Editorial for 10 May: Our lives saved on a daily basis

 We received questions from some of our website readers over
the weekend regarding why the Compass gave such prominence to a story that
detailed the arrest of a man waving an imitation firearm about in central
George Town.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police made a number of arrests
early Saturday morning resulting from two incidents; the other involved a
traffic stop and a real weapon in play.

In both cases, potentially disastrous and life-threatening
situations were averted by actions of the police. The officers involved in the
traffic stop – who chased down one suspect and, unarmed, wrestled a weapon away
from another – deserve our thanks and respect, for sure.

However, so too do the armed officers who restrained
themselves from taking action against the individual holding what police
initially thought to be a machine gun.

We’re not sure if members of the public fully realise just
how rare it is in most of the rest of the world for someone to confront armed
police with what officers believe to be a machine gun and live to tell the

We wonder what the public would have said if this fellow
with the bogus machine gun had been shot dead in the street? What would then
have been the general view of the officers’ actions, even though they might
have been absolutely justified?

It’s easy enough to say ‘well, it was just a fake gun’ and
leave it at that. However, in the split second that often makes the difference
between life and death in such situations, these RCIPS officers decided to wait
it out and they were rewarded.

These actions in defence of life, even of a criminal
suspect, also deserve respect and thanks; in equal measure given to those
officers involved in the traffic stop who also put their lives at risk.





  1. Your editorial for 10 May: Our lives saved on a daily basis, was excellent and right on! I fully support the prominence that the Compass gave the story in detailing the arrest of an individual who was waiving a look-alike firearm in the George Town area. The police who hesitated to respond with what could have been deadly force deserve to be fully commended by one and all for their action.

    Everyone needs to realise that fake firearms these days closely resemble the real firearms. As matter of fact, in New York city stores that sell toy guns are prohibited from selling those that actually resemble the real thing because of situations similar to the George Town incident.

    No one should dispute the fact that we live in a very hostile and dangerous world today, where right is wrong and wrong is right. As a result, the police put their own lives on the line for the rest of us every day. Hence they can’t hesitate every single time to ascertain whether the firearm being waived or actually pointed at them is either real or bogus.

    The bottom line is simply this, officers must have the undeniable right to shoot if they sincerely believe that their own lives are in danger when being threatened.

    Your timely editorial also makes the valid point that it’s easy enough to say ‘well, it was just a fake gun’ and leave it at that. There are times when private citizens need to put themselves in the officers’ position and ask, what would I do in such a situation.

    Geoff Daniels

  2. Geoff

    I totally agree and relate to both the editorial and your comments.

    I have not been shy in commenting in what I think is wrong about the RCIPS; neither should I be shy in giving credit where its due and its definitely due in these two incidents.

    If either of these incidents had happened in the UK, quite possibly, someone would have died.

    In America, someone DEFINITELY would have died.

    In the UK, a gun-toting gangster pulled over and cornered by un-armed police officers probably would have shot one or both of those officers in a get-away attempt or the officers would not have pursued him once they found out he was armed; they would have gotten as much information as necessary to find and arrest him later on.

    In the UK, the Trident Operation officers (Britain’s armed police units) would have shot the first one and this fake-machine gun waving idiot out of hand, once he refused to drop the weapon after being ordered to do so…and drop it immediately…not many seconds or orders after.

    In the USA, without any doubt about it, both of these fools would be dead at the hands of police officers in what would be determined as totally legal and justified shootings…end of the matter.

    What I do suspect is that the RCIPS recognise that, in the second incident, this fool might have been purposely tempting them to shoot him carrying an imitation weapon, to start a more serious incident because, undoubtedly, the current climate in Cayman being what it is, had they shot him, the repurcussions would have been devastating and detrimental.

    This does not rule out the fact that at some future point in time, armed police in Cayman may have to shoot and kill some armed and dangerous criminal.

    There is also the prospect of ‘suicide-by-police’ syndrome to deal with where some mentally unbalanced people committ acts intended to have themselves shot dead by armed police as a way of committing suicide; this also happens in both the UK and USA.

    All credit to Cayman’s police in the handling of both these incidents in the way they did.

    That in no way guarantees that similar decisions in similar circumstances again, will end with as happy a result as these two have done.

    People carrying and waving illegal (and realistic fake) firearms nowadays can reasonably expect to be shot by armed police, whether in Cayman or elsewhere.

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