Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Anti-Gun Irrationality

FEMA dismissed a Phoenix search and rescue team from working on Hurricane Katrina disaster response because the team had several law enforcement officers with them who carried firearms into the disaster.

Phoenix officials are threatening to refuse deployments in the future or possibly pull out of the federal agency altogether unless the rules are changed to allow teams to bring their own security, even if that means police with guns.

Phoenix police were added to the team about a year ago, and officials say they are essential to protecting firefighters and FEMA's $1.4 million worth of equipment.

Assistant Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Khan said his department also is questioning the federal agency's ability to manage working conditions, security and communications.

``We have an obligation to provide the safest environment as we can,'' Khan said.

U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said he was dismayed by the suspension because the setup with the police officers seemed ideal.

``We think this was a model,'' he said. ``We think all rescue teams should have armed escorts wherever they go, and we think this is something they should adopt nationwide.''|Guardian Unlimited|
This strikes me as particularly myopic and foolish. Police officers are highly trained and typically very disciplined in the use of firearms.

Mixing armed officers with rescuers during search and rescue operations in highly fluid situations strikes me as very prudent.

However, the last sentence of the article is also quite interesting.
Twice, Phoenix's team was confronted by law enforcement officers who refused to let them pass through their communities and told them to ``get out or get shot,'' Gordon said.
This comports with the accounts of the EMTs from LA that I wrote about previously who said they were threatened by Gretna county deputies when trying to flee New Orleans on foot. So in the Katrina debacle there were armed looters and rogue police officers running around.

Some might contend that this last quoted sentence is an example of why we should disarm the search and rescue teams. But this ignores the fundamental realities of America today. 200 years of the 2nd amendment means that this country has one of the world's highest rate of private gun ownership. No one can disarm all of the bad people....So at least let the search and rescue teams carry a little deterrence with them.

I've also read accounts of military officers who do not trust young Marines with live ammo in combat situations...so it's not just FEMA that has this problem. Significant segments of American society are virulently anti-gun.

I support reasonable restrictions on firearms (including a firearms training requirements and personality tests for first-time gun owners), but firearms (and bullet proof vests) are a necessity for many of those who go in harm's way to rescue others.

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