Under what circumstances should the public engage with a terrorist?

In the UK  there was an interesting conversation on the radio between a Police commissioner and a member of the public. They were discussing whether or not licenced gun owners could assist the police during a terror attack.

A police commissioner has suggested that civilians with gun licences could be allowed to use private weapons to defend their community against terrorists, in comments that have been rejected by a senior officer.

Alison Hernandez, the police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, said “I’d really be interested in exploring that” and “let’s officially have a look at that” when a caller suggested the idea during a radio phone-in…

However, her comments led to a warning from a senior officer that citizens should not arm themselves and the force said that armed civilians could be caught in the crossfire.

“People will do incredible things without thinking to protect themselves and the community around them.”

…”Under no circumstances would we want members of the public to arm themselves with firearms, not least because officers responding would not know who the offenders were, and quite obviously they would not have the time to ask.”


What do you think?

Are there any circumstances when it is not only okay to fight back but wise to do so?

Do you think terrorists are emboldened and empowered by the knowledge that citizens have been told to run, hide and tell?

In Israel, the population are trained to fight back and to defend each other.

Israeli caricature showing Israeli citizens defending themselves against terrorists. Caption: “Once again, the whole country is the front, the whole nation is the army.” (Shay Charka)

…This is Israel’s most important weapon against terrorism: its people, the citizens. Thirty percent of terrorists have been thwarted by civilians; bystanders of all ages and from all social backgrounds, from young men and women in blue jeans, shorts, or military uniforms, to Tel Aviv intellectuals and ultra-Orthodox with side curls. One Orthodox man went so far as to use his phylacteries – or tefillin – as a weapon to strike a stabber. On another occasion, a musician hurled his guitar, striking a terrorist in the head. A civilian with an umbrella struck another terrorist, and yet another was pummeled with a selfie stick. Some bystanders have thrown chairs on top of terrorists or have used pepper spray. There are even those who shot at terrorists. Very few citizens ran off scared, and almost all remained to save someone in danger, treat the wounded, or throw themselves into the fray to impede a terrorist.


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If you agree with me that’s nice, but what I really want to achieve is to make you question the status quo, look between the lines and do your own research. Do not be a passive observer in this game we call life.

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