GUEST EDITORIAL Just Dial 911 ... The Myth of Police Protection Lou Orlando I just finished reading an article by Dick Stevens in the April issue of "Ideas On Liberty" entitled "Just Dial 911?-The Myth of Police Protection" otherwise titled by me: "911....please hold!" To those of us who have been, and who still are police officers, the myth of 911 as a tool for 'protection' is no myth at all; but here, for the first time to my knowledge, we have an articulate civilian debunking the myth that 911 is an effective tool in protecting the public from violent criminals. Now the 'truth tellers' are speaking out in public, opening the eyes of potential victims to one of the biggest scams in public safety history. The first myth propagated by government is that the police have a legal obligation to protect the individual citizen. The vast majority of our citizens truly believe this, and consequently many believe that they don't need to protect themselves, simply because the police will stand in harm's way should the citizen feel it necessary to call them. Just call 911. In 1997 the police and government failed to prevent 18,209 murders, 497,950 robberies and 96,122 rapes. (FBI UCR) So much for the ability of the police to play a significant role in protecting people against criminals. We won't even get into the areas of burglary and car theft or illegal drug use and the hundreds of other crimes we are powerless to prevent, and the additional millions of crimes not even reported. The second myth is that 911 is an effective crime tool used to protect citizens. The gun control advocates both in and out of government have attempted to convince the public that citizens don't need guns because the police will protect them from becoming victims of crime. They espouse the stupid idea that 911 can be a substitute for a well armed and properly trained citizen. Unfortunately there is an increasing belief on the part of Americans that all they need for protection is a telephone. The gun control advocates do everything to perpetuate this myth. According to Stevens, the American people have so much faith in the 911 system and the police, that they call 250,000 times a day! Unfortunately, research by Witkin, Guttman and Lenzy published in U.S. News & World Report June 17, 1996, revealed that of all the calls to 911 only 5% were made quickly enough for officers to stop a crime or arrest a suspect! The bottom line according to Stevens is that 911 technology seldom makes a difference in the outcome of criminal events. The third myth propagated by government is that when you call for police assistance, they are legally obligated to respond. Not true!!!! The highest district court in DC spelled it out plainly: "... the fundamental principle is that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen." (Warren v. DC 444 A 2d 1,4 (DC 1984). [I strongly recommend that those readers who have access to that citation pull it up on your screen and take time to digest the horrendous circumstances surrounding that decision.] Kansas has a law that prohibits people from suing the police for negligently failing to enforce the law or for failing to provide police and fire protection. California is even worse. In that state the law says that "neither a public entity or a public employee is liable for failing to provide for a police department or otherwise provide police protection services." [California Government Code s/s 845] As one California appellate court ruled "police officers have no affirmative statutory duty to do anything." [Sousa v. City of Antioch 62 California Reporter 2d 909, 916 Cal App 1997] The Stevens article cites numerous legal citations and several cases where the police are exonerated from responsibility. In one case in Massachusetts a woman had been continually reporting spousal abuse and requesting police protection. The advice she received from a responding officer was...."Get a gun!" Later after her husband **** near killed her and completely paralyzed her, she sued the Town of Grafton. The MA court in Ford v. Town of Grafton held that the city was not liable because when the officer told her to 'Get a gun!' they were telling her that they had no obligation to protect her. She should have gotten the gun! What happens when you dial 911 and the dispatcher assigns an incorrect response priority? What happens when you call 911 and there are no units available? What happens when you're not near a phone? What "happens" is that you become a "victim", another statistic that may or may not show up in the U.C.R. These situations are not the fault of the police nor of the dispatchers. Resources and day-to-day demands made upon the system are volatile to say the least. But looking at it from the viewpoint of Mr. & Mrs. Six Pack, the help they thought was 'on the way' might not be. Now what are they to do in the meantime? Die? No matter what happens, in all probability by the time the officers arrive it's nothing more than a historical event. Your government denied to you the ability to protect yourself simply because the government thinks that you're too stupid to do so. The governmental jurisdictions in this country tend to mislead the citizens into believing they have all the necessary resources to do the job when in fact, they don't. People cower behind their couch in fear, but feel confident that someone would arrive, like the cavalry in a John Wayne movie, but they seldom arrive in time if they arrive at all. They relied on 911, they relied on what their government told them....a serious and possibly a fatal mistake. The last eight years have seriously and adversely impacted our trust in government. In the 20th century more than 120,000,000 people lost their lives to their own governments. As Stevens comments: 'There is little reason to celebrate a police state.' The IACP is particularly naive when it attempts to deny police officers the assistance of their comrades in exigent circumstances. There is no time in my life that I would deliberately drive by an officer in trouble, armed or not, retired or not, off duty or not, out of jurisdiction or not. All the IACP would do would be to make it a lot more dangerous for me to do so. In reality "gun control" isn't. It's simply an attempt by naive people to end firearms violence. The facts remain that with or without the 2nd amendment human beings will not give up their ability to protect themselves from people who would do them harm. The Founding Fathers were not naive. Having experienced the frustration of tyrannical government they simply confirmed in writing that a free people must have the 'right' to protect themselves and their families. The 2nd amendment puts the people on the same level playing field as their oppressors. If you read the 2nd amendment you'll see that it does not mention firearms. It simply states 'arms', and that in itself is inclusive of all arms, knives, swords, guns, sticks and stones, you name it. The term 'well armed' means that the citizens are not relegated to sticks while the government is equipped with guns. It means that the citizens have the right to acquire the technology necessary for self protection. In actual fact the Constitution is predicated on the idea that the real threats come from government, not other citizens, and if government fails to act, the citizens have recourse to protect themselves. If the 2nd amendment were to be repealed the people would not lose any 'right' to bear arms. A 'right' is a 'right' and it cannot be taken away by government. "Privileges" can be revoked and granted, not "rights". No license is required to exercise a 'right". The 2nd amendment is simply an acknowledgment by government that the people have the right to protect themselves. Subsequent Court decisions have reinforced that thinking when they very explicitly acknowledge the fact that 'government' is not responsible for the protection of the individual citizen'. Does that mean the citizen must rely upon the mercy of the assailant? Of course not. What it really means is that it's up to Joe Sixpack to protect himself and not to rely on a bureaucracy to come to the rescue in time. And it's "time" that is the critical issue. If you can't operate your weapon in time, it's useless. If you don't have access to your means of protection it's useless and it's no protection at all! Forget about the bogus rationale of the target shooters, collectors, hunters. The Founding Fathers weren't thinking about those folks when they wrote the 2nd amendment. The need for protective weaponry is in direct proportion to the inability or unwillingness of government to protect its citizens, regardless of the source of the threat. The threat could come from government itself! In the last few years we can attest to the fact that this idea is not far fetched. If the American people were told the truth about the limitations of their police agencies the gun control advocates would be out of business. There would be a rush for weaponry. And let's not forget how when it came push to shove in LA, retail store owners armed with rifles, shotguns and pistols stood their ground to protect themselves against looters and arsonists when their police agencies were having all they could do to keep their collective asses functioning much less preventing crime. In LA the police considered it a success if they could just contain the rioting, much less end it. Is it not time to tell the American people that they have a choice? They can be unwilling victims or armed survivors. To me it's a "no brainer". Lou Orlando, Lt. (Ret) Willowick, Ohio P.D.