Police Abuse

Cops in Iceland Fatally Shoot First Person Ever in Their History

Man was armed, country "awash with guns"


via euronews

From the island that was once the location, a millennium ago, of maybe the closest a society's come to pure libertarianism comes news that Iceland's had its first police shooting in history. Via euronews:

According to an Icelandic news agency, an armed man in his fifties had been making threats to his neighbours, prompting police to evacuate the apartment building where he lived.

Shortly after 05:00 am local time the man started to fire shots from a window. Police returned fire. According to eyewitnesses, some sort of smoke bomb was thrown into the apartment through a broken window. Armed police entered the apartment of the gunman at around 06:00 am and the man was shot in the process. He was taken out in a stretcher and taken to hospital before being pronounced dead.

Other European countries have similar track records. Police in Germany shot 85 rounds in all of 2011. Iceland, though, is different. Unlike much of Western Europe, the country is "awash with guns." It also has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world. But strict gun laws aren't useful in preventing police shootings anyway—witness Chicago, the number of puppycides that enter the news cycle, and the various police shooting stories that involve no firearms, except the police's.

NEXT: Police in Iceland Shoot and Kill Armed Man in First Such Instance in the Country's History

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  1. Iceland’s cops are finally learning that going home at night is their number one priority.

    1. @Loise, you make $27h thats great going girl good for you! My story is that I quit working at shoprite to work online, seriously I couldn’t be happier I work when I want and where I want. And with a little effort I easily bring in $35h and sometimes even as much as $85h?heres a good example of what i’m doing,…WWW.JUMP85.COM

  2. We, as a whole, tolerate unbelievably bad behavior in our cops. Behavior that would’ve generated mass riots just a few decades ago, too.

  3. I read the article from the ‘awash in guns’ link.

    Unbelievable. What a fucking dunce.

    Law student goes to Iceland to find out why there is no violent crime there, despite the country having an abundance of firearms.

    “I was pleasantly flummoxed by what I saw.”

    “Violent crime was virtually non-existent.”

    “I wanted to know what Iceland was doing right.”

    “Frankly, there is no perfect answer as to why Iceland has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world.”

    Hmmm. Let me give it a shot; Iceland isnt doing anything right, they arent doing anything at all. They dont have violent crime because….wait for it……THEY DONT HAVE VIOLENT CRIMINALS.

    Maybe I am wrong, I dunno.

    1. Isnt that a bit like saying that you dont have cancer because you dont have cancerous cells?

      1. A bit, yes.

        1. That’s a bit circular, though.

          The question is then “why doesn’t Iceland have violent criminals?”.

    2. But, but, this simply cannot be.

    3. Somehow, the Icelanders are immune to the homicide inducement rays that we know all firearms emanate.


  4. In my visits to Europe, the police I’ve seen, while still cop-like, view their fellow countrymen as more similar to themselves because of European tribalism (this doesn’t apply to Gypsies or many immigrants). The US lacks that tribalism–which is a good thing–but it makes it much easier for our cops to view the rest of us as the other, as outside their tribe. So our very reduced level of tribalism actually exacerbates the problem of “cop tribalism”.

    1. I don’t know if I buy the tribalism argument. My experience is mostly limited to Czechia. While the cops can certainly be assholes here, and they are armed, there is less of a sense that they are overlords. so their assholishness, when it manifests, tends to be more petulant than rabid dog. I am pretty arrogant (non-defferent) with cops here and manage to get away it, generally. In the US I was treated with typical spread your legs we’re gonna search you fuckhead when I didn’t show proper deference. Course I’m also getting on 50, which allows one some leeway.

      1. My experience is mostly from Catalonia, where they are very tribal (and we all probably would be inclined to be if Franco tried to stamp out our culture for 40 years). I’m sure there are greater and less degrees of it.

        Another factor has to be the aggressiveness in the WOD in the US as opposed to Europe. Europe hasn’t been trying to turn their police into anti-drug soldiers who view the populace as the enemy for 30 years.

        1. But Europe still wages a WoD no? I guess it’s quieter and less…’overpowered’ but it’s still a machine.

          1. I wouldn’t be surprised if Germany had its share of cops with SWAT hard-ons fighting WoD like there’s no tomorrow. They tend to be pretty Americanized in a lot of ways. Their airport security is the most aggressive in my experience. Netherlands is pretty laid back about the whole thing obviously. There’s no European country that comes close to the militarized police in the US AFAIK.

