|Amid Police Layoffs and Budget Shortfalls, 2nd Amendment Looms Even More Vital|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, April 11 2013
In February, we highlighted how citizens across Mexico increasingly understand the value of the right to keep and bear arms.
With authorities unable or unwilling to protect them from epidemic criminal terror, it was the only remaining option. And it worked. “We brought order back to a place where there had been chaos,” proclaimed Gonzalo Torres, in one town that took up arms against organized terror. “We were able to do in 15 days what the government was not able to do in years.”
At the time, we warned that similar lawlessness here in the U.S. isn’t necessarily as distant as we might hope. In recent days, events across America have brought that reality into vivid relief.
On Tuesday of this week, The Wall Street Journal ran the headline “Detroit District Rents Police” and detailed residents’ attempt to battle deterioration “amid meager services”:
“This cash-strapped city’s police force is so overwhelmed with murders – more than one a day on average over the past two years – and other major crimes that officers rarely have time or resources to respond to nonemergency calls like break-ins… Budget cuts are looming, even for the police department, whose officers are already working 12-hour shifts at lower pay. In the past year, the department decided to shutter many precinct houses after 4 p.m. to save money and considered disbanding its gang-crime unit.”
Earlier in the week, The Christian Science Monitor similarly announced “As Cities Lay off Police, Frustrated Neighborhoods Turn to Private Cops.” The article quoted Steve Amitay, the Executive Director for the National Association of Security Companies: “’It’s happening everywhere,’ Mr. Amitay says. ‘Municipal governments and cities are really getting strapped in terms of their resources, and when a police department cuts 100 officers, obviously they are going to respond to less [sic] crimes.’”
On the same day, San Francisco’s NBC affiliate offered the headline, “Chicago Proposal Would Allow Private Sponsorship of Police.” Following a weekend of mob violence in that city, Alderman Brendan Reilly had reintroduced a resolution allowing off-duty officers to work six-hour shifts for $30 per hour. The proposal “would be paid by businesses, civic groups and churches at a time when city finances are stretched thin,” according to the report.
Three days earlier, KHOU in Houston announced “Houston Neighborhood Turns to Private Security Firm for Protection.” The report quoted resident Donna Fain, who said, “It’s great. I feel a lot better. Last month, my dad’s car was broken into, and I hear they’ve reduced the number of car break-ins by a significant amount.”
And several days prior to that, the headline “Private Security Patrols on the Rise in the Oakland Hills” ran in the Bay Area’s Contra Costa Times:
“As police resources continue to tighten throughout the city, an increasing number of neighborhoods in the hills have begun to take security into their own hands by hiring private companies to patrol their streets… ‘There has not been a single break-in reported in these areas since subscribing to private patrol services,’ administrator Robbie Neely said. Watson confirmed that the department has seen a reduction in crime in neighborhoods with private security and have been helpful to solve cases.”
These experiences of private citizens taking “security into their own hands” are dissimilar from Mexico’s only in degree, not kind.
They also serve to rebuke liberals whose worldview prefers a government monopoly on firearms.
It is no insult to our overstressed police officers to recognize that they simply cannot be everywhere on a moment’s notice. Nor is it an indictment to observe that calling 911 and Domino’s Pizza simultaneously will often result in a large pizza on your doorstep before officers can respond. Our current era of fiscal difficulty only exacerbates that reality.
More broadly, there is no right more fundamental than that of self-protection. The Roman statesman Marcus Tillius Cicero observed, “If our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.”
Partly for that reason, our Founding Fathers enshrined the right of “the people,” not “the government,” to keep and bear arms.
Today, police protection becomes more precarious each passing day due to unsustainable public employee pensions, city bankruptcies and budgetary irresponsibility. Meanwhile, liberals hostile to the right to keep and bear arms only accelerate their gun control agenda.
The need to jealously safeguard our Second Amendment protections intensifies accordingly.
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