General Question

longgone's avatar

Why do we arm police with lethal weapons?

Asked by longgone (18769points) June 19th, 2020
31 responses
“Great Question” (7points)

Are there no stun guns that work immediately and from a distance? If not, what is the technical problem?

Please excuse my ignorance on this subject, I know very little about weapons. Educate me.

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SQUEEKY2's avatar

Because criminals have lethal weapons and the Police have to protect themselves, problem is they use those weapons at times where they were not necessarily needed, where I don’t support defunding the police but do support better training for the police.
Not shoot a suspect in the back while fleeing the police type thing, better training how to de-escalate a situation, not arrive like Custer, escalating the situation.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

They have more than guns. They have tazers, pepper sprays and other tools on their belt. Each have their place. The most important tool they lack though is proper training. They’re just not getting anywhere near enough of it. Another tool that is missing is proper access to mental health resources. Our leaders are failing them as well. I do support shedding some of their responsibility, they can’t be expected to act as a “jack of all response trades” We need more people with targeted skills responding to things. I don’t want to see their funding cut. Lack of funds is a big part of the problem.

Zaku's avatar

There are some incapacitating weapons. They tend for the most part not to incapacitate as quickly or as effectively or at as long a range as guns do.

And police in say, the UK, don’t carry guns unless they’re a special tactical unit.

The reason the US arms police with guns… well, sort of because the public is allowed to have guns.

Why the US over-arms the police with guns, armor, armored vehicles, black stormtrooper costumes, etc., and instructs and/or allows them to use lethal force in some dubious circumstances… gets into a lot of other topics about various mindsets.

@SQUEEKY2 I think “defund the police” refers to spending less on the police, not spending nothing.

hmmmmmm's avatar

It likely has something to do with the fact that police are an army that wages war on the local population. This army needs to be armed with all kinds of weapons – pepper spray, rubber bullets that are doing major damage, LRAD, tazers, cars, clubs, knees, etc.

While I support disarming the police, it’s only a first step. As we have seen with the so-called non-lethal weapons, people are losing eyes and getting seriously injured by these domestic terrorists. Defund/abolish needs to be the overall push.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Zaku The defunding will stop paying for armored vehicles, tear gas and over the top equipment.

ucme's avatar

In the US they have to, It’s like the wild west out there.

KNOWITALL's avatar

As @Zaku mentioned, the police in the UK generally don’t carry guns. I’ve watched enough of their cop shows to see how that works a bit and it’s very interesting to me. They have CCTV in some major urban areas and can track and video a suspected criminal without confrontation by a single officer alone, which is smart.

The biggest issue I see with that is the violation of privacy many Americans would feel with CCTV, as well as disarming the populace voluntarily. It’s certainly worth exploring more ideas though.

@ucme Wait until this street violence (Antifa) meets up with fully armed citizens who are in Stand Your Ground states.

ucme's avatar

@KNOWITALL I know who’s side I’d be on!

dabbler's avatar

I saw a write-up by a police officer that said most of what a policeman does, e.g. taking statements and dealing with homeless people, does not require being equipped with lethal force and would be better served by people trained in investigations or social work etc.

That’s what all this ‘defund the police’ is about, putting some civic resources into more effective roles than generic policeperson.

lastexit's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I prefer to call it demilitarizing the police. It seems to be easier for people to get behind.

lastexit's avatar

@KNOWITALL So far there have been no arrests made involving antifa. However, three right wing extremists associated with the boogaloo movement were arrested on charges of terrorism for attempting to incite rioting and start fires during a Las Vegas BLM protest. Another right wing extremist, also associated with boogaloo, was arrested for killing an officer during an Oakland BLM protest. He also killed another officer during an ambush in Santa Cruz.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@lastexit I found a few.

Three people have been arrested for looting, burglarizing and damaging property at an Austin Target store, according to the FBI.

The three individuals are known members of the anti-government group ANTIFA, FBI officials said.

The crimes occurred on May 31 at a Target store in the 5600 block of N. I-35 in Capital Plaza

Police say that they arrested members of ANTIFA and numerous people from outside of the Richmond area and Virginia.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@lastexit And I don’t condone violence by ANY group, for the record.
But I don’t blame anyone for defending themselves or their property under the law either, however.

longgone's avatar

Thanks for the answers so far. For clarification: I’m not specifically asking about police in the United States. A man was shot by German officers very recently. He attacked them with a knife, and seems to have been suffering from mental illness. I wish that didn’t have to be a death sentence.

