Thursday, January 31, 2013

Uncle Joe, Cops and Non-Cops

Joe Biden really does seem to have a tenuous grip on reality.  But I repeat myself.  Anyway, cops are not 'outgunned'.  How could they be?  They carry a pistol, spare magazines, a shotgun and often an AR-15 of some sort.  That's quite a bit of firepower right there, though for most people that is the "starter set" for a collection. Enough about that though, let's talk about why cops like armed citizens (seriously).

Something the politicians refuse to realistically factor in to the equation is the inherently dangerous nature of police work.  You could probably find some guy that rides a desk most of his career, never even has a close call and retires without a scratch, but that would be an exception to the rule.  After all, what person joins a force to whither away behind a desk for 30+ years? 

Police work 24/7 and during a typical shift, a cop has to repeatedly approach any number of unknowns.  That means sometimes they get to deal with things during bad weather, in the dark, in unfamiliar places and usually with unfamiliar people.  That says "high risk" right there (and somehow reminds me of cab drivers).  Add to this that some people have no respect for any form of authority, and others are just desperate for a variety of reasons, and you create a workplace that's almost bound to get some of the employees shot. 

And sadly, that's what happens.  Perp-on-Police shootings occur in rural and urban areas, often for reasons we will never know.  Responding to this reality, departments try to make sure police have the tools they need - ballistic protection, firearms, even a range of lethality for their weapons.  And damn it to hell, we want cops to be armed and equipped properly.  Anything less amounts to gross negligence.  Of course we also demand that police be screened and trained properly, and for the most part that does happen.  Sure, you may get a bad apple now and then, but you don't burn down the tree because of that.

At the same time, if we arm police to this extent, should non-cops also be armed to this level?  Joe Average could encounter any of the situations a typical beat cop might have to deal with.  The primary difference probably lay in the likely frequency of such encounters.  Playing an odds game with personal safety based on possibilities among different population groups is no basis for gun control.  Why?  All it takes is ONE encounter to end Joe Average's life or Bob Officer's life.  That sample of '1' is precisely enough reason to be armed. 

Another good reason to be similarly armed is what I call the "deputization effect".  If Joe Average, law-abiding citizen with his Glock 22 in deep concealment, is walking down the street and sees Bob Officer getting the bad end of a Perp-on-Cop assault, what should Joe do?  Call 911?  Run away?  Yell at the assailant?  While admittedly a personal choice, the right thing in my eyes is to assist Bob Officer in any way possible.  Whether that means cracking Perp on the head with a 2x4, stroking him with the butt of Bob's shotgun, or putting 3 in Perp's center of mass.  We want the good guys to win.  Bob's a good guy - he risks his neck daily.  Joe is a good guy - he carries, knows how to use his piece and knows in which situations to use it.  Perp is not a good guy.  Perp chose to play a dangerous game and he will likely win a dangerous prize.  If Joe is familiar with firearms, trained and so similarly armed, he has just helped a good guy and stopped a bad guy.  This is what society wants.  Society wants all upstanding citizens to 'be' the police if necessary.  I stress "if necessary" - you don't want to butt in unless Bob Officer asks for help or is in visible distress getting his ass beat.  Judgement call to be sure on the last one. 

A concept that is dead or on life-support in this country is that of "the people are the police".  The phrase means precisely what it says.  All citizens of moral courage have the requisite duty to uphold the law and see that society adheres to the law (note I'm not going to get into just vs. unjust laws in this posting).   Perhaps criminals are more dangerous now, or perhaps the majority of Americans are cowards - I don't know.  Whatever the reason, people lack the courage to do the right and proper things in civil society.  This does not mean you should go out and be a vigilante.  The concept is far from that, actually.  If during the conduct of your daily life you see bad things happening, you have a duty to intervene.  That could be a call to 911 and getting a license plate number.  It could require more immediate action (say in the event of an attempted abduction, rape or battery) on your part.  Remember, the police are minutes away and the victim may have only seconds.  Therefore, you only have seconds.  In acting properly in defense of society, the criminal underworld is slowly sent a powerful message that civil society will not tolerate this sort of behavior.  This doesn't mean you just draw and shoot.  Again, the idea is far from that.  It means you intervene and use appropriate levels of force if needed and as needed.  You help society, you help a victim and you help your local police force.  This, of course, requires Joe Average to think and react reasonably.

It's important to be similarly armed.  Good things will come of that.  Rank-and-file police support 2A rights and society needs to be supporting of police.

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