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Monday, July 25, 2005

Shoot

I don’t know how many of’ee remember an old Clash song called ‘Know Your Rights’, it began with the words ‘This is a public service announcement… with guitars!’ which is one of the better lyrics your author has come across. My point in remembering this song to you is in another lyric, to whit ‘Murder is a crime – unless it is done by a policeman’.

This is a fallacy. You might say that it is merely a song, and an old one at that and I ought not invest so much emotion in it, but it is merely a symptom of a wider feeling.

You will of course not have failed to hear of the regrettable death of Jean Charles de Menezes – shot by police recently.

There is a feeling amongst some that armed police are rather trigger happy, and that if they do shoot a man and later discover he was not so great a threat, that the officers in question have a finger waved at them, and are then let free. This is a fallacy.

Every time, every single time a police officer shoots a human in the course of his duty, the officer is tried for murder. Oh yes. During the trial it has to be conclusively proved that the defendant believed that his life or the life of another was in danger of being extinguished, and imminently so.

Not once has a police officer been convicted by a jury of his peers, every time, every officer has been vindicated. This is a phenomenal record if one stops to think about it. It s because of this practice of trials that our armed police show such restraint. Without wishing to cast aspersions on the officers or other lands we must acknowledge the remarkable number of armed police operations which end without a shot being fired. This is certainly a counterpoint to some forces who seem rather more willing to pull the trigger. I imagine you did not know, for instance, that no British police sniper has ever fired a shot in anger, not once.

I shall go on, I suppose you recall my post a while ago detailing the deplorable state of the firearms used by the Portuguese police. In Albion our armed police are issued with new and up-to-date weapons, but, they are actually modified to make them less effective, yes.

When you have seen armed police on the telly, or at airports you will have noticed their ‘machine guns’ (really sub-machine guns). These are H&K MP5 nine-mill submachine guns. When Heckler & Koch sell these weapons they are capable of automatic fire at 800 rounds/min, but the examples carried by our police have actually been modified to fire single shot only!

The point of this post is the somewhat elementary insight that although mistakes will happen, they are rare, they are dealt with most potently, and they are rather less severe than they might be, than they would be in other lands. It need hardly be pointed out that Albion is almost the only nation in the world whose police still, by and large, do not carry firearms.

If you have not done so before, then I think you ought pause a moment and give thanks that there are people willing to risk their lives for yours, and the next time you read about an innocent man being shot, I would like you to thank your deity, if you have one, that it was not you who had 1/8th of a second to decide whether to pull the trigger.

I still like The Clash by the way, but I am not going to base my politics on their lyrics.

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