Friday, October 12, 2007

We should be ahead

Since the 1980's, there has been an arms race gradually growing in speed within the U S. It seems now that Orlando FL has stepped up even further and will soon be able to protect it's residents from crimes committed by elephants.

Just recently they had held a weapons exchange and had a missile launcher turned exchanged for a pair of child's sneakers. The Sheriff's Office though will melt that down but has ordered several new weapons to arm their officers with.

At the top of their list is 14 new .499-caliber Alexander Arms Beowulf rifles with a laser sight. It has been described as an assault rifle on steroids and a 2003 product review of the $800 weapon by stated that it has the power to kill anything that walks, swims or crawls. Sheriff's spokesman Jim Solomans stated that the sole purpose of the addition of these guns is for large or exotic animals and they will be the perfect tool for the Agriculture and marine unit to handle cattle that wander onto roads. Officials added that Orlando's theme parks have elephants, giraffes, polar bears, lions and hippos and if any were to get free as an elephant did in the 1960's in Winter Park Pines, they can protect the public.

Deputies that work in the tougest neighborhoods in Orange County won't be getting the elephant guns, yet but they will be armed with some of the new 25-shot machine pistols that are ordered. They plan to buy 49 of the $1660 semi-automatic, .45-caliber Heckler & Koch machine pistols, which are said to be more accurate than their regular pistols and allow officers to stand further from suspects.

Officers had been complaining for years about being out-gunned by the criminals so their old six-shooters were replaced with 16-shot 9mms. A few years ago, those were replaced with more than 1,000 more powerful .45-caliber pistols and AR-15 assault rifles have been added to the 12-guage shotguns that ride in many patrol cars.

Capt Mark Strobridge stated that when he began in the department some 26 years ago, only the SWAT teams had specialized weapons available to them. Since then, criminals and the type of weapons they carry have evolved and he feels that officers should not be behind but ahead of the firepower on the streets.

I can certainly agree that officers need to be armed well in order to do their job safely but a glance at what is out on the streets makes me wonder, how many elephants are involved in recent crimes and why you would need a gun that large to bring down a cow.

For a related post, go here.

Of note: photo of Kenneth Lewis of the Orange County Sheriff's Office with "Beowulf" taken by Jacob Langston.

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