The Gun Club 2

Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, March 2nd, 2019 - 84 comments
Categories: class war, crime, discrimination, police - Tags: , ,

Three years ago, I wrote that it was time we had an enquiry into gun culture in NZ. This followed a raid on a cannabis plantation that went badly wrong, with four cops being shot.

The Labour party Police spokesperson back then was Stuart Nash. He said that such an enquiry needs to go beyond a “purely law and order perspective”.

Nash, now the Minister of Police,  was referring back then to whether it was really a good use of Police resources trying to suppress marijuana use.

With the coming referendum on cannabis, this aspect is going to be addressed, at least in part.

This still leaves us with the question of NZ’s gun culture.

Generally, we are a gun safe country. Owners have to be registered and most gun deaths, as I understand it, are suicides.

However, our cops love having the power of life and death over citizens. There’s nothing more thrilling to an adrenaline fuelled plod than a car chase that is likely to end in a fatal crash.

In Christchurch this weekend, the local police have declared a modified form of martial law.

All Christchurch police are going to be carrying guns until some sad sack gang banger on the run gives himself up.

Their excuse for tooling up is that an associate of the wanted man fired at Police in the working class suburb of Richmond.

In returning fire, Police nearly shot some local residents who were at a meeting in a nearby community house.

Arming police in Christchurch is a step too far. It’s clearly a test to see what the community will put up with; a trial run for the permanent arming of all Police.

There are only six countries where police are not routinely armed. It’s no coincidence that those countries have a remarkably low incidence of shooting deaths.

If we allow Police to routinely carry guns, the crims will respond proportionally.

The escalation will lead to more deaths. And the majority of those who die will be poor and brown.

But, hey,  it’ll make for better work stories, I suppose.

 

(Apologies for the dodgy vid quality, but this is the only recording of the Gun Club doing Texas Serenade live. The song is about the killing of one of Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s neighbours, presumably in a police shoot out.)

 

84 comments on “The Gun Club 2”

  1. Cinny 1

    Was looking at police gun stat’s last night, it may have been on the wiki and it appears record keeping is rather lean on said topic, but something really stood out….

    “A 2013 review by the Australian Institute of Criminology found that 42% of victims of fatal police shootings had a mental illness”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_firearm_use_by_country

    Maybe we should be pouring efforts into mental health instead of the latest arming police narrative?

    • Anne 1.1

      alwyn posted a comment yesterday about an incident he witnessed in Melbourne 25 years ago. Here it is:

      Open mike 01/03/2019

      I wondered about the trigger happy attitude of the cop but when I reflected… these situations do put the police between a rock and a hard place. On the face of it the young man was only destroying a wooden seat, but what if a member of the public happened to pass close by and the man turned his attention to that person. With a machete in his hand, I imagine cops are told not to take any chances and they must render the perpetrator harmless at whatever cost.

    • gsays 1.2

      I agree re resources going into mental health.
      Problem is, hard to get re-elected citing a decrease in mental ill-health.

      Far easier to arm cops, crush cars, deny prisoner’s their nicotine….

    • patricia bremner 1.3

      Yes indeed Cinny, Mental Health and Drugs. Guns don’t fix that.

  2. Booker 2

    I was curious what these six countries were that didn’t arm police, so followed the link, but the article is completely unrelated?

    • Thanks, Booker, fixed now. The six countries are England, Scotland, Wales, Republic of Ireland, Norway, Iceland, and New Zealand.

    • alwyn 2.2

      Yes, it did seem an odd story to link to.
      Cinny’s link at comment 1 seems much more relevant, although it does include New Zealand where it is becoming increasingly less true.

      Edit. I see that trp got in while I was (slowly) typing.

  3. RedLogix 3

    The NZ Police are aware of the strong public preference for them not to be routinely armed. In that light I’d suggest that this temporary measure is because they know something about this ‘gangbanger’ the rest of us don’t.

    • Bruce 3.1

      yes we can trust the police , they have the facts and know whats good. Its for the best.

      https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2019/03/01/top-cop-forgets-to-follow-up-on-state-sanctioned-corporate-spies-of-course-he-forgot/

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        I once met someone named Bruce who was a lying arse ….

        [C’mon, RL, you can do better than that. If you have an opinion on the subject of the post, let’s hear it. TRP]

        • Incognito 3.1.1.1

          I see what you did there, RedLogix. Maybe a wee bit too clever though …

          Does one rotten apple spoil the whole bunch?

        • RedLogix 3.1.1.2

          Fair enough TRP … I’m not usually that acerbic.

          Only a fool would imagine that state power is always benign; there are many, many examples where it has been abused badly. We are right to stand somewhat on our guard wrt to how it is used.

          But tipping over into reflexive cynicism about our Police just irks me. By comparison to almost all similar forces throughout the world NZ is remarkably well served by the vast majority of the people who serve on our Police. It’s often a shitty, thankless and sometimes dangerous job most of us here would not, could not, do.

