Not Great Impulse Control, Not Great Planning

Here are two pages out of this week's Swedish crime chronicle, showcasing the rare beauties of the small-town criminal mind. Both remind me of the movie Fargo in different ways.

  • The first one is awesomely stupid. Wednesday shortly after noon a young couple were driving through the outskirts of Fagersta. Two police officers recognised them and flagged them down as the driver was known to have no licence.

    The couple gets out of the car and starts arguing with the police, and then the man grabs one of the officers in a stranglehold and starts banging her head against the car. The woman hits the other officer on the back of the head. All this in broad daylight and in full view of many three-story apartment buildings! Both get pepper sprayed and taken into custody.

    The man is now held in suspicion of attempted manslaughter, threats against an officer of the law and aggravated driving without a licence. The woman is held in suspicion of violence against an officer of the law. Both are suspected of being shatteringly stupid rural meth heads.

    And Americans, take note. See how these things play out in an environment without many guns?

  • The second one is more kind of sad but also amazing. After a burglary in Höganäs Tuesday or Wednesday, the police managed to chase the three burglars down. To their surprise they found that one of the three, a woman of 40, was in an obvious and advanced state of pregnancy. She told them that she was feeling labour pangs, and they rushed her to hospital. Luckily, it was a false alarm and she could soon join her confederates at Helsingborg police station.

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About guns? Yeah. I saw a report of how Japanese police disabled a man with a gun by shooting him in the leg. in the US, it would have been a head shot. We just love guns here. Love them more than life itself.

The Swedish police don't even have tasers. Their ethical council turned down the idea in 2005 because research showed that tasers did not bring down gunshot wounds, only increased police brutality. Some Swedish police officers do some pretty iffy shit -- like compiling a huge Mormon-style genealogical database of Romani travellers without any criminal record, as the country was recently shocked to learn. But tase suspects, they do not.

If something like that first incident happened in the US, there would be a rather high probability that at least two, if not three, of the people involved would die. The police would have to assume that the suspects were armed and dangerous.

As for the second incident: I have seen reports of cases in the US where a burglar who was caring for a preschool child brought the kid with him on a burglary, and then left the kid behind when he fled the scene. That does make it a bit easier for the cops to identify the burglar.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 26 Sep 2013 #permalink

"Don't do what Grandma says, son, do what Daddy does. Now hold this crowbar a sec, will ya?"

One of my daughter's uni friends, a physically small Assamese, was (justifiably) nervous about her personal safety when travelling around alone at night. My daughter said: "I'll ask my Dad to go and get you a pepper spray." Friend: "Oh no, it's OK, I've got this" (pulling a plastic bag full of dried Bhut Jolokia powder out of her handbag).

I guess it serves the secondary purpose that she can sprinkle some on her lunch.

By John Massey (not verified) on 27 Sep 2013 #permalink

The problem in the US in civilian/police interaction isn't really the presence of guns, it's the near absolute immunity the police enjoys in cases of excessive force. Six cops with guns, one guy with knife, 20 bullets fired - justified. So yes, the two methheads would be dead, but not because they would have had guns (guns can be sold for meth) but because they would have been gunned down regardless.

(OT) "Early Clovis knew their land and stone" -Of course they bloody did! Finding a site with good obsidian would have been like striking oil today. Peple would have kept track of the site, and traded with far-off communities.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 01 Oct 2013 #permalink

Re: Clovis - there's evidence that Australian Aborigines traded stuff over thousands of kilometres. There's also evidence that, on the mean, they have exceptional spatial memory.

By John Massey (not verified) on 02 Oct 2013 #permalink