Richard Moore: Time to arm New Zealand's police

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Guns tend to bring out the loony elements of our world.

There is the idiotic far-right view of America's National Rifle Association that, no matter how many innocent people are butchered going about their daily lives, they will never give up on the right to bear arms.

Recall if you will actor Charlton Heston's holding a rifle aloft and saying "I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands."

Well, his hands are now cold and dead, although I am not sure if they still pack a rifle or not.

To Heston's ghost - and the twit in charge of the NRA Wayne La Pierre - I say this: "Your ridiculous posturing results in innocent lives being lost. Open your minds about controlling guns. Work out a way to make it work."

And I'll add this so that LaPierre and Co can think on these statistics.

Other things that are cold and dead are:

20 children and six teachers from Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary school.

Two firefighters in New York State ambushed by a career crim.

Seven victims at a Christian college in Oakland in April this year.

Five students at Northern Illinois University in 2008.

32 students and faculty at Virginia Polytechnic and State University in 2007.

Five students in an Amish schoolhouse in 2006.

Seven people in Red Lake Indian Reservation in 2005.

12 students and a teacher at Columbine High in 1999.

69 people at a youth camp near Oslo in 2011.

35 people at Australian tourist spot Port Arthur in 1996.

13 people at Aramoana in 1990.

Now, to balance the loony gun toters, there are those in this country who recoil from the idea of arming the police.

In the past week we have had four brutal attacks on police officers going about their duties.

Of course the culprits were intoxicated lowlives - of which there seems to be an ever-increasing number infesting our society. In Huntly an officer was king-hit after being attacked by drunken youths.

In the lawless north two policemen in Dargaville were beaten, one hit with a brick, and then could have been Tasered with one of their own weapons by one of the assailants but she was unable to operate it.

In Matamata another officer was attacked on duty.

Clearly there is a section of society that does not obey the rules and they believe themselves so untouchable they now are acting violently against our very thin blue line. If they don't care about attacking police how much less do they worry about attacking normal citizens?

So, in order to redress the balance we need to arm every officer with a pistol. Make it regulation issue to each one.

If you have lived in Australia, or America, even England you won't be worried by sworn officers being armed to not only protect themselves but, more importantly, law-abiding citizens.

There is a comfort knowing that when you see a police officer you know they will be able to handle most incidents that have required you to call them.

My brother was a Victoria policeman for five years and was armed on duty.

He rarely had need to draw his weapon but on one notable occasion it was necessary.

He was caught in the middle of the 1987 Hoddle St massacre in which seven people died. He had to park his police car across the middle of the major road to protect a woman from any more of Julian Knight's bullets. He spent a number of very uncomfortable hours ducked behind a tyre trying to save her. Unfortunately, she died later of her wounds.

Without guns our police are not able to instantly respond to armed offender incidents which, if dealt with immediately, will save more lives being lost. If the police knocking on Jan Molenaar's door in Napier had been armed as a matter of course they may well still be alive today. Or if the local police at Aramoana had service-issue weapons things may have been very different.

If a person with a weapon is threatening others' safety then first responder police units or armed officers on the beat can deal with it quickly.

I know the bleeding hearts out there will waffle on about the rights of the person who is causing the drama but, as the adage says, "don't pick up a weapon unless you are prepared to use it" and so ... they are fair game.

richard@richardmoore.com

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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