Friday, September 17, 2010

Here's a conundrum...

How come some of the very same people on my side who spend a lot of their time pointing out that AR-15s and semiauto AKs and the like are just "sport utility rifles" and totally constitutional for a citizen to own then turn around and lose their feces over the police having AR-15s because it's "paramilitary"?

I mean, would it have been better for, say, Lafayette's rogue cow to get shot by something with a wood stock?

(EDIT: Let me make it clear that I'm talking about rifles here. If you want to call M-113s, Ma Deuces, camouflaged fatigues, and helicopter gunships "paramilitary", I'm right there with you.)


Jim said...

The walnutters may just be making an esthetic observation about how cows should be shot. :)

Anonymous said...

There's no conundrum.

The group of armed people that society used to call "police" and "law enforcement" now actually are "paramilitary."

Walks like a duck... Talks like a duck.... Armed like a duck... Callous disregard for life and property like a duck. Yep, it's a paramilitary duck.

All that's missing are court rulings authorizing 'disappearings'/rendition and torture without civil recourse and then we'll know for sure it's a duck.

Jay G said...

I have no problem with the police having semi-automatic rifles.

I have a much bigger problem with:

A) The police in the rural community next to mine having full-auto rifles;

B) The police being able to *get* full auto rifles when I can't;

C) The media will call my Bushmaster an "assault rifle" but Officer Friendly's rifle is a "patrol rifle" even though his is select fire - making it a real assault weapon - whereas mine is no different than a wood stocked Mini-14.

D) Using a .223 for a 1,500 bovine seems rather cruel, like taking down a deer with a .17 HMR...

McVee said...

No, it's OK to wear a black sling/stock after labor day. :)

Old NFO said...

Agree with Jay, especially B and C! patrol rifle my ass...

Tam said...

"D) Using a .223 for a 1,500 bovine seems rather cruel, like taking down a deer with a .17 HMR..."

I have it on good authority that Bessie went down like... er, a poleaxed steer.

Apparently the guy with the .308 was en route, but the cow was good and freaked out right then and didn't feel like waiting.

B.S. philosopher said...

The Problem that I Have is that my local PD has armored personnel carriers, M2 .50 Cal machine guns and army surplus helicopters.

Is that really necessary for policing?

Gewehr98 said...

When police call it a "War on Crime" or whatever flavor of the week, and refer to others as "civilians" when their own paychecks don't come from the Department of Defense, then yes, they garner the paramilitary tag. The surplus military vehicles with little other than new paint jobs to differentiate them are just icing on the police paramilitary cake.

docjim505 said...

I think that Anonymous at 0846 and I are in accord. I admit to the logical fallacy of squawking about the police having military-style rifles while proclaiming the right of citizens to have them. However, I take a somewhat quaint view of the police: their job is to UPHOLD the law, not ENFORCE it. Dressing police in military-style uniforms and issuing them with weapons appropriate for a tour in Baghdad sends the wrong message, if you will: the police can and SHOULD use overwhelming force as a matter of routine to cow* the citizenry.

How is it that the policeman of the not-so-distant past managed to keep the peace with only a Model 10 (or a Peacemaker) on his hip? I suggest that it WASN'T because people knew that he had a BAR (or Gatling gun) available: it was because they knew that f*cking with the police would end in a one-way trip up the gallows steps, NOT a lengthy trial, book offers and t-shirts with "Free Mumia!" on them. Let me be explicit: I am in favor of capital punishment, but only as the result of a fair and open trial by jury, NOT the result of a trigger-happy policeman conducting a no-knock raid who somehow got the idea that he's Audie Murphy cleaning out a nazi machinegun nest.

I'm all in favor of giving the police the tools they NEED, but I try to remember that, when you have a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.


(*) No pun intended!

Anonymous said...

For me at least, it's not so much that the cops have paramilitary hardware (which the AR certainly is, and what the hell does it matter what it is and what it's called if I'm a free American and I want one?), as it is that in so many otherwise mundane situations like with Old Bossie there in Lafayette, paramilitary mindset, tactics and activity accompany it's deployment.

When I'm out in the field shooting inanimate objects at 300 yds. wearing jeans and with concern and awareness of what lies beyond, I'm not a threat to anyone or any thing (sadly including most of those inanimate objects).

