Car Free Day a less Care-Free Day when there are Big Fucking Guns on the street

Semi-Automatic Rifles were present on Commercial Drive on Car Free Day.  They made a lot of people uncomfortable.  What was the point?

If you managed to get out to Vancouver’s Car Free Day on Commercial Drive, you may or may not have noticed two armed police officers posted at each end of the festival.  Not  a couple of cops in standard issue gear, but with big fucking guns.  I’m not a gun guy, but I’m pretty sure they were semi-automatic rifles.

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Officers armed with big fucking guns on Commercial Drive at Vancouver’s 2018 Car Free Day

Now, you might ask why a confluence of vegetarians and environmentalists would warrant big fucking guns, the simply answer is that they probably don’t.  But let’s consider it a bit more carefully.

(1) Was there there reason to believe that there was a valid threat to warrant an elevated security response?

I don’t know.

(2)  Would the presence of big fucking guns deter would-be offenders from instigating an attack? 

Let’s consider.  If we’re considering high profile terrorist attacks, it doesn’t seem like the terrorists are too concerned with surviving or escaping the event, in which case the big fucking guns wouldn’t matter at all.  But if they were planning to escape, then do you really think four cops are more likely to be able to catch them if they’re weighed down with big fucking guns? They can’t exactly put them down and engage in pursuit, and the guns don’t function as a jet pack.  They don’t improve mobility.  They’re just good for scaring and shooting people.  The kind of fear they create, by the way, could very well be one of the motivating factors behind the sentiment that drives many acts of terrorism.  Either way, big fucking guns aren’t good for catching people, they’re good for shooting people.  And it’s not like the cops are going to fire their big fucking guns into the crowd, which brings me to

(3) In the event an attack occurred, would the big fucking guns help in reducing the duration of the attack or the number of casualties? 

I don’t work in law enforcement, so I don’t know what answer gets full marks on the written test, but I would hazard to guess ‘no.’  And remember, we’re really just asking if these big fucking guns are doing a better job than the standard suite of sidearm, taser, pepper-spray, communication device.  Having pairs of big fucking guns a km apart with a crowd of people in between doesn’t seem like there would be a very good response time if there was a problem in the middle.  More, I am pretty sure (I hope) that police officers wouldn’t even consider firing into the crowd to try and get the bad guys.  The big fucking guns wouldn’t help against a bomb, or a rogue truck, or a bunch of attackers mixed in with the civilians.  So what exactly are they doing?

About the only thing that the big fucking guns would be good for is if the Car Free Festival was invaded from the outside: a biker gang or an armed militia came marching onto Commercial Drive, and the cops with big fucking guns could get behind their vehicles and hold them off.  But no, wait, that wouldn’t work unless the invaders were super fucking stupid and didn’t make any plans at all, because the festival could very easily be flanked by any number of side streets that were not defended by big fucking guns.

If there was an actual security concern — the kind that might warrant big fucking guns on the ground, you’d think they would have stationed a team or two on the roofs.  Maybe they did.  Maybe it all made sense and was necessary.  But if there were people on the roof,  I wonder that the big fucking guns were necessary in hands, on the street.  Isn’t the sidearm good enough, with the rifles in the trunk?  It seems reasonable that the roof guys could take care of whatever tasers, sidearms, and pepper spray couldn’t immediately handle.  And in a pinch, the big fucking guns are just in the trunk.  Along with the gas, and the sound cannon, and the grappling hooks.

So what did the big fucking guns actually accomplish?  They made some people uncomfortable.  They made some people nervous.  They made some people angry.   If they aren’t serving a useful function, then why are they there?  Did they need paperwork to show they were regular use so they’d be allowed to buy the new ones?  They don’t seem to have been serving a practical purpose outside of intimidation.

But how practical is intimidation, anyway?  Very practical, if it’s taking the place of violence.  But not so practical if it’s detracting from a pleasant atmosphere, deterring patrons, nurturing fear, stirring resentment, and is completely unnecessary.

 

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