Why do cops brandish their guns?

That’s the surface question.

The real question is: why do all cops carry guns? Why?

I know every police department has a fat manual in which standard operating procedures are detailed. In these details, I’m sure there are rules governing when weapons should be drawn and pointed, when those weapons should be fired.

So what’s the reason written in those manuals for cops drawing their weapons and shooting unarmed Black people in the back? For shooting anyone?


My city’s police department has nearly 40,000 cops. That’s 40,000 people out in our streets all carrying weapons. It is fascistic for a large, armed military force to have precedence in my city and on my streets.

With all those weapons, there must be a pre-assumption that there is so much armed violence in our streets, we require an army the suspicions and vigilance of which are proclaimed in that weaponry.

But there isn’t. We don’t need it. Indeed, I believe the omnipresence of a huge, armed military force is an incitement to pockets of armed violence, not a warning to them.

When each of our communities and our federal government settle into forceful and painful conversation about the definition of police forces, the rules for police forces, I’d like them to talk about taking guns out of the hands of the majority of our cops.

If they are not carrying guns, they can’t brandish them, they can’t shoot them at us — especially those of us who are not wearing armor in the form of white skin.


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