Re: GUNS: Re: Self Defense

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Fri Jan 19 2001 - 10:04:23 MST

On Fri, Jan 19, 2001 at 11:20:01AM -0500, wrote:
> Unfortunately this assumed that the Police were "good guys"...actually having
> the welfare of the citzenry in mind.
> It appears that this concept has problems....I wonder if they are soluable?

That depends on your legislative framework, and the context in which
your police force evolved. Different countries acquired formal police
forces at different times, and with different legal duties. For example,
in the UK the police forces have a legal duty to protect the public.
This doesn't mean they invariably do so, but if you call them because
someone is trying to break down your front door and they don't respond,
then they're failing to carry out their duty and you can raise several
shades of shit. (Whereas in the US, the police have no such duty --
their job is to enforce the law, not to protect the public.)

I think the same sort of dichotomy applies to such a self-defense
gun. You'd need a legal framework to regularise their issue and handle
how their use should be treated -- a framework that would require the
police to treat the user as a potential _victim_ of crime, unless proven
otherwise. The biggest obstacle, of course, is the lone nutter syndrome --
the cops are going to be very leery about approaching someone who's just
used a self-defense gun in a friendly manner, in case they're actually
trying to commit suicide by cop. Hmm ...

Another widget to add to the gun: a remote control safety catch that the
police can engage and which temporarily disables any such guns within
a reasonable radius[*]. At the same time, the police are given a duty
to respond urgently to such calls, to identify the participants, and to
arrest whoever first initiated the violence.

A typical scenario then looks like this: mugger attacks citizen. Citizen
pulls gun and tells mugger to back off. Mugger refuses, so citizen shoots
them. They get dyed, photographed, and the police are called. When the
police arrive, all the guns within fifty metres stop working while they
sort out who to arrest.

Alternatively: loony shoots a brick wall, gets photographed and dyed,
calls police. Police show up. Loony tries to shoot cops -- only to
discover that the gun doesn't work any more.

Is this idea workable?

-- Charlie

[*] I'm not going to consider how this could be implemented.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:20 MDT