Why do Police have guns? - Mothering Forums
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Dads > Why do Police have guns?
PareMesAlt's Avatar PareMesAlt 03:13 AM 02-17-2007
"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?

mntnmom's Avatar mntnmom 04:11 AM 02-20-2007
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
gothnurse3's Avatar gothnurse3 12:52 PM 02-20-2007
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.
CorneliaT's Avatar CorneliaT 02:35 PM 02-20-2007
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
ShaggyDaddy's Avatar ShaggyDaddy 02:58 PM 02-20-2007
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.
rdl2k5's Avatar rdl2k5 03:15 PM 02-20-2007
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.
ShaggyDaddy's Avatar ShaggyDaddy 04:18 PM 02-20-2007
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"
memz's Avatar memz 05:45 PM 02-20-2007
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.
heldt123's Avatar heldt123 06:14 PM 02-20-2007
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.
memz's Avatar memz 06:17 PM 02-20-2007
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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PareMesAlt's Avatar PareMesAlt 06:58 PM 02-20-2007
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.
papapoochie's Avatar papapoochie 08:12 PM 02-20-2007
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.
Cersha's Avatar Cersha 09:15 PM 02-20-2007
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)
lildevil77's Avatar lildevil77 11:48 PM 02-20-2007
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.
memz's Avatar memz 11:50 PM 02-20-2007
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.
Cersha's Avatar Cersha 12:11 AM 02-21-2007
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.
Sagesgirl's Avatar Sagesgirl 02:03 AM 02-21-2007
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.
Marsupialmom's Avatar Marsupialmom 02:11 AM 02-21-2007
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.
little's Avatar little 03:02 AM 02-21-2007
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?
Houdini's Avatar Houdini 11:37 AM 02-21-2007
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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DragonflyBlue's Avatar DragonflyBlue 01:12 PM 02-21-2007
Quote:
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.
:

I'm sorry but that is so darned offensive!

My sister is a Marine. Her only purpose is not to kill others. She's not even been in a combat situation. She is a helicopter mechanic. She's participated in numerous humanitarian missions.

Soldiers are far more than you make them out to be. Just take a look at the many, many things our troops do to come to the aide of others.

In raising well balanced children one must give them all the facts. Not just the ones we like best.

Janis
pjabslenz's Avatar pjabslenz 01:49 PM 02-21-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by JanisB View Post
:

I'm sorry but that is so darned offensive!

My sister is a Marine. Her only purpose is not to kill others. She's not even been in a combat situation. She is a helicopter mechanic. She's participated in numerous humanitarian missions.

Soldiers are far more than you make them out to be. Just take a look at the many, many things our troops do to come to the aide of others.

In raising well balanced children one must give them all the facts. Not just the ones we like best.

Janis
:

I was hoping to see some posts defending the soldier. They definitely do far more than kill people. I'm willing to bet that almost all of the soldiers that are defending our country would much rather be back in the US with family & friends and enjoying the freedoms that they signed up to protect & defend.
taterbug1999's Avatar taterbug1999 03:28 PM 02-21-2007
Have to say I too am offended by the implication of the OP. My hubbie is a LEO and a master-at-arms for the Navy reserves (like an MP) so I'm getting burned on both sides. He carries a gun in both of these capacities, for his own protection and the protection of others. While in theory guns are only used to kill as the OP stated, I think the implication is that somehow that soldier or cop condones that form of use. My hubbie actually very much likes the idea of non -lethal weapons, because I don't think anyone wants to live with the memory of killing someone, even in self-defense, but there are instances where it is not an option. The primary non-lethal that most officers have right now is the taser which Amnesty Intern'l is trying to fight the use of right now. Sadly though, in the event that an armed man is holding a gun to someone's head 100 yards from him, getting close enough to use a taser is not an option. Ideally agencies will begin to bring effective long range non-lethals on board over the course of the next few years, but until then my husband has to use the means afforded to him by the state and federal gov'ts. And even the best "non-lethal weapons" can cause death in rare intances.
Now he has been a cop for about 11 years and has pulled (not fired) his weapon twice, both times a gun was pointed at him. I doubt there is a cop OR soldier out there who hopes to use their gun. If you can make it an entire career and never have to brandish/fire it for protection it is something to look back on and be proud of. But these men and women have familes, children, loved ones too and when faced by someone who has no regard for life and is choosing to try to kill them (whatever their reasoning) whether on the streets of the US or in some foreign country, they need a means by which to protect their own lives. And whether "politically correct" or not I am thankful for those weapons. If my husband is again placed in the position where he is actively being fired upon, whether at work or if called into service, I would want him to use that weapon to protect himself and those at risk around him, because, warm and fuzzy or not, his most important job is to come home to me and my kids above all else.
memz's Avatar memz 05:02 PM 02-21-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterbug1999 View Post
Have to say I too am offended by the implication of the OP. My hubbie is a LEO and a master-at-arms for the Navy reserves (like an MP) so I'm getting burned on both sides. He carries a gun in both of these capacities, for his own protection and the protection of others. While in theory guns are only used to kill as the OP stated, I think the implication is that somehow that soldier or cop condones that form of use. My hubbie actually very much likes the idea of non -lethal weapons, because I don't think anyone wants to live with the memory of killing someone, even in self-defense, but there are instances where it is not an option. The primary non-lethal that most officers have right now is the taser which Amnesty Intern'l is trying to fight the use of right now. Sadly though, in the event that an armed man is holding a gun to someone's head 100 yards from him, getting close enough to use a taser is not an option. Ideally agencies will begin to bring effective long range non-lethals on board over the course of the next few years, but until then my husband has to use the means afforded to him by the state and federal gov'ts. And even the best "non-lethal weapons" can cause death in rare intances.
Now he has been a cop for about 11 years and has pulled (not fired) his weapon twice, both times a gun was pointed at him. I doubt there is a cop OR soldier out there who hopes to use their gun. If you can make it an entire career and never have to brandish/fire it for protection it is something to look back on and be proud of. But these men and women have familes, children, loved ones too and when faced by someone who has no regard for life and is choosing to try to kill them (whatever their reasoning) whether on the streets of the US or in some foreign country, they need a means by which to protect their own lives. And whether "politically correct" or not I am thankful for those weapons. If my husband is again placed in the position where he is actively being fired upon, whether at work or if called into service, I would want him to use that weapon to protect himself and those at risk around him, because, warm and fuzzy or not, his most important job is to come home to me and my kids above all else.
: Could not have said it better
mom2snugbugs's Avatar mom2snugbugs 05:17 PM 02-21-2007
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Yoshua's Avatar Yoshua 05:23 PM 02-21-2007
Police carry guns to protect themselves and innocent people from people who have weapons.


