Personal [and public] protection – redux

Did someone mention Tasers? The sooner the better. I’d suggest this would be one of those incidents where, at present, police have to decide whether or not to use lethal force.

, ,

  • Mark McGregor

    Pete,

    I don’t think a Taser would be any use against a large crowd throwing things from a distance. I also don’t think lethal force should be considered when there is a fear of a leg injury. Maybe not the best example as a case for their use?

  • joeCanuck

    Disagree, Pete.
    I’m in favour of the police having Tasers but this wouldn’t have been an occasion requiring them. As I understand it, they are meant to deal with individuals, not for crowd control or riots.

  • Damian O’Loan

    As it stands, the officers would have had to call for a specialist unit to arrive (who presumably would have done so in less than twelve minutes), and thereby the damage would have been done.

    Community policing is what areas with high crime rates ask for, on an international basis. If Taser is a quick answer, in the long term it will be wrong. As has rightly been pointed out, a dead child for a sore leg does’t seem much like a justice system in action.

    And how long before someone gets the high-powered version and uses one on a policeman? A short-term fix in nobody’s interest, it seems. But, again, what are the options, and why don’t we hear about them?

  • Pete Baker

    Mark

    The potential is what would be assessed in any considerations – not what eventually happened.

    Joe

    You disagree with what?

    That when surrounded by a mob, of up to 30 people, the police would be forced to consider, at present, whether or not to use lethal force?

    That’s the suggestion I made in the original post – and it’s the scenario described in the reports.

    They might not have chosen to use tasers in these circumstances if they had them as an option. But it would be another option.

    Damian

    Community policing?

    Like arresting those stealing cars and driving dangerously in the community, for example..

  • Mark McGregor

    Pete,

    The facts, a leg scratched outcome shows lethal force would have been inappropriate. As noted above Tasers aren’t recommended, even by advocates, in this kind situation – non-life threatening, crowd control, distance.

    It doesn’t meet any of your criteria – a genuinely life threatening situation or one where Taser use was appropriate.

    In fact, you demonstrate how a Taser mindset would easily lead to inappropriate use.

  • joeCanuck

    Disagree with the suitability of the Taser in that situation, Pete.
    I’ve always believed that the first duty of a police officer is to protect his or her own life.

  • Pete Baker

    Mark

    “a leg scratched outcome shows lethal force would have been inappropriate”?

    You miss the point that the facts show that the lethal force option was not chosen.

    The additional point is that surrounded by a mob in these circumstances lethal force will always be an option to be considered when available.

    btw – “non-life threatening, crowd control, distance.”

    And the basis for your claims that these were the circumstances are?

  • Damian O’Loan

    Pete,

    I can’t quite see community police officers armed with Tasers – not as rigorous as your usual self, dare I say.

    I meant to suggest a long term approach being prioritised, and a more full examination of the short-term options being proposed by the media. It strikes me that the producers must have an excellent relationship with Government. Any suggestions?

  • Mark McGregor

    Pete,

    Do you not think you should be explaining your linking of this incident as something to do with the use of Tasers over lethal force first?

    Nobody gets your reasoning yet.

  • Pete Baker

    “Nobody gets your reasoning yet.”

    Is not news, Mark.

    Everyone gets your reasoning, however, might be..

  • Damian O’Loan

    Nay, I like the links and roundabout stuff, and the fact that you ignored all the criticism. Fair play.

  • Mark McGregor

    Pete I’m just asking for an explanation. You are pro-Taser, I’m not. I see this series of criminal acts as not requiring any recourse to ‘lethal force’ – killing and the outcome, a damaged leg seems to support that.

    You seem to think that it required lethal force from the cops – killing. And the killing that didn’t turn out to be necessary could have been replaced by the use of a Taser on a crowd of 30.

    I just don’t get it. You may be for Tasers, I don’t see how this case supports your view in any way.

    Am I stupid? Explain it to me slowly, I may get it yet.

  • Mark McGregor

    btw: and I don’t want to put any ideas in Pete’s head but the only way this argument works for me is if the PSNI get provided with big electric nets they can fire over large groups of people.

    Maybe the debate should be on the catchment area of the net?

  • Pete Baker

    Slowly then, Mark, I know you’re not stupid.

    As for “a damaged leg seems to support that” – as I’ve pointed out the police officers on the ground are forced to deal with the potential outcome when they make their decision not the eventual outcome. And, in this case, their decision was correct.

    “You seem to think that it required lethal force from the cops”

    No. Read the original post again. The lethal option would be considered in the circumstances described in the reports.

    As for “You are pro-Taser, I’m not.”

    I’m in favour of it being an option for police who otherwise would be forced to choose the lethal option.

    Arguably you want an ‘either or’ situation.

