Cops Continue To Make The Best Argument For Defunding The Police

from the 'blue-lives-matter'-replaced-with-'soy-un-perdedor' dept

Defund the police!” people shouted as cops continued to kill unarmed black people in ways that went far past “subjectively defensive” into “objectively racist.” Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd for ten minutes, personifying 300 years of white oppression of black people. Floyd died, suspected of nothing more than passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a local store.

The nation erupted. Calls came to strip funding from cop shops that had done little but extend the racist narrative of this country, focusing their enforcement efforts on poor minorities to ensure they were never able to raise themselves to the level where their votes or opinions might matter.

Cops are terrible at solving crimes. In most cases, it’s a lack of interest. Your average property crime might feel significant to the victim, but the distribution of law enforcement resources doesn’t prioritize petty theft.

Instead, law enforcement focuses on the one thing that benefits it: the War on Drugs. Kicked off by a president who obliged noted drug abuser Elvis Presley with a White House photo op, the War on Drugs has become a handy way for cops to help themselves to people’s property without having to worry about actually providing probable cause to support their actions.

The crimes people care about, the police don’t. Homicide/murder clearance rates are abysmal. In many large cities, murder is a seller’s market. Clearance rates make it clear committing murder is as likely to pay off as spinning a roulette wheel.

When people expect police to act quickly, cops respond slowly if they bother responding at all. Most of the law enforcement action we see stems from traffic stops predicated on violations most drivers consider to be, at best, simply annoying. Failure to signal? Following too closely? Driving too slowly in the left lane? We honk, we throw the bird, we curse under our breath. But we aren’t cursing cops for failing to enforce these laws.

But that’s what cops do, because it allows them to talk people into consent for warrantless searches. That’s where the action is. Sometimes they find drugs. Other times they find cash and property they can seize by speculating about how it was purchased. The remainder of drivers are free to go, hassled but hopefully not litigious.

In Uvalde, Texas a shooter entered an elementary school and killed 19 students and two teachers. Uvalde police officers — sent by an agency that demands 40% of the city’s budget — were on the scene. But they weren’t doing anything. According to conflicting and constantly morphing accounts, officers tried to enter the room but two officers suffered “grazing” bullet wounds. The effort to stop the killing was abandoned. Officers retreated to another room, ignoring multiple 911 calls from students that made it clear the shooter was still alive and still killing students.

Uvalde cops rode to the proverbial rescue but abandoned their “run to the sound of gunfire” when it became apparent the sound was linked to actual gunfire. Officers hung back and waited for someone else to save the day. Other officers gathered outside of the building busied themselves with preventing parents from rescuing their children and threatening people with probation violations for talking to the press.

It took a federal agency to end the nightmare. A division of the US Border Patrol actually took the gunman down. Read that again: a border control agency was asked to go 60 miles inland to perform duties unrelated to its usual enforcement efforts. And it accomplished the task, despite being “backed up” by officers who had received specific training in handling active shooter situations.

The retreat was unjustified. The training these officers had received informed them they were expected to sacrifice their own safety to ensure the safety of others. It noted that if officers felt they were incapable of putting their own lives on the line, they needed to find other employment.

These cops took 40% of the city’s budget and engaged in 0% of the rescue effort. They did not kill the shooter. They did not rescue students until well after the gunman had been killed by officers from another agency. Why are we paying these cops? Because we want small traffic infractions addressed and property crimes treated with shrugs and the perfunctory filing of reports?

This is what billions of dollars of funding are buying us every year:

It’s not just murder. Manslaughter is down to 69 percent clearance from 90 percent forty years ago. Clearances in assault and rape cases have dropped to 47 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Nonviolent property crimes like burglary (which involves illegally entering a property), theft (which involves taking property from another person), and motor vehicle theft are getting solved at a microscopic 14 percent, 15 percent, and 12 percent, respectively. 

Mass shootings may fall somewhat outside of this tabulation, but it’s still part of the law enforcement equation. Some statistics posted by Eugene Volokh in support of the “good guy with a gun” theory don’t make the point Eugene thinks it does.

The point he’s trying to make is that citizens with guns are instrumental in ending mass shooter situations, which results in saved lives that wouldn’t be possible if gun control efforts had prevented these people from responding to acts of violence. To be fair, Volokh states that he draws no inference from these incidents other than the fact the 2nd Amendment allowed these people to return fire when faced with gunfire. But he buries that hedging under this headline:

10 Cases in Past Year Where Law-Abiding Defenders “Have Stopped Likely Mass Public Shootings” With Guns

Depending on the criteria used, there was anywhere from a half-dozen to several hundred mass shootings during this same time period. The information gathered by the site Volokh quotes doesn’t appear to be tied to any particular count of mass shooting events. It is only a compilation of cases where citizens stopped a gunman by using a gun of their own.

