Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gun-toting bobbies? Not on your nelly...

You may have read about the tragedy in Manchester, England, where two police officers (both women) were killed.

Inevitably, when this happens in the UK there is a call from some quarters for police officers to be given guns.  The opposing cry then rings out loud and clear: "No bloody thanks!"

My last post mockingly used the term "quaint" and it's appropriate here, too, maybe.  That modern-day police in a busy, crowded nation dash off to emergencies with a truncheon as their only weapon (okay, some have tasers now) seems anachronistic.

I think people fail to understand, certainly in this country, how different the culture is when it comes to guns.  There simply aren't many in circulation and the idea of individuals owning them and arming themselves would be anathema.  There's no way in heck a Second Amendment would fly over there, it'd be shot down (hehe) before making it to the floor of Parliament.

You may or may not know that I was a crime reporter in England.  My beat, for more than a year, was the town of Colchester, population about 100,0000, and also the surrounding villages.  In all that time, I wrote about ONE shooting.  It happened when a wannabe gangster tried holding up a gun shop.  It didn't end well for him.

But I spoke to the police on several occasions about carrying guns and not one that I spoke to ever wanted to.  I liked that.  And, apparently, they still like it that way.

Tragedies will happen, lunatics will always hurt people, but as we've seen here in Austin, and recently, sometimes arming an officer won't save him. Don't get me wrong, cops here absolutely need to be armed - the bad guys are, for sure - but I think that's my point.  Despite the homogenization of the world through technology and the other spreading tendrils of globalization, my homeland is hanging on to one of those "quaint" traits that make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Am I out of touch?  I've been gone a long time, so tell me if you think I've turned into a starry-eyed foreigner with rose-colored view of the motherland.  Oh, but before you do, maybe check out this article by the BBC on the subject, I thought it very good.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I shall turn my thoughts away from cops getting shot because I'm about to head out for my weekly ride-along.  Hhmmmmm, what more cheery England-related topic is in the news?

1 comment:

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