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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Don't worry about the dog, beware of the owner...

Who is ultimately responsible for the protection of the home, those who live in it, or the police? Who is responsible for personal safety and well being away from the home, the individual or the police? What role does the police force have in our lives? "To protect and serve" is the motto seen on so many patrol vehicles around the nation. But how often do they actually catch the bad guys in the middle of committing a crime? How often do they come onto the scene while someone is breaking into your home?

Very seldom.

The fact is, they aren't mind readers. They don't have psychic powers to know ahead of time when a crime is being committed and where. They aren't supermen and superwomen. They're humans. And the majority of the time they don't arrive until after the crime has been committed and try to collect as much information as they can so they can go out and catch the bad guys AFTER the crime is committed.

To whom does this give the advantage, the criminal, or the cops? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

So what do you do when you're home and someone breaks in? I know what I'm prepared to do. Do you?

I have long been and advocate of an armed citizenry being a responsible citizenry. NOT JUST armed, however; a citizenry that is armed should know how to use their firearms. And know when to use them.

'Shoot first' laws make it tougher for burglars in the United States

Burglars in the United States could once sue homeowners if they were shot, but now a growing number of states have made it legal to shoot to kill when somebody breaks into a house.

John Woodson, 46, found that out last week when he ambled into Dennis Baker's open garage in a Dallas suburb. A surveillance video showed the robber strolling inside, hands in his pockets.

From the shadows, Baker opened fire and killed Woodson.

"I just had to protect myself and that was it," Baker told reporters despite the fact Woodson had not tried to enter the bedroom near the garage where Baker had been sleeping.

The incident made national headlines since it was Baker's parrot that gave the alarm when it innocently squawked "good morning" at the intruder.

But Woodson's death seemed anecdotal compared to another Dallas resident who a few days earlier had killed his second robber in three weeks inside his home.

Police are investigating both cases, but it is unlikely charges will be filed. Texas recently passed a law branding anybody breaking into a home or car as a real threat of injury or death to its occupants.

In contrast with traditional self-defense laws, this measure does not require that a person who opens fire on a burglar be able to prove that he or she was physically threatened, that force was used only as a last resort and that the victim had first tried to hide.

Florida was the first state to adopt in 2005 a law that was dubbed "Stand your ground" or "Shoot first."

But now they have proliferated largely under pressure from the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA), the main weapons lobby in the United States.

Today 19 out of 50 US states, mostly in the south and the central regions of the country, have this kind of laws, and similar legislation is pending in about a dozen others.

"This law will bring common-sense self-defense protections to law-abiding citizens," said Rachel Parsons, a spokesperson for the NRA.

"If someone is breaking into your home, it's obvious that they are not there to have dinner with you," she continued. "You do have a right to protect your belongings, your family and yourself.

"The law needs to be put on the side of the victim, and not on the side of the criminal, who is attacking the victim."

Common sense in my mind.

There are, of course and as always, those who disagree. There always will be. To me, they do nothing more than create a situation in which the criminal has more rights under the law than those whom they prey on. Amazingly enough, if you look into it, some of the same groups who advocate self-defense classes for women also advocate gun control legislation.

But for the Freedom States Alliance that fights against the proliferation of firearms in the United States, these new laws attach more value to threatened belongings than to the life of the thief and only serve to increase the number of people killed by firearms each year, which currently is estimated to stand at nearly 30,000.

"It's that whole Wild West mentality that is leading the country down a very dangerous path," said Sally Slovenski, executive director of the alliance.

"In any other country, something like the castle doctrine or stand-your-ground laws look like just absolute lunacy," she continued.

"And yet in this country, somehow it's been justified, and people just sort of have come to live with this, and they just don't see the outrage in this."

It's up to you, America, to decide for yourselves, as individuals. But in deciding as individuals, LEAVE IT at the individual level whether you decide to be armed or not. Our founding fathers recognized the need for an armed citizenry and guaranteed that right be handed down through the generations in our nation. We as individuals have a right to defend ourselves, and a responsibility to do so.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man