Even if you believe people with guns are instrumental to stopping mass shootings (and that any gun control methods would lower this number), the percentage of cases where this happens is extremely low. In most cases, it’s cops responding to active shooter calls. And they’re definitely not great at handling those incidences either. At best, this suggests there are too many guns out there at any given time and that people wanting to kill other people are taking advantage of this situation most often.

Law enforcement has fallen down on the job multiple times in recent years when responding to mass shootings.

When Omar Mateen finished pumping bullets into dozens of people sprawled on the dance floor inside the Pulse nightclub on June 12, he walked toward the bathrooms, where many patrons had hidden. It was just minutes after Orlando police were called about the gunfire, and law enforcement officers began descending on the club.

Four of them entered the building through one patio, while six others shot out a window to get inside. Among the 10 officers who went into Pulse, some had powerful military-style rifles and one had a shield. At least two had tactical experience.

Police fired at Mateen when he popped his head out of one of the bathrooms. The shooter was outgunned and outnumbered.

But then, police decided not to pursue him.

Exhibit 2:

Communication problems among federal and local authorities complicated the search for the gunman during September’s deadly mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, according to a D.C. police report that says city officers were unable to make use of live video of the shooter as they streamed into harm’s way.

The report says the U.S. Navy failed to tell police commanders that a video feed from 160 cameras in the corridors where Aaron Alexis, 34, opened fire could be accessed from a room just inside the building. A private security guard had locked himself in the room and apparently did not try to contact anyone.

Too many command buses crowded the scene, officers talked over each other on different radio channels, and there was confusion among some responders — and even top officials — about who was in charge.

“We never saw the base commander during the entire incident,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said in an interview.

Not just a United States problem. From Canada:

When police arrived at the first crime scene at 10:36pm on 18 April, in a quiet cul-de-sac in the the seaside community of Portapique, they found a bloodbath.

Several bodies were strewn in the street and buildings were on fire. Over the course of the next few days, police would find 13 victims across seven different locations in that single neighbourhood.

[…]

An hour later, RCMP tweeted they were investigating a “firearms complaint” in Portapique and that people in the area should lock their doors and stay inside.

It would take eight hours before they sent another tweet, and another two after that for police to tell the public that the gunman was wearing a police uniform and driving a police cruiser.

Again and again:

The former school resource officer accused of hiding during a South Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead will have to convince a jury that he wasn’t criminally negligent, a judge ruled Thursday.

The police have proven they’re really only efficient when they can combine laziness and opportunism. That’s why forfeiture is a multi-billion dollar law enforcement industry while most murders go unsolved. That’s why cops pour money into drug task forces rather than hunting down people who commit property crimes. And that’s why — when faced with anything out of the ordinary, whether it’s a mental health crisis or an active shooter situation — they respond so poorly.

We expect police to be heroes when children’s lives are on the line. But when these lives are on the line and heroes are nowhere to be found, the self-proclaimed heroes tell courts they have no duty to protect the lives of citizens.

The shooting in Uvalde highlights the disconnect between our expectations and what cops expect from themselves. The outsized budgets law enforcement agencies command for themselves makes it clear cops view themselves as far more indispensable than they actually are. When seconds matter, cops did nothing for over an hour. That doesn’t justify commandeering 40% of the town’s budget. And it only adds fuel to the “defund the cops” fire. Police are their own worst enemy. They’ve just been lucky it hasn’t cost them more than it has to this point.

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Comments on “Cops Continue To Make The Best Argument For Defunding The Police”

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Nemo says:

Re: Re:

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to cancel Mr Cushing. That would deprive me of another opportunity to mock a future opinion of his, should such come up and merit it.

But as a suicide survivor, I’m qualified to say that those who glance at gun suicide statistics and assume that banning guns will stop them don’t care about those whose lives they have “saved” any more than they claim proponents of the 2nd A care about children, because there is no other plan. Good luck with the hell you’re in.

“Get it out of my news feed, so I can forget about it” makes for horrible policy decisions.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Banning all guns⁠—which is something no one has ever seriously suggested without being laughed at for years⁠—won’t stop people from committing suicide. That much is true. But moving funding away from overfunded police departments and into underfunded social programs would definitely help. Making the legal purchase of a gun much more of a hassle (and limiting what guns the average American jackoff can buy) would help as well.

If a person wants to kill themselves, they will find a way. Society shouldn’t make suicide easier (or seem like a better choice than living). Stricter gun regulations would at least help in that regard⁠—well, help more than the pissant regulations we have in place now would, at any rate.

R.H. (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

I’m not going to argue with your point on gun control but, concerning this:

Society shouldn’t make suicide easier

Why not? If reasonably painless assisted suicide was legal those of us who have decided that we don’t want to exist anymore wouldn’t be as pressured to, let’s say, go out with a bang.

I understand that some people who would decide to commit suicide-by-cop would still make that attempt but, since the one thing that a person must own outright without the interference of others is his or her own life, why shouldn’t ending that life also be a right?

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Why not?

