Being Thankful UK Police are Unarmed

I once saw a t-shirt that said “I’m Liberal…And I Shoot Back”

If I lived in the USA I probably would own a gun, or even a few of them.  I remember on a tour across America that I wandered into a Walmart and was quite amazed at the guns on displayed (in a locked glass cabinet) right next to all the other out-door gear and the aisle over from the children’s toys, I think $99 was the cheapest, which is about the same price as craft beer is these days.

I’ve shot a fair number of guns in my time too, all in controlled environments; clay pigeon shooting mainly in the UK but abroad, in those slightly more unregulated Eastern European countries, I’ve had the pleasure of shooting (at paper targets) pump action shotguns, AK47s, Magnums and general revolvers and other assorted hand guns, pistols and rifles.

Each time I held a gun it is always met with extremely nervous excitement and trepidation.  You know you are holding a deadly weapon, you know which is the most dangerous end, you know its in a safer environment (a gun range as opposed to under your bedside cabinet) but the fear is still there that something could possibly go horribly wrong.

Earlier this month the body-cam footage of the police shooting of Daniel Shaver was released after a trial found that officer (Phillip Brailsford) not guilty of his murder (2nd degree).

I won’t post the footage here, if you want to look for it, it is on most popular video hosting sites, it isn’t bloody or gory, it merely features an intoxicated, unarmed man crying and pleading for his life under penalty of death if he “makes a mistake.”

It is extremely harrowing and whereas Brailsford appears to be a man of questionable character and judgement it is the other officer, Charles Langley (a man who has since been able to retire and move to the Caribbean) shouting increasingly confusing and nonsensical instruction, while threatening death if a mistake is made who is also culpable.

But it seems the case every time, in any instance of questionable deaths of the public at the hands of the police (both here in the UK and in the USA) that many officers can just waltz off into retirement, re. Hillsborough.

I’m not here to dog on police officers of either country, nor am I against guns but I am very thankful that we have special branches of armed police rather than routine arming of “regular” officers.

Our armed police aren’t above making mistakes either; I’m minded of the shooting of Harry Stanley and most pertinently Jean Charles de Menezes, which was apparently a failure of “health and safety procedures” – but is also a fine example of how the truth, even before social media, can get muddied and blurred and down right lies by pushed by the state and a compliant media.

Sadly police (like all other humans) don’t even need guns to kill people in questionable circumstances, again I’m minded of the death of Eric Garner and of countless deaths in police custody due to “restraint techniques.”

As terrorist get more desperate to kill civilians and less technically savvy, a move towards vehicles and knife attacks would seem to be the more common modus operandi  in this day and age but when you see headlines like this

Oxford Street panic: Woman hurt after ‘shots fired’ false alarm

It is slightly reassuring that our UK police aren’t adding to the panic by being armed and rushing to a scene that isn’t anywhere near as dangerous as Chinese whispers would have people believe.

In the UK we have Peelian principles, otherwise known as policing by consent and no matter how treacherous those that try and do the general public harm sink to becoming, we as a population and therefore our police must not follow them down that path.


Thanks for reading.

Nothing quite like a happy Christmas season posting…