I am curious about what the public thinks about militarized police. As a police chaplain I hear mainly one side of the discussion. I would like to hear some general perceptions of police officers and police tactics. Most of the police officers I know are decent people. There seems to be a trend, however, being birthed in our police academies that seems to want to create a divide between the citizen and the cop. Cops are bred to be intimidating...necessary, they say, because of the challenges on the street. Everyone should be seen as a potential criminal. There is some concern about this among non-law enforcement types who resent their loss of presumption of innocence, that they should not have to prove their innocence to some over-zealous cop who may looking at them as a potential criminal. Cops should be citizens too, they say, who treats others with the same respect they demand in the performance of their duties. There is no need for this adversarial relationship between the public and law enforcement. What say you?
I must begin by lauding you for sharing your experience in this field with the rest of us. Your imput is essential to many of these debates about policing excess.
I am concerned for there is a difference in the military soldier and the civilian police force in our American democracy. The soldier in the conduct of a war is not interested in anyone's Constitutional rights, but must subdue the enemy at all costs.
The domestic peace officer MUST take the rule of law as provided by our Constitution into account when performing their jobs. When police abuse authority and use heavy handed tactics as seems too often to be the case in minority communities, I have reason to be concerned.
Providing them with military ordinance, which in most cases for domestic confrontations is unnecessary, is provocative in itself.
But again the 2nd Amendment obsession leads us to the conclusion that the man in the street citizen can have access to absurd levels of firepower, forcing the law enforcement community to up its game in order to successfully counter.
And to think, when I was in England people had respect and civility to the point where constables and peace officers, called Bobbies, had a baton as a weapon.
So, yes I am concerned and opposed in principle to the militarization of our police departments as both unnecessary and dangerously provocative.
Not to take this discussion on too far off on a tangent and touching on some of your writings in favor of the pro-gun provision of the 2nd Amendment, perhaps you can address these questions that the advocates of the aforementioned have been reluctant to answer. What would be your answer as a law enforcement professional?
I know that we have our 2nd Amendment rights but what I want to know is the mental state of those that feel that need to have the 'right to carry' in taverns? They say that alcohol and gasoline don't mix, but neither does alcohol and gunpowder.
Is it a macho thing for college students who are barely mature enough to drink and drive be allowed to carry firearms on a campus?
What is this idea that we need to arm teachers as if they could instantly prepare themselves for any eventuality because they are armed?
While I know that we can kill one another with stones and knives, what kills faster and more efficiently than a machine made explicitely for that very purpose, an assault rifle?
If we look at Chicago and compared it with Toronto, a somewhat larger sized city, do we really think that the homicide rates are the same, allowing for guns or not ? The homicide rate for Chicago is 10 times higher than that of Toronto. Why is this? Does the proliferation of firearms in Chicago contribute to this disparate statistic? But the Right says, people kill people, not guns..... But it looks like guns do help with the dismal statistic.
In most of America, the threat to ones life and limb cannot be so great as to justify a Bat Masterson approach to a civil society. A oversized psychiatrist's sofa would be in order for the American mindset and obsession with 'being armed' in all places at all times
"Does the proliferation of firearms in Chicago contribute to this disparate statistic?"
Take a look at the number of homicides committed by legal owners of guns in Chicago vs the number of homicides in Toronto and you may get a part of the answer. For the rest of it, compare the Chicago homicide rate before and after the banning of handguns (most gun murderers do not use long guns). If you want a much wider view, compare the homicide rate of countries worldwide with the number of guns in the country - the results will astound you (it did me). While it may look like guns do help with the dismal statistic from a handpicked pair for comparison, if you do the actual research and compare numbers it does not. It's much like saying that the locations in the US with the most stringent gun controls have the most murders and therefore it looks like proliferation of guns prevents murders.
Greetings Wilderness, thanks for bringing your perspective to light, but can you reconcile the information you say needed further research with this?
http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-mur … onto-89879
It's not difficult, Credence, if you pay close attention to what is being said.
All through your link the writer bounces back and forth between "gun violence" and "homicides" as if they were one and the same. As if the only homicides are from guns. As if guns are causing the violence (and we know this because all homicides are from guns).