Because most suicides are due to mental problems which are largely treatable (well, in a sane society at least). Then we have the suicides were people have ended up in a life-situation which they find untenable in their own eyes (crushing debt, lost job etc).

None of the above are something that assisted suicide should cover in any way, and those types of suicides are entirely unnecessary and arguing that it’s their right disregards the fact tgar they aren’t fit to make that decision.

I have nothing against assisted suicide in the instances where the alternative means that someone will slowly die in pain or the like, but using an unwilling third party (ex suicide-by-cop) for those seems extremely selfish and the person who decides to end their life in that manner have disqualified themselves to decide for themselves, just like in the situations above.

The statistics tells us that owning a gun is also associated with a much higher suicide risk (8x for men, 35x for women), ie limiting access to guns also means that spur-of-the-moment suicides will decrease drastically. As Stephen said, if someone really want to take their own life they’ll find a way but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to set up conditions to make it harder for anyone who is thinking of taking their own life.

Mhajicek says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Those who can’t buy something they want legally, either make it, or buy it illegally from someone else who made it.

Gun control is DRM for mechanical objects. It only effects the law abiding.

Full autos are illegal as heck, but every gang banger in Minneapolis has one. The cops say there’s nothing they can do about it, because the conversion is too easy and cheap.

As far as no one suggesting banning all guns, um, yeah, there are prominent politicians who are pushing that very thing.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Those who can’t buy something they want legally, either make it, or buy it illegally from someone else who made it.

Which in no way means we shouldn’t make it harder to acquire such items.

Gun control is DRM for mechanical objects. It only effects the law abiding.

No, it affects the whole chain of ownership. If it’s harder to get a gun there will be less gun floating around. The same argument can be made for anything, like “Explosives control is DRM for physical objects. It only affects the law abiding”. How would you feel if your law abiding idiot neighbor could buy C4?

Full autos are illegal as heck, but every gang banger in Minneapolis has one. The cops say there’s nothing they can do about it, because the conversion is too easy and cheap.

And? If we limit the amount of guns sold it will in the end mean less guns on the streets, modified or not. And the whole schtick about “nothing they can do about it” has nothing to do with stopping or limiting the proliferation of guns.

Mhajicek says:

Re: Re: Re:4

So you count yourself among those calling for a total gun ban. Those full autos are 9mm pistols, one of the most common firearms in the country.

Nations with total bans on civilian guns still have booming black markets for guns. The criminals are still all armed. The only difference is that the good guys are defenseless.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:5

So you count yourself among those calling for a total gun ban. Those full autos are 9mm pistols, one of the most common firearms in the country.

Please point to where I said there should be a total ban on guns. And what the fuck has gun proliferation to do with modded weapons except for the fact that those modding weapons can acquire weapons with ease to begin with?

Nations with total bans on civilian guns still have booming black markets for guns. The criminals are still all armed. The only difference is that the good guys are defenseless.

Point to any functioning country that has a total ban on guns where shootings or mass-shootings occur regularly.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:5

“We” tried making it harder for people to get alcohol. Harder for people to get drugs. How did that work out? It created and fueled organized crime. It cost our society trillions of dollars and millions of lives.

Prohibition is an act of evil.

Do you have some kind problem in understanding what words actually mean? For the context we are discussing, prohibition means you prohibit the sale and/or use of something, limiting means limiting sales and/or who can buy a thing.

And if you want to conflate gun sales with illegal drugs, well, that only shows you have no real argument and have to put up a bad strawman argument that actually makes no sense at all unless we are talking about illegal gun sales. Or perhaps you are arguing that any kind of gun sale should be legal because “prohibition is evil”.

I have to ask, what the fuck do you really want? That any criminal or gang-banger can go into any gun-shop and buy whatever they want? Or do you want to stop them getting weapons they mod for full auto?

Do you actually have any kind of logical argument that makes sense or is it just some kind of emotional clap-trap that amounts to “control is bad because I’m a 2A gun-nut but gang-bangers are bad..uhm..what?”

JMT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Those who can’t buy something they want legally, either make it, or buy it illegally from someone else who made it.

This claim doesn’t hold water. The Uvalde shooter tried and failed to purchase a gun when he was underage. So instead he just… waited. Some people will turn to illegal sources and some won’t. This is not an all or nothing issue, reducing gun availability will reduce shootings.

…there are prominent politicians who are pushing that very thing.

There may well be a statistically insignificant number of politicians who claim to want all guns banned, but that number is so small and their effect on the conversation so limited that it’s disingenuous on your part to mention it like it’s an actual threat.

