Exporting the gun culture

It’s not much, but it’s a start:

READING, England — During his training to become a British police
officer, Ben Johnson recalled, an instructor told him and other
recruits, “If you ever see somebody carrying a gun, turn and run away
as quickly as possible.”

“It was a bizarre situation,” said Johnson, 34, a former police
officer in Garland, Tex., and U.S. Army soldier who moved here with his
British wife three years ago and became this country’s first
non-British police officer. He said running from trouble was exactly
the opposite of what he learned as an American cop.

Now Johnson is publicly challenging one of the great traditions of
law enforcement in Britain, what he calls the “old-fashioned idea of
the unarmed bobby on the beat.” He has written to his chief asking for
permission to carry a gun, arguing that Britain is no longer safe for
unarmed and under-trained police officers. He says he will resign if
the chief refuses.

Johnson’s case has caused a media furor here, partly because an
American — a Texan no less — is claiming he feels less safe as a
police officer in Britain than he did on the beat in the United States,
which is routinely portrayed here as a gun-drunk Wild West.

Britain has some of the world’s toughest gun-control laws, and
violent crime, while increasing, is still far less common than in the
United States. There were 184 murders last year in London, a city of
more than 7 million people, compared with 572 in New York City, which
has 8 million people.

“The U.K. is changing rapidly, and the police have been slow to
adapt,” said Johnson, 6-foot-4 and razor thin, cradling his infant
daughter in his lap in the dining room of his neat row house. “We
should value the lives of police officers enough to properly equip them
and train them to do the job — even if that means getting rid of some
old-fashioned notions.”

He said he had 36 weeks of academy training and
supervised field work to become a police officer in Texas. But at
Thames Valley he said he received less than half that, and most of the
instruction involved how to fill out paperwork.

Johnson said British officers are instructed to retreat if they see
a gun and call for backup from armed officers, but that can give
suspects time to escape.

I love how they compare the entire U.K.
London, with tough gun control laws, to NYC also with tough gun control
laws.  Why not compare it to the states of Washington and Idaho
combined?  Those states are almost friendly to gun owners and the
right to self defense.  They have about the same population and a good mix of urban and rural areas.  Why?  Because it’s the Washington Post and they have an agenda.  Here is a comparison they could have done:

Washington and Idaho Population according to the 2000 census: 5894143 + 1293953 => 7188096
Washington and Idaho murders and non-negligent manslaughter (FBI Year 2000 UCR): 196 + 16 => 212.

So, even with the “gun-drunk” Wild West states of
Washington and Idaho the number of murders is comparable.  Could
it be that something other than rate of gun ownership is the dominate
factor?  Any sane person would conclude that, but the anti-gun bigots aren’t sane.�
That there is even a debate about keeping policemen disarmed in the
U.K. is further proof of that nationwide case of Hoplophobia.  Fortunately there is help–if they would just take advantage of it.

Update: My mistake.  The Washington post
comparison was London to NYC, not the entire UK to NYC.  I’ll
update with city to city murder rates when I have more time.

2 thoughts on “Exporting the gun culture

  1. Wow. He’s from Garland? I live about 10 minutes from Garland, and if there is one thing to remember in Dallas, it is don’t get stopped in Garland. If you see a car chase on TV on the east side of Dallas, I guarantee you it will end in Garland. And the perp will be going to the hospital or the morgue. Not that I have a lot of problem with it, but, uh, Garland has a… reputation around here.

    The Garland police certainly remember the cardinal rule that they are members of the community carrying out the will of the community… and they seem to adapt the rules to that principle. To the detrement of certain criminal elements.

  2. “violent crime, while increasing, is still far less common than in the United States”

    Err, no. MURDER is far less common, but burglary (especially home-invasion robbery), assault & battery, muggings, and other violent crime is HIGHER in the UK than in the US.

    Odd that they don’t mention that. {/sarcasm}

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