.. it tends to be the bullets.
Enough of that, I am not wanting to make light of anything, and the killing of the two officers of the GMP this week is still shocking the nation, and quite what sick and perverted plan Dale Cregan had in mind by luring police to him I doubt we will ever know or understand. Whatever misgivings there are about the honesty and accountability of many in the police we have (Hillsborough / Tomlinson) two officers attending a burglary call do not and should not expect to be shot, and all sympathies are extended to their families and friends.
This clearly ignites as usual the "should all police be armed" debate, which as always is a pointless argument, as much as having a death penalty stops murder happening. If police having guns and death penalties stopped crime what would American TV series be about...
On the more serious note, I think many people in the UK are being naive about how many armed police we already have on our streets, and the argument about arming the police was won by the "yes" camp a long time ago. Been to an airport recently, did anything about the policemen wandering about with machine guns strike you as a bit odd for a British Bobby? Popped into an inner city area with gang activity at all, you can't have missed the armed police there.
In the (thankfully) very few occasions when areas I am in have had gun crime the armed response units have been there in minutes. I live in a market town in the home counties, for armed police to be there in minutes mean they do too.
During the riots last summer there was a lot of hand wringing about using plastic bullets on the streets, which when you look back at the original spark of them when the police shot Mark Duggan with live bullets seems a quaint argument that could only happen in Britain.
Last year more US police were shot than died in car crashes, 68 shot, the first time in 14 years that shootings were the top cause of death. So a country with death penalties and armed police showing exactly how that works out there - badly. It is very hard to get up to date reliable figures, but this page from 2007 is interesting reading.
Criminals and bad people will use guns and kill people, the police having guns will not stop that, but it will make the criminals have better guns.
There are enough guns on the streets of the UK, we don't need any more, the police should not be armed as standard practice