  • kensei

    “The additional point is that surrounded by a mob in these circumstances lethal force will always be an option to be considered when available.”

    But an extremely rare one, and a big step. In this instance, no deaths, minor injury to an officer.

    Now let/’s run with your thesis and add in tasers. Tasering the shit out of someone is seen as not a big a step. So maybe instead of a minor injury, we now have 5 people tasered (and let’s remember there is a small risk of death in that). Let’s further run with it, and hypothetically suppose there is another option in between tasering and killing, more severe. Maybe that is deemed more appropriate and there is further violence?

    So we might go from a situation where the result is a minor injury to an officer to one where there is serious or semi serious injuries to several people. I’m not sure that’s an improvement, however guilty they are. And we haven’t considered the possibility or abuse, misjudgment or negligence in the use.

    And by the by, some of us don’t believe in a routinely armed police force and generally having the lethal option.

  • Pete Baker

    Ken

    “So we might go from a situation where the result is a minor injury to an officer to one where there is serious or semi serious injuries to several people.”

    Assuming that those “several people” have not initially attacked the police.

    But there is the Police Ombudsman to appeal to where it is believed that the police were wrong.

    “And by the by, some of us don’t believe in a routinely armed police force and generally having the lethal option.”

    Always good to know where you’re coming from in this debate.

  • Mark McGregor

    To me this is a case where ‘lethal force’ – killing wasn’t required and I can’t see how the use of Tasers on a crowd would have improved the situation (I could see their electrocuted friends becoming more hostile, not less).

    I can’t see how shooting people dead or mass electrocution would be a good idea or an improvement on the outcome delivered.

    Agree to disagree time, Pete, we won’t get any further.

    Though the PSNI leadership clearly agree with you.

  • Pete Baker

    The PSNI leadership would agree with me in the sense that the officers concerned chose the right option.

    That’s a subtlety of the situation you seem to miss.

  • kensei

    “Assuming that those “several people” have not initially attacked the police.”

    Suppose they have. The only valid argument is to protect the safety of the officer involved. In most instances that is better done by backing off and getting necessary reinforcements.

    Out of interest, how many police officers have been killed or seriously injured due to the lack of tasers, to you think? How many people do you think have been killed or seriously injured due to the lack of them?

    “But there is the Police Ombudsman to appeal to where it is believed that the police were wrong.”

    Great. Will I go through the list of instances where this is a somewhat cold comfort, or can be taken it as read?

    “Always good to know where you’re coming from in this debate. ”

    It is hardly a particularly controversial opinion, considering the composition of other police forces on the island. Oh, and a generally unarmed populace.

  • Mark McGregor

    No Pete, in your case you also thought it was an initial choice between killing criminals(unproven) and having no option to electrocute – your lethal force argument- even though their death sentence would have been for car crime or scratching a cop. Not subtle at all, a bit scary to be honest. “if we can’t Taser we would kill”? Not an argument I’m buying, especially when you’ve said you support Taser use for crowd control.

    Right, Bed. Nite, nite.

  • Pete Baker

    Ken

    “Suppose they have. The only valid argument is to protect the safety of the officer involved. In most instances that is better done by backing off and getting necessary reinforcements.”

    With the other option of lethal force – or any available alternatives.

    Mark

    “a bit scary to be honest. “if we can’t Taser we would kill”?”

    You need to re-read this conversation when you’re sober.

  • kensei

    “With the other option of lethal force – or any available alternatives.”

    The set of circumstances where using lethal force in preference to backing off is extremely small. The set where having a less lethal (I’ll not count tasering as “non lethal”) option in preference for those lethal cases is smaller still. The set of having a specifically taser less lethal option in preference to baton, firing in the air, shooting to injure rather than kill, potentially also baton round, water cannon or dogs is even smaller.

    And I’d say more than outweighed by the number of potential cases of misuse, abuse and negligence, and the number of cases where tasering would be used where, without the option, the police would simply have backed off.

    I note no attempt to answer my questions. I’ll make it more specific. How many cases can you cite during the Troubles where things would have been drastically improved by Tasers?

  • Pete Baker

    “I note no attempt to answer my questions. I’ll make it more specific. How many cases can you cite during the Troubles where things would have been drastically improved by Tasers? ”

    Yeah, Ken. I wonder why there is no attempt to answer your particular questions..

  • joeCanuck

    shooting to injure

    Now that’s plain silly; if an officer has to shoot, other than firing warning shots in the air, they should shoot to kill, because the only valid reason for shooting is to protect themselves from death or serious injury. You don’t play around with that!

  • joeCanuck

    Or death or serious injury to a fellow officer or member of the public, of course.

