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“The killing of Mr Brown did not happen because America’s citizens or its police are too lightly armed, or too reluctant to believe they have a legitimate right to shoot someone in a disagreement. It happened because America’s citizens and its police are too heavily armed, and too quick to believe they have a legitimate right to shoot someone in a disagreement. It happened because Americans are losing the talent for solving social conflicts by building responsive institutions, and are instead embracing video-game fantasies of solving social conflicts through violence.” – Economist editorial, Guns, police and the people [at]

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    • This comment sums up the article precisely. They start with police militarization, then ask why gun owners haven’t waved the bloody shirt to promote gun ownership, then they admit that gun ownership would not have helped anything in this case.

      Which is completely true. Having an 18 year old carrying a gun would have given the police a free pass on this one, plus it is almost always a bad idea to draw on a police officer. If he was carrying, he still would have been shot.

      • The article is a litany of strawmen and red herrings.

        Fact is the UK has more murders of innocent non criminals per capita than the US does

        • Are you sure that’s true? Because from what I have read, that statistic is actually not supported. Although even if it isn’t true, it would just mean there is something up that makes the murder rate higher in the U.S. (saying it is guns would be a gross oversimplification).

        • The US has 4 times the per capita homicide rate of the UK, but only 1/2 the rate of violent assaults according to

          I have also heard that the UK under-reports homicides by only counting those where a murder conviction was obtained, but I have not seen hard proof on that.

          However if you look at population density, the US has 34 cities with populations over 500,000 and the UK has 5. You are going to find more crime in highly packed urban areas, there’s no doubt about that.

    • You can say that again. The author of the article has managed to piss off every conceivable group they could: police, civilians, even gamers, thus ensuring that no one is going to want to hear what he has to say. And this is why people keep arrogance to themselves: it reveals too much of who they really are.

    • yeah me too i never have been good a translating pc bullshit into real language. but i think he said if the officer had just given martin a lollipop and spanked him all would have been well in unicornitopia

  1. Americans are shooting each other over disagreements? Really? I’d like to see some facts.

    The “too heavily armed” bit is interesting. I’d like to know their definition of heavily armed…how about “armed”, period.

    THAT is really what is at the heart of this article.

        • Maybe more ignorant than stupid. Perhaps he’s unaware that Britain is the most violent country in Europe ( read that about 2 years ago…don’t have current stats).

          On the flip side, America’s violent crime rate is spiraling downwards in a verrrry satisfying rate 😉

        • Thanks Peaches!

          So UK has low homicide rate but overall high on violent crimes… Not much has changed…

        • @Peaches, UK stats are for closed homicide only. So the way they report homicide rates in the UK is a severe undercount compared to the way the US does.

          And a dozen studies from states, counties and cities in the US show that in over 90% of US murder the “victim” is a felon, gangmember, people with many arrests etc.

          Are you selling meth, mugging people for a living or are you a gang member? if not you are LESS likely to be murdered in US than in the UK

        • It was good at one time. I still have a subscription, but only because I get it for free. I used to read most of it when I had to fly a lot for business. It was just enough to occupy me on a two hour flight.

          Any more, I scan it, read the obit on the back page, and into the bin it goes.

        • Yea, like back in the 80’s and early 90’s. By the mid-90’s, I noticed that they were starting their leftward “social justice” drift.

          Today, I’d really rather rub a cow flop into my hair than read the Economics. It is filled with nonsense, twaddle and BS from one cover to the other, some of it so stupid that it makes my head hurt.

  2. Building responsive institutions? Is he saying that Mr. Brown would be alive today if he, the cops and the store clerk he bullied and robbed have just had a big group hug and talked about their feelings?

    • Caught that “responsive institution” as well Gov.
      WTF is an economist writing a social, cultural piece anyway.

      The unicorns and fluffy clouds that permeate the gun free zones of faculty lounges and halls of academia are so detached from reality. This clown is a true definition of a “talking head”.