A crew of juiced-up and blacked-out ninjas operating under the power of .gov and looking for an excuse to squirt some lead down Main Street is a potential threat to everything in the vicinity.

So the concern over what is "paramilitary" has little to do with the "what" and everything to do with the "who, why, and where".


Tam said...


1) The shooter was dressed like Deputy Friendly, so you can lay off the ninja nonsense.

2) The lead "squirted" was two rounds, both of which hit the intended target, which was DRT. "Main Street" was the Wabash River, which mother nature had provided with ample backstops.

3) Yes, they shot the cow. After it had taken out a wall, a vehicle, and an 80-y.o. farmer.

Anonymous said...

I have no problems with anyone owning or carrying any rifle/machine gun / bazooka as long as they are accountable for their actions with it. That goes for law enforcement as well as the rest of the general public. Screw up and you have to pay the piper.


Anonymous said...

"A crew...operating under the power of .gov and looking for an excuse to squirt some a potential threat to...80 y.o. farmers."

Happy now? Didn't realize hyperbole and snark were the exclusive province of the hostess.

There is a real concern about the deployment of hardware and tactics that most certainly are "paramilitary" by undertrained and underbrained government agents on the streets of Smalltowns, USA everywhere. But take that macro and make it micro if you want to. And since you missed it or ignored it, here it is again:

"...the concern over what is "paramilitary" has little to do with the "what" and everything to do with the "who, why, and where". That old farmer would likely agree.


pdb said...

I agree with the edited post. The self-loading military style carbine is the most capable personal weapon mankind has invented, and responsible civilians, whether they happen to work for the government or not, should know how to run one. I see no reason why they cops shouldn't carry them along in their squad cars.

...except that this practice might make the proliferation of SWAT teams somewhat redundant, and what would happen to the hair gel and golf club industry then?

Boyd K said...

Back in the old days, before my time, there was this thing called the comitatus act

Some a those constitutional types figure that law enforcement is a different skillset then the "death from above" types, or they alledge once was. So they go all nutty over the fact that our men in blue now drive armored vehicles and get "the cool guns". Living in Washington (not title three) I'm just happy to hear that -anybody- gets the cool guns. But if yer inta stuff like seperation of powers or you read history or something apparently it's a big deal ;)

Son of Liberty said...

They work for US.
Try telling officer friendly that at the local checkpoint.

Personally, i dont like the arms race of military pattern equipment flooding into PD's so that they may better COMBAT the people they are sworn to protect. The Citizenry.

dont label "criminals" as "them" or "bad guys". lets not dehumanize our own citizenry and ourselves.

do you think the average officer is more likely to discharge his weapon in righteous self defense, or in the ENFORCEMENT of Mala Prohabita crimes so numerous as to comprise volumes of US and State code. make that judgement for yourself.

Bram said...

I don't have a problem with cop M4's or whatever they are calling them. As long as they are back-up, not carried as the primary patrol weapon.

I did a fair amount of cross-training with suburban NJ cops when I was in the Guard. They seemed like okay down-to-earth, protect and serve types to me.

I really liked the style of the suburban / rural NC cops I used to know. They often kept their deer rifles in the truck. In one instance a crazy ex-husband was looking to shoot the ex who worked in a hospital. He didn't find her so he took a hostage and started yelling out a window. The first cop on the scene used his trusty deer rifle to shoot him between the eyes. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

There were two shotguns (detectives) and two ARs (uniformed officers) present at the Mad Cow Incident of Lafayette.

Only one officer shot while the others maintained a perimeter on the boat ramp and island. The backstop was clear, a gentle slope of dirt and fallen trees on the West Lafayette side.

One round into where the officer (an experienced hunter) thought a deer's heart would be. The cow jumped and spun to face the officer, who then fired the second shot into the cow's head between the eyes.

Lafayette police called the SRT sniper on duty but he was on another call. Plan B was to shoot it with a shotgun, but the detectives who responded were not equipped with deer slugs, only buckshot. Plan C was to use the AR-15.

It matters not to me how cops are equipped. It matters more to me what they do with this equipment.

I don't mind the ARs; what I mind is covering their faces with masks and stopping cars as they did in Maryland during the Beltway Sniper incident.

Shootin' Buddy

Ken said...

