On all subjects we'll try to discriminate between hard facts, reports, impressions and apocrypha.
It's more difficult than you'd think - there's hardly a subject that that doesn't "try" to involve the biases, memories and emotions - and therefore the conclusions - of the analyzer.
"Guns" we have experience of (see mead.html). The subject has an additional hidden danger.
The 'hidden' danger : -
a) that those who do carry them cannot admit - are psychologically prevented from admitting - the full effect on themselves;
b) that those who do not carry guns cannot imagine the same effect ever affecting them - but it surely would.
What is this 'effect' ?
First, an untrained - or lightly trained - person who is given a gun, or picks up a gun, immediately fears that someone else will attempt to take that gun - now instantly perceived as the only defense.
This fear - common among policemen and civilians - cannot be recognized or admitted. But it translates into a compulsion to fire the gun; to pull that trigger as a 'defense' against any and all perceived threats.
Whereas the truth is that in most police operations the individual will physically react more efficiently and in a more self-preserving way if unarmed or only armed with truncheon or nightstick etc.
Ie. the body's reflexes will react normally, in contrast to those of a "amateur gun-carrier" - whose first reflex is to freeze and pull the trigger, no matter what is in the line of fire.
The British police have a policy of only allowing 'volunteers' to become 'shooters'.
We know from our own experience - having had to carry and use firearms - that only inadequates or perverts actually want to shoot people.
So, for whatever misguided motive, UK police are selecting from the worst possible candidate pool - inadequate or pervert policemen.
Afternoon Edition @ 07/13/2000 Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2000 14:08:31 MDT
District Judge H. Lon Harper said "Almost all the judges carry guns."
Ed's carried a loaded weapon - on duty - for many years, usually for the protection of others. Off-duty he preferred to be un-armed, as it kept him sensible.
He's a 'marksman' and has never fired a shot by mistake, stress or panic.
But macho (i.e - inadequate) male police quite often "accidentally" shoot - into innocent people!