Disarming off-duty cops the dream of criminals

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - December 30, 2020 - 12:00am

It is easy to see why communists and their front organizations, as well as criminals and other lawless elements, would clamber over one another in calling for the disarming of all policemen who go off duty just because one off-duty cop in Tarlac went berserk and shot and killed a woman and her son with whom he had an altercation.

The fewer cops there are with real and effective capabilities to deal with lawlessness, even when they are not on duty, the better it is for all of them lawbreakers. Any fool can understand that. But for senator Panfilo Lacson to join such calls, considering that he was once the chief of the Philippine National Police, is to go berserk himself.

Disarming cops who go off duty is a knee-jerk solution to the problem posed by crazy cops. It is going berserk itself. The problem with a cop who thinks he can just shoot people dead is a psychological problem. It has nothing to do with the cop's gun, regardless of whether he is on or off duty. A cop can still kill without his gun if he is truly on a murderous bent. His training alone can make his bare hands just as deadly.

Just as the trash is not really the one that clogs up waterways but the crazy person who threw it there, so does the gun not kill but the crazy person who fires it in anger. Except in extremely rare freak accidents, a gun will not fire unless a person puts it in his hand and pulls the trigger. A gun is an inanimate object that cannot think and rationalize for itself.

But a person, whether police or private citizen, is the living, thinking being who can have good days and bad days that can affect his decision or lose rationality completely and fall off the edge. It is the fact that this possibility happens that the need arises to make sure it does not. And the process by which to make sure it does not, or at least to minimize the instances that they do, is to make certain our cops are healthy both in body and brain.

The cop involved in that Tarlac shooting reportedly had a long history of misconduct that should have already rung alarm bells if only the PNP had not been negligent in the mental health aspect of policework. That cop was a dangerous cop, on or off duty, armed or unarmed. His brain no longer hummed in tune with the music of being a peacekeeper.

Disarm cops who are not on duty? Nothing can be more ridiculous and preposterous. It is throwing the whole of society to the mercy of criminal dogs. Nothing would please the criminally bent than to put away up to half the amount of police firepower, even if only for a time. A cop who is off duty is still on duty in the sense that keeping the peace and upholding the law is a 24/7 thing.

I am pretty sure Lacson, no longer a cop but an honorable senator, will not hesitate to give chase or tackle a fleeing snatcher or baby killer or whatever criminal there is who thinks he is above the law. Wouldn't Lacson wish in such a situation that he had a gun, assuming he doesn't? Or if he is no longer up to physically confronting criminals, wouldn't he wish there was a cop nearby with a gun, on duty or not?

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