Wednesday, 9 May 2007

A Policeman's Job

Well, that didn't take long.

There has been a number of robberies at fast food shops in Perth lately that were attributed to a single individual who menaced staff with what was described as "a silver handgun".

That individual has been apprehended, but NOT by police. Instead he was "detained" by his intended victims ... and then the press report went on to say:

Although the shop owners were able to successfully apprehend the offender, Police Inspector Pryce Scanlon discouraged members of the public to do so if faced with a similar dangerous situation.

"While the staff at the pizza shop last night did a good job in apprehending an offender in relation to that armed robbery it is not something we would encourage especially when dangerous weapons are involved the potential for tragic circumstances are greatly increased," Inspector Scanlon said.

He recommended staff members comply with an armed offenders and let police do their job.

This CANNOT go unchallenged.

The job of the POLICE is to:
1) investigate crime (after the event)
2) gather evidence (after the event)
3) present that evidence to a court (after the event)
4) prevent the arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced, and jailed criminal from escaping legal custody.

It is commonly understood that it is NOT the job of the POLICE to protect citizens, or prevent crime (except by point 4 above, and any deterrent effect that may have).

So, let's start from the beginning.

Point 1
Any animal has the inherent (some might say God-given) right to self-defence.
I am a self-aware, sentient, and sapient individual animal.
Ergo, I have the right to self-defence.

Point 2
As a consequence of living in our increasingly specialised society, I choose to delegate to other, better qualified people, the tasks that I cannot or will not do.

I DON'T butcher my own meat, I DON'T build the roads, I DON'T prescribe medicines.

I DO repair my car, I DO paint my house, I DO raise my children to know right from wrong.

Point 3
One of the jobs that I have delegated (through the mechanisms of society) is that of the POLICE OFFICER as described above.

Note this VERY WELL. I said delegated, NOT abdicated.

Further, there is not a single clause in the job description above that mentions "defend Sendarius and his kin". That is MY job, and not one that I have delegated or abdicated in any way.

Any person faced with a threat to their life and/or liberty has a RIGHT to self-defence. There is no requirement to delegate anything to a police officer, and even if you choose to do so, it is NOT a nullification of your own rights.
The POLICE are NOT expected to be everywhere, and citizens have a right (and maybe a duty) to resist the bad-guys.

These shop owners did the right thing and they deserve a medal not a lecture.

PS I have as yet made no comment on the standard of the writing in the press report, but the quoted portion was a direct cut and paste from proving conclusively that you can trust a journalist to mangle the prime tool of the trade - the language.

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