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I Don't Need a Gun, the Police Will Protect Me!
"'...for the next fourteen hours the women were held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon each other, and made to submit to the sexual demands of their attackers,' but the District of Columbia's highest court exonerated the District and its police saying that it is a "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen."
In many respects, we have it good in the United States. Our standard of living is unequalled anywhere in the world, we retain a level of personal freedom that allows us to fully exploit the creativity and industry of those motivated to succeed in the global marketplace, and we have the highly developed communications infrastructure required to provide public services to almost anyone, almost anywhere.
One of the most widely known public services is best identified with the number you would dial on a telephone to access it, 911. Medical emergency? Crime in progress? House burning down? Dial 911 and someone will fix it.
Let's say that you wake up in the middle of the night and hear someone in the other room. Living alone, you know that it can't be anyone who is supposed to be there. There's no sense trying to be a hero, so you dial 911. You lie in the dark nervously awaiting the next turn of events. You try to reassure yourself that the police will be there soon to protect you. But will they?
Perhaps, but did you know that they are not required to protect you? Moreover, they cannot be held responsible if they fail to protect you. In California, for example, Government Code Sections 821, 845, and 846 state, in part, "Neither a public entity or a public employee [may be sued] for failure to provide adequate police protection or service, failure to prevent the commission of crimes and failure to apprehend criminals."
One of the more prominent cases of this type was Warren v. District of Columbia. Two women were upstairs in a townhouse when they heard their roommate, a third woman, being attacked downstairs by intruders. They phoned the police several times and were assured that officers were on the way. After about 30 minutes, when their roommate's screams had stopped, they assumed the police had finally arrived. When the two women went downstairs they saw that, in fact, the police never came, but the intruders were still there. As the Warren court graphically states in the opinion: "For the next fourteen hours the women were held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon each other, and made to submit to the sexual demands of their attackers." The three women sued the District of Columbia for failing to protect them, but D.C.'s highest court exonerated the District and its police, saying that it is a "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981).]
Certainly, most officers of the law will take whatever reasonable actions they can to protect a citizen from crime, but they are not required to do so, nor can they be held responsible if they fail to do so. You are the only one accountable for your own personal safety. Forfeiture of your right to keep and bear arms would mean that you are responsible for something that you have no legal ability to carry out, a legislative Catch-22.
For more information on this topic, see "Dial 911 and Die" -- available at your local bookstore.