Yes, Toronto has a much lower homicide rate. And yes, in spite of strict Chicago gun laws, Chicago has more guns. But the conclusion that guns are the cause of that homicide rate is never, ever examined; it is assumed to be true without any evidence to support it. A correlation (more guns at the same time as more killings) does not indicate causality, not even when a correlation with only two data points are considered. It's like saying that a black cat crossed my path this morning and 20 minutes later I wrecked the car on the way to work, so we know the cat caused the wreck. Yes, the intuitive train of thought is much clearer in the case of guns (although black cats were known - not assumed, but known - to bring bad luck years ago), but intuition is a very poor substitute for actual experience or information.
For instance, you appear to write off and ignore that Houston and Chicago, with about the same population, have vastly different homicide rates: Houston is 1/3 that of Chicago with far, far more guns (Houston also has 1/3 the population density - is that the reason?). Thus showing, with the same lack of logic or statistical analysis, that more guns produce fewer murders, yes? But we won't talk about that because it doesn't produce the conclusion we want. Instead we'll cherry pick the cities we want to compare in such a way that if we carefully confuse the reader with talk of "gun murders" vs "murders" they'll conclude that guns cause murders.
It just doesn't work. Logically and statistically the connection between guns and murders cannot be made. Not any kind of relationship, however tenuous, and certainly not a causal relationship. Should you doubt this, there is a hub on my carousel giving gun ownership vs homicide rates for the first world countries. My conclusion is there, but so are both graphs and numerical data from the UN for you to draw your own conclusion from actual, real world, comprehensive data that is not cherry picked for a pre-formed conclusion. There is even a brief look at the experience of Australia and the UK after their severe gun laws. I warn you, though, that it is not easy to digest. You will want, and should, look at the source as well as other sources of raw data. Be careful, though, as most data is arranged around gun violence and it is a foregone conclusion that taking guns will reduce gun violence. A concerted effort to confuse the issue as the dead don't care what tool is used.
So what's next, Credence? You seem like you care and can reason - will you take the hours (days?) necessary to form a reasoned conclusion about gun controls? Or take the word of people like Gabrielle Gifford, who was shot and now wants all guns removed from society because it's obvious that without guns the murder rate will fall precipitously even though it cannot be shown anywhere in the world? Few people are willing to put down their intuitive grasp of "why" or "how" in favor of hard data and experience. Too much work, I guess, and no one likes to be wrong.
A single link (there are others in the hub) concerning the experience of Australia and the UK: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB100014241 … 0446855466 Like your link, we don't understand the "why's", but the experience is hard to refute. Unlike your link, there is no assumed conclusion; just the facts of what happened.
The hows and whys are just as significant as the raw data and statistics, if we are serious about understanding a situation and seeking a solution
You are missing my point, I am talking about a violent culture that seems to be part of American life as opposed to that of a close neighbor, Canada. From my perspective, American cities, means that Houston is no different than Chicago. Did you trouble to read the side bar on the article, I will provide it for you
"There were 179 shooting deaths in all of Canada in 2009. Canada’s Population was almost 34 million people. There were 376 shooting deaths in Chicago in 2009. The population of Chicago was less than 3 million."
Yet, you believe that our obsession with firearms does not have anything to do with this? We are talking about firearm caused homicide on both side of the example.
To be fair I will read your position (article) and with a open mind, comments on its contents. When I do, I will get back with you.
But looking at the sidebar, don't you think that compares apples with apples? I think that is a pretty big difference, how do you account for it? Have you ever taken the time to ask why?
What is your opinion about the other firearm obsession related questions that I have posed? You seem to be well aware of the issue, do you think that the stance of the pro-gun people is infalible and not deserving of any criticism?
You don't have to be anti-second amendment to see the need for certain common sense precautions in how firearms are sold and acquired. Unlike Giffords, no one is out to take your gun. The pro-gun people seem determined to make it as easy to buy a 9mm as it is now to buy a "Big Mac"!
The hows and whys are not just significant; it is imperative that we find them. Which we have not done - a simple claim that an obsession with guns promotes murder means nothing whatsoever. Particularly when no correlation between guns and murder rate can be found anywhere in the world. I repeat the comment about the black cat.
So the observation that Canada is not violent compared to the US is true; what is NOT known to be true is that there is a causal relationship between that violence and guns. Indeed, it is known that there is NO correlation at all.
Apples to apples; you're trying to compare the murder rate of one culture with that of another and blame it on guns as a handy scapegoat. Doesn't work. How about comparing the same culture (Chicago and Houston) and use that result to form a conclusion? Apples to apples, just as you say, and comparing a very sparsely, rural country to one of the densest population cities in the US. (and with a radically different culture) is foolish. It would actually make more sense to tie the difference to the population density, or the average temperature, or the more socialistic government attitudes, or a higher abundance of wildlife. Cleaner air. More open spaces. Less racial diversity. Lower religious affiliation. There are a thousand differences between the two, and no indication at all that it is due, or even primarily due, to a specific one.