  • Harry Flashman

    *I note no attempt to answer my questions. I’ll make it more specific. How many cases can you cite during the Troubles where things would have been drastically improved by Tasers?*

    Or indeed their personal firearms, you could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times policemen drew their weapons during the Troubles yet in that time 300 policemen were killed, many while carrying automatic weapons, wearing flak jackets and even sitting inside armoured vehicles.

    I said it on the other taser thread but counterintuitively one must conclude that if instead of spending all that money on guns for armed police and soldiers the government had simply allowed every adult in Northern Ireland without a criminal record the right to bear arms the Troubles would never have escalated the way they did.

    When the only people with guns are criminals and agents of the state and the law abiding citizenry are unarmed then things get nasty.

  • Rory

    Dear, dear me! Old Pete seems a wee bit more Tarantino than “Dixon of Dock Green” or “Heartbeat” on this issue.

    Gimme a bit of that ol’ lethal force! Eh, what?

    And there was me foolishly trying to work out how an acceptable force for policing might allow society to develop with a reasonable degree of peace and security without the added fear of state licenced weaklings (at best) and (at worst) sociopaths protected by the very same sense of corporate righteousness that allowed (and allows) for wholesale child abuse in organisitions with similar unimpeachible integrity.

  • The Dubliner

    Harry, if all citizens were armed, what would have happened in Derry in response to Bloody Sunday… or is it the case that Bloody Sunday would not have happened? Would nationalists and unionists not have been at odds with each other if both sides were as well armed as each other? Would it not have been the case that civil war would have been successfully engineered by the sociopaths were the means to bring it to a swift conclusion available?

  • Harry Flashman

    An armed society is a polite society as pro-freedom people like to say Dub.

    Bloody Sunday would never have happened, or at least the outcome would have been rather less one sided, if the 20,000 marchers had been carrying guns themselves, the Paras would have received a salutary lesson instead of being able to massacre unarmed civilians.

    Ditto the Battle of the Bogside, ditto Bombay Street, ditto Kingsmills, ditto Darkley.

    Massacres only occur where the victims are unarmed and at the mercy of armed killers.

    Bosnia only stopped being a slaughterhouse when the Bosnians got the chance to shoot back, peace of a sort, was restored.

  • Rory

    Shall we also ensure, Harry, that every caring mother pops a .38 revolver in Junior’s organic lunchbox before he sets off for school – {Loaded ? – check! Hammer on empty chamber? – check! Safety ‘on’? – check!) .

    “Look out you Waco wackos! We gonna waste yo’ ass, muthafu’!”

    Is that to be the new Green Code of your philosophy?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Harry Flashman: “An armed society is a polite society as pro-freedom people like to say Dub. ”

    When the consequences of one’s actions potentially follow upon the action itself, forethought and carefully choosing one’s deeds become paramount in an individual’s mind.

    Harry Flashman: “Bloody Sunday would never have happened, or at least the outcome would have been rather less one sided, if the 20,000 marchers had been carrying guns themselves, the Paras would have received a salutary lesson instead of being able to massacre unarmed civilians. ”

    Of the US civil rights marches that went pear-shaped, what with Bull Connor, firehoses and attack dogs, it was those marches by nice polite Negroes led by pastors. Strangely enough, angry black men toting black berets and shotguns didn’t have nearly the same troubles.

    Now, this is not a wholly fair comparison — the Black Panthers operated in an entirely different environment than the followers of Martin Luther King. But the truth of it still remain — the Klukkers ran like hell on those occasions where they confronted black men guarding churches armed with shotguns.

    The Dubliner: “Would nationalists and unionists not have been at odds with each other if both sides were as well armed as each other?”

    The old Soviet Union and the United States were at odds with one another for half a century, give or take. Both sides were heavily armed and, yet, actual violence was limited. Having a gun, contrary to popular belief, neither imbues one with a sense of immortality nor does it give them delusions of grandeur. If the fear of mutually assured destruction can work for the US and USSR, what makes you think that normal folks in the neighborhood couldn’t figure it out.

    Unfortunately, the US and USSR had near equal and off-setting access to the tools of violence, a condition that did not exist in Northern Ireland.

    si vis pachem, parabellum

  • Harry Flashman

    *Shall we also ensure, Harry, that every caring mother pops a .38 revolver in Junior’s organic lunchbox before he sets off for school*

    I refer you to my post @1.25am Ro, the word “adult” is clearly visible, it is there for a reason.

    Can you possibly disagree that the history of Northern Ireland would have been less tragic if at the end of the evening of January 30th 1972 half a dozen members of the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment lay cold and lifeless by the kerbs of Rossville Street and a lot more innocent citizens of Derry had survived?