          On that basis I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one, and hope to see their arming policy return to normal settings after this allegedly dangerous suspect is detained.

        • Bruce 3.1.1.3

          my farts are pure. I agree with the aspersion thou I am degenerate enough to have watched the creation of these gangbangers and know that its not all about him.
          I see nothing to refute my claim and example so my point stands.

          Perhaps a comment from an ex policeman may help with your understanding of why i have these ideas.
          From comments on the same post:

          ROSS says:
          MARCH 1, 2019 AT 2:39 PM

          Forgot?
          It seems to me that Dough Graham and Bill Jefferies faced penalties when they forgot their duties and were done for criminal negligence.
          It seems to me that Jenny Shipley and others faced penalties when they were remiss in their obligations and were done for negligence.
          When an deputy commissioner forgets a duty to the people of NZ to get to the bottom of dirty tricks by police and GCSB, I reckon a penalty is also appropriate.

          As an after thought I only made the comment as i recognised it from 1984 the book. Maybe not?

  4. Sam 4

    No way on earth do NZ police have the necessary skills to take a suspect to the ground while keeping there side arm secured at all times. Hell not even U.S cops have the skills. There just no good reason for it. If they want to holster there weapons then they better be kicking in doors looking for the guns they’re shit scared of.

  5. cleangreen 5

    TRP.

    Put the “radar Gun” cops back on our roads saving lives there, policing our dangerous roads from truck crashes please.

    We lost four passengers in other vehicles after fatal crashes with trucks last week,

    Here are the facts.

    NZ truck crashes claiming four deaths – victims week end of February.2019.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/02/watch-horrifying-footage-of-reckless-near-miss-involving-three-large-trucks.html
    28 February 2019
    Watch: Horrifying footage of three large trucks in reckless near-miss
    55 minutes ago
    “Woah, look at this! Holy, look at that.”

    https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/national/three-dead-in-crash-on-state-highway-2-near-whakatane/ar-BBU5byW?li=BBSVtLJ

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=12207481

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=12207602

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/110948399/fatal-crash-closes-sh1-desert-road-in-tongariro-national-park

    Desert Road reopens after fatal crash near Tongariro National Park
    10:10, Mar 01 2019
    A driver is dead after a truck and car collision on Desert Road in the early hours of Friday.
    St John attended, but the car driver died at the scene.

    • Kevin 5.1

      I noticed in the truck driving video that the driver filming it who saw the approaching danger made sure he stuck to 90km/h. All well and good him cracking off about the other truck but what was stopping him from slowing down to a avoid a potential catastrophe that could have ended his life as well?

      • Andre 5.1.1

        I’ve just been through the process of teaching my eldest to drive. As part of that, we watched a bunch of youtube crash video compilations to see what situations are dangerous, what went wrong, how the crash could have been averted. It’s really striking how many times it’s clearly visible shit is about to happen, the driver is aware shit is about to happen, yet does precisely nothing to try to avert the crash.

        So I spent a lot of time talking about a driver’s duty of care. That the one rule that over-rides all the give way rules and any ideas about who has “right of way” is that you do everything you reasonably and safely can do to prevent a crash. And that the idea that someone has “right-of-way” in a particular situation is a dangerous way of thinking, it’s much better to think in terms of who should give way (but might screw up and fail to give way).

        I’ve also got a major rant bottled up about the whole driving training and testing industry. But that’s best for another time and place.

  6. Stunned mullet 6

    “However, our cops love having the power of life and death over citizens. There’s nothing more thrilling to an adrenaline fuelled plod than a car chase that is likely to end in a fatal crash.”

    Really ? I doubt that very much.

    That you would choose to insert such an unsupported comment in your post says far more about your own biases than those of the police.

    … and as for the comment about a “a modified form of martial law.’ …errant nonsense.

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    I hope it’s not a dry run for universal arming.

    I hope it’s an operational decision that will be reviewed on its merits.

    As it stands the commander said he’d be reviewing it every shift – that’s not the end of the world if he gets it right. So long as he understands he’ll be quite properly hung out to dry if it results in injury or death to bystanders, or even inappropriate force against the fellow whose apprehension motivated it.

  8. Ad 8

    WTF Nash.

    Plenty of dumb Police shootings leading to innocent injury as it is.

    There’s more firearm injury to farmers and hunters than cops, but you won’t see them swaggering open-carry down mainstreet Rangiora.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      Maybe living six years in Australia has coloured my view somewhat. I’m not a fan of routine arming at all, like most people here I grew up in a nation just a little proud of the fact that our police didn’t need guns on their hips in order to do their jobs.