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ Here in the US, people with untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed by cops. Again, another reason to defund police.

longgone's avatar

^ That’s so sad. Especially combined with the fact that treating mental illness is impossible for those without good health insurance. And decent health insurance, in turn, is often tied to holding down a steady job, another thing that’s hard to do when you’re suffering from mental illness.

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ Prison-industrial complex. We spend far more on locking up and housing people we have criminalized than we could have spent on providing healthcare or reducing phenomena that contribute to “crime”.

lastexit's avatar

@KNOWITALL Thanks for updating me on those arrests. As far as I know, Antifa hasn’t killed anyone yet. The Boogaloo crowd is still a more dangerous movement as they believe in armed anti-government actions that they hope will lead to a second civil war.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The bottom line is that an unarmed police force in a nation flooded with guns is not a prospect geared toward recruitment of anyone with the barest of intelligence. As it is NOW, police work is by no means the career path appealing to the brightest or the best among us.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@lastexit I don’t know enough about them to discuss it, but the 3%ers do not approve of them. And…many people see a second Civil War coming due to extreme polarizarion and other issues in regards to the Constitution.

Nothing would surprise me at this point, from war to a bloodbath. Good time to live in the sticks here in the middle. :)

stanleybmanly's avatar

Do you honestly believe that? Any civil war is very likely to occur within sight of the battlefields of the last one, and curiously the enough for what will be deemed in the end as the same reasons.

tinyfaery's avatar

ANTIFA isn’t really an organized group, it’s a political movement. (There is a group in Portland, but they have been around since 2007, long before the current ANTIFA movement.) Anyone can claim to be ANTIFA. Unless the FBI was specifically referring to people who belong to the Portland group, they can’t confirm anyone belongs to ANTIFA because there is nothing to belong to.

kritiper's avatar

Because the bad guys have guns.

longgone's avatar

I don’t understand the argument of criminals having guns. I think that’s a good reason to provide certain police officers with something to stop people, but it shouldn’t be enough make them executioners.

Patty_Melt's avatar

There are more reasons than bad guys have guns.
Bad guys follow no rules. They can be armed with a four inch knife, but if they hold that up to the throat of a hostage, tear gas will not deescalate the situation. Bad guys are able to create a plethora of situations where police can best respond with firearms.
Also, comparing the US with other countries is nonsense. There just isn’t any equal comparison.
We have a different size than other countries, a different cultural diversity, a different history, different politics. We may share one or two similarities with most or all countries, but we don’t share enough points of similarities with any country to ake a comparison.

In the US, cops carry firearms because it is at times necessary.
It is true that sometimes cops reach for the wrong tool on their utility belt, but that does not need whatever the fact that at times, that tool is needed.

It is a shame things went a bad way with the man who lost his life. I am unfamiliar with the particular story, so I don’t know if lives were at risk from him or not. Sometimes enraged people can’t be stopped without firepower, because of drugs or adrenaline.

Cops carry firearms for the same reason they use robots to check for bombs, or to look in at a possible hostage situation. The public has to be protected from the bad guys, and because bad guys operate in a variety of ways, a variety of tools must be available to law enforcement.

Think about the term law enforcement. Societies have rules they depend on for conducting their lives. Law enforcement is there to keep laws from being just an ideology. Law enforcement is there to give those laws teeth. A law works only if there is someone providing consequences for ignoring the law. Sometimes that enforcement is imperfect, and when that time happens there should be consequences for that. We should never, however, try to convince ourselves that there is no need for enforcement.

gondwanalon's avatar

Because criminals are armed with lethal weapons.

Lightlyseared's avatar

The second amendment.

JLeslie's avatar

The exboyfriend of a friend was a police officer in Scotland and he didn’t carry a gun. I’m not sure how common that is there.

I don’t know how often cops use their guns to shoot at a car or shoot at something that a taser would have no affect. Seems like having both options makes sense. I would think a taser is sufficient in the majority of circumstances.

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Patty_Melt's avatar

Because this

kritiper's avatar

It’s perfectly logical.

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