guns..."To answer your question of what they are fighting and dying for... I think it is to restore stability - to help the "new" Iraq get on its feet. Just because Saddam is gone doesn't mean all of his followers are."
----Please, please look further into this issue. We are not occupying Iraq to help them get their feet on the ground. We did not attack Iraq because Bin Ladin attacked the World Trade Centers. We are not there preventing attacks from Saddam's followers. We had stakes there when Saddam was still on our payroll.
"I've reread your saga of being tear-gassed at union marches and watching your father get arrested. I suspect that your father's experiences were quite a few years ago and that yours were likely linked to illegal activity, perhaps participating in a riot? Perhaps inciting violence or attempting to create anarchy? Blaming the police for their lawful actions that were in response to your unlawful actions doesn't make a whole lot of sense and isn't going to curry any favour."
----While I don't know anarchamama or her story, I'd like to mention that people still get tear-gassed and arrested at peaceful marches and protests today. It is not uncommon. It is not always lawful but even when it is, why would that make it right? There have even been several occasions when the police have incited riots. Look at the events of The Tomkins Square Police Riot in 1988, the WTO protests in Seattle in 2003, a protest for a meeting with the American Leaders Summit last month in Quebec...and there are many more.
Cops have guns because bad guys sometimes have guns. Fight fire with fire.
----This is not why police were initially permitted to carry guns. I believe that most individual police are good people with good intentions to keep "bad guys" and "criminals" from the "good guys" and "upstanding citizens". Police as a unit, though, violate human rights everyday. We like to picture them with their gun protecting people. This is an ideal. It is not always a reality. I see several posts talking about other countries and their more relaxed gun laws and using these as examples. If we're going to do that, let's also mention those other countries in which children are killed by the government and the military and the police who are supposed to be "protecting" them. I am not saying that bad police in general as individuals are anything more than upstanding men and women wanting to protect innocent people and make the world a just place. I've got family who are police and friends who are police and I dated a policeman...this is not about that. I believe the state has an agenda that the innocent people who protect that agenda and its elite interests are not informed about or aware of.
Someone said this thread has been turned into a cop-bashing forum. -Obviously some people have had good experiences with police and some have had bad. All should be able to give their two-cents.
That said, I am not recommending teaching your young child that the government has monopoly on deadly force and that it can be power-happy. I also would not "tell my son that the police have guns because they work much better than lollipops and rainbows in situations where a very dangerous person is putting other innocent people in harm". It is not a black and white issue and so I will not teach it that way.