    For one who likes to sneer at the cosy certitudes of people like me I have to chuckle at your world where there are no bad people, and even where there are an avuncular, incorruptible Dixon of Dock Green will be at your side in minutes to protect you and to collar the miscreant who will shamefacedly say “it’s a fair cop guv” before he is led away to the cells.

    Just like the situation in here;

    Joys of a gun free society

    Tell Mrs Newlove about how being unarmed and powerless leads to a peaceful world.

  • Briso

    HF:the government had simply allowed every adult in Northern Ireland without a criminal record the right to bear arms the Troubles would never have escalated the way they did.

    I always thought all the Protestants were armed? Half were in the security forces and the other half were farmers with shotguns? Maybe that needs to go on the Nationalist myth page…

  • Harry Flashman

    *I always thought all the Protestants were armed?*

    Clearly the ones at Darkley and at Kingsmills weren’t, if they had been then the cowards who slaughtered them might have received a taste of their own medicine.

  • kensei

    “Yeah, Ken. I wonder why there is no attempt to answer your particular questions..”

    I can only assume because you can’t actually find a decent answer to them so you resort to your usual sneering.

    You maintain that Tasers would save lives. You are not arguing this on an ideological basis, you are arguing practical benefits. The question of roughly how many lives projected to be saved is an obvious one if you are weighing up a cost/benefit analysis. It’s probably fairly easy to calculate the death rate and injury rate by taser, negative PR and potential law suits expected based on the experience of other countries that use them. And so on. That’s the wonderful thing about figures; they did to cut from theory and big claims and crystallise issues.

    And if you can’t find several examples during 30 years of rioting and violence, especially considering your encyclopaedic backlinking knowledge, then it might look like you had nothing to back up your claims, no?

    Briso

    “I always thought all the Protestants were armed? Half were in the security forces and the other half were farmers with shotguns? Maybe that needs to go on the Nationalist myth page…”

    There were 160,000 guns in circulation by the mid seventies, believed to be mostly in Protestant hands I believe. “All” is a exaggeration, but there was a significant amount floating about.

  • kensei

    Harry

    “Can you possibly disagree that the history of Northern Ireland would have been less tragic if at the end of the evening of January 30th 1972 half a dozen members of the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment lay cold and lifeless by the kerbs of Rossville Street and a lot more innocent citizens of Derry had survived?”

    Er, no. I can’t imagine guns having a big effect on initial killing. I can then imagine that many of the paras being shot, possibly killing more people trying to defend themselves. I can then imagine Republicans on angry rampage, loyalists on angry rampage and things going FUBAR beyond belief.

    Guns are also not particularly good against big crowds intent on burning you of your home, especially if the crowds are also armed. Shooting someone when outnumbered that badly will only result in instant death. I can’t think how it would not have ended up with a litany of disasters to add to the opposing folk memories, and could see it developing into civil war.

  • Harry Flashman

    The situations would never have occurred because no platoon of Paratroopers, no matter how thick or gung-ho, is going to try and slaughter civilians in back alleys and courtyards if they know that literally thousands of the inhabitants of the surrounding flats and houses can open fire on them in such close quarter (think Black Hawk Down). As it was a handful of lightly armed troops were able to act with impunity, casually strolling around over the period of thirty minutes shooting whomever they chose at will and not an ounce of resistance beyond waving a bloody handkerchief could be offered.

    Similarly with Bombay Street, the attackers knew the inhabitants were unarmed and defenceless; a dozen or so armed men would have driven them from the streets, but the attackers would never even have dared try if they thought for a second that they would meet sustained resistance, mobs are essentially cowardly beasts and can be put to flight very easily indeed with the right hardware.

  • nmc

    Have to go along with Harry there. If the people of NI were allowed to have weapons along the same lines as the US there would be a drop in bully boy tactics used by certain paramilitaries. They’re less likey to throw their weight around if there’s a possibility of being shot.

  • kensei

    “Have to go along with Harry there. If the people of NI were allowed to have weapons along the same lines as the US there would be a drop in bully boy tactics used by certain paramilitaries. They’re less likey to throw their weight around if there’s a possibility of being shot.”

    Hopelessly optimistic.

  • Harry Flashman

    *Hopelessly optimistic.*

    I’m always amused when those on the left who constantly claim to be in favour of individual freedom and liberty, betray their real statist control freakery when confronted with the true litmus test of individual freedom and liberty; the right of free born citizens to bear arms.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    kensei: “Guns are also not particularly good against big crowds intent on burning you of your home,”

    Know not a few American black men with Southern accents of a certain age who would tell you differently, kensei — a shotgun blast or three, even if over their heads, can take the starch out a mob looking to burn you out of your home.