Cattress (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

I agree to a point, prohibition of things never works and usually just increases violence and profits cartels. And I’ve heard talks that sound damn close to banning all guns, and I’m not sure how much is hyperbole or negotiation tactic.
But I think raising the age, restructuring the background check system could present an insurmountable hurdle for some would be shooters. Buying a gun illegally, or finding one and successfully stealing one, is easier for some than others. A lot of these young killers don’t have the social skills or connections to arrange a buy. I actually kind of wonder how some of them managed to navigate making a legal purchase without tipping off the salesperson that something was amiss. The Pulse nightclub shooter spooked a retailer who refused to sell to him. Of course he did find eventually get the gun legally because our systems failed.
I don’t know how much further any of these shooters would have gone to procure guns if they couldn’t have done so legally and easily, we can only speculate. And some, yes, I would imagine, would have rigged a bomb or drove into a crowd if they couldn’t otherwise get a gun. But I suspect that neither of those options are nearly as appealing as the mass shooting because they don’t offer the same imagined thrill or sadistic satisfaction in terrorizing people, making them fearful, and watching them die up close an personal.
I’m not a nihilist, I think we should start with the age limit and work on fixing NICS. Go from there.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'You can't defund us, a mass shooter might... oh...'

Their inability or unwillingness to step up when faced with actual threats or in cases that require actual work rather does a number on the idea that you can’t ‘defund’ the police because if you did that then the criminals would run rampant and unchecked.

40% of a city’s budget on the police department and when the lives of children were literally on the line they decided to punt and let someone else handle it, that department certainly provided a glowing return on taxpayer dollars to be sure.

OGquaker says:

Re: On The Job

The ratio of deaths while clocked in is 300% higher for the pole workers that deliver your electricity than for the Pol-Lice that take your cash and keep your burglarized stuff. And, that’s times three, without guns involved!

Disclamer: That does not include heart attacks while on the witness stand, and electric power workers average 300% fewer dollars per hour

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Upstream (profile) says:

Mutual Exclusivity

The crimes people care about, the police don’t.

Many years ago, when the state college I attended was first required to make an annual report of campus police activity (the campus police were technically state police, the same as the Highway Patrol, the state Bureau of Investigation, etc), the categories of crimes reported and crimes for which arrests were made were mutually exclusive. That is, for all of the categories that crimes were reported (i.e. rape, assault, robbery, theft, etc) no arrests were made, and for all of the categories for crimes where arrests were made (i.e. drug crimes, DUI, vandalism, etc), no crimes were reported.

This mutual exclusivity of crimes reported versus arrests made continued for at least the next two years.

As I have said before, if it is not fun or profitable, cops don’t want to be involved. And if it might be dangerous, cops really don’t want to be involved.

dickeyrat says:

What’s especially disheartening at this stage of the game, is that no one seems to be talking about suing the City of Uvalde out of existence. This alleged municipality should be kicked off the map, for failing to charge its uniformed gendarmes’ as accessories to murder, starting with their wholly incompetent chief. Why do you think we call them “pigs”??

mechtheist (profile) says:

We have citizen's arrest, why not citizen's asset forfeiture?

Considering the level of gang activity in police forces and their penchant for illegally denying folks of their civil rights or outright physical abuse of innocent folks, we should try some citizen’s asset forfeiture and relive the PDs of a lot of their military equipment.

Upstream (profile) says:

Stopping v. preventing in the first place

Even if you believe people with guns are instrumental to stopping mass shootings (and that any gun control methods would lower this number), the percentage of cases where this happens is extremely low.

One must also consider the possibility of situations where some would-be mass murderer may have thought something along the lines of: “I would really like to go there and kill all those people, but I won’t because I believe quite a few of them are probably armed and would kill me very quickly if I tried.”

The actual number of such situation is, of course, unknowable. I doubt one could even get a reasonably accurate and statistically probable approximation of this number because the statistics can vary wildly, depending on the definitions of “mass shooting” and “gun free zone.” By varying the definitions, one can arrive at whatever answer supports one’s preconceived notions or agenda.

But one cannot help but notice that quite a few multiple murders occur in places where possessing an effective means of self defense (a firearm) is either completely prohibited or severely restricted. Correlation is clearly not causation (nor prevention, in this hypothetical case), but it does appear that there is sufficient correlation to warrant further investigation.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

one cannot help but notice that quite a few multiple murders occur in places where possessing an effective means of self defense (a firearm) is either completely prohibited or severely restricted

For good reason: Arm a teacher with a gun and they’re likely to shoot a child in the crossfire between themselves and an active shooter.

Arming employees of “soft targets” like schools and grocery stores and movie theaters won’t do anyone any good⁠—especially when the bullets start flying. Letting the average American carry an AR-15 into a Walmart as a means of self-defense won’t make anyone but the person carrying the gun feel any safer.

Upstream (profile) says:

Re: Re: What, exactly, is the differance?

Arm a teacher with a gun and they’re likely to shoot a child in the crossfire between themselves and an active shooter.

How is that different from:

“Put armed cops in schools and they’re likely to shoot a child in the crossfire between themselves and an active shooter.”

Particularly given things like this:

“Cops are civilians with guns who have had minimal training,” Eugene O’Donnell, a law professor with John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former police officer told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

There are countless examples of cop’s poor training in the news, as even a cursory Internet search will show.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

How is that different from:

“Put armed cops in schools and they’re likely to shoot a child in the crossfire between themselves and an active shooter.”

