British police could use a dose of our ‘gun culture’

When I think about the gallantry the British police displayed battling knife-wielding terrorists on London Bridge while armed with nothing but truncheons, it nearly makes my blood boil.

The officers are being hailed as heroes by the British media — they most certainly deserve the title — but their heroism should never have been necessary.

In a perfect world, the officers would have simply shot the terrorists, written their reports, grabbed a quick pint or three, headed home and slept like babies — secure in the knowledge that they made their country and the world a much safer place.

Instead, the initial responders had to fight for their lives — and for the lives of others — until armed police arrived.

The officers, the victims and their families are in our thoughts and prayers.

In my humble opinion, the age of the unarmed Bobby has come and gone. It’s a quaint anachronism their country can no longer afford.

It’s a dated tradition that will only result in more needless deaths, but it’s a tradition that’s likely to endure until attitudes change.

Less than five percent of the 126,766 police officers in the UK carry firearms, according to a story published Monday in The Guardian.  The author is anonymous — a 20-year veteran cop who’s commanded an armed unit for the past seven years.

Given recent events, I half expected British cops would be clamoring for guns, but the anonymous author and several others point to a disturbing truth: Most British police officers simply don’t want to carry firearms.

According to a survey conducted earlier this year of London’s Metropolitan Police, only 26 percent of the respondents said all officers should be armed, while nearly half of the officers surveyed said there should be more armed units, (i.e. someone else should carry the guns.) 

Twelve percent said they’d never carry a firearm “under any circumstances.”

Huh?

The fact that many nearly half of them want someone else to carry a gun is disconcerting to say the least.

In this country, you don’t get a badge without a gun. If you don’t want to carry a gun, don’t become a cop. Become a fireman. It’s that simple.

It seems to me that British police could use a good dose of our gun culture, which is so often misunderstood and maligned by the British press.

Instead of belittling American gun owners and the Second Amendment, perhaps they need to examine their own misconceptions about firearms, which remind me of the “rattlesnake” mentality so common among new shooters taking a basic firearms class.

A firearm is not a poisonous snake. It’s not gonna reach up and bite you when you’re not looking. Also, they’re pretty nice to have around when you need something a bit more substantial than a club.

After Sunday’s attack, British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to get tough and make changes.

Perhaps she should start by ordering her police to use the tools they so desperately need to defend themselves against a growing terrorist threat.

May’s constituents support arming police. According to a recent Sky News poll, 72 percent of the British public want their officers to start carrying guns.

It’s 2017, after all.

No police officer anywhere in the world should be forced to fight terrorism with nothing but a stick.

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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