Matthew Walter suggests in The Week that the only proper response to the (very) questionable killing of Botham Jean by an off-duty Dallas police officer is to disarm the cops.
I think we should consider the possibility of a return to a style of policing in which officers do not, under ordinary circumstances, carry guns or wear black body armor. Bandying weapons around is not the best way to promote respect for the law.
I hate to give such obvious clickbait the clicks it was asking for, but some ideas are so egregious they need to be nipped in the bud before they can spread. There are so, so many things wrong with Mr. Walter’s arguments, it’s hard to know where to begin, but I would start with a quick perusal through the Active Self Protection YouTube channel, where there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of examples of armed off-duty policemen saving lives because they were at the right place and the right time and had the right tools and skills to solve the problem as it happened.
And it’s not just policemen: The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution declares that Americans of all occupations have the right to carry a firearm for the defense of themselves and others, and Heller v. D.C. and McDonald v. Chicago only reinforced that common-sense gun law. I don’t get to decide when and where an emergency is going to happen and I will need to rely on my training and equipment to save a life, and neither do policemen.
Now, to be fair, there are a lot of questions surrounding the death of Botham Jean. It looks, by all accounts, to be a really, really bad shoot, and charges will probably be filed against Amber Guyger for her actions that horrible night. It’s also a lesson for those of us to carry a firearm on a regular basis to be absolutely sure your target represents an immediate deadly danger before we draw our guns. A bright flashlight (or better still, turning on a light switch) could have saved a life here. Let this be a lesson to us all.
In the end, it’s crying shame that we need to expend the time and effort to fight the idea that the cops should be unarmed, when a simple police ride-along would have cured Mr. Walter of his fevered wish for a disarmed police force. Once you realize that you don’t get to pick the time and place when you might need to defend your life with a gun, carrying a gun all the time makes a lot of sense, cop or not.