace in America, then it would be scary. However, with such an ease of access to guns, is it any wonder that all the criminals have them. In the UK, getting a gun is pretty hard (compared to buying a car-something else you need a licence for), and you can't buy them in any supermarket; rural or otherwise.

The problem here is that it IS a cultural thing, and people think that means they can do it forever. Dictatorship could be seen as a part of Iraqi culture... Just because it's cultural, it doesn't make it right (neither does it make it wrong). It also doesn't mean that it's set in stone. Slavery used to be part of the American culture.

I know with the US, it's not the fact that people can own guns which is scary. It's the guns that some of them can own. You say Bowling for Columbine was a farce, but if anything it highlighted the uneccessary amount of firepower which can be legally owned in the states. They may use them for hunting, but is it necessary to own a gun which can fire 20 bullets a second to hunt a deer? (this is just an example)


Ancient wiseman say "It is very strange person, who, when left alone in room with teacosy, does not try it on"


Lurch
Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon
Member Since: 1st Nov 2003
Total posts: 929
Posted:Written by:
In this country, the NEED to own a gun just doesn't exist, due to the fact that only criminals have them



You honestly don't see a problem with that?


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