Police too ready to use their guns
Stabroek News
December 22, 2001

Dear Editor,

On December 14th, your newspaper carried the story of the first former who was riddled with bullets by the Guyana Police Force, eventually losing a leg. We have already noted the excessive haste with which the police let loose with their firearms, but there is another question to be answered.

What would the policemen have done if, after their fusillade, they had discovered not a child, but a fully grown adult? I will suggest just two possibilities.

1. They could have arrested the wounded intruder, and had him hospitalised under heavy guard, or

2. They might have killed him, placed a gun in his hand, then told the world that the intruder fired first.

I will not suggest which of the possibilities is the more likely one.

Does anyone think that situation (2) could only involve a certain "type" of person? Do decent people think, by virtue of your decency, that you are safely distant from this type of interaction?

Some years ago, suspicious persons were seen in a house, in a very respectable and comfortable neighbourhood. The house had been locked up for some time, but now two unknown men seemed to be doing all kinds of damage. The police were called.

In those days, there were many intelligent policemen. These cops were sharp. Moving like panthers, ducking and weaving, they caught the intruders completely by surprise. But then, a loud discussion ensued. It turned out the two men were the sons of the new owner. The building had changed hands!

If this incident happened today, could we have had scenario one (where the cops arrest the decent, but badly wounded men)? Or might we have scenario two (where the cops kill the two decent young men at point blank range, stick guns into their hands, and claim that they fired first)?

We do not know what the police would have done. But it's clearly not a matter of us having to be "upright citizens". Our position seems utterly unsafe at this point. Ironically, our policemen probably think their actions are serving the public interest.

Yours faithfully,

Joseph A Blair