Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: When that awful thing happens

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  • mark taslov,

    ...in the case of the police, the execution of the search warrant.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    "Making sure nobody else dies" should not extend privileges to the criminal. Police policy in this case will only embolden more criminals to attempt to "out do" the Napier episode.

    Grant: This might come as a bit of a shock, but suburban pot dealers generally try to avoid the attention of the constabulary, and the mentally unstable don't give a shit.

    Meanwhile, I don't see what "privilege" was extended by Police deciding not to slap some Wagner on the IPod and go gung ho.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    what is fundamentally unreasonable about reviewing the event and determining whether the use of tasers could have helped resolve this situation better?

    O'Connor knows perfectly well that Tasers will never be deployed in response to a firearm. That was made abundantly clear when they were first being evaluated, and makes perfect sense. A Taser has a maximum range of about 7 metres. A pistol is lethal at several times that distance, and even the effective accurate range is further. A rifle is accurate and lethal at 20 times, or more, a Taser's range. It's simple sense that a firearm threat must be met with a firearm, and O'Connor is completely aware of that fact.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Not to mention a taser shock may freeze the trigger finger, which tightly gripping a semi automatic would cause significant damage.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    O'Connor is completely aware of that fact

    Which makes his advocacy all the more cynically distasteful.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Well, that's a fair question Carol but I'd make these points

    I did wonder if this was a case of shooting the messenger (unfortunate figure of speech, sorry) but I think the points you make are fair enough.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 633 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    "Making sure nobody else dies" should not extend privileges to the criminal.

    Yes it should. As unfair as it might seem and as understandable as the visceral desire for revenge is, it is a mark of our (mostly) civilized society that we accord alleged criminals with the privileges of society.

    Even if you want the criminal punished, in New Zealand that doesn't extend to physical punishment.

    Finally if you kill the criminal you can never learn why such an event occurred. Yes sometimes even with the criminal alive you still can't learn anything but at least you have the chance.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3224 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I did wonder if this was a case of shooting the messenger (unfortunate figure of speech, sorry) but I think the points you make are fair enough.

    And it was a totally fair question to ask. I'm not down on O'Connor for its own sake -- after all, he's a union boss and if he's not out there advocating for the interests of his membership there's no reason for him to be there. But I just wish he was wasn't quite so callous, careless with facts and prone to regarding any disagreement as malicious.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    "Making sure nobody else dies" should not extend privileges to the criminal. Police policy in this case will only embolden more criminals to attempt to "out do" the Napier episode.

    Grant, judging by this and your previous posts, you seem to have a lot of rage. Are you armed?

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Matthew, gotta agree on the use of the LAV and thanks for pointing out the section concerned.

    However on the issue of gun registration we'll have to agree to disagree.
    I do want to see greater control of firearms and ammunition.

    The second point I didn't quite get to was training and competency in firearms. There is no test, like driving a car. Hence the regular deaths at the start of Duck hunting season.

    I'm a little lost too as to how being in the reserves for six years, 21 years ago has any bearing on these events. The Army doesn't just give rifles away or train you how to electrify your doorhandles.
    There is a lot wrong with Jan but I'm not sure it has much to do with being a cut-lunch commando 21yrs ago.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1144 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Possible scenerio.
    "Hey bro. how come the cops didn't bust you for that ounce eh?"
    "I told 'em Jan was groin' pot"
    "Aw, you devious bastard"
    "Sorted eh?"

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    My favourite bit of media self-stimulation during this episode: Mike McRoberts (3News) interviewing a local resident whose family were inside the cordon (whilst he was outside of it.):

    Mike McRoberts: "It must be absolutely terrifying."
    Local resident: "[pause]... It's a bit of a worry."

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Are you armed?

    Only with the tiniest water pistol..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16281 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    I seem to remeber at about 5 or 6pm on Friday night Radio NZs reporter going to town with a blow by blow report of tank movements but I can't find it on line.
    Did I dream it or was it wiped?

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1144 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I do want to see greater control of firearms and ammunition.

    Which is fair enough, but only if it'll actually matter a damn. Wanting something for the sake of wanting it is pure cosmetics. A registry is only useful if it's backed up with random raids of every home, office and factory in the country, to ensure that there are no unregistered firearms. Anything less is a way of pretending that everyone is law-abiding and will register their firearms.

