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Police in Iceland are rarely armed

It began with a crazed man firing a shotgun in his apartment in Rejkjavik, the capital of Iceland. The police first fired tear gas canisters through the windows of the man’s apartment. When the tear gas failed to subdue the 59-year-old man, they entered the man’s apartment in an attempt to apprehend him. The man then began firing his shotgun at the police, injuring two officers. A special forces unit then shot the man who died after being rushed to the hospital. Icelandic police then released the following public apology to reporters:

“Police regret the incident and would like to extend their condolences to the family of the man.”

Despite its citizens being heavily armed (it ranks #15 in the world), Iceland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world  (about 4 gun-related deaths per year vs. over 30,000 annually in the United States). It’s regular police unit is unarmed.  Since its independence in 1944, police have never shot and killed a citizen (in the United States, “close to 400 felons” are killed annually by law enforcement officers).

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