The vast majority of police interactions do not involve deadly force. In our town, we have somewhere around 10-20-ish police calls listed in the newspaper on any given day (not including traffic stops for speeding or blowing stop signs or things like that). We have had 1 incident in 3 years of a cop having to resort to deadly force, and that situation was wholly justified (guy waving agun running through a park filled with kids, threatening to kill people). There was zero option to 'shoot to wound' in that situation, because if the guy was merely wounded, he might still have been able to shoot others. The cop had to stop him immediately, and shot the man with the intent to kill him. The man died shortly thereafter. Note also that this was one incident in 3 years. I don't know if that's a higher or lower percentage than in other places, but I did want to make the point that the vast majority of police interactions are not the 'shoot to kill' variety. Those don't typically get reported in detail, however, because they aren't sensational newsmakers.
UK may have 'had it right' with their police force not carrying firearms, but they have different and much stricter gun control laws for citizens, too. Guns are very common in the US, and as someone who pays for the police force with my tax dollars, I don't want them to be handicapped against the enemy. I want them to have the necessary legal tools to do their job to the best of their ability. Their lives and all the lives of those they serve may well depend on them being armed and using those weapons in an appropriate fashion if the situation requires it.
If someone was wielding a knife within 7 feet of me and telling me he was going to kill me, I wouldn't be asking myself if he's lying. I'd assume he's telling the truth, because if I guessed that he's lying and I guessed wrong, I'm dead. Assuming the facts of this case are as reported, the cops were completely justified in shooting the kid.
Originally Posted by Endorenna
And, BTW, not all us yanks are the type to love anything with a gun.
Agreed--I'd appreciate it if I wasn't lumped into the 'love anything with a gun' category myself just because I'm American.