        2. Yeah, the WOD has to be a big factor. I saw some kids rolling a joint in the park walking home with my son a while back. They weren’t obnoxious at all and we just walked right by them, no big deal. In the US I imagine some uptight parents would’ve been freaked to have their precious flowers exposed to such awfulness, and some cops would’ve been only too glad to rough up these young offenders. I’m not sure what would’ve happened if I’d called the cops to report some teenagers rolling a joint in a public park, they probably would’ve laughed.

          Also, in many cities here, there’s much less of a car culture and the cops don’t just drive around in an insulated environment, dreaming of puppycide.

    2. That’s an interesting observation. Humans are hard wired to be tribal and the lack of the traditional tribal ties in the US obviously has advantages and disadvantages. In the search for an identity group people will gravitate towards those that are most similar, and I presume if not in culture (language, custom, etc.) then it will be a common ‘worldview’. Cops gravitate toward each other and then begin ‘othering’, just like everyone else.

  5. From a linked article in the BBC linked article

    Why is violent crime so rare in Iceland?

    First – and arguably foremost – there is virtually no difference among upper, middle and lower classes in Iceland. And with that, tension between economic classes is non-existent, a rare occurrence for any country.

    Crimes in Iceland – when they occur – usually do not involve firearms, though Icelanders own plenty of guns.

    GunPolicy.org estimates there are approximately 90,000 guns in the country – in a country with just over 300,000 people.

    The country ranks 15th in the world in terms of legal per capita gun ownership. However, acquiring a gun is not an easy process -steps to gun ownership include a medical examination and a written test.

    Equality and uhm, gun control.

    1. Oh I see they also linked directly to this article.

    2. “there is virtually no difference among upper, middle and lower classes in Iceland. And with that, tension between economic classes is non-existent, a rare occurrence for any country.”


      Don’t these peeps realize that the terms “upper” “lower” and “middle” class are often the same people at different points in their lives? So poverty is disproportionate among the young seeing how they dont have the same skill set and earning potential that someone in their 50s might have? Most people are broke at one point or another in their lives. It just annoys me every time they talk about classes likes it’s some kind of feudal pyramid, people move through these brackets, up and down, constantly it really is that simple.

      1. Since most crime is between people in the same economic classes, their point is moot.

  6. “Other European countries have similar track records.”

    I find this utterly shocking. (not sarcasm)

  7. “”””It also has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world.””””

    It might have something to do with the place being filled with Icelanders.

    While Chicago is filled with Chicagoans

    Maybe with research someone can find out if some Chicagoans are more peaceful then others.

    1. But…but…it is so much easier to believe that inanimate objects are responsible for the evil that people do.

      All you have to do is confiscate those objects and everything will come up lollipops.

      1. Animism FTW!

        1. If we can hate, we can love!

          Objectophilia FTW!

    2. While Chicago is filled with Chicagoans

      The problem with Scotland Chicago is that it’s full of Scots Chicagoans.

      Maybe Obama should institute the custom of prima nocta for his campaign donors.

      1. No, that was Bill Clinton’s policy.

    3. How does Iceland and japan have such low crime rates without all that diversity?

      1. how do*

        horrible mistake on my part

    4. While Chicago is filled with Chicagoans

      But then how do you explain Poland?

    5. The violence in Chicago is almost entirely a result of the black market. End the war on drugs and the black market will almost disappear, and thus no more reason to shoot each other to control it

  8. Also from the linked article, there are references to the strategies that Icelanders use to deal with the crime they do have. These are mentioned as if they are responsible for the low crime rate, that and equality.

    I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the crime rate is not a result of those strategies or equality. I am going to posit that they are all the result of a civil society.

    1. You know asian immigrants, first generation types, are usually very poor when they come over. Even when they are poor, their crime rate is WELL BELOW that of the hosts country’s average. Asian people simply do not commit that many crimes, there are a whole bunch of other groups from all ethnicities who are poor yet do not engage in crime. Poverty does not cause crime.

  9. I once read an interview with a guy who flew antisubmarine patrols out of Iceland during the war. When he first got his orders to go to Iceland, he was bummed out because it’s Iceland. But then he got there, and it turns out that most of the island’s men were fishermen, and at any given time, most of them were out to sea or drowned. Therefore, there was a large supply of lonely tall blonde Viking women, and Iceland ended up being the best place in the world to spend the war.

