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Why do Police have guns?

post #1 of 144
Thread Starter 
"Why do Police have guns?" asked my nearly five year old son. This past weekend, he came home with 2 soldiers and 2 army trucks. Being mostly a pacifist, I said he could play with them for a day, but the next day they would go in the trash. I explained to him that a Soldiers job is to kill people that their government wishes them to kill (aka enemies), usually on a battlefield during a war, and that was why they have guns. I did not want him playing with soldiers, because of this. However, the next day he was loathe to get rid of the new found toys. We reached a compromise we used an exacto blade and cut off the guns, brought out the red paint and turned the figures into fire rangers and the trucks into fire trucks. He helped paint too, and when they were dry they played with his other fire toys. Later in the week, he said "Soldiers have guns to kill people, Do police kill people too?" I said they are not supposed to, they are supposed to keep the law and catch not kill those who brake our laws. Then he said "Why do Police have guns?" They are not soldiers, nor hunters.

All I can think of is that they should not have guns and that they have them intimidate people. Perhaps, the best reason is that they have guns to wound people not kill them. Any thoughts?

I hate to go into the COP/ROBBER, GOOD/EVIL or RIGHT/WRONG ideology since I like to believe the acts are good are bad, not the people unless on the whole they do to many of good or bad things. Hey, Hitler was nice to the kids of his circle; does it make him a little good?
post #2 of 144
Police have guns to protect themselves and others from people who try to hurt them.
OK, and in all honesty, there is an intimidation factor there, but that's a little complicated for now.
We haven't had to answer that question yet, but it's not one I'm looking forward to. Good Luck
post #3 of 144
Well, it is a good/ evil world. There are very bad people in the world that try to hurt other people for a variety of reasons. The nice policeman puts his life on the line everyday to make sure it is safe for us to walk the streets. Very few police actually kill anybody...they are highly trained.
post #4 of 144

Guns....to protect...Never a Joke

They have guns to protect themselves. They wear them so they can be seen as a warning. But they are not used often.
Kids need to know they are real & not a joke like in some cartoon. The guns are real & they are dangerous & the policeman does not make jokes about it & point it at some one else.
They casual behavior in cartoons is what really scares me - not the reality that there are bad & good people (or people doing bad & good actions mostly).
Warm wishes,
Cornelia
post #5 of 144
Police have guns because less lethal technologies are more expensive and human "criminal" lives are worth less to society than money.

They have guns because there are people who would try to attack them otherwise, there are better solutions but our society is not ready for them right now.

I would also have my kid (if he asked) talk to my brother-in-law (who is a cop) about why he has a gun and why he hopes every day that he does not have to draw it.
post #6 of 144
I would wager that 100% of policemen hope that they don't have to draw their gun today. The problem with being a pacifist is that people in the rest of the world aren't pacifists.

I don't own guns, I probably never will. But I certainly see the necessity of some people including law enforcement/etc having them.
post #7 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl2k5 View Post
I would wager that 100% of policemen hope that they don't have to draw their gun today. The problem with being a pacifist is that people in the rest of the world aren't pacifists.

I don't own guns, I probably never will. But I certainly see the necessity of some people including law enforcement/etc having them.
There are plenty of weapons that are more effective at stopping people from killing each other/or the officer than a gun, but completly non lethal. The only reason why they are not used is because the cheapest costs around $1000 and at least $10 per each time you use it, and many more options cost 10 times that much.

A handgun costs $200 plus about 5 cents each time you use it.