      Yet the Australian police are routinely armed and there isn’t a huge gulf between the two countries in terms of how police work and their relationship with the community. There are of course police shootings, and some inevitably are judged mistakes in hindsight:

      https://theconversation.com/shoot-to-kill-the-use-of-lethal-force-by-police-in-australia-34578

      Still just 14 shootings over a 4 year period, while each one is regrettable, doesn’t strike me as a tsunami of ‘out of control Judge Dredd’s, mowing down faces they don’t like the look of’ either.

      The truth is the average cop does not go to work in order to kill someone. Nor on the other hand do their families want to attend funerals because some fucker pulled a weapon on them. When faced with high stress threats there are no guaranteed benign solutions; there will always be an irreducible level of risk it will end badly. Training is the only reliable way to reduce that hazard, but it will never eliminate it.

      When I was young NZ was essentially an over-grown village and maybe village-like policing was appropriate; but as our population grows and becomes more diverse the ground is shifting under our feet. For many decades now, most police patrol cars already have weapons on-board, available at very short notice. The transition from car boot to the officer’s hip is a significant one, but as the Australian experience suggests, neither does it necessarily signify the arrival of the police state.

      I cannot escape the famous Orwell quote here ” We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. “. We delegate ultimate force to the state in order that we do not have to resort to it personally. It’s utterly hypocritical to decry police force, while at the same time implicitly enjoying the benefits of it.

      • Ad 8.1.1

        Even though Australian Police regularly top the list of most-trusted institutions in Australia, the historical culture between Australian and New Zealand Police is pretty different.

        https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-feed/opinion-the-power-of-good-pr-how-the-police-maintain-top-spot-on-trust-survey

        There’s plenty of good histories and tv long-form reports that can attest to this.

        Yes, Australian Police are a lot better at Public Relations than ours are.

        But since the formation of Sydney and since the accelerated corruption of dockyard unions and ethnic gangs in Melbourne after WW1, Australian Police have whole generations of deep multi-level corruption that have needed cleaning out every decade or two.

        We do not have that culture in our police, and we never will have.

        We are a small enough society to keep downward pressure on the gangs that are the only source of our gun violence.

        My message to the Minister and Commissioner of Police in Canterbury is: your answer is not good enough. Work harder.

        • RedLogix 8.1.1.1

          Yes the criminal context between the two countries is somewhat different, Australia does have a history of organised crime that’s more deeply entrenched within the system than NZ. The nearest equivalent we have would be the outlaw bike gangs, but they never really infiltrated or compromised the justice system to the extent seen in Australia.

          (Incidentally a quick search on the name ‘Nicola Gobbo’ will turn up a truly lurid story that could only have happened in Australia. A criminal lawyer who played both sides of the street and the resulting bush fire is yet to be extinguished.)

          But from the perspective of the everyday person, the average person who avoids entanglements with crime, Australia is a very safe place indeed. I’ll go one step further than this, my partner and I both feel safer and less anxious in public places than in New Zealand. The difference is not huge, but it is palpable. We’re not naive, there remains always a risk of malevolence wherever you are on earth, but in general we’ve been impressed at how benign the day to day experience is in this country.

          This is not consistent with the idea that an armed police force necessarily results in a cowed and frightened population.

          • Ad 8.1.1.1.1

            I don;t think there’s any evidence about whether the average person in the street feels “more cowed” or whatever.

            But there is no evidence that we should trust the New Zealand Police with even more life-and-death power over our lives by giving them holstered guns.

            Exactly the opposite.

            Check out the Police shooting stats:

            Officers in England and Wales discharged firearms 50 times between 2009 and 2017, including terrorism incidents. New Zealand police discharged firearms against people 39 times in the same period.

            Australian police fatally shot 20 people between 2006 and 2011 compared to six here. We sure don’t have twice as many gun-toting criminals per capita than Australia.

            Remember the Taser debate anyone?
            Remember how Tasers issues to ever Cop’s hip was supposed to be sufficient lethal force?

            Actually what the Cops did was simply inure us to a nasty slippery-slope argument.

            It must not stand.

            • RedLogix 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes I’m more than a little surprised by these comparative stats; the NZ Police do seem to have a significantly higher rate of shootings than comparable forces elsewhere.

              Maybe someone has done some work on why this difference exists; but I could speculate that being routinely armed, and well-trained, reduces the likelihood that the weapon will be used either capriciously or in panic.

              • Ad

                Just imagine if the same amount of effort was being put by the state into the argument to permanently arm guns as it is into a Capital Gains Tax.

                With the CGT, the state is simply proposing to use force to take our money. So there is an appropriate public debate.

                With arming Police permanently (as is currently in Canterbury where there is simply no stated end to the practise) , the state is proposing to use force to take our actual lives. So far, not a whisper from either the Minister or the Commissioner.

                The state must be held to answer to every right it takes for itself, but particularly the right of life and death.