Police should have guns. Guns don't make people into killers. But killers can use guns to do what they want to do.

Soldiers are not killers either. They are trained to defend themselves in enemy territory, and to attack the enemy granted. But if they were not soldiers they would not be killing people for fun. It is a part of their duty to protect. I don't know if I like the connotation that soldiers have guns to kill people. Yes they are used for that, but they really have guns to protect themselves in enemy territory and to protect us from enemies trying to invade. Same principle applies there. Yes they attack enemies at the order of their Commanders. But first and foremost I believe they have guns to protect themselves and comrades.
silvermam's Avatar silvermam 06:07 PM 02-21-2007
[QUOTE=Marsupialmom;7357798]Britian police are now carring guns. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uklatest/s...418660,00.html
QUOTE]
in britain (I live in london) there are special units that are armed most cops aren't. the only time I have seen an armed cop in the 6 years i have lived in london was during the bombs in the tube last year.
I dissagree with cops carrying guns as a routine I disagree with people owning guns the figures speak for themselves really. I don't know what I would have answered to the question myself since our ds is only 2.5 but maybe used it as a start to exploring guns troughout history and hopefully coming to an answer that would satisfy him. because guns are used for "fun" not every hunter hunts for survival and not every soldier is a killer so its a hard question to answer
JBaxter's Avatar JBaxter 06:08 PM 02-21-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterbug1999 View Post
Have to say I too am offended by the implication of the OP. My hubbie is a LEO and a master-at-arms for the Navy reserves (like an MP) so I'm getting burned on both sides. He carries a gun in both of these capacities, for his own protection and the protection of others. While in theory guns are only used to kill as the OP stated, I think the implication is that somehow that soldier or cop condones that form of use. My hubbie actually very much likes the idea of non -lethal weapons, because I don't think anyone wants to live with the memory of killing someone, even in self-defense, but there are instances where it is not an option. The primary non-lethal that most officers have right now is the taser which Amnesty Intern'l is trying to fight the use of right now. Sadly though, in the event that an armed man is holding a gun to someone's head 100 yards from him, getting close enough to use a taser is not an option. Ideally agencies will begin to bring effective long range non-lethals on board over the course of the next few years, but until then my husband has to use the means afforded to him by the state and federal gov'ts. And even the best "non-lethal weapons" can cause death in rare intances.
Now he has been a cop for about 11 years and has pulled (not fired) his weapon twice, both times a gun was pointed at him. I doubt there is a cop OR soldier out there who hopes to use their gun. If you can make it an entire career and never have to brandish/fire it for protection it is something to look back on and be proud of. But these men and women have familes, children, loved ones too and when faced by someone who has no regard for life and is choosing to try to kill them (whatever their reasoning) whether on the streets of the US or in some foreign country, they need a means by which to protect their own lives. And whether "politically correct" or not I am thankful for those weapons. If my husband is again placed in the position where he is actively being fired upon, whether at work or if called into service, I would want him to use that weapon to protect himself and those at risk around him, because, warm and fuzzy or not, his most important job is to come home to me and my kids above all else.
:

I have 2 military brothers DB1 is in command of a MP division currently on its way to Iraq for the second time. DB2 was a combat medic in Iraq ( now out of the military) he carried a wepon but also HELPED many military and civilians on his tour of duty. He is now working full time in an ER as an RN. I do take a bit of offence to the OP statement that soldiers carry guns to kill people.
mamabadger's Avatar mamabadger 10:10 PM 02-21-2007
It seems to me that the job of a soldier is to do what his superiors instruct him to do. If he's assigned to protect civilians, that's what he does. If he's part of the army of a dictator who orders his military to kill political opponents, then that's what he does. Maybe it's a mistake to focus on the individual soldier, as though he's the one who decides.
Laggie's Avatar Laggie 11:19 PM 02-21-2007
A few years ago I was in line at a grocery store. Ahead of me in line was a mother with a little boy, about four years old. Ahead of them was a police officer.

The little boy asked his mom why the officer had a gun. She said, "Don't worry, it's just a toy gun, it's not real."

I had to try very very hard to keep from bursting out laughing. I think I giggled. The officer turned beet red, but didn't say anything.

Now, I'm not saying that was a great answer... but it sure was funny! Sorry if I'm derailing here but I had to share that one.
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