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#110334 - 07/20/04 11:31 AM Who is responsible for personal security?
Anonymous
Unregistered


It's often been said that we don't need this or we don't need that for the purpose of self defense because we have the police to protect us.

Does anybody here buy into that idea?

If not, why?

If not, then who do you hold responsible for your safety?

If you do buy into to, what would you expect the police to do if say, you have been getting threatening phone calls from, let's say, a disgruntled ex-employee.

And last, what do you envision law enforcements role in your own personal security?

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#110335 - 07/20/04 01:43 PM Re: Who is responsible for personal security?
the504mikey Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 06/19/03
Posts: 790
Loc: Louisiana, United States
This is an interesting, but difficult, question. I think there are two opposing forces at play for me.

First, there is what I perceive to be the limit of my ability. I like to think of myself as capable of handling a variety of situations without the need to involve any third parties (i.e. law enforcement).

Second, there is the criminal and civil liability risk associated with "taking matters into my own hands." The truth is that most courts and even some police departments have begun to take a rather dim view of anyone who defends him/her self in this "enlightened" day and age. I keep looking across the pond at England and crossing my fingers. I hope we can learn from their mistakes, but it doesn't seem like the average bear over here is concerned enough to take an honest look at the question. Everyone just seems to want violence to magically go away, and will happily sell all rights in exchange for the illusion of a "secure" existence provided by the State.

For the liability reason, I confine my responsibility to anything which requires me to deal with it immediately due to a direct threat of physical harm, either to me or someone I feel responsible for. Anything that can be "scheduled" or that I have enough control over the situation to avoid is best left to law enforcement. Your "threatening phone calls" is a good example. I grew up in a rural area, and we would think nothing of driving over to someone's house to "have a chat and straighten some things out." Now that I am older and live in an urban area, I understand that if I go confront someone then I am likely to be in serious legal trouble when the inevitable happens. You just can't have an honest fist fight any more. (And that's a shame, IMHO. I think many people act the way they do because they know they most likely won't be held accountable, and that the system will work for them if they ever are.)

On the other hand, the immediate threats (by definition) have to be dealt with alone. You can't just take a beating or worse until someone arrives to rescue you. You're going to have to deal with it. You don't really have a choice to make here, except whether to live or die. I also think your chances in court are much better in these cases.

To be sure, there are some grey areas. For example, what if you come home from dinner out to find a window broken or a door kicked in. Is someone in your house? Do you attempt to clear it yourself or do you call the professionals? I believe clearing a structure is one of the most dangerous situations a person can face. I also believe you have more legal latitude to defend yourself in your home than you do in any other place. Is it morally right to push the responsibility for securing your castle on to agents of the government? I think most people wouldn't hesitate to say "Yes". I know I've been in this situation a few times, and in most cases I went it alone and in one case my alarm company called the police. I waited for them to arrive on the scene and let them clear the house. I don't really have a rationale for the decision, I just "went with my gut." People who I respect very much for their experience with these things have since told me how foolish it was for me to enter the house without calling the police. I know they're right, but I still have some small vestige of my redneck upbringing that says, "It's my stuff, I should risk my life to protect it, not ask some other guy who has stuff of his own to look after." Sure, you can argue that this kind of thing is exactly what the police are for and that they should have thought of that before they signed up. But in my city, the police department is not exactly overrun with surplus officers or resources. I tend to think that almost all the time there is someone somewhere who needs their help more than I do. I'm the first to admit that this kind of thinking may cause me to pay the ultimate price one day, and I'm not about to tell anyone else what he or she should do.

Anyway, this is a great topic. I guess the shortest way I can express my opinion is as follows: For most of the "hard questions", I tend to lean toward answers that maximize individual freedom and maximize personal responsibility, but I realize our present society doesn't see many things the way I do, so I adjust my behavior as necessary to keep from being locked up.

[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

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#110336 - 07/21/04 11:12 AM Re: Who is responsible for personal security?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Well I was hoping for more response on this one. Thanks for your opinion Mikey. It is a difficult question and one that anybody who is serious about personal security should have a grasp of.