If you want to call M-113s, Ma Deuces, camouflaged fatigues, and helicopter gunships "paramilitary", I'm right there with you.

I want to call an M113 with a Ma Deuce "Bernice, my weekend grocery hauler." If privately owned horse artillery was good enough for Sam Adams and John Hancock, by cracky....

For the record, I'm not kidding.

perlhaqr said...

Actually, I don't see much issue in the discrepancy.

There's a lot of stuff I'm willing to grant the normal, non-LEO citizenry that I'm explicitly unwilling to grant to the sworn police while they are operating as police.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to place tighter restrictions on the activities of the police than on the average citizen. After all, they have considerably more authority and leeway.

staghounds said...

Q. E. D.

Anonymous said...

I have long held that any American citizen should be legally allowed to own--and carry--any firearm normally carried by a combat infantryman in time of war--as long as they are held FULLY accountable for their actions.

Note I said "firearms"--obviously I am excluding hand grenades, flamethrowers, etc.--not because I am against ownership, but because I am certain most people are too brain dead to use or operate them safely. Including me.

Throwing of rotten eggs and overripe tomatoes may now begin...

cap'n chumbucket

aczarnowski said...

I hear ya on the hypocrisy Tam. I hate seeing that crap.

The line seems very clear to me. LEOs should have access to anything I have access to. They're citizens after all, just like me. The ninja attire? Cops are carrying a ton of stuff around these days and putting it all on a belt just seems like the hard way to do it. Cargo pants are a good idea!

So the M2s and M113s and select fire MP5s and short barreled M4s get my hair up but an AR or 5.11 pants certainly don't.

Jay G said...

Problem (D) cheerfully retracted in face of new information...

Dirt Sailor said...

Yeah, it bugs me too. Something that really bugs me, though? Seeing rent-a-cops, often armed with M4's guarding bases. Setting aside my lack of faith in their steadfastness should things go sideways in a big way, and the fact that I think Bases, like ships, should be guarded by the people who work there, seeing Bubba put his finger in that trigger guard as I roll up on my clearly lethal road bicycle makes me twitch like nothing else.

I have no issue with cops being equipped with carbines; there are situations an officer runs into that require the force provided by a 5.56 round. I don't see why a patrol officer needs that 3 position selector, though.

And the fact that Deputy Vasquez, my neighbor in San Diego County has a 7.5" barrel subgun, and I can't own a collapsible stock shotgun without committing a felony? That really bugs me.

Dirt Sailor said...

Also, Where are you guys seeing cops with Ma Deuce loaded up? I've never seen it, outside of pintles atop MP vehicles.

Ancient Woodsman said...

pdb: don't forget the market for Oakley's and body spray would be severely curtailed, too.

On the OP: I don't mind the argument, but I do mind the hypocrisy, and think Tam's original post was right on.

tomcatshanger said...

cap'n chumbucket, I can already own a flame thrower without offending the Federal Government.

I'd have no problems with privately owned fighter aircraft, and i have no issue with privately own armored vehicles and artillery that already exists, nor with the hand grenades, or grenade launchers.

We live in a world of jet liners and chemistry, criminal mis-use ALREADY costs tens, hundreds, thousands of lives from single incidents.

It sure is weird to want to make mass murder illegaller when we sure as shit can't stop it that way.

Skip said...

The po po at the Hollywood bank robbery sure wished they had a coupla ARs.

Anonymous said...

"The po po at the Hollywood bank robbery sure wished they had a coupla ARs."

Yep, and that once-in-a-blue-moon incident has been used to "justify" the Militarization of Mayberry to the great detriment of citizens and budgets everywhere.

Themadlemming said...

I don't mind the police having access to military-grade equipment, as long as they're held accountable for their action with said equipment. The term "paramilitary" is very subjective and can, in some minds, include groups such as the local fire department and the Boy Scouts.

Bruce H. said...

I haven't been paying that close attention. Is it really the same people talking about sport utility rifles and paramilitary rifles, or two separate groups with otherwise similar views?

Gewehr98 said...

Not to promote thread veer, but I understand the rent-a-cops at military base front gates. That's only because during the heavy deployment tempo, my last base was severely short-handed on SPs. They were also short-handed on Security Force military augmentees, who happened to be deploying at a similar rate to their SP brethren. Until manpower authorizations got ramped up to cover the lack of troops at home drome, the best solution was rent-a-cop.