      • The processes and analytical tools used in economics can actually be very useful in examining social interactions. The most prominent or well known person doing work in that area is Steven Levitt (along with Stephen Dubner a journalist) of Freakonomics fame. While I do not agree with all of their conclusions they have some very interesting arguments and conclusions. The Undercover Economist series of books by Tim Harford is another example of cross-discipline analysis using economic theories to examine social issues.

        All that being said analysis that starts from a faulty basis is bound to reach an erroneous conclusion. This particular author is a prime example of that in action. Just because one person makes an error though is not a reason to cast doubt on the validity of cross-discipline work as a valuable approach to research.

        • Concur…Economists can and have made quite interesting and relavant observations of societal issues using the analytical tools they have developed. This guy on the other hand is full of crap, and like Krugman, abandons that rational approach and instead uses his position to spew garbage.

      • “Head”? Are you sure you picked the right body part. His mouth wasn’t the first orifice that came to mind for me.

  3. BS. These writers, as well as anyone else who wasn’t there, have no idea why that shooting happened. And since the riot aspects of this story make it somewhat unlikely there will be a fair investigation, we may never know.

  4. Cops and non-cops behave very differently. With the exception of the occasional over-zealous wannbe like Zimmerman non-cops don’t make a habit of wandering into peoples yards, rolling up and interrupting people going about their business, playing stupid “hard-ass” or “alpha-male” games in an effort to win stupid prizes and non-cops can pretty much read a map meaning they are far less likely than cops to show up at a wrong address let alone showing up full of “ooh-rah” bullshit for unpaid tickets, somebodys card game or a potted plant.

    If non-cops behaved like cops I could actually get behind the whole disarmament thing because we’d be drowning in a sea of 300,000,000 psychopaths who answer to nobody.

      • I don’t know. Do I? I don’t drive around with Punisher logos on my equipment or make videos of myself and my buddies flashing entry ways to heavy metal music or plaster Facebook with pics of my gear. I leave that crap to the cops and the wannabes.

        Maybe you’re projecting? That’s the funny thing about claiming projection. Every one can be doing it all the time. Maybe I’m racist too? That’s another fun one.

        • yet you project Martins behavior (wandering through people’s yards), onto Zimmerman?
          And you do know that Zimmerman was not self appointed, he was elected among members of the police sanctioned neighborhood watch

        • @lizzrd, yeah and the whole time he was being “stalked”, dude was getting his thug on. Live like a thug, die like a thug.

        • lizzerd, martin was not being “stalked.” look up the legal definition. Martin had been caught at school with burglary spoils and had posted them on his twitter.

          He was being watched by a police trained neighborhood watch personnel.

          Was it zimmernans fault that martin was on a drug known to cause paranoid and false anxiety about other people?.

  5. Once again another complete distortion of reality. I knew the liberals would somehow swing this to also be an attack against civilian gun owners. But he’s a brit so no big surprise.

  6. I read the full article. Talk about lying by omission. He talks about heavily armed police and police brutality against protesters with hands in the air with signs saying don’t shoot but nothing about stores being looted and being burned to the ground.

    The other part he’s left out is that we are at the lowest level of violent crime in over forty years yet with the greatest level of armed law abiding citizens in the last hundred years.

    He has a agenda; but telling the full story so that people can make up their own mind isn’t one of them.

  7. As yet, we, the American Public, do not know the facts about Michael Brown’s death beyond the exit door of the convenience store he stole the box of cigars from. Otherwise, we have various “accounts” from “witnesses” which conflict with one another, amount to nothing of substance and no autopsy report. So the presumptuous Brit wanker who penned this opinion needs to piss off and mind his/her own damned business. In the U.S. we don’t really want any British pattern “responsive institutions” and made that pretty abundantly clear about 238 years ago in case this person didn’t notice. The opinion reflects the writer’s unquestioned acceptance of anti Second Amendment agit prop and a complete lack of knowledge of the hard facts.

