EDITORIAL - How about presuming regularity in favor of cops?
(The Freeman) - August 22, 2016 - 12:00am

It is perfectly possible, as the critics infer, that policemen are just making up stories about drug suspects putting up a fight, that the truth is, shooting victims are indeed being shot on sight. But all things being equal, it is perfectly possible as well that the police are in fact telling the truth, that drug suspects are getting killed because they actually put up a fight.

The problem with the critics' side of the story is that they are not supported by facts. It is simply too easy for the critics to conclude, from the safety of where they sit, and without producing a single shred of evidence, that drug suspects are being summarily killed. This places the police in a very difficult situation. It is dangerous enough to lay their lives on the line just so Filipinos can sleep safe at night, it is worse having critics tell them how to do their jobs.

Filipinos have already seen the scary extent of the drug problem in the Philippines. And yet, now that the government has embarked on a no-nonsense approach toward confronting the problem, critics abound both here and abroad who just cannot accord the police the presumption of regularity in doing their jobs. The worst cut of all is that, not only do the critics have no evidence to back up their accusations, they cannot also propose a better solution to the problem.

Critics just shoot their mouths off without even bothering to check a few important facts that might come in handy to make them understand what the situation really is on the ground. To cite just one example, a Senate press release from the office of Senator Ralph Recto in 2015 says there are an estimated 1.9 million loose firearms in the country, all presumed to be in the hands of criminals.

This brings up the inevitable question, which the critics might help answer: Why would criminals possess guns? Surely criminals with guns do not use their guns to eat noodles or pick their teeth. They do not twirl them around as a matter of skill or screw them to the wall for display. Criminals buy guns because they intend to use them. A criminal with a gun does not intend to surrender peacefully, or else why buy a gun in the first place.

To be sure, most of us, critics included, are never around when these shootings happen. That means none of us knows any better. In a situation where we know absolutely nothing about the circumstances of a case, it is indeed disappointing, frustrating, and in fact deeply disturbing, that the critics would find it easier to presume a criminal with a gun would just allow himself to be killed without at least putting up a fight when in fact that was why he bought a gun in the first place.

Again, there are an estimated close to two million loose firearms out there, most of them presumably in the hands of an equal number of criminals. Why then it is so hard for the critics to appreciate the reality staring them in the face that these criminals did not buy these guns to use as toys. They bought these guns in order to use them. And when they use them against the police, the police need to defend themselves. Or would we rather disband the police and just defend ourselves?

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