I volunteered for a few months, brand new FN-made M16A2 in hand. I had plenty of acquaintances I waved through asking me if I'd rather be carrying my beloved 1903A1 that I used to "steal" their John C. Garand Match trophies from them the weekends prior...

Green Tip 5.56mm works fine for the intended purpose, which was to safely sidestep the incoming 2+ ton steel/rubber/glass projectile as it blew past the guard shack, then let the vehicle attempt to navigate the tortuous Jersey Barricade maze, firing for the rear of the driver's seat through the back window. The first round was to shatter the window, allowing remaining rounds to go through the driver's seatback, etc. We had 120rds at our immediate disposal for the task.

Since then, they've also installed those monster barricades that pop up from the asphalt at the press of a button, and are rated to rip the undercarriage out from underneath an 18 wheeler at full tilt boogie.

Kristopher said...

Actually, an MG for cow was appropriate.

Many stockyards and slaughterhouses used to keep a Thompson up on pegs within reach to deal with panicking cattle effectively.

tgace said...

WTF? An AR as a "primary patrol weapon"? What PD's have officers working the street with slung AR's?

Here they are secured in the squad, just like the good old shotguns have since time immemorial. Big Deal.

Montie said...


I'm a little late to this party due to being away from civilization for the last two days, but as one of the "militarized Mayberry" types, I wanted to throw in my two cents.

I have spoken here before on my dismay at the increased militarization of the civilian police in this country since I started doing police work 25 years ago (this month as a matter of fact). But sometimes a rifle is the best tool for the job.

A few years ago I had to shoot an angry steer who was charging me while another officer and I were trying to get it and several of its compadres off the highway and back behind the fence they had broken out of (angry due to an ijury received in a collison with a car).

I managed to dispatch it quite handily with a couple of rounds of .45 ACP from my issued 4506.
I did not feel particularly disadvantaged or undergunned at that point.

A couple of months later I was out on a perimeter around a house with several other officers dealing with a barracaded suspect who was armed with a 30-'06 Remington Mod. 740 Semi-auto. We did not issue patrol rifles at that time but could get approval for using our own rifles, so several officers had their personally owned AR's and Mini-14's out. Always one to be different, I was using my Beretta BM-59. After two cars on the perimeter were shot broadside with full penetration, I was damn glad to be equally armed if I needed to penetrate an exterior wall of his wood-frame house. I will say though that eventually SWAT showed up and tear-gassed him out of the house.

We began to be issued patrol rifles after an officer on the midnight shift tried to stop a car and his patrol unit was shot full of holes by two passengers in the suspect vehicle armed with (of course) AK's. While we eventually captured them, the brass saw the need for issuing "patrol rifles" (although I'm not sure having a rifle would have helped the officer much, as he was forced to lay down in the seat below dash level until the barrage stopped and they drove away).

tgace said...


Nutter takes hostages at Discovery Channel HQ = SWAT team

Heavily armed bank robbers spraying automatic fire down main street = Patrol Officer

Or you get a call to respond to an armed person and this happens:

or this

=Patrol Officer. SWAT will never make it till it;s too late.

Perhaps some would prefer that I have nothing but a .40 cal pea shooter available to deal with situations like this and could care less if I get sent back to my wife and kids in a bag due to their issues with law enforcements possession of rifles, but I will continue to load my AR into my squad nonetheless.

D.W. Drang said...

Is an AR15 (or M16) better or worse than an 870 (or 500 0r 12 or whatever) pump?
Easier to train on?
More effective?
Remember, most of us here are more familiar with firearms than your average police officer OR soldier, our opinions and experiences are not necessarily relevant.

Tam said...

"Is an AR15 (or M16) better or worse than an 870 (or 500 0r 12 or whatever) pump?
Easier to train on?
More effective?

1) Generally, yes.
2) Definitely.
3) Depends.


All things considered, for any shot farther away than inside a phone booth, I'd rather see most any shooter with a dot-sighted carbine than a pistol. At least they'll probably hit with the carbine...

tgace said...

What she said...

Anonymous said...


You make valid points; your insight is beyond my years.