      • Yes, and as of yesterday it was reported that Dorian Johnson will not be charged with anything, even though he was identified as Michael Brown’s “co-star” in the convenience store “strong-arm robbery” video. I suppose he argued successfully to the Police that he had no idea Brown was going to commit robbery when he accompanied Brown into the store, which is plausible (in all fairness to Johnson). Johnson has definitely had his “fifteen minutes of fame” talking to News Reporters, however.

  8. In the United Kingdom, “Mohammed” is the most popular boy’s name. And The Economist wants to give us instructions on how to have a proper society?

  9. What a lovely example of writing an out of context narrative and passing it off as a complete set of events. So much for journalistic integrity, facts, and truth seeking. The author may have missed their calling a politician — and a bad one at that.

    But then again, just look at the publication, it’s not surprising.

  10. Or maybe just maybe Mr Brown (aka the Gentle Giant) was in fact a murderous thieving thug and a gun saved another of our citizens lives.

  11. A 6’3″ 280lb man intent on causing violence is THE original argument for a gun.

    ***Tired cliche warning***

    “God made man but Samuel Colt made them equal.”

    • @ROHC, yeah that’s it. Everyone is an operator now, so it shouldn’t matter. Right? Military operators, citizen operators, police operators, civilian operators, gun writer operators, NFL operators, gay operators, the list long and awesome.

      Next, tat sleeves for everyone!

      • Hahaha, NFL operators, I like that. Season opener in Seattle vs Greenbay and we see Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers take to the field in tactical gear, with rails, lasers, and optics mounted on their arms to increase throwing accuracy. Not that Rodgers needs it.

    • What did that have to do with this shooting? You think Mr. Brown was driven to rob a store based on his philosophical differences with the militarization of police? Or that he decided to assault the officer because he doesn’t like the way police now wear BDUs instead of regular trousers?

      Or maybe this was just a standard police officer in a regular police car with a regular police sidearm (that we could buy at the gun store nearest the incident) who ended up shooting a regular thug.

  12. Perhaps the Economist should pay more attention to their own problems before commenting on ours.

    The London riots of 2011:

    The Ferguson riots were started by a normal police-gangbanger interaction just like Watts in 1965 and Detroit in 1967, It has nothing to do with police militarization or too many guns in the hands of citizens. [I note that the only law abiding citizens who displayed firearms did so to deter the criminal element from ransacking their businesses.] A criminal who was running away from the scene of the crime ran into a police officer. The 6’4″ 290lb thug thought he could avoid a stay in County Jail by taking out the cop forgetting that while “God made man, Sam Colt made them equal. The riots, which broke out again last night, are the product of the joint effort of the race hustlers and faux Libertarians faulting the police for the criminal’s behavior so they can advance their own particular agendas.

    • Exactly. Brown thought he was being arrested for the (despicable) crime he had just committed. He was fighting the cop to evade arrest. Did I see this with my own eyes? No, of course not. Do I believe his ridiculous accomplice’s version of events? No, of course not. There is a black woman facing years in prison for breaking an unconstitutional law (that ironically many of their ancestors fought and died to secure for them) who could really use some of this community outrage right now, but instead they waste it on this evil bully. What a shame.

  13. But oh look…violent crime in the US is in the midst of a 20 year decline.

    Another twit writer who thinks his/her perception of the world anecdotally is accurate and has an agenda. Institutions have never been the solution to *anything*.

  14. From Wikipedia…”the Economist has a long record of supporting GUN CONTROL( emphasis mine)”. Nuff’ said.

  15. Wow, sounds like the Economist has all the facts on exactly what happened, how it happened, with corroborating evidence – in order to draw their “conclusion” (what ever the hell that was supposed to be).

    Unbelievable how some just assume they know what happened and take one side or the other. I guess we should just skip the whole investigation (and possible trial) thing then huh?

    Reality is, we afford our Police officers a higher level of authority. That’s the only way the system works – but can then also create the potential for corruption, a lean towards militancy/abuse of power, etc.

