Friday, March 23, 2007

To Protect and Serve?

It is a long-standing belief that community police forces exist to protect the citizens of said communities. As a corollary, using the 911 number instead of relying on our own protection has been forced down our throats, together with the false (and very dangerous mantra) that calling and then waiting for the police to arrive is better than defending oneself. In fact, as explained in a 2002 Woman's Quarterly article various legal precedents around the United States have made the exact opposite true.

Police forces are essentially useless in actually protecting citizens from crime (unless you live in a city like Clovis, California where the police actually pride themselves on fast and accurate response). Certainly in the Bay Area, it seems many police officers are more interested in hanging out in coffee/donut shops and issuing tickets for parking violations than actually protecting the public against criminals.

This i not intended as an indictment of police officers in general, many of whom are hard-working and conscientious individuals. However, too many police forces are famed for slow responses, condescending attitudes toward the public and over-zealous enforcement of minor offenses by law-abiding citizens.

If cities are sued when they (invariably) fail to protect citizens against crime, they will respond like a home invasion rape/murder case in San Jose, where a California court held that
...the city of San Jose was shielded from the suit because of a state statute and because there was no "special relationship" between the police and Ruth--the police had not started to help her, and she had not relied on any promise that the police would help. Case dismissed.

This is simply horrendous. The only suggestion I can make is "buy a gun and become a competent shot". Guns are the ultimate equalizer, and the more people who possess them, the fewer criminals will be willing to risk facing them.

No comments: