Saturday, February 16, 2008

Responsible For Our Own Defense

Here is yet more evidence that we are responsible for our own self defense and protection, and simply cannot rely on police services alone. First, I will say that I have ALREADY accepted responsibility for protecting myself and my family through the disciplined and responsible use of firearms and other measures. But since I can’t be everywhere at once, I use a defense in depth strategy to protect my home through other means and technologies while I am not able to be there.

I recently received a letter from ADT – my home security provider – stating that my city administration is doing a 6-month trial whereby the police will no longer automatically respond to a burglar alarm from any home or business burglar alarm system unless the alarm has been:

  1. Visually verified…
  2. Enhanced call verification has taken place…
  3. Witness reports corroborate the alarm… or
  4. Signals from multiple points are received.

The letter goes on to say that if none of the above requirements are met (1 – 4 above) then the police will simply

“…broadcast the alarm activation to its officers at the lowest priority, who may or may not respond depending on their availability and/or knowledge of crime patterns in your vicinity.”

My concern is that this police response policy will increase my risks of loss due to a home burglary, and thus increasing the risk that my insurance company will have to pay out higher claims on any home owners living in this city. This will in turn have the potential of increasing insurance rates, thus having an economic impact as well. The stipulations listed above means that there is a far less likelihood that a burglar alarm going off in my unattended home will be acted upon. This completely nullifies one of the largest reasons for even having the alarm system to begin with.

My much deeper concern, however, is that my city administration is opening its citizens up to increased risks to home burglaries by decreasing the deterrent value of these systems. Many of us purchased these home alarm systems to serve as a deterrent to crimes of burglary and break-in against our homes. The criminals, now knowing the new policy, will be more willing to break into a home, even when an alarm system sign is posted. They know that their risk of being caught and prosecuted while committing the crime has now been reduced because of flawed city policy. This causes greater risk for all of our city’s residents by making crime in here more attractive. By implementing such a policy they are putting my family at greater risk as well.

If this city policy is permanently implemented, the residents of this city will be open to increased crime in the long term due to a decreased level of expected response by the police to burglar alarms. This policy will, in effect, let the criminal element know that they will have more time to break into a house and take what they want, even if, and possibly especially if an alarm is sounding. More time to steal more household goods, (possibly including firearms?) means that citizens will stand to lose more, and that there is even a greater chance that they may stumble onto a burglary in progress. This will of course cause higher risk of personal injury. I already secure my firearms without having to be told to do so by law, but this is obviously giving criminals more time to break my steel gun safe to steal them.

I strongly urged them (in writing) to reverse this flawed policy. Since my home is presently ensured with a standard homeowner’s policy, and one of my stated policy discounts is due to the fact that I have an electronic alarm system to help reduce my risk to losses caused by fire and theft, I have also written to my insurance company to inform them of this policy, and to urge them to contact city council members with their concerns as well.

Yes – I am responsible for my family’s safety. But when I implement defense in depth measures to ensure maximum security, and a city administration reduces the effect of these measures, they are putting the safety of my family and the whole community at risk.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Yet Another Mall Shooting

It appears that there was yet another graphic example this weekend in a Chicago mall of why the disarming of law abiding citizens is wrong. Our malls, churches, and anywhere else where large numbers of people gather is a prime target for some lunatic with a gun to come in and open fire. The lawmakers would have us believe that this shouldn’t have happened because they made a law prohibiting this from happening. Really? I guess the gunmen didn’t get the memo on that law. And what is really so painfully obvious, is that even if the gunmen know and comprehend the anti-gun laws – do you really think they care? It’s not as if they sit up watching CNN, CSPAN, or the local news to see what laws are in effect. How many times do we have to state that the only people these “feel good” laws really have an effect on are the law abiding citizens? And the effect is not a positive one – it is getting our citizens KILLED!

One obvious argument that the antigun crowd will give is: “Well what are the chances that someone (law abiding, concealed carry permit holder) would have even been in that mall and could have done any good?” We know for sure that because of the current laws there, the chances are absolutely ZERO! We have only to ask that same question: “What are the chances that an armed citizen will be in church when a gunman comes in and opens fire?” We know from the events in a Colorado Springs church in December 2007 that the answer is that only two people died. The rest were saved because of a brave (and armed) woman with a gun.

Or how about the argument that: “Allowing citizens to carry guns will only add to the potential for gun violence.” My reply to that is that several million law abiding citizens with guns killed no one today. Most people who carry firearms only do so because they have studied and pondered the profound responsibility that they now have by being willing to carry. It has been discussed and emphasized on numerous occasions that people who carry firearms will go out of their way to avoid confrontation. The stereotype that CCW holders go around waving their guns in the air and showing off their weapons is unfounded – and is just that: a stereotype. People who carry concealed weapons do just that – carry them concealed. It keeps the criminals guessing, and prevents those who do not wish to be around guns from being overly anxious. We seem to never hear in the news how a law abiding citizen with a CCW permit walked into a mall or church and started shooting. But we do hear of numerous accounts of a law abiding armed citizen who has thwarted an attack: Incidents of Self Defense

Chicago has some of the strictest anti-gun laws on the books, aside from Washington D.C. and New York. But yet those areas have violent crime rates that are still high. Obviously, taking handguns away from law abiding citizens didn’t help. And why is that? The answer can be found in at least one prison interview, in which convicted felons specifically stated that they are not afraid of the police. What they ARE afraid of, however, is the armed citizen. It doesn’t take an expert in human behavior to guess why that is. The criminals can see the police; they know for the most part where they are (and where they aren’t) and can plan their strategies accordingly. What makes the criminal’s job more difficult is that in areas where citizens with concealed weapons permits are common, they have no idea who is carrying or who is not? The risks of their carrying out a criminal attack and getting shot are greatly increased. With even the seemingly diminished mental ability of today’s common predator, their risk analysis skills are at least adequate. They are going to go after the low hanging fruit and commit their crimes in areas where they are least likely to be stopped. And right now, the areas of their perceived increased success in committing violent crimes are cities that prohibit citizens from being armed, and so-called “gun free zones.”

If I can hope for anything that comes out of a situation like this, it is that the people who make those stupid laws that disallow their law abiding citizens from protecting themselves are now in pure anguish over their stupidity and will move forward with reversing these ridiculous laws. A person living in the United States is supposed to be guaranteed that their right to self defense shall not be infringed, but yet the anti-gun crowd continues to infringe away. They do this all in the name of “feel good” laws that do nothing to protect people.

My right to protect myself and my family is non-negotiable.