I don’t mean to suggest that all, or most, of the Seattle Police can’t handle a firearm. They’ve all had psychological screening and extensive training. Uniformly, I’ve only had good experiences with Seattle police. But all it took was one bad day for one officer to put a wood carver in the ground. The day would have been better for Williams and for Birk if Birk hadn’t been armed that day. We’re told that these sorts of incidents of police shooting people are inevitable, but if we disarm the sort of people who think “Ian Birk is a good young man” we’ll probably have fewer of those sorts of incidents.
And I know the region has had a spate of police officers murdered recently. There are people gunning for our officers, sadly literally. Still their weapons didn’t save them from those premeditated murders. And in the case of Clemmons, since he took an officer’s gun, he was more dangerous because the police were armed. Shootings of officers in Britain where the police on the street don’t carry weapons is fairly infrequent (obviously there are other reasons).
I’m not arguing there is no place for any police officer in any circumstance to have a weapon. But it should be the exceptional case, not the norm.