Thursday, August 22, 2013

Who You Gonna Call?

Trenton activist Daryl Brooks and
Glenn Beck

Are you aware that police forces are only a recent invention?  

Are you are also aware the SCOTUS has determined that your police force is under no obligation to protect you?

Both are true facts.  According to Wikipedia only Philadelphia had police force during the colonial era.  The Philadelphia officers were positioned in watch boxes stationed throughout the city.  In the 1800’s other Eastern cities began to follow suit – Richmond (1807), Boston (1838) and New York (1845).  Wikipedia points out that, “After the civil war, policing became more para-military in character, with the increased use of uniforms and military ranks. Before this, sheriff's offices had been non-uniformed organizations without a para-military hierarchy.”

Prior to that, laws were enforced by elected Sheriffs who called upon local militias when extra muscle was required.  Militias in the U.S. were generally understood to be voluntary organizations of local citizens who banded together for the common defense.  Militia’s were so vitally important that they were enshrined as an essential American institution in the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  In the West, local Sheriffs also deputized the armed local citizens as the need arose.

Like most other things, government overtook and professionalized law enforcement.  Has it made America any safer?  I think not and for the following reasons:

1.       The arming of professional police has coincided with vigorous government efforts to disarm its citizens.  The rationale being that an armed citizenry was no longer necessary as law enforcement professionals were sufficient to protect us.

2.       However, experience over time has shown that Americans often need protection from the police.  So numerous are the cases police brutality, corruption and rogue unconstitutional behavior that the “protected” often become the persecuted.

3.       The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that that local police are under no obligation to protect individuals.
4.       Even if the police were entirely virtuous and were constitutionally obliged to protect us, prevailing economic conditions are such that many cities can no longer afford effective police protection.  In Detroit, it now takes police over an hour to respond to a call.  In that time, an efficient criminal could rob, rape, murder and bury his victim before the cops arrived.  Where’s the protection?


So why am I picking on the cops?  I'm really not.

Earlier this week, the Trenton political gadfly, Daryl Brooks was attacked for no good reason by local hoods.  When I spoke with him on the morning afterward, Daryl mused about how likely these thugs would have been to tangle with him if they feared that he might be armed.

He’s right.  Every New Jerseyan, every American deserves to able to protect themselves.  It is a fundamental human right.

Sure there are plenty of brave, honest and dedicated men in blue who will do whatever it takes to protect and serve their communities.  But it is simply impossible for them to look after our personal well being.  They are not body guards.

It is time that New Jersey lawmakers reconcile themselves to the Founders’ wisdom that an armed citizenry is the best defense alien invaders, common criminals and the incursions of a repressive government.


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