The arms race [+UPDATES]
I hear sirens going down Great North Road, heading West. What's going on? A shooting out West. New Lynn - just down the road. Cops doing some of the shooting this time it seems from initial reports. The Police Assoc. Greg O'Conner and the reactionaries will be spinning their gun line Monday morning no doubt. What a shabby start to the week.
UPDATE | Monday 10AM: Rather predictable: NZPA this morning:The cops are always cagey about disclosing details of what went down. They have to get their own story straight first. Notice the incident was reported last night as being a "gunfight," but the NZPA are more cautious: "pulled out a gun" they say, but not that he fired it. O'Conner the cheerleader:
"Whatever we're doing now is not working, so certainly we're going to have more people on the frontline armed."
Last night's incident highlighted "the number of criminals out there who have firearms and are prepared to use them against police", he said.
He wants the arming of police with guns to be made standard and any excuse that presents itself to further that policy is being taken. The reason I dislike O'Conner, and why he is a danger, is because he's very effective at his job.
The NZ Herald has a very good report with most of the witnesses saying they heard four or five shots in rapid succession. Is this is what one would expect to hear when police open fire - rather than a "gunfight"? But the police in this report are adamant he fired - presumably first:"Shots were fired at police" so he shot at police more than once. We may have a better picture when the police are more forthcoming - probably at a proper press conference this afternoon when they have compared everyone's notes.
UPDATE | Monday 6pm: RNZ reporting on the Police revelations. As we see above from the NZ Herald the police were saying the man shot twice at least - and now they say they don't know if he shot or even if he had a gun (which might have been an air rifle)? They still aren't telling us the whole story. Why?
NZPA reporting on the air rifle.
The question is not just that perennial hopelessness of the cops (eight cops couldn't subdue one person) it is the reluctance to disclose.
They still need some more time to get all their stories straight. It's not quite adding up - and in the vacuum people are going to draw their own conclusions based on the things the police have said and have then retracted and the things they haven't said.
TV3 reporting now on their main bulletin that the offender had "pulled out a firearm." Supt. is still adamant that he "presented a firearm" and that is why they shot him. The update on the NZ Herald's site now says:
Mr Searle said eight police officers went to the man's home at 6pm last night when an "altercation occurred" and police used their tasers.
Mr Searle said the tasers had no effect and the man then pointed a gun at them before two police oficers "fired their police weapons at the man".
He said he couldn't be sure if the man fired his gun at any time during the incident.
The man's gun "appeared to be an air rifle, but obviously it will have to be formally examined," said Mr Searle.
Couldn't be sure... today. Last night he said this guy had fired shots, ie. more than one. Now - not so sure. Bullshitting is another way of putting it if it turns out shots fired=0.
If they aren't sure he fired and they are examining a gun then it's going to be an air rifle isn't it. They would know it is an air rifle within a second or two of "examining" it at the scene, but they still won't confirm. Why?
I wonder if there are any non-police witnesses to this incident? Although it appears to be in a caravan so I suppose no-one is going to have had much of a view, and conveniently there won't be any evidence to contradict the police story if they turn up an air rifle. Even if it is found unloaded under the bed everyone will assume that the offender used it in whatever way the police say it went down last night. They just still haven't got all their stories straight yet - because it keeps changing - but maybe tomorrow they can reach a consensus of their version of events that sounds a bit more credible.
UPDATE | Tuesday 6PM: Now the NZ Herald are noting the changing Police version of events. The (air) rifle came from next door? The police have to work it out quickly as the IPCA will be there soon if not already. They've had a long enough time to get their stories straight - they don't give that sort of leeway to the offenders to confer together on the incident.
The other issue is the non-reporting of the witness accounts of a kicking/beating (of the offender presumably) by the police that early reports carried. What was that all about?
UPDATE | Wednesday 1PM: And enter stage extreme right, on cue Greg O'Conner, with a piece in the NZ Herald.His angle is that it's the criminals who are using fire arms more as a response to the illegal drug industry. The answer to that - I would have thought - would be to end drug prohibition rather than arm all the police with guns.Using this New Lynn incident as proof of something when the police aren't even telling us what happened. O'Conner is a prize isn't he? He was mouthing off the same sort of crap when the police shot Steven Wallace in Waitara - saying he supported the shooting to death of someone by the police before he knew what the facts were.
UPDATE | Friday 1PM: And now at the end of the week it comes out. The NZ Herald reporting a "stolen air rifle" was never fired:
Police have admitted a man they gunned down pointed a stolen air rifle but never fired before they started shooting.
It was all a police fantasy and self-justification used to create a public fear. From a gunfight, to a couple of shots, to zero. Supt. Searle who made the early claims isn't the one admitting it either - it's another out of district officer that finally answers the question. As I said on the Monday evening update of this post: Bullshitting is another way of putting it if it turns out shots fired=0. Now shots fired=0. Zero. n=0. The police were bullshitting. If we can't believe them we can't trust them.
The police campaign to arm themselves with guns is more important than the truth as far as they are concerned. The only firing that seems justified in this case is of Waitemata District Commander Superintendent Bill Searle for misleading the public and undermining confidence in the integrity of the police.
I notice in the report that the police will be charging Lawson with "using a firearm against a police officer" - I guess that means the presentation of an air rifle. If they can prove that Lawson was holding the air rifle they are half way there, if they can prove he was pointing it at them then firing in self-defence would seem reasonable, but because of the initial lies from Supt. Searle it casts a suspicion on everything the police are claiming in regard to the shooting.