                This is what happens, and will happen more; the awww-shucks-we’re-sorry scenario:

                Totally innocent courier driver happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time while Police were shooting at someone else. 2009.

                Dead.

                https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10553399

                • Ad

                  Another Pacifika citizen.

                  • RedLogix

                    That’s grossly unfair; that incident really was an awful accident. There can be absolutely no charge that this young man was either deliberately targeted, nor profiled in any sense because he was Pacifica.

                    Unless you want to make the case that the officer who pulled the trigger did see the innocent driver in the firing zone and likely thought “brown and expendable”?

                    • Ad

                      Fairness is a pretty weird concept with a gun in your hand.

                      This is how the logic goes.

                      “In New Zealand, Tasers were deployed 4196 times in the five-year period from 2010 to 2015, but fired only 623 times – roughly the same numbers as in New South Wales, which has almost twice the population. However, it is not just the number of discharges that is important. Close study of deployment shows that in almost half the cases, Tasers are being unholstered to enforce compliance. A similar mission-creep has been experienced in Australia where, according to the Queensland police authority, the threat of Taser use against those simply resisting arrest without assaultive behaviour doubled from 22 per cent of cases in 2007 to 43 per cent in 2009.”

                      https://www.noted.co.nz/currently/social-issues/how-new-zealand-police-compare-firearms-tasers-pursuits-and-dogs/

                      Do the redux on how guns will be deployed.

                    • RedLogix

                      Good numbers and you make a fair case that I’m not unsympathetic with. Yet they only present one side of the story; the context in which the police work is changing also.

                      For a start there is clearly less respect for the authority of the uniform; which innately ramps up the stakes in any confrontation. Offenders are often armed with knives and are willing to gang up on isolated officers to score revenge.

                      At the same time the Police operate with different internal drivers; ensuring the safety of their staff is a higher priority than in past generations. In our grandparents time cops were invariably big burly men who could handle themselves, less so nowadays.

                      In principle the idea of the police engaging in a creeping arms race with the population they’re meant to be serving is a very bad one. We only have to look at the USA to see where that ends up. But exactly where is the right point to break the cycle?

                    • Andre

                      But exactly where is the right point to break the cycle?

                      There is an extremely clear dividing line between cops routinely carrying guns, and not. That’s very suggestive of being a good point to break the cycle.

                      To me the big question is are there alternative ways to handle situations where a cop might find immediate access to a gun to be helpful. So far in the New Zealand context, it looks to me like the general strategy of back off, contain, try to de-escalate and get backup works a whole lot better than the US models I’ve seen in action.

                      The only NZ case that immediately comes to mind that might have had a better outcome if the officer had been armed is the murder of Officer Murray Stretch in Mangakino. Bashed to death by an offender he was trying to arrest. But arming sole charge officers in remote communities is a very different question to routinely arming urban police.

                    • RedLogix

                      @ Andre

                      There is an extremely clear dividing line between cops routinely carrying guns, and not.

                      Yet if we compare policing between Australia and NZ, this line you speak of is not so obvious as you imply. Indeed on a per capita basis the Australian police have a lower shooting rate.

                      But arming sole charge officers in remote communities is a very different question to routinely arming urban police.

                      Yet officers can easily find themselves outnumbered by a dangerous, weaponised crowd in an urban setting as well; again the difference isn’t so obvious to me.

                      So far in the New Zealand context, it looks to me like the general strategy of back off, try to de-escalate and get backup works a whole lot better than the US models I’ve seen in action.

                      And yes in principle this is a good option if it is available; but circumstances can change very fast and timely backup may only be available if resources allow. And in cases where other innocent members of the public are at risk, it may not be an good idea at all.

        • McFlock 8.1.1.2

          What really fucks me off about the PR of cops in general is that they have better spin than crosby textor. Someone gets shot by a cop in Aus or Britain, there are immediate lies that the person was doing something to make the officers scared. The Brazilian electrician shot on the underground by the brits, they claimed he’d jumped turnstiles and photoshopped pictures to make him look more like the guy they were actually looking for. The “joker” cosplayer they shot at a fetish ball, the aussie cops immediately said he’d waved a faked gun at him before they shot him in the back (and also hit the woman he was on top of at the time – Fet ball, after all). And then there are the “good cop saves kitten” stories that are usually released just after one of our finets shoots someone or fucks up.

          Yes, some people do need to be shot. Sometimes in unclear situations. My concern is that PR immediately muddies the waters as a matter of routine.

      • Grant 8.1.2

        I had a feeling your quote may not have originated from Orwell so used our old friend Google which led me to wikipedia and hence to this:
        “In an essay on Rudyard Kipling, Orwell cited Kipling’s phrase “making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep” (Kipling, Tommy), and further noted that Kipling’s “grasp of function, of who protects whom, is very sound. He sees clearly that men can be highly civilized only while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them.” (1942)”

        • RedLogix 8.1.2.1

          Fair point, like a lot of well known quotes the exact attribution can be quite complex when you dig into it.