Simple: We don’t ask or expect teachers to do the job of the police. For however little training cops receive, they’re the ones asked by society to put their lives on the line for the protection of others.

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John85851 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Arming teachers

How come whenever someone talks about arming teachers, they never follow up with any details.
For example:
– Who will pay for the guns that the teachers will use? School budgets already have a hard time paying for books and pencils.
– I hope teachers will be trained on the proper use and safety of guns. Who will pay for this? When will it be done?
– Will teachers need to go to a gun range every year and get certified? Honestly, what good is a teacher with a gun if they can’t shoot straight?
Who will pay for this training? See above about how schools have small budgets already
– What happens if someone wants to be a teacher but they don’t want to learn to shoot a gun? Does the school not hire them, even in cases where there’s a shortage of teachers?

If you say “arm teachers” is just a “starting point”, then I say “let’s talk about gun control” is a starting point.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Will teachers need to go to a gun range every year and get certified?

That is part of the Hollywood myth, that occasional practice is enough to allow a person to defend others. It takes a serious amount of practice to be able to evaluate and react to tactical situation, that serious practice as in range time, and several tactical exercises a day.

If you don’t have the practice, the the US cop tactic of unload the magazine gives the best chance of hitting your target, but that has a high rick of collateral damage in a classroom full of kids.

Giving someone a gun, and teaching basic safety and shooting skills, with an annual refresher is not a solution to the problem. Indeed arming teachers ensure that they are the first person shot by the bad guy, probably before they realize they need their gun.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Except that many of the mass murderers (MM) are looking to die and trying to see how many people they can take with them. I don’t think they would really take in to consideration whether or not other people would be armed. Also, the MM will likely be better armed than others. Also, also, add body armor in to the mix and it will take either a lucky shot or a lot of fire power to take out the MM.

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Thad (profile) says:

Re:

The actual number of such situation is, of course, unknowable. I doubt one could even get a reasonably accurate and statistically probable approximation of this number because the statistics can vary wildly, depending on the definitions of “mass shooting” and “gun free zone.” By varying the definitions, one can arrive at whatever answer supports one’s preconceived notions or agenda.

Which is a hifalutin way of saying you’ve already reached a conclusion and no amount of factual data will change your mind.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

One must also consider the possibility of situations where some would-be mass murderer may have thought something along the lines of: “I would really like to go there and kill all those people, but I won’t because I believe quite a few of them are probably armed and would kill me very quickly if I tried.”

This is just my own opinion, but given the number of mass shooters that end up dead (either by police or by their own hand), if such forethought even exists in a potential shooter’s mind, it doesn’t seem to be particularly persuasive.

But one cannot help but notice that quite a few multiple murders occur in places where possessing an effective means of self defense (a firearm) is either completely prohibited or severely restricted.

Let’s suppose that such restrictions no longer existed, and one could simply open carry anywhere they like. An active shooter event occurs. Bullets are flying in both directions. The police arrive. How do the police know which person is the bad guy? If they’re able to quickly disarm the combatants, great, but that’s not always going to happen. Should they take the time to figure it out and put additional lives at risk, or just shoot anybody holding a gun?

Consider an opposite situation, where guns can be kept in the home, but cannot be carried (concealed or otherwise) on one’s person. In such an environment, you see a gun at a school or a mall and you know instantly to call for help because the holder is breaking the law. In an active shooter situation, the police see a gun and they know instantly who the bad guy is.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Let’s suppose that such restrictions no longer existed, and one could simply open carry anywhere they like. An active shooter event occurs. Bullets are flying in both directions. The police arrive. How do the police know which person is the bad guy? If they’re able to quickly disarm the combatants, great, but that’s not always going to happen. Should they take the time to figure it out and put additional lives at risk, or just shoot anybody holding a gun?

You don’t even need to factor in the police for that situation to get really bloody, really fast.

As a hypothetical, assuming perfect accuracy for everyone with a gun and zero penatration beyond the initial target, a shooter in a crowd takes a shot and kills one person before looking for another. In the crowd are three Good Guys With A Gun(A, B and C for shorthand) who immediately draw and start looking to be a hero.

A sees among the panicked people two other people armed and panning their guns around the crowd, one of which is standing relatively near a dead body. They take the shot and the person goes down.

B upon drawing sees a second shot ring out and a body fall, they immediately take aim at the armed person they can see and take the shot, killing the person.

C is about to take their shot when a bullet slams into them, killing them.

Now, who just died and more importantly was the original shooter among them and therefore now unable to shoot someone else?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You don’t even need to factor in the police for that situation to get really bloody, really fast.

I had a conversation with a friend many years ago regarding bank robberies and similar crimes. I said, “The reason that one armed robber can enter a bank filled with 20 people and leave with all the cash is because nobody wants to challenge them and get shot. Suppose there was a major cultural shift, and now, the second that armed robber entered the lobby, all of the customers would go after them. How would that affect crime?”