    Next to no firearms crime is committed by licensed owners, excepting the odd dubious case of self-defence, and even those are very, very rare. Almost invariably a person who commits a crime with a firearm has no licence, has never held a licence, and is thus completely under any legal radar. Nothing that can be done will change that, short of becoming a police state. Firearms can be stolen, smuggled in, or even made in a shed. There are already strict controls on the sale of firearms and ammunition, and these mostly work. Most firearms used in crimes have been stolen, not bought. A registry won't fix that.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    When an officer has been shot and is lying in a driveway the first response should be to attend to him. If a criminal in a house is shooting at people who try to approach then the criminal should not be extended any right to life. Every attempt should be made to assist the fallen officer and the risk should be placed upon the life of the criminal (as much as possible).

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    You don't think bringing something armed with a 25 mm. cannon capable of firing at 200 rounds per minute into action in a suburban area might be potentially life-threatening?

    I think somewhere you lost track of who was doing all the indiscriminate shooting and killing of people.

    Arguing for cannabis law reform off the back of this incident risks being as distateful as Mr O'Connor using it to argue for "more Tasers, faster".

    Hear hear. David Gray went postal because of an argument with a neighbour. All the reports indicate that it was the presence of police in his house that set this chap off.

    I'm all in favour of a more sensible look at drug laws, but I'm guessing his mental illness issues (possibly made worse by drug use?), coupled with military training, plus the large cache of arms might have a bit more to do with what happened than some cops turning up at his door to see if he had drugs inside. He could have gone postal at being pulled over for running a red light for all we know.

    I think one reason for people not communicating their concerns to police is that the police have created a void between the public and themselves.

    A major police strategy in the past 20 years has been community policing. They've put more police stations into suburban areas, they've put more cops walking out on the streets, and they've employed community constables to try and have people working specifically with at risk people in local areas. There's a limit to resources, and there's a limit to their effectiveness however.

    I suspect the answer in this case will either be 1. I knew he had that stuff, I never imagined he'd do anything like this; or: 2. He's my son/brother/best friend, I'm not going to nark on him.

    I don't think this was the time or the place to start relitigating policy, especially at a time O'Connor knows damn well emotions are extremely high.

    Aye Craig. It'd be nice for him to at least wait a couple of days after the funeral before he says anything other than "tragedy for family, police coming together to resolve this incident in the best way possible, we ask for the public to stay calm and support police while they do a difficult job". I sometimes feel he's going to use one of these incidents to launch the union's latest pay claim.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6151 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Almost invariably a person who commits a crime with a firearm has no licence, has never held a licence, and is thus completely under any legal radar. Nothing that can be done will change that, short of becoming a police state.

    Who would be a policemen?

    I understand your logic although it appears that this particular gunman was known as a collector of guns by a few people. I mean the legal radar picks him up as a drug dealer but not an illegal gun holder. Isn't it all about how consistent and reasonable your radar is?

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Which is fair enough, but only if it'll actually matter a damn.

    I think you make reasonable points Matthew. I don't think it'll make no difference to register weapons, I think the difference will be limited for the reasons that you point out.

    When I was much younger I was working with some police officers on their firearms survey (it was used to move to Glocks about 10 years ago). Several cops mentioned to me that they were called to domestics all the time, and would be told by the controller that the resident at the house had a firearms license. They never knew what that meant. Do they have firearms in the house? Or do they just have a license and not own a gun? They all said to me that it would be useful information to have in the back of their minds when they went to deal with an incident in case things escalated with the offender.

    Obviously there are substantial differences, but at first glance it does seem strange that you have to register your car, but not your guns.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6151 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    When an officer has been shot and is lying in a driveway the first response should be to attend to him. If a criminal in a house is shooting at people who try to approach then the criminal should not be extended any right to life. Every attempt should be made to assist the fallen officer and the risk should be placed upon the life of the criminal (as much as possible).

    By doing.....what, exactly?

    Shooting the shit out of the house while they send in a rescue squad? And potentially killing or injuring a whole bunch of residents in the surrounding area because of stray rounds (incoming or outgoing)?