          Still it’s an exceedingly well-known line, and indelibly linked to Orwell.

          • Grant 8.1.2.1.1

            Wasn’t point scoring. Just thought you might be interested. I agree with the sentiment however it’s expressed.

            As someone who has stood opposite police at demos and seen them misbehave, I still appreciate the fact that life without a police force is hard to imagine. I also understand it’s a job i could never do. It takes a combination of restraint and the ability to both absorb and dish out sudden violence that I never had any desire to cultivate.

            • RedLogix 8.1.2.1.1.1

              Yes, I recall watching three cops take down a nasty, aggro drunk in downtown Wellington years back. The speed and skill with which they did it was testament to their training and competence. Sure it looked rough, but in reality it was quick, efficient and done with the minimum force necessary.

              At the same time I accept they’ll get it wrong; sometimes bad luck, or bad temper, maybe even bad intent … but those are the instances we get to hear about. Most of the routine work they do well rarely makes headlines.

              • Grant

                Of course, the flip side of the sentiment expressed by Kipling / Orwell / Churchill, is that rough men may be the ones who man the front lines against the barbarian hordes, but it’s civil society / the Nation State which prevents the entire world being ruled by rough men..

  9. Stunned mullet 9

    “Plenty of dumb Police shootings leading to innocent injury as it is.”

    Really ? Would you like to list them ?

    • Ad 9.1

      The Independent Police Complaints Authority has a list of them.

      Go for your life.

      • Stunned mullet 9.1.1

        No the onus is on you to back up your statement that

        “Plenty of dumb Police shootings leading to innocent injury as it is.”

        • Ad 9.1.1.1

          New Zealand Police have shot more people in the past 10 years than they have in the past 40 years.

          By number they shoot about the same as the United Kingdom, which has about 13 times the population.

          Example. 2015.

          David Cerven called 111 and asked police to come to Myers Park in central Auckland. He said he had a weapon.

          Within two minutes of armed officers arriving, bullets were raining down on him. He didn’t have a gun – in fact, he had no weapon.

          He pretended to have one though, pulling his empty hands out of his pockets and pointing them in a firing stance like an outlaw in a bad movie.

          One officer opened up with his M4 rifle, firing five times. Another took aim with his Glock pistol, letting off three rounds. It was dark and their shooting was inaccurate – only two bullets from the rifle found their target and the Glock’s missed altogether.

          Cerven was struck in his jaw and stomach and the 21-year-old from Slovakia was pronounced dead seven minutes after an ambulance arrived.

          Barrister Nicholas Taylor, who is a firearms case expert, said that the police should have been prosecuted.

          Nothing.

          Police have never charged an officer involved in a fatal shooting in modern times.

          More to come with this change.

        • Ad 9.1.1.2

          Of the 16 people shot dead by Police in the past 16 years, 12 were Pacifika or Maori.

  10. Ad 10

    Check the use of the word “or” in the following:

    http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/3376

    “(2) Police members shall not use a firearm except in the following circumstances:

    (a) to DEFEND THEMSELVES OR OTHERS (Section 48 Crimes Act 1961) if they fear death or grievous bodily harm to themselves or others, and they cannot reasonably protect themselves, or others, in a less violent manner;

    (b) to ARREST an offender (Section 39 Crimes Act 1961) if they believe on reasonable grounds that the offender poses a threat or death or grievous bodily harm in resisting his or her arrest;

    AND

    the arrest cannot be reasonably effected in a less violent manner

    AND

    the arrest cannot be delayed without danger to other persons;

    (c) to PREVENT THE ESCAPE of an offender (Section 40 of the Crimes Act 1961) if it is believed on reasonable grounds that the offender poses a threat of death or grievous bodily harm to any person (whether an identifiable individual or members of the public at large)

    AND

    he or she takes to flight to avoid arrest, OR he or she escapes after his or her arrest

    AND

    such flight or escape cannot reasonably be prevented in a less violent manner.

    (3 In any case an offender is not to be shot:

    (a) until he or she has first been called upon to surrender, unless in the circumstances it is impracticable and unsafe to do so

    AND

    (b) it is clear that he or she cannot be disarmed or arrested without first being shot

    AND

    (c) in the circumstances further delay in apprehending him or her would be dangerous or impracticable”

    Appears nowhere.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      All well and reasonable, and you would expect officers to be well trained in understanding this and how it might play out in real-life situations. Yet when faced with a high stress confrontation, with many unknowns, officers are going to react according to split second judgments. Not one of them will sit down with the above document, thoughtfully ponder each clause, and tick all the boxes.

      We have to accept that in these high risk scenario’s, the root cause of the danger is almost always the actions of the offender, and that sometimes despite everyone’s best intentions, events will slide sideways.

