- by Gitabushi
Life might not revolve around the gathering of soapboxes, but it seems *my* life is.
Here’s a new one:
The displayed general attitude of police departments is incompatible with the lawful exercise of Second Amendment rights. Police departments must review their policy and training to correct this, or judicial rulings that support Second Amendment rights will be nullified for most US citizens.
This thought process was in reaction to seeing this news item:
There are more details here.
Here’s a summary: The victim was 61 years old. He had 33 guns. For 61 years of his life, he hadn’t shot anyone. A family member makes a complaint, the police arrive at an unusual and threatening time (I would feel threatened by policy coming that early in the morning), the man and the police struggle for control of his gun, the gun goes off, no one is hurt, and then they shoot him to death.
What bothers me is that put another way, the police precipitated a crisis and solved it by shooting a citizen in his own home.
We don’t know if the Red Flag order was justified. It was approved by a judge, obviously. But many judges, particularly in locations with higher population density, have the typical Progressive hatred of civilian gun ownership. Was the man notified of the Red Flag order? Did he have the opportunity to respond and defend himself? The article doesn’t say.
I can easily imagine this scenario as a variation of SWATting. I can easily imagine myself being a victim of this. I am not a violent person, and am no danger to myself or anyone else with my firearms that I tragically lost in a boating accident. If someone complained about my ownership of guns that were tragically lost in a boating accident, and the police were given a Red Flag order to come and seize my guns, and they did it at just past 5am, I would not willingly surrender my guns at that moment, either. And it would be easy for the police to then shoot me for my intransigence, and face relatively mild repercussions.
Because this is part of a trend we are seeing: the police don’t like armed civilians; when they arrive on a scene, they want to be the only ones armed, and they will kill people if it doesn’t happen on their timeline.
Which results in the death of someone who should have been lauded as a true hero.
He was the “Good Guy with a Gun” that conservatives insist justify widespread exercise of Second Amendment rights. He’s the guy conservatives want to see more of…but police don’t.
Again, I can imagine myself in this situation. If I were the Good Guy with the Gun, and I apprehended a bad guy with a gun, and held him at gunpoint, and the police arrived…I would be hyped up on adrenaline. I might need a few minutes to comprehend orders to disarm. Being yelled at by people who are pointing guns at me might make it harder for me to calm down and listen to what is being said.
From the police perspective, you don’t know who is the Bad Guy, and who is the Good Guy. You arrive and find someone with a gun kneeling on a guy’s back. Is this a hostage situation? Do you need to get him disarmed before he shoots the guy he’s kneeling on? The police reaction is to take control of the situation, and to do so forcefully: yelling, guns aimed, fingers on triggers. When you have the guy in control you throw him to the ground, you push the arms to the point of pain, you cuff as tightly as possible. Because if you take more time, do it carefully, be gentle, etc., you give the guy more opportunity to fight back, perhaps stab you, maybe shoot you.
I understand this.
If that were all of it, I might be over-reacting. But police will apparently kill you just for not following orders.
Heck, the police will kill you even if you do follow orders. Or at least try:
All that being said, I’m a supporter of the police. I think they have a terrifying, difficult, and terrifyingly difficult job. Anyone can decide to shoot you at any time, even if you are trying to help protect them. You can die at routine traffic stops in any number of ways. You can be killed just sitting in your patrol car. You try to uphold the law, keep the peace, and protect people, and are rewarded with hatred and widespread revulsion.
So I am not asking the police to adopt Rules of Engagement that make them sacrificial lambs. Police should not have to sacrifice their lives. Their lives are not worth less than anyone else’s.
On the other hand, their lives are also not worth more than anyone else’s, either.
Even though the examples of police shooting victims I provided are predominantly black, I don’t think police are inherently racist. I think police interact mostly with criminals and people who resent them, and it results in a general dislike, disdain, and distrust of citizens. Police only trust themselves. They have justification to do so, but we shouldn’t allow that attitude to remain anymore.
The point is: over the last few decades, legal recognition of the lawful exercise of Second Amendment rights is expanding and increasing.
Here’s the development, in graphic form:
Honestly, I don’t get how the nearly-flat purple line can claim 59% reduction, nor the nearly-flat green line can claim a 45% reduction. There may be some games being played with poor chart design. Moreover, correlation is not causation…there could be other reasons for the reduction in crime, not necessarily guns. But at the very least, the increase in concealed carry has not increased crime, or wrongful death, much less murder.
The thing is, the police cannot protect you. Multiple judicial rulings have made it clear that the police are actually not responsible for your protection. The police are there to draw the white chalk line around the body, and bring the perpetrator to justice at some point in the next 10 years or so. If then.
In contrast, there are at least 2 *million* defensive gun uses annually. This is the number the CDC found, and decided not to publish. You can conclude why they decided not to punish it on your own, but I’ll probably go to my grave believing it was because it contradicted the Progressive narrative.
As such, the lawful exercise of Second Amendment rights is the *best* way to protect the innocent. All people should be able to exercise that right, not just the affluent, not just the people who live in easy-to-police areas.
This is a reality the police need to face: they will not always be the only people armed on the scene, and they *cannot* always be the only people armed on the scene, and that fact should not be a death sentence.
My original intent was to mainly just republish my tweet thread on this topic (hailed as one of the most even-handed and objective looks at this issue by the wife of a police officer!), but as I wrote the intro, I realized I could, and wanted to, organize it slightly differently.
If you are interested, you can read the original thread here:
I fully recognize that there are many aspects to my argument than can be argued. Taken individually, each officer could probably explain why they thought the shooting was justified…probably in most cases, from fear of their lives in an uncertain situation.
The thing is, the police made mistakes in each of the situations, and those mistakes resulted in the wrongful death of a citizen. If I made a mistake that resulted in someone else’s death, I would have to defend myself. There would be no powerful union arguing on my behalf, no respected institution circling the wagons in my defense. I know it sucks to be a police officer, but officers who make mistakes must face consequences for their mistakes.
Let them face juries. Let the legal process do its job. Don’t shield them from mistakes.
But most of all, review and update training, policy, and culture to recognize that there is widespread gun ownership, and that it is expanding, and that this is a good thing.
Final thought: police can really do nothing about high-crime areas. The only way there will ever be any real improvement is citizens of high crime areas feel comfortable in owning firearms to protect themselves, to make the threat circumstances worse for those intent on crime.
The police have to allow this. If they do so, they will face a reduced threat environment, and resentment and hatred of police will reduce, and they will be able to safely patrol more neighborhoods.
There is a win-win scenario here.