Today in Police Weaponry

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Two items of interest:

Local FBI agents say Boston is a sitting duck for a Mumbai-type terrorist attack—because terrorists know the police don’t have any semi-automatic assault rifles with which to defend the city.

“Boston is making itself vulnerable to a terrorist attack like the rampage in Mumbai last year by not adequately arming its police with the semiautomatic assault rifles widely available to officers in many of the nation’s other major cities,” the top FBI agent in Boston said yesterday, according to the Boston Globe.

Warren T. Bamford, the special agent in charge of the local FBI field office, told the Globe there’s no “imminent threat.”

“[But] all things being equal, if a terrorist decides, ‘OK, we’re going to do something like what took place in Mumbai,’ well, where would you go?’’ Bamford said. “If you have a choice of a metropolitan city, would I go to New York, with 40,000 police officers, would I go to Los Angeles, with 8,000, or would I go to Boston, with 3,500? … And I know there’s no assault rifles in the Boston Police Department?”

So far Mayor Thomas M. Menino remains opposed to the idea.

Second: news out of Columbus, Ohio that the taser—weapon of choice for many cops—is capable of not only knocking a suspect down, but setting him on fire:

….officers responded just after 8 p.m. Monday to a report of a man darting into traffic and yelling threats outside the Kmart on Memorial Drive.
When the two officers arrived, Wood was holding a can of keyboard cleaner in his hand, and one of the officers saw him inhale the chemical, according to a written report.

Wood took off running and, once caught, kicked the officers and tried to bite them, the report says. That’s when an officer used his stun gun, hitting Woods in the chest and an arm with the charged prongs.

“I then observed a flame ignite and I quickly shut off the Taser,” wrote the officer, identified only as H.W. Lanham. “(I) approached him and patted out the flame.”




Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend