Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Police "Protection"

Well, everyone is still talking about Virginia Tech. Some offer prayers, others offer comforting thoughts, and many offer solutions. Sadly, many of these solutions involve more gun laws. You do not stop criminals with more laws. Many on this end of the blogosphere have responded to the calls for gun laws. Others are trying to figure out ways for the police to respond more efficiently. It is this idea that could be more dangerous than even the pushes for gun bans. After all, who is going to argue with making the response better?
I am.
As a nation, we keep buying into the dangerous notion that the police are here to protect us. This is wrong; it is wrong both practically and philosophically.
In practice, the police cannot be everywhere. They can't respond in time to save everyone. It's impossible. If someone breaks into your home to kill you, there will be violence before the police arrive. And that assumes you can even get to a phone.
The philosophical problem with our reliance on police for protection is the scope of law enforcement. The police are supposed to respond to crimes. They are not here to keep you safe. The job of the police officer is to respond to crimes. Their patrols may deter crime, but a police officer cannot prevent a crime. A cop won't arrest someone who might commit a crime. They shouldn't be allowed to. A free society cannot allow that.
In any free society, personal responsibility is important. This includes the responsibility to provide for your own self-defense. If you don't feel you can carry a gun, don't. But know that your choice will have consequences. So will the choice to carry a gun. You must decide what you will or will not do, and take responsibility for it.
When we ban guns in certain places, teach people to rely on the police, and allow a fear of firearms to spread, the country fails to teach the appropriate level of responsibility.

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