After some discussion, we came to the conclusion that while overall crime levels might drop, the remaining crime would become much more deadly; armed robbers, knowing that they would be immediately challenged, would simply come in shooting.

I suspect life in general would be much more deadly if everyone knew everyone else was armed. Some people might enjoy bringing back the Old West, but I’m not one of them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Doesn’t matter if the entertainment version of the “Old West” is historically accurate. Given what the American citizenry is like, that kind of “Old West” is exactly the kind of America that “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” would create. Except that instead of a bunch of larger-than-life heroes and outlaws, we’d get a bunch of hero and outlaw wannabes, and a whole lot of innocents caught in the crossfire.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

“I suspect life in general would be deadly if everyone knew everyone else was armed”

I don’t know about this. I would think that would encourage more people to resort more to non-violent methods in crime and in policing, given the risks are higher in starting an armed conflict. Especially the police.
Equally matched wildlife facing each off tend to back off than engaging in conflict because it usually is not worth it as survival is concerned. Evolution programmed that. People dont want to take risks when the stake is not worth it. People in general are as rational as animals as they share the same programming. Only the crazy and desperate would resort to armed violence in a matched armed conflict when the stakes don’t justify it, and no amount of deterrence is going to stop them anyways.

In general, like animals, people are cowards. Just look at the Uvalde police. They liked their lives better and it was not their children at stake so they didn’t go into it shooting until they knew they had the edge. Only if the parents had been armed then those children could have been saved. It is easy for police with guns to stop an desperate unarmed parent from trying to save their child. I would like to see the police try that shit with desperate parents owning guns…

Think of nukes. Have the armed conflicts between nations possessing nukes become more deadly and frequent? Quite the opposite as history would show. Because they are more careful when it comes to escalating thing given that the stakes of an armed conflict is much higher. Nations are rational actors in general. Like the thing with nukes, everyone being armed raise stakes in armed conflicts, but I would expect this also encourage more desescalation in violence in general as people also are rational actors in general. So I would expect violence would be less frequent and less deadly. So I am not following your logic.

After all, one would not tend to pull out a gun when it would become gun vs gun violence. One would tend to pull out a gun when one knows other is armed only with knife or unarmed. The aggressors like their edge. For example, police love to pull out guns on unarmed protesters especially the black ones, but they don’t on white armed protesters apparently. I watched a video in where the police tiptoe around armed citizen protestors in a place where it was legal to open-carry guns. Why? Because people don’t escalate things when they don’t have the edge in power. Bullies are cowards at heart. How to deter the predators? You arm the prey. Make the stakes high enough for predators and they will stop preying.

So deterrence matters. That is why the founders believed in populace being armed. Because check and balance. An unarmed populance is easy to push around by thugs (in blue or not), armed populance is not. Armed populace is better equipped to protect themselves from tyranny from government in form of the thugs in the blue. Peace through strength establishes order. If there are check and balance then I don’t expect life in general would be deadly if everyone knew else was armed.

No way it is going to be Old West. Old West was deadly chaos in places where the order that came from established governance was not in place yet in new established settlements. And that deadly chaos was overstated by popular pop culture. Armed populace did help put things in check with native Americans and outlaws until government arrived in force and established law and order. So I don’t believe everyone being armed promote deadly violence per se, I would expect just the opposite. Order from the government is not the sole source of order or always a reliable source. A gun is more reliable in protecting life and property than depending on police to come and save the day. Because police is not everywhere on time nor heroes nor trustworthy nor caring enough about protecting your children or your property, And some criminals are police. There is this thing called qualified immunity and the blue wall that protect criminal police, you know?

Why deny one’s right to self-defense or to protect their property or their loved ones? Why deny important tools of protection like guns to people just because bad people also use them? Why can’t people protect themselves with guns from criminals instead of depending on worthless police? Are the their lives or their loved ones’ lives not that important?

And life in general becoming more deadly not necessarily a bad thing as long as the people being dead are bad people you want to see dead anyways. It only matters when the loved ones die. You forget guns just not only do take away loved ones, guns also protect them especially from guns in bad hands. Guns save lives too. Why leave the guns to the police for protection ? Police is overrated. Just look at the Uvalde police. Forget about the police. Just put the responsibility of protection in the hands of the people. It’s better to do some things ourselves. You can’t always depend on the police to protect lives or save lives, especially when its them as well you have to protect yourself from. George Floyd is not forgotten.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Think of nukes. Have the armed conflicts between nations possessing nukes become more deadly and frequent? Quite the opposite as history would show. Because they are more careful when it comes to escalating thing given that the stakes of an armed conflict is much higher. Nations are rational actors in general.

Except we aren’t talking about nations. If you have a nuke, why would that stop me from robbing your home? You aren’t going to use the nuke on me while I’m in your house, and you can’t use the nuke on my house because you don’t know where it is. So even if you do have a nuke, it’s not really a threat to me.