The pro-gun stance is not infallible at all, and needs work, IMHO. But so does the anti-gun stance; doing the same thing time after time and hoping for different results is not the mark of intelligence. We've implemented gun controls for decades, up to and including banning them in heavily populated areas, and have seen no reduction in murders. So why keep doing it? Because it's PC? Because a large portion of the population are afraid of guns? Because it buys votes?
"Common sense" regulations. Like declaring that a 22 rifle is an "assault gun"? Or anything with a barrel shroud is? This isn't "common sense"; it's pure idiocy designed to put an emotional impact on the listener without regard to facts. That it is all too effective only makes it worse and promotes "taking action" without doing anything to find the "whys" or address the real problem.
But I support background checks. I support mandatory training, both safety and accuracy. I support mandatory gun locks or equivalent. I could even support high tech guns that won't fire unless in the owners hands. But I DO NOT support requiring a psych evaluation every couple of years, I DO NOT support constant (expensive) registration and I DO NOT support banning all semi-automatic weapons (already been done with no results). And it really bothers me that the anti-gun group uses the terminology of "assault weapon" to describe ordinary, useful guns. It's gotten to the point that it refers to anything painted black, for God's sake! Even the few legal descriptions from various states are pure crap.
Giffords, as you say, is an anomaly (albeit one that many go along with) just as the 9mm equaling a Big Mac are. Both are radicals, but I see the Gifford group eventually succeeding as they spread fear. It's a much more potent weapon than facts, logic, reason or the Constitution.
(Want an interesting tidbit? Look at the graph of the murder rate for the US since about 1900. There is a huge spike in the twenties, and another, broader, one much later that is still falling. The first coincides almost perfectly with prohibition, the second with our "war on drugs", particularly marijuana. Made illegal and the murder rate literally shot up; relax the illegality and the rate falls, and is still falling in the second case as marijuana laws continue to relax. Not saying it means anything, but it is interesting and could be a part of the "whys". But we'll never look because we already have the answer in additional gun controls.)
OK, I read your Wall Street article, fine. I am not talking about strict gun control or bans, the NRA gun fanatics won't even visit the ideas that you, yourself, offer to provide some restraint. That is my problem, I said that I don't want your gun, but like our other amendments, there are no absolutes. I would be satisfied if they enact as reforms the ideas found in your suggestions.
So you have no problems with college students 'carrying' on campus without prior training? No problems with not allowing a university to ban firearm possession on its property. What kind of gun nut culture would permit people into taverns with firearms strapped on to their hips?
As for comparing the two societies, you are 'copping out' on me by making excuses to explain the unexplainable differences in the carnage rates between the two countries, the US and Canada. For example, you are wrong,Canada is not a rural society. Eighty percent of Canadians live in urban areas. This is comparable to the US. So that does not explain the difference.
The 'radically' different culture is another cop out, the standard of living between our nations are close to identical, they are as similar to the United States in more ways than other nation on Earth. Yet, from your perspective, they are alien because they take a more civil view of life among themselves. Is socialism more compatible with civility? The Right just as soon not have ask those kinds of questions, because the answers will certainly upset their apple cart.
So, Canada is a great model to use for comparison and contrast. Getting past all the conservative biases, what is the real reason that there is less violence, firearm ownership not withstanding, between the two societies?
Why are we different and why do we excuse the differences when those differences weigh in to how we behave within our relative societies?
So, lets say that I accept your 'common sense' precautions regarding gun sales and proliferation, OK
Conservatives always say the citizen needs to keep weapons to overthrow an oppressive Government. So when is the line drawn, does the average citizen expect to be able to purchase military ordinance from Walmart? Gotta keep up with that oppressive Government, you know.
I think that the Right is afraid that when they can no longer have their way through the Democratic process, they always will have the gun for the purpose of insurrection against the majority whose edit they may well not like.
Why the difference in violence, period?
As always, I appreciate your stimulating discourse.
Down the list, then, with my opinions.