Way back in 1968 precidence was set when a woman attempted to sue the New York police department becasue, despite repeated request from her, they did not protect her from her old boyfriend. She was severly burned with acid and blinded in one eye and had partial loss of sight in the other eye. Her face was terribly disfugured as well.

It was judged that the police had no legal obligation to protect her. The police have only an obligation to do a reasonable job of protecting society, not any individual.

That makes sense however. It local law enforcement did have a legal obligation to protect each individual, they would be sued every time they faild to do so. No city goverment could tolerat that.

So where does that leave us? It leave US, each individual responsible for our own safety. The thing is that you have a tangle of restrictions on what you can and cannot do and it can vary greatly from state to state and even town to town. So you need to know what is considered acceptable and what is not.

In some states for instance you have a legal obligation to escape if it is at all possible, rather than to confront and intruder, even in your own home. That is, if a guy with an ax is breaking down your front door and screaming that he's going to kill you, you cannot stand there with your trusty 12 gauge and wait on him if you can leave through the back door and get away.

Other states believe that we should not force people to abandon thier homes and all thier belongings to any street hoodlums that happen by and will allow you to stand and defend yourself and your property without having to be ousted to the street for the safety of some street punks.

It depends mostly on what state you live in, and EVERYONE should know how that state handles such things. If you don't, what seems reasonable could easily land you with a jail sentance while the BG does a little whinning and goes free.

If you don't like the idea of having to abandon your home for the security of these no good law breakers, you need to get involved and get in touch with the lawmakers in your state. But first you need to know just where your state stands on the issues.

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#110337 - 07/21/04 01:56 PM Re: Who is responsible for personal security?
the504mikey Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 06/19/03
Posts: 790
Loc: Louisiana, United States
I think the law enforcement area of the site does not see much traffic. Then again, if you posted this in martial talk you might get a lot of traffic that you don't want!

Funny that you mention the so-called "duty to retreat" statutes. AFAIK, my state (Louiana) has no such provisions. I have seen some where you have a duty to retreat that does not extend to your home, so you can stand your ground in your house but have to retreat if possible elsewhere. As you pointed out, there are others that require you to always retreat if possible. This particular legal concept is a pet peeve of mine. It seems to be saying that I am responsible for protecting others from themselves. As I said above, I want to increase personal responsiblity, not decrease it. This law removes on more obstacle (fear of a thrashing) for the person who wants to run around town verbally assaulting people.

Further, I think "duty to retreat" laws are dangerous and wrong thinking. An example I like to use is, "What if a person attacks you in a restaurant?" If you make a stand then and there, you have possible reinforcements, witnesses, and a good chance someone will call the police. On the other hand, if you run outside and the same guy (possibly with a few buddies) catches you in the dark alley behind the building, your odds of getting out of it unharmed decrease.

In my opinion, complying with a duty to retreat law in many situations can expose a person to more risk than the same individual would face if he did not retreat. I think that is the key to getting case law built up which "defangs" these silly laws. I think mutual combat can be shown readily enough in cases where you need to prove assault against someone who should know better. The duty to retreat stuff simply casts to wide a net, and we should work to get these things repealed.

As far as responsibility for self protection goes, I think you are exactly right that the individual is most responsible. The problem is we keep enacting legislation that makes it harder for the individual to do his job.

[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

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#110338 - 07/21/04 02:14 PM Re: Who is responsible for personal security?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Well you are correct there. For some reason law makers don't seem to realize that laws only affect law abiding citizens and not criminals. I mean if laws affected criminals there would be no crime. Punishment is what affects criminals.

I believe that the "duty to retreat" laws are VERY damaging. It sends out the message that there won't be any retaliation for you if you want to start busting into people homes, even if they are there.

The good thing is that a lot of states have the "last man standing" statues that allow you to defend your home a property. I'm originally from Texas and they were very supportive of the law abiding being able to defend themselves and thier property. Colorad has the "Make my day!" law too. This is very unlike some states like Maryland.

