Video: A Look at Why It's Good for Cops to Not Have Guns

A showdown with with a machete-wielding maniac shows how good crime-fighting can be without guns.


There are two ways to look at this video of a man wielding a machete in England this month. In the first, like many YouTube commenters have, you can decide that it's a perfect example of why British police should carry guns at all times—two shots from a distance of ten feet and both the man and his weapon would have been dropped. That's the simplest and easiest response. The other way to look at it, however, is as a case study for why it's great for cops to not have guns.

Yes, had they been armed, the officers could have dispatched the man immediately. But that solution stands in direct opposition to what the goal of a civilized law enforcement operation should be: To apprehend criminals and rehabilitate them. By killing this man, who's very likely mentally ill, you get him off the streets, but you also forgo the opportunity to help him get well. The operation in this video definitely took longer than it would have if the police had guns, but it also ended with no injuries or deaths. In my eyes, that's a victory.

It's apparently also a victory in the eyes of English police, 82 percent of whom said in 2006 that they didn't like the idea of compulsory firearms for cops.