Most of our mass killers have been on psychiatric medications, and we know very little about the side effects of those drugs. It is very possible–in fact, almost certain, given the way drugs work–that while they make many people better, they make some much worse. It is quite possible that we’re creating the homicidal outbursts that we fear so much.
Andrea Yates, in one of the most heartrending crimes in modern history, drowned all five of her children – aged 7 years down to 6 months – in a bathtub. Insisting inner voices commanded her to kill her children, she had become increasingly psychotic over the course of several years[….] In November 2005, more than four years after Yates drowned her children, Effexor manufacturer Wyeth Pharmaceuticals quietly added “homicidal ideation” to the drug’s list of “rare adverse events.”
Here’s a question for you. If a gun is bad for civilians to have, is it also bad for the police to have?
That’s not just a case of sour grapes, of, “Well, if I can’t have them, they can’t either, so there!” We have a real problem in this country with police shootings. In all of 2011, German police fired 85 shots in encounters with other people. (Some thousands more were fired in putting down dangerous or sick animals.) Of those 85 shots fired, 49 were warning shots.
Let me say that again. All of the police, in the entire country of Germany, in the year 2011 fired 36 shots at human beings. Of those, 21 shots hit their targets.
In the United States, a single policeman can easily exceed the lead output of all Germany’s cops in a single shooting.
He seems to have at least hit the truck with most of the shots.
Los Angeles police unloaded 90 rounds on some guy who they say took a “shooting stance.” I haven’t been able to find how many of those shots actually hit their target (vs. how many were sprayed at large around the countryside), but I can guarantee you it wasn’t 90.
I could go on and on. Police in the US fire what seems like an excessive number of shots in so many encounters that they had to make up a term for it: Contagious Shooting Basically, when one person starts shooting, everyone wants to get in on the act.
In at least most of these shootings (and most police shootings in general), the cops are justified in using deadly force. I’m not saying that none of the people should have been shot, or that the police are always in the wrong. I want to be very clear about that. There are decent cops out there doing the best they can, and most of the time when the police shoot someone, well, I probably would have shot them too if I’d been in the cop’s position. I can’t fault someone for that.
And, of course, they almost always get away with it. Police departments conduct their own investigations, without public oversight, and it is very, very rare that they find that one of their own did something wrong, no matter how egregious the case may seem. The story above, about the Garland, TX cop who shot the unarmed motorist 41 times? (Well, shot at him 41 times; he obviously missed a lot, looking at the picture of the truck, but he hit the guy enough times to kill the hell out of him.) He’s on ‘restricted duty’ while the department ‘investigates.’ Four months later, there is no word about the outcome of their investigation, but he still seems to be collecting his $64,465/year paycheck
Here’s a prediction: If you were to walk up to someone who had irritated you in traffic, pull out a gun, empty the magazine into the side of their car, reload, empty that magazine, reload again, and fire several more bullets, killing the offending motorist, there is an excellent chance that you would be arrested. A police officer might be fired, but probably not.
What I’m getting at with all of this is that I think the police should be restricted to using the same weapons as the rest of us. The Saigon police at the height of the Vietnam war carried .38 caliber revolvers. There is no reason for police officers to be as heavily armed, or more, than a Marine in a firebase in Afghanistan. If, as so many people tell us, ‘assault weapons’ are weapons only good for killing as many people as possible in a short period of time, why do those same people want the police to have them?
With that in mind, I have sent my legislators the following legislation. All it does is restrict the police to using the same weapons that are legally available to the residents of their jurisdiction, and provides for (significant) penalties if they violate it. I’m serious about this. Read it, and if you think it’s a good idea, contact your Representative or Senators and tell them.
To ensure that law enforcement agencies represent the standards of the communities that they serve, no agency whose representatives, agents, employees, or contractors carry weapons shall use, issue, or carry any weapon category, type, brand, model, caliber, or capacity, or any ammunition, accessories, or attachments for such weapons, that are not legal or available for the common citizens of that jurisdiction. State and local law enforcement agencies must comply with the restrictions applicable to the residents of their state or municipality, Federal agencies must comply with the relevant Federal laws. Officers of a State agency operating in a municipality with stricter availability laws will still only be restricted by the relevant State laws. Likewise Federal officers operating in a State or municipality with stricter availability laws shall only be restricted by any relevant Federal, nationwide, restrictions.
This law shall apply to all government agencies excepting only the military branches (U.S. Army, Marine Corps, National Guard, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard).
Any resident of an agency’s jurisdiction may bring suit against an agency which is in violation of this law. Each proven violation shall result in a fine of $1000 per resident of that jurisdiction levied on the agency, payable directly to each resident.
Marc Champion over at Bloomberg thinks it’s weird that police in Iceland feel bad about having to shoot someone for the first time, ever.
Are we supposed to celebrate when the police shoot someone? Are the police supposed to celebrate? A peaceful society where the police don’t have to go around shooting people all the time might be unusual, but weird? Really?
By the way, the reason Iceland’s police hardly ever have to shoot anyone is because Iceland’s people don’t commit many violent crimes. Less violence in the population, less violence from the police. Simple.
Why is the population less violent compared to, say, the United States? Iceland is socially and racially homogenous, with no real drug or gang problem. Most of the violent crime in the US is gang-related. No gangs, no violent crime, no police shootings. No mystery to it.