    As for crime and an armed populace, your opinion runs counter to the statistics, Kensei. The places where crime runs the worst are places like Washington DC, Philadelphia and Chicago — where you have a disarmed populace and an armed criminal element.

    Gun control laws only control the guns of the law-abiding, leaving only the criminal element with firearms.

  • kensei

    Harry,

    “I’m always amused when those on the left who constantly claim to be in favour of individual freedom and liberty, betray their real statist control freakery when confronted with the true litmus test of individual freedom and liberty; the right of free born citizens to bear arms”

    First up, I don’t like guns, and I don’t get off on them. As part of the Social Contract I am happy for the State to have a monopoly of violence. And many people will simply refuse to carry them based on moral objections, thus gives those that do an advantage over them. Of course, if the Government is tyrannical this may be a problem, but in general in democracies there are normally better routes if needed and arms can be obtained. As the history of Ireland shows. Forgive me, Harry, I actually believe in Democracy.

    Regardless of weaponry or not, the Government and the democratic process must be the ultimate arbiter. In which case it still needs more force than anyone else.

    DC

    “As for crime and an armed populace, your opinion runs counter to the statistics, Kensei. The places where crime runs the worst are places like Washington DC, Philadelphia and Chicago—where you have a disarmed populace and an armed criminal element. ”

    US Centric. And in any case, correlation is not causation.

    “Gun control laws only control the guns of the law-abiding, leaving only the criminal element with firearms.”

    Amazing how we get by, no?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    kensei: “First up, I don’t like guns, and I don’t get off on them. As part of the Social Contract I am happy for the State to have a monopoly of violence.”

    At least a slave resents his enslavement.

    kensei: “And many people will simply refuse to carry them based on moral objections, thus gives those that do an advantage over them.”

    You don’t need full saturation, although, given the example of several of Atlanta’s suburbs, where owning a working firearm and the associated munitions has pretty much collapsed the crime rate, it might not be a bad thing.

    All you need is for the phenomena to become common enough to become a consideration. For example, shortly after Florida became a “right to carry” state, more violent crime statistics went down, with one glaring exception — crimes against tourists… funny thing that.

    kensei: “Of course, if the Government is tyrannical this may be a problem, but in general in democracies there are normally better routes if needed and arms can be obtained.”

    Mayhap, but it is not as if dictators have never gotten their start by being elected… and were the populace armed, the need for extraordinary measures, like as not, wouldn’t be necessary.

    kensei: “US Centric.”

    It is a convenient laboratory for comparing areas with differing laws, particularly where things like guns and freedom are concerned, what with European willingness to submit to the control freakery of the state. But if you need a European example, there is always Switzerland, where damn near everyone has ready access to a large-bore firearm. Don’t ever hear of the gnomes of zurich having their cars burned by rampaging mobs, now do you?

    kensei: “And in any case, correlation is not causation. ”

    Mayhap, but it has a better foundation than some of your arguments, kensei. Any less support and your naval gazing, pardon, your argument would have to be able to levitate.

    kensei: “Amazing how we get by, no? ”

    What with paramiltary hoods in NI, hundreds of cars burned in a night in Paris only a slightly noteworthy event, etc. Yes, it is.

  • Harry Flashman

    *Forgive me, Harry, I actually believe in Democracy.*

    Me too mate, and the best way to guarantee a government respects the democratic wishes of the people is the threat of really rather nasty consequences for the state officials if they don’t comply. Call me an ornery old git but I’m rather fond of the notion that state employees should be more nervous of upsetting the citizens than the other way around, aren’t you?

    By the way, how has democracy been achieved? Was it not achieved by citizens picking up whatever tools they had to hand; pikes, pitchforks, axes, squirrel guns and giving tyrannical rulers and their hirelings a very bloody nose?

    Do you think once you establish democracy that’s the end of the job? You can safely hand over your means of self defence to the policemen because you’re now guaranteed security? How did that work out for the blacks of Little Rock, the Catholics of the Bogside, the Jews of Germany, the kulaks of the Ukraine, the Bosnians of Srebrinice, the Tutsis of Rwanda, and yes even the white farmers of Zimbabwe?

  • kensei

    Working, little time:

    “At least a slave resents his enslavement.”

    I am not a slave. It’s the same position Rousseau outlined in The Social Contract. I believe it along with Paine, had certain influence in the US at one point?

    “What with paramiltary hoods in NI, hundreds of cars burned in a night in Paris only a slightly noteworthy event, etc. Yes, it is.”