    Or running over to the body themselves, and heroically dragging it back to cover, while Jan's shots ping off the concrete around them, but magically keep missing the heroic rescuer, and also magically keep missing any peeps in the surrounding houses or area in his line of fire.

    If your object is to avoid more officers 'shot and lying in driveways', or to avoid dead kids on the 6.00 news ('a stray police round hit little Katie as she was preparing for bed this evening...'), then your proposed tactics seem more than a little self-defeating.

    Honsetly Grant, the reason a lot of people on here (myself included) think you're an A-grade dick is because you can't seem to post up an argument that a child couldn't poke full of holes in the space of a 'blues clues' ad break.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2328 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Johnson,

    There is no test, like driving a car. Hence the regular deaths at the start of Duck hunting season.

    Actually, there is a test on firearms safety as part of getting a licence. And of course we know that having to sit a driving test means that no-one ever dies at the hands of a licenced driver, right? Sheesh!

    IIRC, there used to be a gun registration system in NZ, prior to the current owner/user licencing system, but it was abandoned at the changeover point as unworkable.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I understand your logic although it appears that this particular gunman was known as a collector of guns by a few people. I mean the legal radar picks him up as a drug dealer but not an illegal gun holder. Isn't it all about how consistent and reasonable your radar is?

    Possibly, yes, and I'm sure the cops will be asking how it wasn't known to them that he had a personal arsenal, but I still don't see how a registry would've changed anything. He didn't have a licence, so it was totally illegal for him to own any firearms whatsoever. A registry wouldn't have changed that, and it would've been a simple matter for the police to be advised that there were firearms present in the house and then do a check to determine if there was a licensed holder living at that address. On discovering that there wasn't, they've now got evidence to get permission to search the premises, as per s61 of the Arms Act 1983.
    Also, the principle firearm he used sounds like it would've fallen into the 'E' category of firearms, making it a restricted weapon, subject to registration and also not allowed to be sold without a permit from the police. So your wish was pretty much in effect, it appears, and still achieved precisely nothing. Criminals don't obey the law, as I've said before. All the nice dreams and ponies in the world won't change that.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    A major police strategy in the past 20 years has been community policing.

    Much as I would like to think that is true I have yet to see any evidence. I also have a strong supposition that community constables are not held in the highest regard by their fellow officers, I hope I am wrong but...
    Many local police stations only operate during "office hours" and if the Ponsonby station was anything to go by the attitude that the public were anything but a nuisance was more than apparent.
    My point was that greater engagement with the public would allow the police to have a greater understanding of the local community structure, to know who and what to look out for, like nutters with guns etc.
    Community policing may well have been a policy for the last two decades but a major policy it is not.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    You don't think bringing something armed with a 25 mm. cannon capable of firing at 200 rounds per minute into action in a suburban area might be potentially life-threatening?

    Perhaps if they had used it in some sort of cunning plan to lure him out of the house:

    "Jan?"

    "We want you to come out of the house."

    "You like guns, right? Well just round the corner we have a fully fuelled LAV, motor running, keys in the ignition and magazine loading 25 mm auto-cannon."

    "Just round the corner Jan, hear that? That was us revving the engine."

    "It's yours, just come and get it."

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Several cops mentioned to me that they were called to domestics all the time, and would be told by the controller that the resident at the house had a firearms license. They never knew what that meant.

    Yes, that is a good point. But it's not escalating domestic incidents that lead to calls for firearms registries, it's tragedies such as these. Tragedies that, invariably, wouldn't have been prevented by a registry because they involve firearms that would never have been registered even if there was a legal requirement. The really dangerous firearms incidents are the ones with firearms that are owned illegally, often by persons who would never meet the "fit and proper person" requirement to hold a firearms licence in the first place.

    If I thought a registry would be truly effective, and could be implemented on a reasonable time and financial frame, I'd support the idea. Reality, though, makes me consider them nothing more than exercises in political smoke-and-mirrors. Ineffective wastes of money that make the proposers look good to the electorate but actually achieve almost no improvement in the security of the society in which they operate. It's interesting that neither Australia nor Canada has had particularly high levels of gun crime, but in both countries firearms registries have been proposed as a way of reducing this minor problem. Countries with very high levels of firearms crime rarely even seriously suggest registries as a solution, never mind try and implement them.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

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