    I wonder if things are still that way. I should go party in Reykjavik and find out.

    1. I have a friend who was a Navy MP and was stationed in Reykjavik (while we still had a base there) for a few years. He said it was super boring, but he’s got weird tastes. I’m going this summer and will find out.

      1. I bet Iceland is an awesome place to party for the summer solstice. I will definitely try to check out some midnight sun before I’m too old to enjoy it.

  10. Also, perhaps Iceland has low crime because it has the population of a small Midwestern city and everyone is cousins to one another. Perhaps.

    1. Extremely homogenous societies tend to be pretty peaceful.


      2. It depends on what the culture is.

        Most of the crime in the US is black on black, in the downtown parts of cities that are almost entirely homogeneous.

        By contrast, blacks who live in the suburbs never commit crimes against each other or their white neighbors.

        Yet by your logic, they would be the ones most likely to.

        The problem is that becoming a gang member, a rapper, or an athlete (or all three) is seen by far too many the best way of life (the thug life), instead of going for education and hard work..

        1. just because it is black on black does not mean they are homogenous, Since the violence mostly occurs across gang lines I would say it is not homogenous at all since they self identify as “us” vs “them” despite sharing a similar culture.

  11. I wonder how many descendents of slaves are running around Iceland packing guns as they sell drugs on the street.

    1. So, sarcasmic is ‘Merkun?

      1. Culture matters.

        1. So does not being collectivist.

  12. Does Iceland have a powerful police union that protects their officers from accountability? Just curious, though I think I can probably guess…

  13. Sounds like they went out of their way to try to avoid shooting this guy, even after he started asking for it.

    1. Yeah. Some other articles mention that the gunman shot two of the cops. One in the face, one in the hand.

      He was more than asking for it.

  14. This so-called “article” doesn’t make one reference to Greenland, Bjork, Bobby Fischer, or that one volcano from a few years ago that no one could spell.

    What’s next? An article about New Orleans without a mention of Mardi Gras? San Antonio without the Alamo? We need stale references in our news, dammit!

    1. The most notable omission in the article is the name of the guy the cops shot.

      I looked around at a bunch of articles about it and could find nothing other than ‘the gunman’ and ‘ a man in his late 50’s’.

      I can only speculate as to why, but I suspect it has to do with DJFs theory that iceland is full of icelanders and chicago is full of chicagoans.

      1. Isn’t it the case in many European countries that they don’t release the name of the accused because of the negative impact of having your name out in the public accused of a crime that you didn’t commit?

    2. Best thing on Iceland I’ve ever seen was the Pharmacopia episode where Hamilton goes looking for mushrooms and ends up doing a fashion week shoot. Still the best Vice series, Moynihan’s Northern Ireland trip included.

      1. Here it is, for those of you who would like to get lost for the next 30+ minutes.

    3. What about LazyTown?

    4. My ex looks amazingly like Bjork. Just noticed that from this:

  15. I was talking with a coworker who spent some time in Iceland, and he said that cops make up fines on the spot. It’s not like they look up the amount for a speeding ticket. They just make it up. Then if you take it to court, the judge very well may say “Stupid American, fine doubled!”

  16. Speaking of puppycide

  17. Meanwhile, in Kansas City: Off duty KC cop shoots and kills KC firefighter hours after his wedding.”

    Europe has a long way to go if they want to catch up with the good ol’ US of A.

    1. The officer who shot him was in uniform but working another job off-duty when he responded to a reported assault on a cab driver at 12th and Wyandotte streets, Kansas City police said.

      Above and beyond the call of duty.

      1. The word is that the firefighter was drunk and aggressive with the cop, who feared for his life. The message boards are filled with rumors that he was an MMA fighter who was beating the living shit out of the cop. ON HIS OWN WEDDING NIGHT.

        His wife, still in her wedding gown, was on the scene, witnessing the whole thing.

        Regardless, a shitstorm has begun between KCPD and KCFD, and there’s a lot of finger pointing and hyperbole being thrown around.

  18. Police in Germany shot 85 rounds in all of 2011.

    In LA they call that a slow morning.

  19. In UK English, why the hell doesn’t hospital (or university) deserve an article? Why does one go to hospital, not the hospital or a hospital?

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