11 March, 2009

Observation on police response to crime

A senior police officer advised members of the public to ‘lock their car doors while driving on the nation’s roads’ yesterday. Commenting to a close friend that is as good as throwing your hands up and admitting defeat to criminals, with the police missing a golden opportunity to finally arm the law-abiding population to level the playing field in the fight against crime, my friend made a poignant observation. She said that many police officers will be shot, and some may even be killed, especially the criminal ones, and those who just act like criminals. But this is exactly why the citizenry should be armed. When police officers are involved in violent crime, they should be treated exactly like criminals. Since we cannot wait for the police to police themselves, as we see when an officer is arrested–even for the most heinous crimes, such as rape, kidnapping, or murder–his colleagues play hide and seek games with media photographers and videographers, allowing the officer to use back doors of courts (usually reserved for judges and magistrates) and other tactics that effectively treats the officer as though he has done no wrong (it is almost always a male officer).

By arming the citizenry, the Police Commissioner achieves three successes almost immediately. First, the armed citizens are now in a more secure position to defend human life and property. Second, the so-called ‘few rotten eggs in the service’ can effectively be dealt with by the very citizens they prey on, which will help the Commissioner in his quest to rid the service of undesirable elements. Third, the relationship between the law-abiding public and the police service will improve dramatically, as both sides redevelop mutual trust and respect. After all, Sir Robert Peel was correct in his observation that “the police are the public and the public are the police”. He was illustrating that members of the police service came out of the community (public).

Commissioner, if you really want our help, don’t ask us to put our lives at risk by being de facto police informants (as the term ‘confidential’ will never apply). Instead, enlist our support by allowing us to arm ourselves legally, thus freeing up your human resources for other proactive duties, as opposed to always being in firefighting mode.

I submit to Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Raymond Craig, that ‘fit and proper’ persons who should qualify for owning firearms should meet only the following critieria:

Must own land (or live in parents self-owned home)
Must not have any convictions for violent crime (someone who passed a bad cheque should still be allowed to defend themselves)
Must undergo a psychiatric evaluation
Must pass a gun competency training course
Must shoot at an approved range at least once per quarter (every three months)
Must be 25 years or older.

Self preservation is the first law of life. If our government through the police service cannot or will not provide security for all its citizens, then we will have to protect ourselves, by any means necessary. Should vigilantism develop organically, then the government and police will have to shoulder the responsibility for allowing the situation to escalate to that level, but we must survive.

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