Nov 21

I read something today – well, actually a couple of somethings – that puzzled me, then annoyed me, then just went the whole hog and made me downright angry. By means of background to this story, you should know that a police officer was shot and killed over the course of the weekend. This incident has led to a series of calls from some sections of the media to arm all police officers, the theory being that if the criminals are armed then the police should be too. I’m not going to comment on any of that – someone just died in the line of duty and they deserve better than ending up as fodder for articles. Unfortunately many media outlets don’t observe similar restraint.

For one, we have Michael Winner writing for a tabloid newspaper, in which he calls for all police to be armed. Putting aside for a moment that he refers to the officer that was shot as a “young lady” and not a police officer, he mentions five or six other officers killed over a period of some years and makes the bizarre statement that had these officers had guns at the time of their death, they would still be alive today. Putting aside for a moment the fact that I don’t think you can be alive today no matter what you had at the time of your death, signed note from God almighty himself included, one of those officers was knocked down by a car. So what good would a gun have done there?

Then we have another tabloid, which refers to the dead officer as a “police girl”. Again, she was a police officer, and I think we should have a little respect for that if nothing else and not demean the woman by referring to her as a girl. She was an officer, she was trained, and she died in the line of her duties. Painting her as some defenceless waif, some delicate flower of a girl who should never have been there, detracts in every possible way from the choices that she made, the commitments she undertook and the stand she made to draw a line in a society that desperately needs moral lines to be reinforced.

It’s a horrible situation and like I said, I don’t think it’s the kind of thing that should be fodder for every Tom, Dick and Harry with a QWERTY keyboard and a functional internet connection so I’m not going to get too far into this thing here. I’m all for raising the level of debate, I’m all for looking into where we are as a society and making changes, and I can even accept that sometimes, as with this, as with September 11th and July 7th, terrible things have to happen that make us re-examine things we previously took for granted. Reasoned, substantive debate is not something I have a problem with. Barely literate tabloid hacks who couldn’t turn in two paragraphs without running it through a spellchecker twice, it’s them I have a problem with, and I really wish they would just shut the hell up.

2 Responses to “Putting the "moron" in "oxymoron"”

  1. Rhodester Says:

    Why even give a knucklehead like that the time of day?

    I forgot you’re in Scotland, where it’s actually a debate as to whether or not to arm police. I’m in southern California, where the debate is what TYPE of arms the police carry because they don’t want to be outgunned by the gangs. There’s not an officer here who wouldn’t hit the street without a sidearm AND a shotgun mounted on the dash of the patrol car.

  2. FawnDoo Says:

    I’m totally in agreement with the police being armed in certain circumstances and to meet certain specific situations, but general arming…that makes me really uncomfortable. For one thing I just don’t think the UK has a big gun culture. For another, I can’t help but think that if the police carry guns it will encourage criminals who wouldn’t otherwise have guns to go get some. From there it’s basically an arms race: each side will carry more, and bigger, guns to keep up with the other. The worry I have is that if they start arming the police generally, they will bring about the very situation they want to head off by arming the police in the first place.

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