Thursday, May 12, 2011

The poor, pointless Oblio...

The BBC loses its shit over London Metropolitan Police using modern defensive ammunition:

The Metropolitan Police is to issue all its firearms officers with the type of ammunition used to kill Jean Charles De Menezes.

Hollow point bullets flatten and widen on impact, causing maximum damage to vital organs.

De Menezes was falsely identified as a suicide bomber by a Metropolitan Police officer, who shot him seven times in the head. It takes a very special kind of person to think the type of ammunition mattered much in that situation. But moving on:

"How can the police in the UK use bullets that the Army is not allowed to use?"
Former US mayor Rudolph Giuliani faced sharp criticism when he tried to bring in the ammunition in New York in the 1990s.
David Dyson is a barrister and ballistics consultant.

Asked whether the rounds were unsurvivable, he said: "Yes. They don't use these bullets in the anticipation that people will survive.

"They expand, so you get the mushroom effect when the bullet hits the body.

"Much more energy is being imparted into the victim."

Oh, fucking unclench already. Hollow-point bullets were briefly controversial in the US, but are now universal in law enforcement (including the NYPD, which quickly realized that coddling people who don't understand the role of guns in defensive violence is less important a goal than preventing hails of stray fire when solid, jacketed 9mm bullets zip right through their targets), and would be universal in civilian use if they weren't so damned expensive. In those cases when deadly force is needed to stop a violent criminal right now, hollow-point bullets maximize the chances of quick incapacitation and minimize the chances of innocent casualties. It would be irresponsible of the Metropolitan police not to issue them.

Expanding ammunition is banned in warfare by the Hague Convention, because when you're shooting at a first-world soldier across a nineteenth-century battlefield, a clean bullet wound is generally sufficient to make him say "goodness, I'd best toddle off to the infirmary" and stop fighting. Protective violence in a civilian context, on the other hand, is close-up, fast moving, demands much more decisive resolution, and shouldn't generally involve the same indifference to how many people in the direction of fire are injured by a given bullet.

London Metropolitan Police, well done. BBC, shame on you. You're muckraking up some attention at the cost of more risk to innocent lives.


  1. Shame about NJ's silliness about them

  2. Yup. It's the danger of legislation by sedimentation: you're stuck with all the moral panics of the past except where you can build a serious public opposition to them.

    Given that we can't (yet) carry in Jersey and hollow point rounds are legal to possess in the home, the restrictions are pretty esoteric at the moment.

  3. Unless they want to Aitken someone. Or if I want to get some at Woodbridge Mall and not have to plan to go straight home...

  4. I don't mean that they have no impact, just that their impact isn't well understood by Jerseyans. Most seem to think hollow-point rounds are illegal to own, while a lot of gun owners I've talked to think the only restriction is on the few folks with carry permits.

    I wonder what the odds are of getting the restriction tossed once we get concealed carry. Betting on it doesn't seem like a sound investment. ;)

  5. Not a good bet. Especially since the people who would do so could just get any number of alternatives; and I can't see any court striking down the law

  6. Hollow-points easily meet the "common use" standard in Heller, making it pretty clear that the restrictions on "bearing" them are unconstitutional, but you're almost certainly right. Given the relatively limited impact on citizens' options, it's not especially likely a court will apply the doctrine that strictly. I sure wouldn't volunteer to be the test case.

  7. God forbid they invent Dum-Dum bullets!

  8. "It's _our_ genie! We should get to cram it back in the bottle!" ;)