Cop stupid, Criminal stupider?

Its been a week since the blasts in the Delhi high court and, Yipee, and we have something to debate about other than corruption.  The hot topic now is why and how the Indian cops / security / intelligence (oxymoron) agencies, in spite of their awe inspiring acronyms have not been able to prevent or solve even a single terrorist attack for 10 years. The reference to the US and its post 9/11 success with curbing terrorism was expected. But what was unexpected was the Indian government seeking their help – yet again.

There are many theories being bandied about on TV talk shows on why our cops fail. And it is all the usual tripe. So I won’t waste your time repeating it. But what is heartening is the consistency our cops show. They are just as bad and inefficient in solving almost any other case too. A look at their success rate will prove this point.

But there is one major reason why they can take credit for solving or preventing some cases at least.

This is because our criminals are stupider than our cops. This should come as no surprise as, apart from them being on opposites of a very fuzzy line, there are a lot of similarities in their logic, complacency, thought process, lack of initiative, under exposure to modernity and progress in their respective fields etc. This list will be incomplete if I don’t mention they are both Indian.

I have so much to say that I am worried this post will get out of hand, so I will lay the ground by initially writing about the stupidity of our criminals and security guards. I will follow up later with many others.

In the dock this time are the private security guards, their agencies, their employers and the criminals. The traits they collectively exhibit are no different from the real cops, NSA, NIA, CBI etc etc.

PSG’s, a minority about 10 years ago are prolific today. Apart from the non-critical areas of their employment, mostly like gate keepers, they have migrated to a more critical area of service. Those of guarding our banks and the money vans utilized for ATM refills or inter branch money transfers. Needless to say the agencies are contracted by the banks which makes them eligible to be mentioned here for condoning stupidity. I will absolve the actual guards as they are generally poor, rural, illiterate people.

Aping the mindset of the real police, instead of any real training or equipment, they too rely on jazzy uniforms (cross belts, berets, epaulettes et al), pot bellies, facial hair, ex-military tag etc in a poor bid to portray efficiency. Unfortunately, it seems to work too. Else any criminal worth his pound of chakki would have taken advantage of this charade.

The grist of this post is another prop utilized by these security guards – the gun they mandatorily carry. It is impressive enough to deter any criminal. Indian criminal that is. But why am I being so harsh?

If you know anything at all about guns, and I really mean anything, you will agree with me, close your bank account and bury all your money in your backyard.

There are essentially two categories of guns based on their ammunition. One uses a bullet (L) and the other uses a cartridge (R).


The Bullet firing rifle is exclusively used by the police etc (non-civilian) and the cartridge firing gun is used by the security guards. Since it is near impossible for a civilian to obtain a bullet firing rifle license in India, they are forced to use the latter.

But the interesting fact is that these guns are useless, yes, utterly and completely useless in the hands of the security guards for the purpose it is intended. This is because of a major lacunae, unknown to most Indians.

Let us begin by understanding the projectiles. The bullet fires a single, solid projectile. The cartridge fires several shots (or pellets) which are very similar to ball bearings  (Hence the name Shotgun).


A shotgun is predominantly used for hunting small game like birds or rabbits. That is the reason a civilian is able to obtain a license for such guns. Let us imagine we are trying to bring down a bird, either flying solo or in a flock. Given the small size of the target and the fact that it is moving, it is impossible to take perfect aim and hit it with a single bullet. You are bound to miss, scare the prey and go hungry unless you are a marksman. The cartridge, firing not one, but several bullets offers a better chance. One of them is bound to hit the target. Add to this the fact that these pellets diverge after exiting from the barrel as in the picture below.


That is, they spread out increasing the chances of at least one pellet hitting the target. So, the farther they travel, the more they disperse. This pattern image shows how wide and randomly they disperse at a distance of 30 yards (approx 100 feet).

This is perfect for hunting. But what about our use?

A security guard has to use it on a human. The problem is not that the velocity of a cartridge pellet cannot kill or injure a human. It is where and how it will be used.

Imagine a bank robbery or a money van heist in India. During the robbery or once the deed over, the criminal is bound to be surrounded by a crowd of innocent bank employees or civilians

How can the security guard fire a shotgun expecting to hit only the criminal and not the innocent bystanders? It is impossible. Have you ever seen the cops teargas an individual in a crowd?

The big question now is:

Does the guard know this fact about his gun? If yes, then the public are safe, even though the gun becomes a mere prop and the day our stupid criminals realize this fact, they will have a free run of our money.

But what if even one guard does not know this fact? If in a real situation, he does fire into a crowd, what are the consequences? Who is to blame? The government for their antiquated license laws? The Police and the rest of us for not putting an end to this widespread threat? The illiterate guard? Or the gullible Indian?

Gun licenses are issued by the cops. Aren’t they supposed to be experts on fire arms? Don’t they know how a shotgun works? The very reason a civilian can apply and obtain a license is because these are not to be used for anything other than hunting. The application also requires you to state intent of use. Any other type of fire arm is classified as capable of being used on humans and hence the irresponsible Indian is ineligible to own one. If so, why are they allowing PSG’s to carry them, with the intent to use, in public areas?

Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.