I would expect this also encourage more desescalation in violence in general as people also are rational actors in general. So I would expect violence would be less frequent and less deadly. So I am not following your logic.

As I mentioned, I do think overall levels of crime would go down, for the reasons you state. Most people, even criminals, don’t want to escalate. However, that leaves the criminals who are willing to escalate. Like I said, those people will just come in shooting. So, overall crime down, violent crime up.

Then, what happens when those criminals get a little bolder? We know in other countries there are gangs and cartels that are so well-armed and entrenched that nothing less than a full military strike has a chance of breaking their power, and even then it would be a fight. Do you really think that something like that couldn’t happen here? Imagine the Seattle Capitol Hill Autonomous Area with more guns and people more willing to use them.

So deterrence matters. That is why the founders believed in populace being armed. Because check and balance. An unarmed populance is easy to push around by thugs (in blue or not), armed populance is not. Armed populace is better equipped to protect themselves from tyranny from government in form of the thugs in the blue. Peace through strength establishes order.

The founders couldn’t have anticipated the kind of military hardware that exists today. Let’s be honest: The only way a coup happens in the US is if it has the support of the military. If it does, the uprising might happen, and it will be bloody and brutal, but the armed citizenry doesn’t stand a chance.

Why deny one’s right to self-defense or to protect their property or their loved ones? Why deny important tools of protection like guns to people just because bad people also use them? Why can’t people protect themselves with guns from criminals instead of depending on worthless police? Are the their lives or their loved ones’ lives not that important?

At no point did I ever suggest the complete removal of guns from the populace.

Forget about the police. Just put the responsibility of protection in the hands of the people. It’s better to do some things ourselves.

Justice of the mob? Rampant vigilantism? You can’t be serious.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Armed populace is better equipped to protect themselves from tyranny from government in form of the thugs in the blue.

Not really, unless you are organized and go about in gangs. Also, unless you have a loaded gun in your hand, any would be attacker, including cops, have the advantage, in that they are already drawing, if not ready to fire before you realize the danger.

If somebody twenty foot away draws a knife and charges at you, trying to draw your gun is suicide, and your best chance is to try and catch the knife and their arm to disarm them.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:3

So deterrence matters. That is why the founders believed in populace being armed. Because check and balance. An unarmed populance is easy to push around by thugs (in blue or not), armed populance is not. Armed populace is better equipped to protect themselves from tyranny from government in form of the thugs in the blue. Peace through strength establishes order. If there are check and balance then I don’t expect life in general would be deadly if everyone knew else was armed.

You forgot to mention the very first thing in the 2A, because without it the right to bear arms only result in armed mobs.

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Rocky says:

Re:

Odd that Google is still in Australia even without Section 230, isn’t it?

Australia don’t have the 1st Amendment so implying that section 230 somehow makes a difference there is just mindbogglingly stupid but the thing that really takes the cake is that you brought up that Google had to pay $515,000 without making the connection to what has been said here on Techdirt regularly: Without Section 230 companies will face increased costs due to litigation and increased costs will drive away smaller companies entrenching the big companies market domination.

Now, do you have more vacuous and stupid things to say? If you do, take it elsewhere.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
mwag says:

10 most dangerous jobs in the USA

Cops don’t even rank in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the USA according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The sole reason for their existence is that they are revenue agents for the state. A cop car is literally a cash register on wheels. There is no money in solving crimes so crimes do not get solved or even prevented.

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Angry Coward says:

Most of the law enforcement action we see stems from traffic stops predicated on violations most drivers consider to be, at best, simply annoying. Failure to signal? Following too closely? … But we aren’t cursing cops for failing to enforce these laws.

On the contrary, I routinely curse the cops for failing to enforce routine traffic laws. As a law-abiding citizen, all it takes is a little bit of highway driving for me to wonder, “Why the hell should I bother being a rule-follower when it’s a free-for-all out here?” If you put people’s life in danger by failing to signal, you should pay the consequences.

I abhor the current practice of civil asset forfeiture and cops’ propensity of turning routine traffic stops into something more. And I don’t take issue with other points in this post. But pulling someone over for running a red light or failing to signal or tailgating is not solely pretextual.

The lawlessness on the road these days is a real problem, and I live in one of the safest states in the US. Motor vehicle accidents are the 12th leading cause of death in the US, and the second most common form of accidental death, at ~40,000/year. Not numbers to be taken lightly. And that’s not even counting the pain and costs for severe and permanent injuries and property damage in non-fatal crashes.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

On the contrary, I routinely curse the cops for failing to enforce routine traffic laws. As a law-abiding citizen, all it takes is a little bit of highway driving for me to wonder, “Why the hell should I bother being a rule-follower when it’s a free-for-all out here?” If you put people’s life in danger by failing to signal, you should pay the consequences.

