A mayor in France has been accused of creating a “Wild West” atmosphere by arming the police in his city with 7.65mm handguns, The Telegraph reports:
A controversial far-right mayor in France has been accused of turning the local police force into “Dirty Harry” after a poster campaign trumpeted their “new friend”: a 7.65-calibre handgun.
Billboards throughout central Béziers, southwestern France, feature large pictures of the semi-automatic weapon with the caption: “From now on, the municipal police has a new friend.”
Underneath the image, the poster reads: “Armed 24/24, 7/7”.
Municipal police in France are allowed to carry arms, but the campaign has been criticised for promoting gun culture.
“Béziers, it’s the wild west, with its cowboys,” wrote one Twitter user, Sofia.
Another, called Loljak, tweeted: “Béziers cops have turned into Dirty Harry”, referring to the 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood as detective “Dirty” Harry Callahan.
Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister, called the posters “deliberately provocative”. He said: “The best friends of the police are not their weapons … but the French citizens who respect republican values.”
Robert Ménard, the mayor, said the posters were “appropriate”.
“Yes, our town likes law and order. The rules have changed,” he said. “It is reassuring for residents, who know they have armed police to protect them. It is reassuring for the police themselves.”
The idea that issuing 7.65mm handguns to police makes a city’s cops into “Diry Harries” is absurd. Harry Callaghan used a .44 Magnum.
I could see the posters being a little much for some city-dwellers, regardless of whether they’re European or American. However, most rural areas in the US I feel wouldn’t take issue with something like that.
H/T, Never Yet Melted