There have been a number of atrocities committed all around the world by people with guns. For one reason or another, or for none at all, people have taken their guns outside and turned them on innocent people. Some of these have been carried out in the UK.
Hungerford and Dunblane jump easily to mind. But we have a government who look after us legislatively and a Police force who do it on the ground. Their response has been to ban guns. Ban anything that might be a gun. Shotguns are licenced and are subject to various rules, which keep the ammunition away from the gun itself etc. etc.
The end result is that only the Police and the criminals now hold real guns. The unfortunate results of the legislation and the slow but obvious change to the status of the Police within our communities have come home to roost.
Two police officers were killed yesterday. Shot by a criminal who is above the law and will remain above the law. That this should happen at all is shameful, that it should happen in a planned manner and have escalated the level of violence through the use of hand grenades unfortunately confirms the failure of both the government and the Police in dealing with firearm legislation and control.
A few weeks ago, four men decided to burgle a house. In doing so they entered the building and were shot. They were not seriously injured although two of them required hospital treatment. The man and woman in the house ended up in Police cells for three days. They were charged. They will appear in court. They may end up in prison.
When the burglars decided to burgle that particular house they stepped outside of the law. They had intent. They were doing so with malice. Having stepped outside the law they had taken full responsibility for their actions and for whatever response they might have to face.
Being shot at and injured probably wasn’t included in their plans but what if it had been? Would they have carried the burglary out?
What will the response be to the killings yesterday? More body armour for police officers? They already wear stab protective armour which has made the police look like paramilitaries and which may have prejudiced the way in which we interact with the police. Do we want the police injured or killed? Of course not but neither do we want them to behave as if we are all criminals who haven’t been caught yet.
Retaining DNA samples, CCTV, web and mobile phone surveillance, kettling, armed Police at peaceful demonstrations, excessive force, providing information to the press, etc. etc. have not done and will continue not to do the Police any favours with the public. Hillsborough also raises questions and reduces the fait we have in them.
Yesterday a senior Police Officer reminded us that the Police are the public and the public are the Police. Really? Since when? How long ago is it since that was the case?
Don’t get me wrong here. The Police are vital in our society. They do a dangerous job. We need them to keep law and order when the occasion requires it. They are well paid, trained, pensioned and equipped from the public purse.
Having all guns owned by the Police and criminals is a recipe for disaster. It means that the criminals can buy guns and more as they see fit. Thankfully they tend to use them on each other rather than on the public and even less on the Police.
Loosening up the gun control laws and allowing licences for suitable people to carry concealed weapons might just actually help things. It might result in criminals buying even more guns? Maybe, but that cat is way, way, way out of the bag. It would make criminals think a bit harder before deciding to do something. In the States this is the case as it is in other countries.
At the same time we need a suitable response from the Police to start policing like they are the public and have, once more, the public being the police. It seems unlikely as things stand at the moment.
The politicians should stop and take note. Their first response will be to use their two favourite and only tools. They will toughen up the law, they will increase fines, they will criminalise us further and/or take our money, that’s all their intellect is capable of.
For the two Police officers who died yesterday we feel compassion and sadness at their untimely and violent deaths. The newspapers will be full of anger as they will be when the criminal who is above the law is tried. Lots of words will be written.
No one will tackle the real reasons this human tragedy happened.
Why is he above the law? Because there is no sanction available beyond locking him up. He has to be shown the error of his ways and be able to re-join our society. The European Court of human Rights says so or he can sue us if he is not rehabilitated.
Calls for the death penalty for the murder of Police officers have been. It should not matter who the murder victim is the penalty should be the same. No special cases whether it’s the death penalty or not.