November 29, 2006

Joseph McNamara : 50 Shots

Joseph McNamara, writing in the Wall Street Journal, takes on the increasing militarization of American law enforcement:

Simply put, the police culture in our country has changed. An emphasis on "officer safety" and paramilitary training pervades today's policing, in contrast to the older culture, which held that cops didn't shoot until they were about to be shot or stabbed. Police in large cities formerly carried revolvers holding six .38-caliber rounds. Nowadays, police carry semi-automatic pistols with 16 high-caliber rounds, shotguns and military assault rifles, weapons once relegated to SWAT teams facing extraordinary circumstances. Concern about such firepower in densely populated areas hitting innocent citizens has given way to an attitude that the police are fighting a war against drugs and crime and must be heavily armed.
If Mr. McNamara is advocating Barney Fife-style, one-bullet law enforcement, I'd have to disagree. Then again, there seem to have been changes in the law enforcement mentality over the years, and I'm not sure they're all for the better. I don't fault the cops themselves for this development., and I don't think cops should have to patrol the mean streets with a six-shooter .38. It does appear, however, that there's been a real shift in culture from "peace officer" to "street soldier," and I think that at least merits discussion.

h/t : Glenn.

By Ragnar Danneskjold, Typical Bitter Gun-Clinger at 11:49 PM | Comments |