Click on the title for link to editorial
I am living in south Florida, born in Chicago, so this piece is an opinion on the editorial and the unfortunate death of a policeman in New Zeland. I am not an expert in police tactics, nor claim to be. I am not familiar with operations and techniques of their country. This is an opinion only.
Sudden violence is an unfortunate liability when being a policeman.
Despite all you make think here in the United States, most shootings are domestic and the police are not involved.
Most policeman never fire a gun their entire carer and if they do, a complete investigation occurs including all circumstances and how it could have been avoided.
This is not the old days of the wild west with cowboys or gunman walking down the street, a gun strapped to their hip ready for a shootout.
There are no knee-jerk reactions on policeman shooting a gun because it just doesn't happen. But the respect that people have for the policeman has waned over the years. Criminals have gotten boulder, greedier, more desperate. Gangs warfare is real and a problem, mostly born of desperation.
Most criminals are stopped by our legal system, not guns.
Do we appear evil, out of control around the world? I am afraid so.One can not have a fairytale look at the world and cling to what used to work.
You don't bring a fist to a knife fight. You don't bring a knife to a gun fight.
Please read on below.
Editorial from The New Zeland Hearald
Editorial: Armed police not a legacy we need from Napier's siege
4:00AM Sunday May 10, 2009
Even as gunman Jan Molenaar continued to fire indiscriminately - and the body of officer Len Snee lay helpless - two common and disturbing threads of the New Zealand personality fabric were emerging.
The Knee-Jerk and Know-All are characters who run roughshod over Common Sense. They trawl Internet forums and radio talkback shows - alleged "first-time callers" whose arguments are cliched and ill-judged.
Within 12 hours of Molenaar's mad shooting outbreak, talkback callers were actually criticising police for failing to retrieve their fallen colleague's body in good time. Why, demanded one particularly hysterical woman, had police not tear-gassed Molenaar's bolthole and extinguished the vermin? Another caller suggested razing the house, and its occupant.
Clearly, some people have been watching too many Hollywood movies, and we can be thankful that the most level-headed thinking came from those officers who displayed utmost courage under fire. No one wanted to retrieve the body of Snee more than the colleagues and mates of a man who served 33 years in the blue uniform. They just did not need another slain officer in the process.
Once innocents were confirmed safe and the injured were dispatched to hospital, police were in total control - the only question was whether Molenaar wanted to survive. Time was on the side of police.
Inevitably, the Knee-Jerks among us are claiming police should be armed at all times. In this specific case, and based on the details we know so far, it is extremely unlikely a gun would have saved Senior Constable Snee. Based on his background, and the nature of the operation, Molenaar appeared to pose no undue risk to those officers who arrived in Chaucer St South with a routine search warrant on Thursday morning.
The Knee-Jerks push their case for arming police by citing the grim tally of 29 officers killed in the line of duty in the past 100 years. One slain officer is too many, yet it is easy to forget that many of these officers died, not because they did not have guns holstered to their hips, but because they encountered unforeseen and random circumstances for which they paid the ultimate sacrifice. Sergeant Derek Wootton was run over and killed by a car driven by a maniac last year - a firearm would not have saved him. There is no doubt that New Zealand police officers have been ill-equipped: for a long time their weapons of choice have either been a baton, a small canister of pepper-spray or, perhaps, a gun secreted away in their vehicle. There was no middle ground.
The move to Tasers has been a considered, measured and intelligent idea, but the routine arming of police would be illogical and impractical - do we really expect police to be drawing firearms on every search warrant they execute, for fear that another Jan Molenaar is hiding in the shadows?
Arming police also encourages a culture of greater violence. The death toll will be higher, and we'll be forever locked up on official inquiries every time a young police officer accidentally or over-zealously discharges his or her weapon.
Arming a police officer in volatile situations upgrades the seriousness immediately; it ups the ante for the criminals. Even frontline officers have been adamant they don't see routine arming as a solution.
There is no doubt a different class of criminal - driven by methamphetamine - infests New Zealand streets, and police need better methods of dealing with the scourge. Perhaps a formalised strategy is required for certain drug raids, but this is a long way from giving every officer a lethal weapon.
Len Snee and the New Zealand police did us proud this week. Amid all the pain, grief and heroism, the last thing they needed was people taking offensive potshots.