    For fun, compare the US position on the list to most major European countries. Try France, you like them:

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita

    Whoopsie

  • The Dubliner

    Dread Cthulhu & Harry Flashman, interesting perspectives. I hold the view that the right to bear arms (or ‘the right to bare arms’ for those who like shabby t-shirt chic) is a civil right that should be curtailed by collective rights. The British had a similar right in their BoR of 1689, but that only gave Protestants the right to bear arms – making for unequal odds. You do have the right to bear arms in Ireland, but only for sporting purposes and under licenced conditions. A shotgun, alas, wouldn’t be much use against a Garda Uzi.

    “The old Soviet Union and the United States were at odds with one another for half a century, give or take. Both sides were heavily armed and, yet, actual violence was limited. Having a gun, contrary to popular belief, neither imbues one with a sense of immortality nor does it give them delusions of grandeur. If the fear of mutually assured destruction can work for the US and USSR, what makes you think that normal folks in the neighborhood couldn’t figure it out.”

    Probably because MAD replied on dozens of highly intelligent strategists advising the respective governments that an unprovoked attack on the other wasn’t such a smart idea because of automatic retaliation.

    The individual doesn’t have access to said team of strategists to caution him against hasty action, not does he have the deterrence of automatic retaliation. Unlike nuclear missiles, the origin of a bullet isn’t as determinable.

    In regard to the North, tit-for-tat attacks between loyalist and provisional murder gangs were all the rage during their sectarian squabble, without any deterrence in play. Admittedly, the leaders of both murder gangs agreed that they would not kill each other (a mutually beneficial relationship that was only infrequently disturbed by British Intelligence interfering). PIRA calculated the tit-for-tat response into their strategy, attacking civilian targets with the specific intent of ensuring that loyalists would retaliate against Catholics, thereby persuading the Catholics that PIRA’s role was to defend them from attacks. So, tit-for-tat was actually an incentive, not a deterrent.

    And then, of course, there are the clinically insane. Rational MAD strategies play no role in their thought processes. Were a deranged unionist to attack a bunch of GAA supporters, a tit-for-tat attack would be inevitable with the difference being that the violence wouldn’t be controlled by armed gangs but by deranged individuals with access to the lethal means. Escalation into civil war in that context would only be curtailed by the State curtailing civil liberties to a much greater degree that merely voiding a right to bear arms. In addition, where exactly was the intelligent strategy from PIRA? There was no military endgame or effective military plan from that bunch of unmitigated morons, so don’t overplay the ability of folks to “figure” out the obvious. 😉

  • The Dubliner

    Just to emphasis the point: if a kid in New York shoots other kids in a school, the parents of the murdered kids don’t make any effort to identify which religion the offending kid was and retaliate in kind. The situation is otherwise in NI, were retaliation is a form of collective punishment against one community by the other.

  • joeCanuck

    About 15 years or so ago, A US State Senator or Representative proposed a law as follows:

    All adults without a criminal conviction would be required to carry a handgun.
    If a crime was committed, the person victimised would go into the street and shout “Stop thief” or whatever was appropriate.
    All citizens would then be required to stop until the police arrived and investigated.
    Anyone who didn’t stop could be legally shot by one or more upstanding citizen.

    Naturally the Deaf community weren’t thrilled by the proposed law.

    What say you Harry?

  • Harry Flashman

    What say I? It’s a stupid, illiberal law, every law abiding citizen having to stop in their tracks until duly inspected by policemen.

    I much prefer the idea that when someone shouted “stop thief” all the law abiding citizens would rush to the aid of the victim, let the police, when they eventually arrive, pick up the pieces of the criminal for burial later.

    As for the Social Contract, I’m 100% for it, but like all contracts it’s a two way transaction and if the state reneges on its side of the bargain, by being either too corrupt or too incompetent to protect the citizen’s freedom then the citizen is absolved of all responsibility to abide by his side of the deal until such time as the state once more complies with its responsibilities.

  • Rory

    I’ve got to admit old Harry Flashman fights his corner very well in this match. He’s rolling with all the punches, taking any clean shots and shaking them off and coming back counter-punching and delivering good clean shots himself.

    He’s so good I’m thinking, “Jeez, might be a good idea if I had me a pistol. I could go and plug that annoying bastard, Harry and shut him up for good”. But of course Harry has already spotted this one and reckons that my having a pistol won’t allow me to do that because I know that he will also be “packin’ iron” (just to let y’all know I’m savvy with the parlance) and well able and ready to defend himself.

    Only of course what old Harry doesn’t reckon on is that I am a mean, ornery, bushwacking, drygulching, back-shooting son of a bitch and I ain’t playing by the Code of the West and Charlton Heston can go fuck hisself and the ghost of Randolph Scott while he’s at it.

    I have to accept in all fairness that it’s guys like me that give the sacred Right to Bear Arms a bad name, but, shit, everybody’s gotta be somebody, right? It’s freedom. Innit?

