You know something?
Having more armed police patrolling my city? Does not make me feel safer. Having any armed police officers routinely patrolling the streets does not make me feel safer.
It makes me feel anxious and uncomfortable and distinctly unsafe, in ways that are pretty much entirely unrelated to the incidents that the police are currently responding to(1).
More armed police on standby, yes. More police on foot patrol, yes. But more guns on the streets? Regardless of who's (however carefully selected, well trained) hands they're in? Not so much.
My gut reaction is more or less: 'Gun-totting cops in Stockwell? 'cos that's worked really well in the past …' and my more considered one is to ask 'but how, exactly, is that going to help?
I don't, to be honest, understand the idea that somehow guns on one side neutralise guns on the other – the police are carrying magic guns that shoot a protective force field? No, I didn't think so…
My heart goes out to the families and friends of these three boys. And those of the two? three? other boys who have been stabbed in the same area over the same period and who are equally dead, but rather less all over the papers.
I hope that these murders are solved, and no more are commited.
And I pray that those armed officers never have to fire a bullet at someone to do it.
(Mind you, Cameron's suggestion that somehow tax credits are the answer is just bizarre. "I think we should split up." "But honey – think of the tax breaks!" ??)
(1) partly that it triggers vivid memories of visiting East Berlin when the wall was still very much up.