Anti-gun does not have to mean "Let them kill you"
post #8 of 144
Police officers have guns to protect themselves and others. Although they draw their guns now and then they don't use them often. They deal with people that could harm them everyday, a few times a day. Remember, it's the criminal that has the advantage, they act while the police officer reacts. My DP is a police officer and it his nice to be pacifist but he sees everyday the ugly in the world and I am glad that he has something to defend himself if ever something happens. Believe me, he doesn't want to have to use it either, but it's his life on the line day in and day out.
post #9 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by CorneliaT View Post
They have guns to protect themselves. They wear them so they can be seen as a warning. But they are not used often.
Kids need to know they are real & not a joke like in some cartoon. The guns are real & they are dangerous & the policeman does not make jokes about it & point it at some one else.
Yes, protection. My husband is a police officer, and it is a very dangerous job. If someone has a gun pointed at your head or is so high that they cannot be physically restrained and they are hurting others, there often is no reasonable alternative to using a gun. That, and there is a respect factor involved. People are much less likely to fight and cause trouble when a police officer arrives, much of because of the gun. I believe that they actually prevent a lot of physical fights and force.
post #10 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by heldt123 View Post
Yes, protection. My husband is a police officer, and it is a very dangerous job. If someone has a gun pointed at your head or is so high that they cannot be physically restrained and they are hurting others, there often is no reasonable alternative to using a gun. That, and there is a respect factor involved. People are much less likely to fight and cause trouble when a police officer arrives, much of because of the gun. I believe that they actually prevent a lot of physical fights and force, because of the fear factor.
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post #11 of 144
Thread Starter 
For those of you who are close to police officers. If they encounter a suspected criminal with a weapon, what is their training and what is their instincts? Shoot to kill or shoot to wound?

I brought this up with an upstate friend of mine, and he said most of his police friends will shoot to kill. Though this is not official policy in that county.
post #12 of 144
I'd probably tell my son that in America police carry guns as part of their uniform. In Britain they don't. Perhaps American police are afraid of something that the British police aren't.

I have family member's x2 who are in the Police force in a major city in particularly bad parts of town. I KNOW why they carry guns. But, do I want my 4 year old to know? Probably not.

He'll learn of the evils of the world by just being in it. I'll protect him from these things as long as possible.
post #13 of 144
It's ALWAYS shoot to kill.

If it gets that serious, that an officer would NEED to shoot at a person, it is to kill. If you only need to shoot to maim, then the threat isn't high enough to shoot that person. Otherwise, some other form of force would be employed.

(My DH is a corrections officer, dual certified as a police officer)
post #14 of 144
My dh is a police officer in a 'bad' town. It is always shoot to kill. The only time they draw their gun is when there is no other choice. Yes there are less lethal solutions but with someone who is on drugs or just not right in the mind those means don't always work, my husband has used a tazer on a man who was on crack and it barely fazed him, same with pepper spray. We tell our children that he carries a gun to keep him safe and keep good people safe. His town has a set of peace officers that do not carry a gun, those guys have it much harder, as pp said just seeing a gun is a deterent for some. My dh hopes he never has to use his gun and I do too but if it comes down to it, I'd rather him come home alive.
post #15 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cersha View Post
It's ALWAYS shoot to kill.

If it gets that serious, that an officer would NEED to shoot at a person, it is to kill. If you only need to shoot to maim, then the threat isn't high enough to shoot that person. Otherwise, some other form of force would be employed.

(My DH is a corrections officer, dual certified as a police officer)
: They are trained to shoot center mass because it is the easiest way of not missing their target.
post #16 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by memz View Post
: They are trained to shoot center mass because it is the easiest way of not missing their target.
Yeah, that too.

Which, is also why they were bulletproof vests. Chests are easier to hit than heads.
post #17 of 144
Well, if you tell him that the only purpose of soldiers is to kill people, why worry about accuracy about police officers? Just make something up again.
post #18 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by papapoochie View Post
I'd probably tell my son that in America police carry guns as part of their uniform. In Britain they don't. Perhaps American police are afraid of something that the British police aren't.

I have family member's x2 who are in the Police force in a major city in particularly bad parts of town. I KNOW why they carry guns. But, do I want my 4 year old to know? Probably not.

He'll learn of the evils of the world by just being in it. I'll protect him from these things as long as possible.
Britian police are now carring guns. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uklatest/s...418660,00.html

I also agree that a soldiers job isn't only killing people. It is to serve there country. They respond to natural disasters also.
post #19 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sagesgirl View Post
Well, if you tell him that the only purpose of soldiers is to kill people, why worry about accuracy about police officers? Just make something up again.
what she said!


police carry guns to protect themselves and YOU ....... Hostile much?
post #20 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sagesgirl View Post
Well, if you tell him that the only purpose of soldiers is to kill people, why worry about accuracy about police officers? Just make something up again.
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