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    このような銃器の使用、所持を撲滅

    Some of the reactions to last week’s hostage standoff have been predictable. As in, “We have to make sure no one can ever do this with a gun again!” It’s not going to be news to anyone what I think of that argument, yeah? Others have been equally predictable but more troubling:

    The hostage standoff in Aichi Prefecture, in which a member of the prefectural police force’s Special Assault Team was fatally shot, has left a number of urgent tasks for police to address.

    The police will have to reconsider what protective gear is needed for officers, how to respond to cases where suspects are armed, and when police should storm locations where perpetrators are holed up.

    The case also has raised a number of questions. Why did this situation lead to the death of one officer and the serious injury of another? Why were the police unable to secure the release of the hostage? And why did Sgt. Akifumi Kimoto, the first police officer who was shot, approach the scene alone where Hisato Obayashi was holed up, armed with a handgun?

    Witnesses said Kimoto, standing on the street in front of the house, began negotiating with Obayashi before walking alone up a path leading to the house.

    A senior official at the prefectural police headquarters said, “Negotiating with a suspect is not the duty of a police officer in charge of a local patrol.” But he added, “It was a tense situation with other people having already been shot, and there was a hostage, so I presume there was some reason he had to get closer to the gunman.”

    The biggest question is why a police officer was left lying on the ground for about five hours before being rescued, the whole time being broadcast on live television.

    Everybody watching the scene unfold must have wondered why police did not immediately rescue him. The Yomiuri Shimbun‘s center for readers received many phone calls asking this very question.

    (What they’ve been saying on the news is that Ohbayashi threatened to shoot anyone who came within range.) I’m not sure that there’s much of a mystery here. The plain and simple fact is that a hostage-taker armed with a gun who’s willing to shoot at police officers from where he’s holed up is something not even Tokyo and Osaka police officers have to deal with frequently, let alone in random places outside Nagoya. The first officer who was shot probably hadn’t registered that he was dealing with much more than a domestic dispute taken to extremes, though we may learn more as the investigation continues. The inquiry into whether special assault teams should be equipped and trained better sounds like a good idea.

    One Response to “このような銃器の使用、所持を撲滅”

    1. John says:

      Not to mention that Tokyo cops don’t spend much time at the range and carry snub-nosed revolvers that wouldn’t stop a hamster at 15 meters. Anyone who bothers to obtain an illegal firearm will probably lay their hands on a 9mm auto, which would seriously outgun 5 or 6 cops acting in concery.

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