Read an Excerpt
YOU AND GUNS A CONVERSATIONThe Practicalities of Responsible Gun Ownership
By ISABELLA HUNTER
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Lisa Sullivan
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePolice owe no duty to protect the individual
Criminals obey "gun control" laws in the same manner politicians follow their oaths of office.—Anonymous
There are 2.3 full time police officers to every one thousand citizens on average in America. Individuals relying strictly on police for their protection against crime and criminals will find this strategy has its shortcomings. In Warren v. District of Columbia two men broke into a rooming house and police were notified. The men held 3 women and a child captive. The women were terrorized, raped, robbed and beaten. The dispatcher taking the call, confirmed help was on the way however the women were held captive for fourteen hours. In the lawsuit brought by one of the women, the court decided 4-3 that Warren was not entitled to remedy at the bar. The court stated that official police personnel and government employing them owe no duty to victims of criminal acts and thus are not liable for a failure to provide adequate police protection unless a special relationship exists. In other words the court confirmed unless a "special relationship" exists for protection, you are first and foremost responsible for your own safety. Those living in more rural areas are usually more self sufficient and comfortable with this fact than those raised in densely populated cities. U.S. Courts have consistently ruled that the police owe no duty to protect the individual but only the public at large.
Castle Rock v. Gonzales, A United States Supreme Court Case 545 U.S. 748 (2005).
The Court ruled, 7-2, that a town and its police department could not be sued under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for failing to enforce a restraining order which had led to the murder of a woman's three children by her estranged husband. In an affluent Connecticut neighborhood 2005, police were alerted to a home invasion where a family was held captive. The wife of Dr. William Petit had been taken by force from their home by one of the criminals to withdraw funds from a bank. The other intruder remained in her home alone with her two daughter's, her husband unconscious and restrained in the basement. While inside the bank, Mrs. Petit informed the personnel of the home invasion who then communicated the crime to the local police department. And although the police department put forth the best efforts, unfortunately the two criminals murdered Mrs. Petit and her two daughters. She was raped and strangled to death, her two young daughters tied to their beds, assaulted and set on fire. The massacre lasted seven hours. Among our society are dangerous people and they have no regard for life. The socio paths, murderers, rapist and incessant career criminals present a very difficult problem for the general public and that is the inability to identify them. By mere sight, criminals can look like any ordinary person. In certain situations we easily recognize signs of danger. When you're swimming off shore in open water and a 7ft. bull shark is headed directly your way you know, you're in trouble. When raging hot flames have engulfed a home, without a doubt you're in danger however, violent confrontations within our species do not always initially present themselves as distinctly or threats always interpreted appropriately. In the Connecticut case, the recently freed predators were in the grocery store with the victims.
They may have stood in the same aisle, unnoticed just a few feet away from the mother and daughters before following them home. The mother and her daughters were unaware they had been targeted and were under attack by the predators. A sociopath by definition is "a type of chronic mental illness in which a person's ways of thinking, perceiving situations and relating to others are abnormal and destructive. People with antisocial personality disorder typically have no regard for right and wrong. They may often violate the law and the rights of others, landing in frequent trouble or conflict. They may lie, behave violently, and have drug and alcohol problems." Though this definition is explicit the definition is unable to portray what this person may physically look like because that is practically impossible. We all have stereotypes of what we think a crazy person or dangerous situation looks like but appearances are deceptive. After an alarming or terrible crime, you often hear "but they were so quiet" or "he seemed like such a normal guy", when typically there were signs, they were just not heeded or openly discussed or taken seriously by those who saw the signs. Concerns can be brushed off, excused and easily rationalized right out the window and unfortunately innocent people suffer greatly for it. By merely looking at someone, you cannot determine sociopath disorders or who may pose a threat. Unless of course a person's threat is plain as day but threats are rarely revealed in this way. We are also aware the sociopath is not limited to any economic or cultural group. Sometimes the scary looking person who might seem most likely to do something criminal can be a Good Samaritan intervening right when a person most needs help. Given that things are not always what they seem, this makes our lives especially tricky to navigate. Encountering threats or danger and then relying solely on police protection to keep the community safe is not 100% reliable.