I did say I would support mandatory training, so untrained kids on campus is a non-question. Not allowing a university to ban - that's a little tough. Is it a government or a business? Government cannot ban without a darn good reason, and that people are afraid is insufficient to ignore the rights of others (I certainly except guns in courthouse, cop shop, congress (although if politicians can carry in session, so can anyone else, and they can), etc. A business, on the other hand, can do what it wishes. That also answers the tavern question, but fails to address the liability of serving liquor to armed people (although I do think barroom shootings are rare; more likely to be stabbed with a broken bottle or crowned with a beer stein).
Now, now Credence - a more "civil" view of life is full of not only opinion but an effort to "emotionalize" the matter. Can we change it to a more "nanny oriented state" (just as accurate and just as loaded)? That was my point, not any "civility" - Canadians are happy to have the govt. care for them; Americans are more responsible for themselves (although that is changing). And it IS a difference - one that promotes violence? Or one that reduces it as a perpetrator always faces the immediate threat of retaliation without waiting for a cop? Can you support your answer, whatever it may be, and support it with something more than opinion or intuition?
"what is the real reason that there is less violence, firearm ownership not withstanding, between the two societies?"
I don't know. Do you? And, again, can you support that with hard data instead of opinion and intuition? The US is almost unique in first world countries in it's violence level, depending on how you define "first world" - what other countries are there to compare with in an effort to find out what the reason is?
Leave me out of the Conservative group if they all say it is to stop tyranny. (Although I will say that it will help; a population full of guns will be very hard to control with or without tanks and A-bombs. Guerrilla warfare is very effective.)
Again, speak for the right, not for me. I'm not so concerned personally about owning a gun (I have but one - a lever action hunting rifle 50 years old if it's a day) as I am about the erosion of freedom. Remember Patrick Henry? "Give me liberty or give me death"? Well, that's what's important here - until you can give a very good reason for limiting that liberty (to own guns) then you have no legal or ethical right to do so. Not even to require registration of guns as that is a limitation.
So, if you read the hub (you haven't had time to study the information), you know:
That when Australia took 600,000 guns over the course of a year (from a population of only 20 million) the murder rate continued the slow slide it had been on for years. That after taking all those evil "assault weapons" (semi-automatic guns) there was absolutely no change.
That when the UK went crazy and confiscated all hand guns there was, again, no change. That violence is actually getting worse there.
If you studied the figures for gun ownership vs murder rate, that for any country you care to name, there are two more that show either more guns = fewer murders or that fewer guns = more murders. (And no, that doesn't make it true that guns = a lower murder rate. It doesn't because the opposite is also true.)
That while Canada has a lower homicide rate than the US, that murders by bludgeoning and knives is considerably higher there. Probable reason is that there is no gun, so killers choose a different weapon - exactly what the lack of correlation between gun ownership and murder rates points to. While the hub shows that taking guns results in fewer gun homicides, the homicide rate overall is unchanged - again, without guns killers use a different weapon.
So when you plaintively ask "Why the difference in violence, period?", I don't know! And neither do you. Nor does anyone else; no one has ever seriously asked the question in a quest for an honest, factual answer. They just ask it, knowing that there is no answer and therefore the default answer that the tool used is to blame is presented. In spite of all the information to the contrary (and I'm not the only one to find this lack of correlation) it has to be guns. Because guns are scary and are a political scapegoat.
Well, it's not enough. Not after decades of negative experience. Not after the experience of the rest of the world. It is not enough to simply assume that guns cause deaths anyway and limit the freedom our country is based on. We've been there and done that and it doesn't work; there is absolutely no reason to try it yet again.
Where does that leave us? Right here, with you asking what the difference is; what is causing the violence in America. Which is why I participate; to make a handful think (most simply either ignore or reject the data as false somehow) and maybe get a few suggestions. The hub has some, ranging from video games to failed marriages to taking God from the government. Some might have merit, some do not. Got any yourself? If it isn't lots of guns, what is causing the violence in our country and what can be done about it? (Probably a topic for a new thread).
The question regarding militarized police is if not held in check can be scary. What I find interesting is the military police I encounter are not militarized other than a side arm. Regarding "There is no need for this adversarial relationship between the public and law enforcement. What say you?" I am in full agreement :-)
For all that lay between the question and the closing I am still pondering and have used it for the beginning of a hub idea. I'll let you know if I arrive upon a completed work and publish.
Next . . .
Cops , although I respect them greatly , the good ones anyway , should not be becoming secret-ized , No more masks I say , That kind of crap is for Nazi's , secret police , swat teams . They ARE becoming more militarized in their purchasing of equipment too . I believe strongly in their mission , I support them greatly , But !
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