From the outside, it seems that police equipment escalated to get army grade vehicles and weapons, and the army has been to enough wars involving fighting civilians that they could crush most opposition in a matter of days.
Then what's happening in HK is masked "civilians" committing crimes, so the manifestant reacting to them with violence would also fall on the illegal side and it would be game for the police to intervene openly as strongly as they want.
Sure they "could" but will they. Right now the mainland populace knows nothing of this. If you let it turn into a bloodbath that could create a big enough international incident that people could find out. Is it worth the risk?
> it would be game for the police to intervene openly as strongly as they want.
And when the police don't want to prevent violence you get stuff like this.
Now, obviously the moral high ground in that example is reversed but my point is that the police need to want to prevent violent retribution if the locals want to inflict it and they are to prevent violent retribution.
Sorry it wasn't clear, I was talking about the police in the USA and the second amendment. I was explaining why I think civils having weapons just doesn't mean much against the current government.
> the police need to want to prevent violent retribution if the locals want to inflict it
Sure, we all agree. Here the gov/police is orchestrating the violence, so I guess we also agree they don't want to prevent it.