Sunday, January 25, 2015

The British Perspective on Guns / and Why / Part 2

This is a continuation of John’s comments regarding British law enforcement and the UK's anti-gun culture:

John:  "During my years as a UK police officer I never carried a gun.  No one I arrested, or my colleagues arrested, was in possession of a gun.  Not to say it did not occur, but it was a rarity.

Possession of a firearm or an imitation firearm could result in a lengthy incarceration.  The prevailing sentiment of the day among the police was that if we were armed then the crooks would pack guns and we would not be safer.  There was, among some, the old cry of 'we don’t want to be like America.'   They could have easily said we don’t want to be like France, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, Australia, etc.  All those forces are armed.  The few other nations which are primarily unarmed are the Irish Republic, New Zealand, and Norway.

A murder investigation in the UK was a big deal with Incident Rooms established, officers drafted in from other divisions, all under the command of an officer not below the rank of a Detective Chief Inspector.

When I was growing up the most popular police show on TV was Dixon of Dock Green which ran for years.  The main character was a middle-aged police sergeant who resolved cases and restored order through mainly avuncular wisdom.  Rarely was there a laying on of hands on an offender and certainly no firearms were brandished.  And today the public is not ready for the friendly area constable, on his foot beat in the High Street, chatting up merchants, seeing school kids across the street, giving directions to tourists, with a gun strapped to his hip.  In a recent incident in Scotland, an armed response group, being the only officers available, responded to a routine disturbance call outside a McDonalds.  They turned up with their Glocks and magazines clearly visible much to the consternation of the stunned onlookers, which was followed by howls of concern by a local member of parliament to the Chief Constable.

That said the public is now conditioned to the sight of London Metropolitan Officers, armed with H & K automatic rifles and handguns, patrolling in pairs, through Heathrow airport.

Times are changing.  In my day the terrorist threat was from the IRA, but the shadowy bombers were already long gone when their devices exploded.   None of them were suicide bombers unless they had screwed up their timing mechanisms.  Recent events in France and Belgium involving Islamic terrorists show a kamikaze mentality who will confront their targets with guns blazing.  Death to them is the martyrdom of the fanatic.

In the recent Belgian incident the police foiled attacks in which they themselves were the intended target.  Automatic weapons and police uniforms were discovered.  But at least, unlike their unarmed British colleagues, the European officers have the means to defend themselves."

True’s Comment (questions for John):

  1. John, do you think that Americans (reflective of our culture and demographics) are more violent than the British; and, if so, why?
  2. Do you think our Second Amendment is a good and necessary aspect of our Constitution?

True Nelson
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