Sometimes as a society and community, we need to lean and rely on one another. Perfect strangers can and have been helpful to one another but this is where a discriminating awareness is good. Picking up on subtle actions, motives, speech and intentions can heighten awareness. Going to the grocery store is not considered risky nor should one look over their shoulder while picking up orange juice but since we are all distracted, disconnected and sometimes way over committed to daily routines, we miss subtle signs that there may be danger and if there was danger are you prepared to respond? Since we do not expect the local police department to be everywhere and all at once, that would be too taxing on our current system anyway, what are you prepared to do? Through the years, we have drifted away from personal responsibility but its time to set your course right again and take responsibility for your life. Safety always first begins with you.
Step #1: Awareness. Notice, pay attention. Things are not always as they seem.
"He who forgets will be destined to remember."
The American judicial system, a billion dollar industry keeps courthouses, jails and correctional centers in operation providing employment to thousands of lawyers, judges, police officers, correctional officers, counselors and support staff needed to run these facilities, all a very complex matrix. Consider that a drastic or even moderate reduction in crime these people would be out of jobs. The system has even created a workable job description for criminals who are professionals. The definition of "Career criminals" as defined by a Florida Statute can be found in Chapter 775.084 (1) (d) This translates plainly to people making a career out of being criminal and statistically, most murderers usually have criminal histories.
It may be just a matter of degrees, and escalated behavior that results in the ability to commit murder. If each offense leading up to more violent crime is met with minimal repercussions or a slap on the wrist then this may contribute towards a criminal's escalated violent behavior. Then offenders rotate through the courts gaining more knowledge about the system and how to use the law to their advantage. Another reality is Americans due to apathy, denial or fear have become too complacent with crime, to the point of even rationalizing and excusing violent behavior. "Denial is a save now pay later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print for in the long run the denying person knows the truth on some level." Rather than confronting our problems with crime, we take the path of least resistance and emphasize the devastating aftermath by implementing and providing victims groups for grieving families of the murdered and support groups for victims of rape. Offering support by all means is necessary but so is aggressively confronting problems with crime. Emphasizing the availability of victim groups and the devastating aftermath of violence does nothing to reduce or contribute towards the prevention of crime. Many times I was told and you may have heard it too, "if you do what an attacker or criminal tells you, you won't get hurt." This advice is seriously flawed. Fair to say under some circumstances like gathering enough time to escape, etc. this is understandable but this public awareness message applied as a general rule greatly reduces escape, counter attack or in some cases survival. Mrs. Petit, in the Connecticut case told the bank personnel, the criminals were "being nice" prior to her being strangled to death and her daughters set on fire. She might have been abiding by the same "do what you're told and you wont get hurt" myth. But placing your life at the mercy of an opponent or aggressor who clearly demonstrates they intend to harm you is madness.
In the hands of a dangerous person someone helpless is threatened with every conceivable malice simply because predators, regardless of demeanor, have no sympathy for the weak. Otherwise they wouldn't prey on and attack or hurt a weaker person. Why, under clear and present danger are offenders receiving amnesty or mercy? We must have some plan of defense. We have a duty and an obligation to protect the weak, children and those unable to protect and defend themselves against predators. During war, show no mercy. Under attack meet force with overwhelming force. "It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up."
"We live in a society of victimization, where people are much more comfortable being victimized than actually standing up for themselves."