I find it difficult to believe that so many people (mostly in the norhteast, where John Kerry is from) put up with those silly laws that are designed to protect the criminal. But they do. I'm guessing that many folks don't understand how limited they are in thier legally defined options when someone attemtps to victimize them.

It's often too late before they figure it out.

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#110339 - 07/23/04 12:27 PM Re: Who is responsible for personal security?
Anonymous
Unregistered


All states have their own guidelines on how they interpret Use of Force and Self Defense. Even if they have no provision for a duty to retreat, the standard set forth in the constitution is that of objective reasonableness under the given circumstances.

If is not objectively reasonable to retreat, then there is no obligation to. One may use that force necessary and reasonable to protect oneself or others.

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#110340 - 07/23/04 01:18 PM Re: Who is responsible for personal security?
Anonymous
Unregistered


With all due respect Fletch I'm not sure that's right. I read a court case some years ago that where a man was prosicuted because he didn't flee his home when a doped up type was busting into his home. He knew the addict and the guy was kicking in his front door and had a tire tool and was threatneing to kill the homeowner. The home owner could have escaped out the back door but instead stood his ground and when the guy go inside and headed toward him, swinging the tire tool, he shot and killed him.

The state insisted that the home owner had no right to do that becaus he could have easily left out the back door and run off.

I find such a stance frustrating at the least but in that state, Maryland I think, if you a choice other than confrontation, you MUST take it.

All that is required for bad men to succes is for good men to do nothing.

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#110341 - 07/23/04 06:24 PM Re: Who is responsible for personal security?
nekogami13 V2.0 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 2643
Loc: Texas, USA
The police can not be everywhere at all times.
Ignoring your surroundings, taking unnecessary risks, etc expecting someone else to be responsible for your personal safety is ridiculous. I also understand that no matter how cautious you are bad things may still happen. Police are a safety net-after a criminal victimizes someone they may catch them and keep them from victimizing others (temporarily).

In my particular neck of the woods, at any given time, there are only 4 sherrif deputies on duty. Average response time to an emergency call is somewhere around 10 minutes.

A lot can happen in 10 minutes.

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#110342 - 07/24/04 12:43 AM Re: Who is responsible for personal security?
Anonymous
Unregistered


With all due respect Fletch I'm not sure that's right. I read a court case some years ago that where a man was prosicuted because he didn't flee his home when a doped up type was busting into his home. He knew the addict and the guy was kicking in his front door and had a tire tool and was threatneing to kill the homeowner. The home owner could have escaped out the back door but instead stood his ground and when the guy go inside and headed toward him, swinging the tire tool, he shot and killed him.

I hate to keep using the R word, but I guess the court/ jury of his peers determined that under the given circumstances, the guy's actions were not reasonable. Based on what and how you told me, I can't understand how. It could have been botched by the defense attorney for all we know. Remember that juries are made up of our peers, and not necessarily the smart ones.

The state insisted that the home owner had no right to do that becaus he could have easily left out the back door and run off.

I can see where one state may have a stronger sense of defending your home as opposed to protecting your possessions than another. For this guy, it seems that the key point (that I don't agree with BTW) that he had the opportunity to leave and chose to stay and fight. I would have thought that the attackers intent, capability and impending opportunity would have better justified his actions.

In the end, you roll the dice and take your chances.

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#110343 - 07/25/04 08:59 AM Re: Who is responsible for personal security?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Yep, I'm afraid that you are right. I strongly believe that most people don't know the exact laws as in their states as it pertains to using letheal force in thier own defense. While the tangle of laws can be very difficult to figure out, anyone who takes thier own personal security seriously needs to do so.

There are just some places that I woulnd't live. High crime, and no real chance to legally defend yourself. Sounds like London these days.

But where I live crime is so low, that most people leave thier keys in thier ignition all the time! And just about every pickup has an occupied gun rack in it. Some day the rest of the country will figure out the corrilation.

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