While I am all in favor of rethinking policing, most proposals amount to the flavor of the day of the same theme I have been hearing since the 1960s — the police are killing too many citizens. Neck restraints are the flavor of the day; ban them.

But that’s only a small part of the issue. The principle of Chekhov’s gun applies equally well to police: guns will be shot. Police officers have bad days. Certain police officers have power and control issues. Good-faith mistakes happen.

Why does every police officer have to be armed to the teeth? Is it actually the case that every officer has to outmatch the firepower of every miscreant? Is it reasonable to impose the death penalty on a 12-year-old who is carrying something that might be metallic and doesn’t drop it fast enough to suit some police officer? Does a verbal warning to stand down mean anything when the person being warned might be deaf or impaired?

Maybe guns need to be restricted to a few very-well-trained, very-well-monitored officers who are called in as needed. 

My impression is that police in certain situations are scared to death. Panic plus guns equals disaster. 

Put the firepower exclusively in the hands of dispassionate pros. Even if it’s a gun Officer Your Name Here sees in the miscreant’s hands, he or she is probably a lousy shot. If they were a professional sniper, you’d already be dead.

Bob Stigger

Oak Park

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