    • RedLogix 10.2

      How about looking at it like this:

      Imagine the police are confronted with an armed and dangerous offender, clearly intent on escape or confrontation. There is an immediate threat that cannot be readily contained or mitigated. All the boxes above have been AND’ed.

      Let’s propose we have a totally unarmed police, and their only choice here is to physically engage with the offender. Let’s assume that by force of numbers and training they succeed 90% of the time without harm to anyone, but 10% of the time an officer is seriously harmed or killed.

      Now propose and armed police, and now their primary choice is to present overwhelming threat with guns and 90% of the time the offender surrenders with no harm to anyone. But in this scenario the hazard has been transfered to the offender, and 10% of these instances result in serious harm or death to them.

      At this point we can reasonably ask, where would society prefer this hazard to lie, on members of the police force, or with offenders?

      But it goes somewhat deeper than this. In simple terms, unarmed force = high risk to police, armed force = high risk to offenders. Now consider their likelihood or exposure to this risk. Offenders will face a lifetime probability of exposure to this risk at close to zero; they will only be arrested in such circumstances a very few times ever.

      By contrast police undertake this work professionally; their personal likelihood of exposure to this risk is much higher, making their total hazard orders of magnitude greater. Again what is the reasonable choice here?

      • Sam 10.2.1

        That’s an oddly specific answer. Are you more comfortable trusting that everyone in society will hold the same principles and responsibility that you do than “controlling the population with fear of force?”

        You proposed unarmed police because it would endanger others for something not likely to be life-threatening;

        Hypothetical: while visiting a foreign nation on vacation- one which practices Death by cop- you are contrinted by an ill trained officer. You are presumably innocent, but the circumstances are such that you appear guilty and are likely to be found so and quite possibly shot on the spot. Would you attempt to fight then, perhaps endangering innocent third parties?

        • RedLogix 10.2.1.1

          Not odd at all if you’re familiar with risk analysis. This approach necessarily simplifies often complex scenarios, and often make apriori assumptions around risk and likelihood. But they remain a very useful engineering tools.

          I’m assuming it’s an approach Ad would be familiar with.

          • Sam 10.2.1.1.1

            Thing is the handful of police shootings that have caused death over the years indicate that you are wrong. Cops don’t follow procedure in police shootings and there’s no oversight.

            • Stuart Munro 10.2.1.1.1.1

              The AOS tend to perform better than first responders – less tied up in the moment, more experienced and trained.

              Ultimately these things are controlled by culture. I had a yarn with a Korean cop about it back in the day – country of 50 million people, cops are armed, less than ten people shot per year on average. I asked him why they killed so many less than the US. He said there’s two things – even pulling your gun leaves you with a big pile of paperwork that no-one wants. And, Korean families will chase the shooter through the justice system to the bitter end, neither ordinary cops nor their bosses want to court that much trouble. I suspect that the cops generally also being above average at Taekwando or Hapkido means that the gun is rarely their goto option in any case.

              NZ, unfortunately, seems to be borrowing from US police culture – increasingly militarized, neglecting people skills, cowboy ethics. We really ought to choose more professional role models.

              • Sam

                The AOS bread and butter is dynamic entry, kicking in doors and they have to share training facilities with the SAS so the cops are the little bro in all this. There’s not even any funding for bullets on a range. Shooting is a perishable skill. Five rounds a week is the same standard as an average hunter and we don’t even fund AOS to that standard. It’s no wonder people are ending up dead. Nah, I’m deadset against police carry with out training, funding & proper oversight.

      • McFlock 10.2.2

        Why is their only choice to “physically engage” with the offender? Why not withdraw, or negotiate?

        Also, 14 shootings in four years, including one civilian killed by police. So what is the relative threat to the public of just letting a bad guy run until he goes to ground and the AOS can control the area?

        The biggest problem is that when you have a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. People tick the boxes, rather than thinking outside the form and actually using their words.

        • RedLogix 10.2.2.1

          Why not withdraw, or negotiate?

          I explicitly excluded that from the analysis for the purpose of simplification. I agree in reality it’s an option, but not always. Even the Police regs that Ad quotes clearly anticipate this.

          • McFlock 10.2.2.1.1

            The trouble with those regs is that “delayed without danger” is a nonsense condition. Any violent person is a danger, therefore any delay in their arrest includes danger.

            But in the real world, the police office abiding by those regs has been legitemised in using force with a high probability of lethality (including to everyone in the area) to “arrest” someone who presents a much smaller probability of harming anyone else.

            There are very few people in the world who need to be shot right now. That nonsensical phrase “delayed without danger” conflates the Aramoana guy with Steven Wallace, who wouldn’t have been shot if the police had kept their distance and let him smash a few more windows until enough people were on scene.