Chapter TwoEmergency Plans
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
We very easily accept that well thought out plans should be implemented before emergencies arise. Mock emergency drills and terrorist threat levels are now more a part of the American psyche than ever but an interesting thing happens when bringing up personal self-defense plans or home safety. It's the deer in the headlights look. Many people have an adverse reaction or are strangely unable to comprehend and apply the same methodical logic when it comes to personal life threatening events. Was this because it wasn't mandated or imposed by an external agency, have we slowly reduced ourselves to rely more on a compliance mentality rather than taking our own initiative? The safety of your home, your castle and the lives of those that reside under your roof are your first responsibility and no one else's. Doesn't matter if you're a family of one living in 200 square feet of closet space in Manhattan, a McMansion family or living in a tepee it's time to step it up. Many Americans as a precaution decide to take it up a notch by getting certified by the American Red Cross in CPR and Basic First Aid and that's great. Realistically, we hope no one ever has a heart attack while out dining at our favorite restaurant or someone hiking with us is hurt but it happens. Prolonging someone's chances of survival while waiting for additional help to arrive is not a special talent or gift, it is a learned, practical skill. In New York, Captain "Sully" Sullenberger saved hundreds of lives and he wasn't comfortable with being hailed a "hero" he said he was just doing his job. In fact, there is a great truth to that statement. Before that monumental day and to zero fanfare he thought and carried out plans that helped him be the best and do the best, that was just Sully, doing his job and those plans really paid off, exponentially. With respect for his job, he planned for the worst and expected the best. As a pilot, he wasn't doing the bare minimum or just enough. He added additional education and information fortifying his skill set. If he had decided to just leave it up to someone else to go the extra mile a bunch of people would have died January 15, 2009. While he was pilot in command of his commercial airplane with 155 people in it the plane lost power over the Hudson River. His knowledge and leadership brought the powerless airplane to a glide landing rather than plunging into the river. He saved lives and spared hundreds more the pain and grief that comes with losing a loved one. This story made headlines, he was given a key to the city and he deserved it. But we need more like him; we need more Captains to keep us from plunging into the abyss. And everyone, in every home is a candidate to be the best they possibly can and go that extra mile not only for themselves but also for one another. For months in advance, we prepare for potential hurricanes, buy generators for debilitating snow storms, learn Basic First Aid, have flood insurance, nothing wrong with planning ahead. When exactly did prepare for the worst, expect the best mentality equate to "oh, yeah, that guy, he's just paranoid." Does putting a seat belt on make you paranoid? How about having a fire extinguisher handy and near the kitchen? At someone else's expense these lessons were implemented to save your life. When a police officer goes to work and has a sidearm, do we consider that paranoid or prepared? Used properly, guns were also implemented to save and protect lives.
Modern Americans rely on 911 for emergencies but long, slow minutes exist in between initial danger, a call for help and arrival of the police. What's going to happen in the mean time? Do you have a plan and the tools to defend your life during those three or four important minutes when you are at your most vulnerable? When victims are in a position to defend themselves against imminent danger they likely have a better chance of surviving. The myth that firearms used for defense are more likely to be turned against its owner is simply just that, a myth.
As an exercise, quietly sit and time just three minutes. Then after, with all that you are capable of imagining, spend those three minutes in violent danger without a means of defense, waiting for help to arrive.
As a second exercise now again spend those same three minutes in a violent encounter but imagine having a plan for defense.
Chapter ThreeHistory of Lawful Self Defense
The American Castle Doctrine otherwise known as "Stand your ground" has been at the forefront of a frenzied news media lately but this legal defense is old news. The Castle Doctrine originated thousands of years ago in a recorded history of lawful defense.
AD 250 Plotinus "... The victims are no doubt better than the wrongdoers, but are at the mercy of their inferiors in the field in which they themselves are inferior, where, that is, they cannot be classed among the good since they have not trained themselves in self-defense ... But at this stage some have not armed themselves-and the duly armed win the day. Not even a God would have the right to deal a blow for the unwarlike: the law decrees that to come safe out of battle is for fighting men, not for those that pray."
AD 530-533 The Castle Doctrine can be traced back to Roman law in The Pandects, a digest of Roman Law compiled by order of the emperor Justinian 1 in the 6th century States: "One's home is the safest refuge for every one."
1600's. English Law. Sir Edward Coke, Attorney General for England and Wales appointed by Elizabeth I stated: "A man's house is his castle. For where shall a man be safe if it be not in his house?"
1690. One of the most influential, political philosophers of all time, John Locke who also directly influenced the writers of America's Declaration of Independence, describes self defense in the Two Treatise of Government: "I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him ..."
1776. America. The Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
1787. The United States Constitution. "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Excerpted from YOU AND GUNS A CONVERSATION by ISABELLA HUNTER Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Sullivan. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.