Armed and Dangerous

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
Robert A. Heinlein-writer

I had another thought on the mass killings in Arizona, this time brought on by the gun control comments on the Op-Ed page of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. It appears that there needs to be a little education on the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

Most who read this blog know I retired as a cop after 37 years spread out over four police departments. I no sooner began my career than I realized that cops could not be everywhere. Some people believe that cops do not work, they just sit around and drink coffee and eat donuts all day. I wish! When I started on the St. Louis Police Department, the most common radio transmission we heard was, “Any car available, we have numerous calls pending.” Work consisted of going from call to call to call, throughout an eight-hour workday. The only exception was during the midnight watch. Calls fell off between 3 & 7 a.m. Even the bad guys had to sleep sometime . . .  of course, that was before the meth epidemic, now they can stay up for days without sleeping.

The bad thing about the workload was the real emergency calls. If every officer is out on a call when someone is kicking your door down with the intent to do you harm, how long will the response time be? In the latter part of my career, I had the pleasure of working on a department with a response time of less than five minutes. It was the exception to the rule. It all depends on the type of neighborhood one lives in. In a high crime area, all the cops are busy, it will take a while for one to return to service and receive the call. Then, response depends on the distance to the call. In rural areas, just the travel time might be 30 minutes. What are you going to be doing while waiting?

In my entire career, I have seen one apartment complex that used metal doors and metal frames. The fire department hated calls to that complex because if they had to force entrance, it was one hell of a job. Often, they put a ladder up to the little patio balcony and shattered the patio door. That was much quicker than using a battering ram or trying to spread the metal doorjambs with a special tool to get that front door open. All other doors I ever encountered could be kicked open in a few seconds. What kind of door do you have? If Mr. Bad Guy can kick your door open in a few seconds (like however long one kick takes), can search through your house thoroughly enough to find you in two minutes, and the police response time is ten minutes . . . . On real emergency calls, the cop’s job is usually to take a report and clean up the mess. The perpetrator is gone long before we get there.

Do you own a gun? There are many arguments against the possession of a firearm: I could never shoot anyone, the kids may find it, I do not know how to shoot, I might miss and shoot the wrong person, the bad guy might get it away from me and use it against me, what about shooting accidents?

On top of that, there is the rhetoric of the anti-gun lobby. Hunters do not need assault rifles; they are only made to kill people. High-capacity magazines are not made for hunting, they are for killing a lot of people. If you must own a gun, it must be kept in a locked safe or have a lock placed on it, or be kept unloaded and broke down with the ammo kept in another room. Concealed carry will turn our streets into the Wild West.

I have one response to all of the reasons to not have a firearm: Crap! Learn how to protect yourself and your family. Guns are not esoteric. They are easy to learn to use. A person with a room temperature IQ can figure out how to keep young children away from firearms. As they get older, children, who can download music to their iPod after thirty seconds of instruction, can easily learn firearm safety, and they should. If you make a decision not to have a gun in your house, what happens when Junior is at a friend’s house and sees a gun. Guns exist; you cannot insulate your children from them forever; better that they know about them.

Now, about that 2nd Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Only those living in paranoia land will be able to locate anything about hunting rifles or high-capacity magazines in there. It is not about hunting. It is about the population being able to protect itself against a government that wants to override the Constitution and enslave them. You might also notice that it says, “to keep and bear arms.” To bear arms, one would have to carry arms; not keep them locked up in a nonfunctioning condition with the ammo kept separate so that they could not use them quickly.

Now, about being able to use them quickly; when that someone kicks down your door, perhaps you will want to start through the combination on your safe. If you can get it open in time, you can assemble it or remove the trigger lock. Time will be running out while you go to the secret location where you keep you ammo, and feeding shells into that magazine can be a little time-consuming, but not to worry. The police are aware of your problem. As soon as a car becomes available, an officer will rush right over. Maybe he will only be ten or twelve blocks away, but huh, it’s rush hour.

That call to the police is exactly what happened in Arizona. I do not know what the response time was, but the police got there in time to handcuff the killer by taking over from the unarmed people on the scene—thank God for them—but what would have happened if five or six citizens had been armed? Perhaps one of them would have fired wildly and injured an innocent person. That comes with the territory, but maybe the psychotic responsible would have decided he wanted to live more than he wanted to keep killing and run away. It may have saved lives, even at the cost of an accidental injury. Or maybe that first shot would have taken the killer out cleanly before all the carnage.

Police officers have a saying, “I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by six.” Think about that. Cops would rather be judged by a jury of 12 than carried to a grave by six pallbearers. Every cop knows that he or she can make a mistake, but as I said, that is part of the territory. Anything is better than standing there impotent while waiting to be slaughtered.

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Published in: on January 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I agree with you that if the people in the croud had guns there’s a worse chance of more getting hurt, by accident.it would not be good. I’d trust the Lady who grabbed the re-load as my proof we don’t need guns to safely disarm someone. we just need soldiers who can do it like she did.


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