Why Yes, Disarming Police is a Terrible Idea (And Other Truths)

You’ve just been diagnosed with cancer.

It’s not that you might die—you will die … that is, if you do nothing. So, you’ve a choice: treat it with unsavory-yet-often-successful chemotherapy, or resort to homeopathic remedies you found on Pinterest. 

What do you pick?

Well, duh.

You’re going to pick the option that gives you the best chance for survival against a deadly threat.

So why is it that this same common sense, no-brainer logic is considered so detestable by some in society?

Come up with me for a moment to my home state of Minnesota (It’s not snowing …yet.) and meet Minneapolis mayoral candidate Ray Dehn, a Democratic state representative in my state.

Ray Dehn thinks the solution to the city’s “policing crisis” (we’ll get to that in a minute) is to take guns away from police officers.

Dehn’s position comes on the heels of the acquittal of Officer Jeranimo Yanez in the officer involved shooting (OIS) death of Philando Castile (you can read about that here) and the July 15thOIS death of Justine Damond, a woman who had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her house.

Castile’s death, while tragic, was prompted by his refusal to take his hand off of the pocket where his gun was stored—and a jury agreed. Damond’s death, also tragic, appears at this moment to be extremely questionable. But let’s look beyond these two recent cases—is there actually an OIS death crisis in Minneapolis?

Year to date in 2017, six people have been killed by police across Minnesota—a state with a population of well over five million. Of those, five were armed, and none of those five lost their lives at the hands of Minneapolis police, where Dehn claims a crisis is underfoot.

For kicks, meet those five:

  • Gregory Thrower stole a car, and refused to drop the gun he was pointing at police when they caught up with him.
  • Darren Jahnke disarmed a police officer in a struggle and didn’t respond to stun guns fired at him.
  • Cordale Handy was firing his gun into an apartment wall and later pointed it at the responding officers—refusing to put it down.
  • Jamison Anderson was in the process of armed robbery when cops arrived, and he refused to drop the gun he was pointing at his victims.
  • Ronald Johnson was holding a woman captive with a knife—and began attacking the responding officers by throwing objects (an A/C unit and a glass bottle) from the second floor and threatened to cut the woman if they got closer.

Notice a pattern? Officers in these cases chose the option that gave them (and the perpetrators’ victims) the best chance for survival against a deadly threat.

For accuracy’s sake, let’s look at the last two years.

In 2016, 14 people were killed by police in Minnesota. Of those, 13 were armed and only one (Raul Salvador Marquez Heraldes, lunging at officers with a knife and having stabbed another man) was killed in Minneapolis.

In 2015, 12 people were killed by police in Minnesota. Of those, three were unarmed (though in all three cases, perpetrators were attacking officers and/or going for their weapons) and again, just one (Jamar Clark, who had assaulted his girlfriend, paramedics, and was then in the process of trying to disarm the responding officer) was shot in Minneapolis.

With no due respect Representative Dehn, you’re nuts. The above is hardly a crisis. Heck, even if you’re looking at the entire state, it’s not even in the same universe as a crisis.

This isn’t a killing spree at the hands of bloodthirsty or even haphazard cops—these are officers deploying their weapons to save lives.

But disproving Dehn’s “crisis” claim is only part of the picture.

Let’s talk about his policy. What happens when you disarm those we’ve selected to protect us?

How many lives—INCLUDING innocent victims’—have been saved in these instances by the presence and the usage of a gun?

Advocates for disarming police will tell you that officers should simply use alternatives, like stun guns. What about the aforementioned Darren Jahnke, who wasn’t fazed by the stun guns and continued to grab the officer’s actual gun? And in the cases where the perpetrator had a gun pointed at the victims or the police—who’s got a better chance of survival? The criminal whose bullets travel at 2,500 feet per second, or the officer whose stun gun shoots at a rate of a couple hundred feet per second?

People like Dehn will point to places like Britain, Ireland, Norway, Iceland and New Zealand (where officers are unarmed except in certain cases) as cases-in-point.  For demographically similar comparison purposes, let’s look at the first two. In Britain in the past few years, they’ve seen “homicides, knife attacks and violent crime” on the rise after cuts to police. On that note, Ireland is the deadliest place to live in the British Isles.

(For the record, countries like Norway and Iceland’s small, largely homogenous populations contribute to comparatively low violence rates. Fun fact: Iceland’s population is SO small—about 330K—and SO homogenous that there’s actually a dating app that helps prospective couples determine whether or not their relationship would be incest. But I’ve digressed.)

People like Dehn love to cite small nations (Denmark’s a great example) as the standard bearers of OIS deaths—but let’s use a little logic. Look at the deaths as a percentage of the populations. Many will praise the single digit annual OIS deaths in nations with populations of less than 10 million, while decrying the 1,000+/- annual OIS deaths in the U.S., where the population sits at over 320 million. Do the math, people.

Regardless, those countries are those countries—all with unique demographics and situations that affect their crime (or lack thereof).

That’s not the point.

How would disarming police HERE affect us? How would those Minnesota incidents I showed you above have ended with a disarmed police force?

Remember, we’re talking about saving the lives of innocent people.

People like the woman Ronald Johnson was holding captive at knifepoint; people like the woman and paramedics Jamar Clark had beaten and threatened; people like those held at gunpoint by Jamison Anderson.

Keep that in mind the next time people like Dehn cite the number of citizens killed at the hands of police in the U.S. versus other nations.

Keep in mind that for all the criminals that die at the hands of police there’s a LOT MORE people whose lives were saved. How many people have been hurt or killed in the aforementioned nations because their governments have refused to arm their police—the very people charged with keeping order in society?

With OIS deaths nationwide at around 0.0003% of the population, and with thousands saved as a result of quick-thinking, selfless (and yes—armed) police officers, how does taking away their primary tool make us any safer?

Think about it.

Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, M-F, 3-5. ET). She can be reached at: afuturefree@aol.com; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree

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