  • Harry Flashman

    *It’s freedom. Innit?*

    Yessirree Bob, er Rory, it’s freedom, some of us love and cherish freedom and would like more of it, some of us, like you, prefer being told by their betters and masters how to live their lives.

    Sad really, but there you go.

  • Harry Flashman

    By the way, what happened to the organ donor thread? It’s seems to have dropped off the radar.

  • Harry Flashman

    Oops, sorry just found it, boy we’ve been having a lot of posts lately.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dubliner: “In regard to the North, tit-for-tat attacks between loyalist and provisional murder gangs were all the rage during their sectarian squabble, without any deterrence in play. ”

    Targetting mostly unarmed individuals, Dubliner. Important detail — as a rule, the tit-for-tat shite was inflicted on the unarmed populace, not one another. This is wheereyour argument falls down — it wasn’t the populace bearing the arms, but two collections of hoods, thugs, would-be gangsters and political shysters. OBVIOUSLY their calculations do not agree with those of the base population(), just a parasite’s biology is not simpatico with that of the hosts. Were the whole of the two groups armed, rather than two collections of sloped-browed hoods, the dynamic would have been different.

    Likewise, the only way that democracy honestly works is if the whole of the populace has the same rights on a de facto level, not simply on a de jure bases. What kensei (and to a lesser degree, you) overlook or intentionally ignore is that, by refusing the law-abiding populace the rht to self-defense while permitting / not moving against armed paramilitaries, the state has upset this equality. Since the state lacks the stomach (or, mayhap, some other portion of the anatomy) to disarm the hoods, then the simplest method of redressing this imbalance is to allow the rest of the population the rights they have granted the hoods.

  • Rory

    You are absolutely right, Harry, I just love being told by my betters and masters how to live my life. And then going quietly off and living it as I see fit.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rory: “I have to accept in all fairness that it’s guys like me that give the sacred Right to Bear Arms a bad name, but, shit, everybody’s gotta be somebody, right? It’s freedom. Innit? ”

    It never ceases to happen that there is one fella in every crowd who doesn’t understand the difference between liberty, freedom and anarchy.

    To answer your question, Rory, just as authority must be properly mated with responsibility (and vice versa), yes, you are free to be a shite, but you also don’t have much of a leg to stand on when the other shoe drops. Choosing an action also constitutes accepting the consequences of that action.

    The only place that gun ownership would be absolutely mandatory would be the halls of the ACLU, and then only if they read the US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment in the same fashion as they read the 1st Amendment. Even the suburb of Atlanta that mandates fire-arm ownership has exceptions — even Georgia isn’t going to force the Amish and Quakers to purchase a firearm.

  • joeCanuck

    the suburb of Atlanta that mandates fire-arm ownership

    Is that for real, Dread?
    If so, when did it happen and what happened to crime, particularly crime involving firearms? Up, down or steady?

  • joeCanuck

    Just checked it myself. Statistically no change.

    The site will not allow me to copy the URL. Never had that happen before. Anyone know why?

  • joeCanuck

    That was for burglaries.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    joeCanuck: “Is that for real, Dread?
    If so, when did it happen and what happened to crime, particularly crime involving firearms? Up, down or steady? ”

    Joe, do I *sound* like I am joking? I’m a serious as a heart attack.

    Crime dropped like a stone — now, to be fair, it *IS* suburbia and the law was made as a response to urban crime that was beginning to slop over the city limits. The folks down South have a tradition of firearm ownership, so accidents were not a major issue.

    As for the other, check your assumptions. As demonstrated by the UK’s surge in both knife and gun crime following their imposition of gun-control laws, decreased gun ownership does not equal lowered rates of violence — not even decreased rates of gun violence.

    That said, the law in Georgia was flexible in conception — a civil war cannon on your lawn (in operating order) fufilled the requirement, so long as you have the proper round-shot, fuse and black-power available.

    But, the short answer is that all crime went down, iirc. Even things like B&E;(both varieties, hot and cold) dropped — there are easier ways to make an illegal dollar than breaking into a house where you where you know the homeowner is armed and the Castle doctrine is fully in play.

    Oddly enough, those who were excepted from the law didn’t feel so strongly about the issue so as to put signs on their lawn identifying their houses as safe for the criminal element.

    Funny old world, innit?

  • joeCanuck

    Checked some more. The law requiring firearms to be purchased was passed in 1982. It is not enforced and no-one knows how many are complying.

  • joeCanuck

    The difference in your “facts” and mine, Dread, may come from the fact that the numbers for the three years following were greatly reduced from the year prior. Howver, the numbers were within the “normal” variation range and when a 10 year rolling average up to 1998 was looked at, the difference was statistically insignificant.
    Again, the site had only burglary stats.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    joeCanuck: “Checked some more. The law requiring firearms to be purchased was passed in 1982. It is not enforced and no-one knows how many are complying. ”

    Know more than a few from the area — welcomed the law as an excuse. But you may be right — I had dinner with a few old friends from the region that may have colloed my recollections.

