Austin Hill

But seriously, does Chief James believe his own definition of a gun? If a gun is nothing more than something used to “intimidate and show power,” then why would police officers carry them? And is it the role of police officers to “intimidate?” Is it ever the job of a cop to “show power?”

I would answer both these questions with an emphatic “yes.” At times police officers absolutely need to “show power” and to appear intimidating in the face of lawless threats, and I suspect that most cops, if they were honest, would agree.

Yet James probably would not want to publicly say “our job as police officers is to intimidate” – especially not in California’s very left-wing Bay Area – because he would steer himself in to yet another public relations debacle, appearing as though he’s making excuses for police officers displaying “excessive force.”

But if James’ assertions are true, and a gun is merely something used to “intimidate and show power,” and can never be used for defensive purposes, then police officers should abandon them immediately. Law enforcement officers should be about the business of defending property, themselves, and the citizens they serve. If a gun isn’t helpful for those types of efforts, as Chief James insists, then it’s time for his police force to hand them in.

And here’s another implication of Chief James’ illogical remarks: If a gun was really something to be used for defensive purposes, then cops would never get killed. Well, in a perfect world, maybe this would be true. But in the real and imperfect world in which we all live (and this would include Chief James), even the best defensive plans sometimes are insufficient to save a life.

I mean no disrespect here to law enforcement officers, or to Chief James. On the contrary, I respect the profession of law enforcement enough to point out the recklessness of this man’s words.

I also realize that we live in a time when logic, critical thinking, communication, and the ability to draw inferences and to consider the implications of one’s words are skills that are in short supply. Yet the demand for them has, perhaps, never been greater in our nation’s history.

A gun in the hands of a criminal is a dangerous thing. The power of law enforcement in the hands of people who can’t think or speak logically is, perhaps, even more so.


Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.