Saturday, August 6, 2011
The Long Arm of the Law
After that rat-bastard in Norway killed all those people, (props for you for not being a media-saturated shithead if you still remember that this event even happened) there came about a debate about whether police officers in Norway ought to be armed, as many are not.
It's funny, but I can think of a lot better things to debate than that: like, Fruity Pebbles vs. Fruit Loops, for instance.
Before you write in angrily to give me shit about trivializing an event as horrific as the brutal murders in Norway unquestionably were, I'm not doing that at all. What I'm doing is trivializing a debate about a question that should not even be a debate, let alone a question. The whole point in having police officers in the first place is to have a uniformed group of specially-trained individuals who will act in a professional, procedural manner to protect law and order, life and property.
When shit goes awry, they are the end of the line. Confrontations between psychopaths and ordinary citizens are supposed to be effectively terminated by law enforcement officers as quickly as possible. How police officers can be expected to perform those aforementioned duties/tasks while unarmed is absolutely beyond me.
I realize that the American way of doing business is not the only way of doing business, and I wouldn't presume to forcibly rape other cultures with our own big, swaggering dick, but I think that any nation that puts uniformed police officers on the street without deadly weapons should be ashamed of itself for asking ordinary human beings to do Super Man-style deeds, for putting police officers (and citizens) in unreasonable jeopardy and risk without giving them the tools that they require to do their jobs effectively.
Is it true that a police officer's gun can be taken from him/her and used against him/her by a determined, enterprising, and physically overpowering suspect? Of course, and it's sadly been done many times. Does that mean police officers ought not to be armed? No. It doesn't.
Is it true that, sometimes, police officers use deadly force when they should not? Of course, and there are also times when officers should have used deadly force but did not, and that is also tragic. Still, that does not mean that law enforcement officers should not carry weapons.
Is it true that gun violence in countries where police carry firearms is higher than in countries where officers do not carry guns? I don't know-- I haven't seen research to that effect, but it's probably true, however, I doubt very much that the relationship is causative. Take away police officers' guns in America and you won't see a drop in gun violence, you'll just see an increase in police funerals.
I'm always willing to hear new angles on this debate, but it just never has made an ounce of sense to me. You're welcome to try, though. After all, it is audience participation week.