Let’s start with this: Americans have a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Even if you could prove that this was a bad thing, not a good thing, it’s a thing. A thing that isn’t going away just because a man without morals murdered a couple of cops in New York City. So all those commentators using the Big Apple assassination to argue that civilian gun ownership is a bad thing, note: we shall not be moved. But more than that . . .
An armed society is a polite society. It’s true. If a significant number of law-abiding African-Americans were open carrying firearms – as is their right – the police would not mess with them as a matter of course. They would treat them with the politesse they deserve.
Of course the antis can’t – won’t – see this. Even the liberals who believe that cops are institutionally racist still want to disarm civilians. Which leaves blacks at the mercy of presumably racist armed police. Selling that idea makes for some pretty tortuous logic. Such as this gem from Emily Badger’s essay at washingtonpost.com, How guns make police less safe, their jobs more difficult and communities less trusting:
In comparing American police tactics and relations to other countries, it’s hard to separate the role of guns here from all of the mistrust, defensiveness and aggression that arise around them.
“There’s not a big gun culture in Australia,” Geoffrey Alpert, a professor at the University of South Carolina who has studied police use of force there, recently told me. “So the cops don’t have to worry the way our cops do. There’s not always a gun in every encounter. They don’t have to think about that.”
They’re freer to retreat, to reassess, to leave their own weapons holstered.
Translation: if America’s cops didn’t have to worry about armed citizens, they’d be nicer. Heck, they might not even shoot people by mistake. Or out of [supposed] racist animosity.
Setting aside the fact that Australian cops do worry about firearm-wielding bad guys (for good reason), is that hypothesis even remotely plausible? Wouldn’t cops facing a disarmed populace be less likely to retreat, reassess or leave their weapon holstered? Our post on the overlay of gun control-heavy locations and officer-involved shootings makes that point fairly clear, if not conclusively. Anyway . . .
We can’t really address police-community relations without talking about the fear of guns tugging at both sides — and how guns make the job of policing that much harder, how guns fatally narrow the margin of error for poor policework, how guns turn misunderstandings, mental illness and suspicion into something terribly deadly.
So let’s ban guns for civilians! Oh, wait. Let’s not. Because no matter how hard the job of policing, or how narrow the margin of error for police work, or how much “misunderstanding,” mental illness and suspicion bedevil our communities, untrammeled firearms freedom is the bedrock upon which our country was founded.
We must deal with any policing deficiencies within the context of those rights, or face the consequences of living without them. As African-Americans did throughout our history of apartheid, at the cost of their very lives. As they continue to do, in those places where Ms. Badger’s gun control regime is a deeply regrettable reality.