    But even then, joe, by your own admission, burglaries went down and violent crime was flat.

    Now, compare that to the aftermath of, say, Britain’s fairly draconian civilian disarmament / gun control law, which immeditately preceded a several year increase in gun crime and knife crime.

    Disarming law abiding citizens does not lead to a decrease in crime. In fact, it emboldens criminals — Washington, DC, by your kenning, should be Utopia, given its draconian gun laws — no hand-guns, long-arms must be secured and unloaded. Chicago should be crime-free, yet the gangs were so emboldened that at one point they turned tenements into fortresses, creating their own “no-go” areas and daring police to respond.

    The police, btw, unless the enter into a special relationship with you, are under no special onus to serve and protect — those are empty words on the side of a patrol car. Taking the Northern Irish example, RUN/PSNI (or their political masters) tolerate armed gangsters. How reasonable is a scenario where the police countenance and permit the hoods weapons, but the state would deny the law-abiding public the same right?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    joeCanuck: “The difference in your “facts” and mine, Dread, may come from the fact that the numbers for the three years following were greatly reduced from the year prior.”

    As opposed to the three or four year surge following Britain’s civilian disarmament law?

    joeCanuck: “Howver, the numbers were within the “normal” variation range and when a 10 year rolling average up to 1998 was looked at, the difference was statistically insignificant. ”

    Any change, particularly one that goes unenforced, is not going to have a lasting effect, now is it, joe?

    I know from my own graduate work in Statistics that there is no correlation between gun control and low violence — quite the opposite. (side note — areas of low population and homogenous population tend to have the lowest incidence of violent crime).

    Draconian gun control laws, such as in Washington DC, Chicago and Philadelphia have not yielded safer cities. The only place that has had a reliable drop in murder rates has been New York City, ona combination of targetting high crime areas with some tactics that, while sound, run along (and occasionally off) the ragged edge of civil rights. But, as rule, restrictive gun control laws have no credible impact on violence.

  • Harry Flashman

    I am always fascinated by men like kensei and Rory who will absolutely insist that a woman has a right to have the baby within her womb brought to term and then when it’s half way through the birth canal have its brains sucked out, or claim that a lesbian woman has an absolute right to marry her girlfriend and adopt children.

    If you agree with them on these issues then you’re a fearless defender of women’s rights but if you further suggest that a woman also has a right to carry in her handbag a piece of mechanical equipment no larger than a can of hairspray in order to defend herself then you suddenly become a mouth breathing, knuckle dragging, Neanderthal redneck. The double standards can be truly of the gobsmacking variety. They prove that the Left is not interested in personal freedom and individual liberty, merely in state control.

    As the acerbic Ann Coulter points out, it’s funny how people who can find the right to partial birth abortion in the US Constitution seem to be totally incapable of reading the Second Amendment.

  • Rory

    The absolute madness of the claims you ascribe to me, Harry somewhat alarm me. The very idea of a “right” to abortion or of a “right” for women, Lesbian or otherwise, to “marry” their girlfriend are totally meaningless to me. In the second instance I think you are referring to the state institution of “legalised marriage” for which I have a healthy Bolshevik contempt. Men and women “marry” each to the other as free will and mutual desire so drive them, as do men to men and women to women as their nature may be. This simply is. The state may choose to make recognition of that simple fact of each such union or not. On this I have no care either way. It is a common confusion of the educationally deprived that, in church, the priest “marries” a couple, which of course is ridiculous at one level and quite kinky at another. The priest witnesses and gives the blessings of the church to the free marriage of one to the other. If you had ever attempted to join two steel pipes of differing diameter together using an inappropriate joint you would know that one pipe at least would be said not to “marry” with the joint.

    As to a “right” to “suck out the brains of babies halfway through the birth canal”, to use the technicolor garishness of your imagery, I can only respond with the words of Michael James in Synge’s Playboy of the Western World, “Is it mad youse are?”.

    I fear for you that you are so bothered that women might be treated compassionately in the hour of their man created difficulty. The exercise of such compassion I see not so much as a woman’s right as a duty of my own humanity.

    What motivates this terrible fear and hatred of women I am driven to ask. And I do not at all consider that, to use your own words “you suddenly become a mouth breathing, knuckle dragging, Neanderthal redneck”. Rather I suspect that with you it was a process.

    But the good news is that with a rigorous regime of kind positive thought and finding fortune enough to help those less fortunate than oneself I believe that this process may sometimes prove to be reversible.

    I wish you well.