I couldn’t agree more. It’s incredibly difficult to try to explain to your teenage kids why they shouldn’t break the law when all they have to do is look outside and see people breaking the law all the time with (apparently) no consequences. I try to teach them to follow the law because it’s the right thing to do as a good citizen, but what they see in the world is “It’s all ok as long as you don’t get caught.”

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Naughty Autie says:

Re:

But pulling someone over for running a red light or failing to signal or tailgating is not solely pretextual.

It is when someone isn’t guilty of any of those things and/or they only serve as the pretext for the warrantless search that follows. You were saying?

Angry Coward says:

Re: Re:

Naughty,

It is when someone isn’t guilty of any of those things and/or they only serve as the pretext for the warrantless search that follows. You were saying?

My sentence said that if someone commits one of those violations, then the stop is not exclusively a pretext. I didn’t cover the case of where the driver wasn’t guilty of the purported violation. What bothers me is when cops don’t enforce the laws intended to make driving safer.

I guess I need to spell it out in more explicit terms. If someone commits a violation, and the cops pull them over for it and take some kind of action on it (e.g. a warning, a ticket, a “please be more careful”), then the stop was not exclusively a pretext. Because a real violation occurred.

If the cop had an ulterior motive in pulling someone over, and also takes action on the initial violation, then sure, the stop was a pretext, but not solely a pretext.

OTOH if the cop observes a driver, say, running a red light, pulls the driver over and fails to take action on that violation because of the cop’s ulterior motive, then no, that’s not OK.

My intention was not to excuse any misbehavior on the part of cops during traffic stops. Rather, my intention was to take issue with Mr. Cushing’s assertion that nobody gets mad at the cops for not enforcing important traffic laws.

Angry Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

I agree that he was making a generalization. Though it’s possible that even his generalization is incorrect. When people are triggered enough to curse and flip off lawbreakers on the road, it would seem to me that a natural human reaction would be to also be mad that the violators face no consequences, particularly when the violations occur in direct view of the police.

Although if Cushing’s point is that complaints about police are presently focused on the abundant and high-profile misdeeds by the police themselves (as opposed to their under-enforcement of motor vehicle violations), obviously that’s true.

I would guess that for a majority of people, there’s a greater chance of having their life ruined by a traffic accident than by the kind of police malfeasance that’s been in the news for the last few years (though perhaps it’s the other way around if you’re Black). I believe if the cops were more diligent about catching bad drivers, we’d all be a lot safer, and it’s painful to feel that the issue is being brushed aside.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

though perhaps it’s the other way around if you’re Black

A Black American has more of a chance to have their life altered by any interaction with police in any context than does a white American.

That includes Black children and interactions with school-assigned police officers. The term “school-to-prison pipeline” exists for a reason, after all.

Rekrul says:

For what it’s worth;

According to the New York Times, the first cop on the scene in Uvalde was the chief of the school division of cops, who commands a whopping six men, and he somehow became the defacto guy in charge. He told others to surround the school, but not go in and supposedly that order stodd, even as SWAT and more well equipped cops arrived on the scene.

It claimed that when they were about to enter the classroom and take down the shooter, he ordered them NOT to go in, but they ignored him.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/03/us/uvalde-police-response.html

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I’m not sure about hierarchy in this case but in EMS it was highest ranking first. It always cracked me up that if I was fast enough during an earthquake, because the response center was a couple of hundred yards away, I could be in charge until my less fit co-workers got there, all of whom knew more than I did, way more, about what to do.

Andy foster says:

Police shootings

If you look at the statistics a lot more white people are shot by police than black people. George Floyds name was mentioned ( a convicted criminal who held a gun to a pregnant woman’s stomach, FACT).Without googleing it Name one black child under 16 who was killed by not very friendly black on black crime.False narrative.

davec (profile) says:

Sorry I didn’t see this article earlier.

It makes sense to defund the police now because cities can’t find anyone to be a cop. Even if you had more cops than before the “Defund movement” started, cops aren’t doing the same job they used to. They used to patrol and be proactive but that was determined to be racist. Getting bad guys off the streets even for just a few days was a worthwhile effort, but DAs are releasing them before the arresting officer could even finish the paperwork. Cops are just spinning their wheels and it is demoralizing. We’ve decriminalized drugs resulting in over 100K deaths from overdoses so why should cops be overly concerned by the 20K murders committed last year. Detectives (not patrolmen) solve murders and there are far fewer of them than patrolmen.

The message has been very clear in the news and far outweighs any recruiting bonuses, drives or posters. “Cops are racist, incompetent, cowardly, criminal, uneducated, thugs that don’t show up when you call”. Nobody fears or respects the cops, so they have been attacked more in the last 2 years than in the previous 20. Why would anyone in their right mind want to be a cop today?? People, politicians and police all have to be on the same page or the system doesn’t work and right now it isn’t working.

My son once told me “When you got a bad guy off the street you could feel the difference in the neighborhood. It made the job meaningful, and I would have done it for free”.

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