            • RedLogix 10.2.2.1.1.1

              The problem for the police is that they have often no idea whether they’re dealing with a David Gray or a Steven Wallace, nor any idea of how events will play out if they do ‘back off and wait’. How many people have already been killed and do more innocent people die? Or is it just windows being broken? It’s not always clear.

              I openly accept that given the stress and unknowable’s of this type of incident, the police will make mistakes. Because if you know of a fool-proof way to prevent them from being made, now would be a very good time to tell us all.

              • McFlock

                Does the person have a rifle or a baseball bat? big clue right there.

                And the impossibility of perfection does not preclude criticism of imperfection, or the pursuit of improvement. You want to decrease the risks to officers? Increase penalties for illegal firearms possession (especially in commission of a crime) or unsafe storage, make firearms registers track ownership transfers, and figure out a way to put trace identification in all ammunition sold in NZ (and register that) including projectile, case, and powder.

                And double the number of patrol officers and investigators.

                Option B: increase the number of civilians and minor offenders shot by police.

                • RedLogix

                  Ever been smacked on the head with a softball bat? At close range it’s an exceedingly lethal weapon.

                  The problem with Steven Wallace was his erratic and threatening behaviour and while we have the comfortable benefit of hindsight, the poor bloody plods on the spot did not. Self-evidently they got it wrong, and took considerable criticism for that.

                  Otherwise yes much better arms control is a highly desirable step, the number of uncontrolled weapons in the community is a real concern. Doubling police numbers is another interesting option, although to be frank I’d personally like to see DoC’s budget and staff numbers doubled as a priority.

                  But as the Australian experience clearly demonstrates, your Option B does not necessarily follow from full carry arming of the police. Their shooting rates are lower than New Zealand’s. That alone should give some pause to think that there is more in play here than simplistic causes and effects.

                  • McFlock

                    I know about people trying to do me harm close up.

                    But don’t take my word for it. This is how it should be done. But then those are the cops who’ll wrap violent offenders in cotton wool.

                    That’s the point about “close range”. If you maintain distance, it’s not a problem. That’s what I meant by everything beginning to look like a nail. The most serious option is foremost in the mind for good reason – but that can be a problem when adrenaline hits and the old fixation takes over.

                    What I like about the local AOS is that they’ll wait, and talk. They’ll sit outside all night without the guy knowing, just to let him calm down and and move out of his little fort where he was lying in wait for them. They don’t turn up third on the scene, jump out of the car, draw, shout (or at least claim they did) and fire without taking a moment to assess the situation and talk with the others on scene.

                    • RedLogix

                      Good examples that clearly worked well in those situations. Yet what you don’t mention is that the same Japanese police do carry sidearms. ( Standard issue for ordinary police officers is the New Nanbu M60, a .38 caliber revolver.)

                      No question we both deplore the godawful US model, and I’m right with you on condemning that. A healthy police culture and good training seems to have more bearing on outcomes than whether or not they carry.

                    • McFlock

                      True about the Japanese police carrying. But I suggest we fix the police culture and resourcing first, rather than give more people in the current culture guns and hope for change.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes I can agree on that; clearly the excess police shooting deaths in NZ is already symptomatic of some underlying problem with their training or attitudes that should arguably be a priority.

                      Good to see how we started from opposite premises, yet managed to converge the conversation without compromise.

                  • KJT

                    Well. I’ve had to deal with angry drunks, armed with bar stools and other weapons, with the nearest cop 100’s of kilometers away.

                    The worst thing you can do, is escalate the situation with an arms race.

                    The less threatened the guy feels, the more likely you can calm him down.

                    The fact that I didn’t have any weapons available meant patience and dialogue was the only way. Police used to do that well. I’ve seen them. Now it seems tasering, is the preferred solution.

                    AOS, with some exceptions, seem to prefer to stand back and negotiate.

                    However as Mcflock says. When you have a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.

                    Do we want the ‘preferred solution’ to be, death.

                    Ask. How many cops around the world have been shot with their own gun?

                    • RedLogix

                      In that scenario yes, talking them down works.

                      Now try this one, Nymagee 2013, tiny isolated outback pub a few km from the site I was at. One of the rock monkeys got miffed at being told to leave and comes charging back in 20 min later with a chainsaw running full tit.

                      A dozen of us were trapped with no way out. The publican pulls out a shotgun from under the bar and lets a barrel off through the roof. Literally deafening silence … and the guy with the chainsaw quits immediately when the next barrel is pointed at him. Not everywhere in Aussie has been totally tamed by PC culture 🙂

                      By itself this story proves nothing, but it does show that context is everything.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nymagee

                    • KJT

                      Another one.

                      A bloke who was a bit socially naif, probably borderline autistic, who I was doing some building work for, had the police called when he answered the door, to a bunch of door knocking religo’s, with a running chainsaw.