    The more Police separate from the citizenry they protect, is the more they will tend to see it as US v THEM, and that’s usually when bad things happen. In small towns, or areas where the Police are closely tied to the local population, you don’t see as much of the bad stuff.

    Thankfully in my area, our Po Po are US. They are the folks we go to Church with, the folks we grew up with, our neighbors – so it’s not really US v THEM. Of course, I’m not a damn criminal either, so I don’t have anything to hide in that regard. And there’s always a jar head or two among them that get a rush from the power they have, but that is the exception to the rule.

    Anyway, this kind of thing happens all the time. Sometimes it’s legit and sometimes the Cop ‘jumped the gun’. I guess we’ll see how this plays out, but the fact that this individual was allegedly committing a strong-arm robbery the same day, does not really lend itself to him being an innocent young man gunned down in cold blood by the cop. And let’s all be real about it – if this was a white kid and a white cop, we’re not even talking about this right now. Same thing as Trayvon. Media loves stirring racial conflict. I refuse to engage.

      • haha, sorry USMC. Didn’t mean it that way of course sir. Was using the term generically. I am from a military family (albeit Army, ouch), so I respect the men and women of our Armed Services. That also means I know enough not to piss off a Marine, so my apologies.

  16. The looting is caused by liberal/democratic policies of treating the poor to benefits they don’t deserve. This translates to people who, instead of working, expect the government to service them, expect entitlements, think they are above the law, use violence to effect “change”, are incredibly racist and who breed faster than the taxpayers who fund their existance.

  17. and now this account of Ferguson from CNN of all places:

    “Also targeted was Sam’s Meat Market and Liquor. After hearing that people grabbed chicken, bacon and spirits from their store, the owners arrived with guns and stood outside, warding off any further raids.
    Jay Kanzler, lawyer for Ferguson Market and Liquor, said police did nothing to stop the looting in town.
    “Don’t know why the … police didn’t do anything. They were told to stand down and I don’t know why,” Kanzler said.”

    Let’s see – rampaging crowd. The police refusing to protect you. But you protect yourself using firearms, tools that in the UK they are barred from using “for their own good.”

    TTAG editors: can you do some followup on Ferguson shop owners tooling up to protect themselves in the absence of police services?

    • The police there have apparently decided that since no one wants them interacting with these “peaceful protesters” they won’t. Maybe the bullshit narrative the media (and some liberal white-guilt filled folks I know on facebook) is pushing will have to change once enough regular citizens from the area start trying to get the message out that they want this crap shut down.

      But in the meantime people maybe people will realize that having a gun is a great way to make a thug go down to the next door.

  18. Based on the misinformation and BS coming out of both sides in Ferguson, nobody actually knows for sure what led up to Brown’s death — but some pseudo-omniscient schmuck writing for a British rag does. That’s amazing! I wonder what mysteries of the universe The Economist will solve next week.

      • In Communist, Nanny State Britain you may only play Medal of Hugs, Cuddle of Duty and Snugglefield. Although they might make an exception for those levels of the WW2 ones where you play as the Soviets. They were the best government of all.

  19. It happened because America’s citizens and its police are too heavily armed, What exactly do armed citizens have anything to do with the riots?

    • Pretty much this. Where was that armed citizen shot this guy and started these riots?

      Not that i’m going to blame the police too much for this one either. Causation is a bitch– Guy robs store, police confront him over seperate issue. Gee, what is going through said robber’s mind? One + One is getting easier to figure out by the day on this one.

  20. Everybody including the police have a right to defend themselves but what needs to happen is that people need to realize that they only need to use the right amount of force and not overkill

    • It isn’t like kung fu theater, where you can strike individual nerves to incapacitate a villain. Desperate robbers in the real world resist all of the flying dragon techniques, except for “lead form.”

  21. Speaking as an American who’s lost her talent for solving social conflicts, here’s my response to your stupid editorial: “I fart in your general direction.”


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