Last year, in total, British police officers actually fired their weapons three times. The number of people fatally shot was zero. In 2012 the figure was just one. Even after adjusting for the smaller size of Britain’s population, British citizens are around 100 times less likely to be shot by a police officer than Americans. Between 2010 and 2014 the police force of one small American city, Albuquerque in New Mexico, shot and killed 23 civilians; seven times more than the number of Brits killed by all of England and Wales’s 43 forces during the same period.
The explanation for this gap is simple. In Britain, guns are rare. Only specialist firearms officers carry them; and criminals rarely have access to them. The last time a British police officer was killed by a firearm on duty was in 2012, in a brutal case in Manchester. The annual number of murders by shooting is typically less than 50. Police shootings are enormously controversial. The shooting of Mark Duggan, a known gangster, which in 2011 started riots across London, led to a fiercely debated inquest. Last month, a police officer was charged with murder over a shooting in 2005. The reputation of the Metropolitan Police’s armed officers is still barely recovering from the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent Brazilian, in the wake of the 7/7 terrorist bombings in London.
In America, by contrast, it is hardly surprising that cops resort to their weapons more frequently. In 2013, 30 cops were shot and killed—just a fraction of the 9,000 or so murders using guns that happen each year. Add to that a hyper-militarised police culture and a deep history of racial strife and you have the reason why so many civilians are shot by police officers. Unless America can either reduce its colossal gun ownership rates or fix its deep social problems, shootings of civilians by police—justified or not—seem sure to continue.
*headdesks with you*
"I’m pretty fucking sure he saw me, my small rainbow direction poster and my rainbow headband with bow, and gave it thumbs up. Think he could tell I was in doubt whether it was me he was looking at, so he circled his fingers around his eyes miming glasses (i wear glasses) to indicate it I think. Rainbow Direction have officially thumbs up from Harry Styles." x
"My sister and I were at the concert in Philly tonight and had posters. Mine was a rainbow heart with LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT, and hers said IT’S NOT WRONG IF HE MAKES YOU STRONG. Harry saw both and waved at us :)" "He definitely blew kisses at my sister after pointing to her sign, too."
"I went to the concert in Detroit yesterday and i didn’t bring a sign which I regret but there was a girl in front of me a little to the side with a rainbow flag and when Harry walked past she held it up and I saw him looking at her and waving with a big smile on his face!" x
"I’ve never talked to Harry, but he saw me, last wednesday, waiving my rainbow flag at the concert and he waved back and gave me the thumbs up." x
Even signs that are specifically about Harry and Louis don’t seem to bother them but on the contrary
"His face when he was standing right in front of us, looking directly at them. I remember him looking a little baffled but he did give them a little smile and it was undoubtedly a positive reaction.” x
And I’m sure there are more fan reports out there with a similar theme.
If the boys actually had displayed an indifference or even negative reaction to the signs (which would’ve been incredibly shitty) I might have been more understanding as to where these people are coming from but.. They’re not? They actually enjoy and encourage them? I don’t see the problem here, the ones who have anything against people bringing rainbow signs to their concerts to spread the love need to sit the fuck down and think about how wrong they are.