                      He still couldn’t understand why they called the police, days later.
                      After all, he was just pruning some trees when they knocked on his door.t

                      The, unarmed, cops were rather good, but I can imagine, chainsaw dangerous, shoot!

                      We can trade anecdotes all day, but as statistics show. An arms race on the streets is not a good idea.

                      The Aussies found that stricter gun controls, after Port Arthur, work better.

            • Sam 10.2.2.1.1.2

              I mean we can have all the regs in the world, but with out proper oversight and enforcement they are totally meaningless. Currently self regulated by police appointed investigators to investigate themselves. Problems y’know.

              • McFlock

                Creating and enforcing reasonable regulation is part of “oversight”.

                • Sam

                  The police association is a pseudo court that tries police misconduct as if it is a court just with out a court appointed judge instead using ex cops or just inexperienced lawyers. It’s totally farcical to say that any regulation is apart of police oversight when they have exonerated guilty cops.

                  • RedLogix

                    Fair enough Sam, we’ll put you in charge. That’ll sort the buggers out …

                  • McFlock

                    The police association is a police union.

                    I think you’re thinking of the independent police conduct authority (I think that’s its name now).

                    Yes, there are issues with the IPCA, but it’s merely the engineer who points out the rot. The bigger problem is police leadership that has evolved to defend their careers to politicians who constrain their funding but demand improved statistics.

                    You can have someone who does the job right, or someone who will bodge numbers and ask for more powers to make their job quicker.

                  • Sam

                    I must respectfully decline any nomination for higher office. My philosophy is internal promotion. That said McFlock is correct. The
                    Police association I referred to is a police union. The IPCA is a pseudo court okaying substandard police conduct. A bit of rape, some wrongful deaths. Y’know, routine shit.

      • KJT 10.2.3

        Looking at the statistics.

        Armed force, high risk to bystanders, and people that are not responsible, for various reasons.

        Also increased risk to police.

  11. bwaghorn 11

    There’s something deeply fucked in your head if you think the police set out to kill people . Get a grip

    • vto 11.1

      many people set out to kill, many …

      and another way to describe: many people have in mind that they wouldn’t hesitate to kill, and when the circumstance arises the threshold to trigger is hence too low …

  12. Violent offences with a firearm where the offender had never held a firearms licence have also dropped, from 710 in 2008/09 to 494 in 2017/18

    https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/national/more-officers-support-arming-police/ar-BBUgq4v?li=BBSVtLJ&fbclid=IwAR0AbEf80yiykYDWhZZsEYOEggdBDUG87i5LzGfV-WEsZVZQMMDiGLc7FlQ

    So…

    Gun crime is DOWN but we need to worry MORE?

  13. https://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/criminals-use-guns-relative-impunity

    How do the media do it?

    Entire reports on gun crime without mentioning gun criminals or their punishment.

  14. vto 14

    I walked past this a few days ago… couldn’t take my eyes off the gun… the copper wouldn’t take his eyes off me checking his gun…

    It’s a game-changer and not a good one for our entire society..

    the game has now changed

    • RedLogix 14.1

      lol … in Israel I got used to stepping over loaded weapons lying in the aisles on the buses. I’ve had guns pointed at me entering banks in Russia, shown the bullet dents on the barge I was working on, paid off the Militzia, interviewed by an armed KGB officer, walked to breakfast surrounded by dozens of armed, bored looking police, had large rocks thrown at my vehicle, been in a hotel where a terrorist attack took out the hotel over the road and killed 18.

      Here in Australia cops stroll around shopping centres with pistols on their hips.

      Oh and in little old NZ I was driving between Napier and Wgtn in 1996 using the SH50
      route via Ongaonga. After some time I realised there was no other traffic; and when we finally reached the junction with SH2 there was a lone cop standing in the middle of the road stopping us. Immediately we were pulled out of the car, and surrounded. Then I noticed four full metal jacket AOS guys in the ditch with their weapons totally trained on us.

      More than a tad disconcerting; but quickly once they confirmed we were clear they apologised and explained that a Police Officer had been shot dead (Const. Glen McKibben) in Flaxmere and the offender was known to have fled on the same road. We were the last vehicle that had passed through before they closed the road at the other end.

      In hindsight it was rather brave of that young officer to stand unarmed flagging us down; he had no idea who was in our car.

      Like you I grew up in a NZ that was an overgrown village; we were a little proud our police didn’t need to carry. But the world has changed on us both; sadly some things do change and not always for the better. I’d love to live in a world where the police didn’t need to be armed; but it’s a long way off. If ever.

    • RedLogix 14.2

      Oh and my best work story comes from a close colleague working in Kazakhstan; he had to cut the back fence on the mine site to lead his staff to safety, while rebel tanks rumbled in through the front gate.

      Unfortunately three of his staff were captured and he spent the next two weeks in tense negotiations getting them returned unharmed. Engineers can sometimes finish up in all sorts of odd situations …

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