Glad to make your acquaintance; I salute you, sir.

cap'n chumbucket

og said...

A 223 is not a humane kill on a cow, unless it's a head shot. I'm glad they got to the head shot quickly.

Having to use it to take out a cow is inconvenient, but it can obviously be efficiently done. Since the officer is a lot more likely to encounter a two legged "target" than a four, it's a safe bet the 223 is still the best choice of firearm for LEO purposes.

Tam said...

A .223 sure wouldn't be my first choice to anchor a half-ton plus of cranky bovine, either. (But I'd choose it over buckshot.)

Anonymous said...

Select fire is unnecessary for police work aimed fire is vastly supperior. Area denial has no place in an urban enviroment. In the U.S. anyway. Too random with risk of collateral damage too great. Militarize the police? The Cato institute has a good article on that.

Kristopher said...

Those BM-59 mags are a bit spendy ...

Gewehr98 said...

Yeah, the 4 I got were $85.00 each. Of course, I baby my BM-59 and would poop myself if I ever boogered up the Tricompensator out front.

Stranger said...

Personally - any firearm that a private citizen who is not disqualified by reason of mental incapacitation or the commission of a violent crime can afford and can carry should be - no permit, no questions asked legal to own, possess, and carry.

That eliminates hand grenades, mines, and other devices which properly come under the heading of "petards." Those, and howitzers, mortars, and similar weapons might justify a permit system. Or not, in a sufficiently well armed society.

And cops are considered paramilitary because they are.


tgace said...

"And cops are considered paramilitary because they are."

Exactly. The black helicopter crowd likes to use the word to imply some sort of evil intent, but at it's root all "paramilitary" means is organized in a military manner. We (LE) have patrolmen supervised by sergeants who are supervised by Lieutenants, who are supervised by Captains and lead by a Chief.

Even fire departments are paramilitary..organized into companies...brigades...etc.

Anonymous said...

That system of checks and balances wokred real good for officer Basard.

Anonymous said...

tgace said: " it's root all "paramilitary" means is organized in a military manner."

Sir, first let me thank you for your service. But with all due respect, "organization" as it applies to levels of command or hierarchal structure is not at all what is meant by the term "paramilitary" as it is applied here. The following are the top five dictionary definitions of the prefix "para", all of which apply in one manner or another to the morphing of the keeping of municipal law and order, into something entirely different and disturbing:

1.Beside; near; alongside.
2.Beyond; as in paranormal.
3.Incorrect; abnormal.
4.Similar to; resembling.
5.Subsidiary or assistant, as in paraprofessional

Enough said. The problem is systemic and epidemic and is affecting and infecting every aspect of law enforcement from administration down to the beat cop.

Domestic law enforcement is not a military seek-and-destroy mission aimed at enemies of our sovereign state, but when military equipment, tactics, and mindset are adopted and turned against our own citizens as if it were...that, Sir, is paramilitary policing. It is a terrifying prospect, and it is *not* something to aspire to or be proud of.

Al Terego

Anonymous said...

Well said. Similar to the Cato institutes conclusion.

Montie said...

Kristopher and Gewehr98,

Yes, they are. When I bought my BM-59 in 1980 or '81 for $750 it was the most expensive gun I had ever bought (would that I could say that now), but it came with 5 mags.

I thought I ought to get at least 4more while I could and encountered a little sticker shock when I priced them, but ponied up the money when I realized how hard they were to come by.

Having recently priced a couple of BM-59's and some mags I'm glad I did. BTW, all the mags still work great as they are of excellent quality (although I don't shoot it much anymore).

tgace said...

If you are talking about countries that have a single national police force that could well be controlled by that country's military, paramilitary organizations could survive within the police structure.

In the United States, where over
40,000 police departments exist under the "civilian" supervision of elected members of state and local governments, or civilian control boards, the idea that American police departments are paramilitary in any definition of the word other than than that of hierarchal organization is nonsense.

Every police organization is comprised of sworn and civilian personnel. The black helicopter types who get their panties in a twist over the "civilian" term are applying a "military" connotation to the word where none exists. I have authority and obligations granted BY STATUTE that a "non-sworn" does not. On and off duty. If ya'll would prefer me to refer to people as "non-sworn" rather than "civilian" thats fine but it seems like a needless hair split.