February 17, 2005

The Security Of Denial; The "Empowerment" Of Ignorance

This will be a long one even by my standards.

In Denver over the last week several people have been sexually asaulted in a neighborhood. Not a "bad" neighborhood either. But before we get to that let's look at something else:

"The safety of our neighborhoods and homes, of our schools and workplaces is a top priority throughout the city."

That came from Hickenlooper's state of the city address. This would be the same Hickenlooper who made it a priority to continue ex mayor Webb's work of infringing upon the Rights of Denver area gun owners. (Also look here & here.)

"In the coming year, we as a city are going to take up the issue of building a new Justice Center. After touring our overcrowded courts and detention facilities, the Urban Land Institute issued a report calling the conditions 'appalling,' a 'danger' to courthouse visitors and jurors, and a 'threat' to the constitutional rights of the accused. While we recognize the importance of diversionary programs, we must also move forward in creating a Justice Center that lives up to its name."

Well I'd submit that perhaps if the republic of Denver wasn't so hung up on arresting people for exercising their Rights then the courts & the detention facilities might not be so crowded. However I will grant that perhaps a new jail is in order. What I won't grant is any pardon for Hickenlooper daring to use the phrase "constitutional rights" when he thinks it's fine & proper to arrest someone for openly carrying a firearm.

"...no administration in this City's history has done more to ensure that our police receive training in less lethal tactics and are equipped with an array of less lethal weapons than we have over the past year. But, we must and we will do more including establishing strong and substantial civilian oversight."

Well I can think of much more the mayor could do - starting with punishing officers who violate the Rights of people. Rights like carrying a firearm.

"Today, and in the months and years ahead, we as a City face an extraordinary test of our resolve to ensure that our people and our police officers return each night to the embrace of the loved ones who kiss them goodbye each morning. To do this, we need to do more than hire, equip, and train - we need to remember how in the end we want to think of ourselves as human beings."

He doesn't want people to think of themselves as human beings. He wants people to think of themselves as sheep with him being the good & kind shepard. If he was really concerned about the people's safety he would not deny them the most effective means of securing that safety.

"Since the shooting of Paul Childs, and in the wake of the shooting of Frank Lobato, I have often thought back to the famous words Bobby Kennedy spoke on April 4, 1968 - the night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. What's so striking to me about these words - which Kennedy spoke from the back of a flatbed truck in the freezing cold under the Indianapolis night sky is that in the face of the assassination of his brother six years earlier, the murder of Dr. King, and the crushing knowledge that he was living his own life on borrowed time even then Bobby Kennedy was unwilling to yield to the temptation of hatred, and instead embraced the unyielding power of love.

'What we need in the United States is not division;' Bobby Kennedy said, 'what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country . . . . Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago; to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.'

As cities across the country burned, there were no riots in Indianapolis that night. I say to you today that invective and personal attacks, hatred and suspicion, prejudice and ignorance will not construct the change we all seek. We will make this change, and we will do it working with people of good will and generosity of spirit, whether they wear a uniform or not. We are up to this challenge, because the people of Denver are up to this challenge. I ask again for your help, and I offer you my absolute commitment to do everything I can to make things right."

Pardon me, but I thought the lack of riots in Indianapolis was due to several factors - not the least of which being a "you loot, we shoot" policy endorsed by the local police departments.

If Hickenlooper sincerely wanted to ensure the safety of the people of Denver he'd do what was in his power to rescind the local laws forbidding mere possession of certain arms or possession of arms about ones person.

But now let's take a look at what Denver hath wrought:

Here (scroll down - third story on the page)
"A man who opened his apartment door early Friday to yell at some people who were being noisy was stabbed and seriously wounded for the complaint, Westminster police said. The incident began about 3 a.m. Friday. Police said a man was beaten in the parking lot of the [apartment complex]. After the assault, which awoke several residents of the complex, one resident opened his door and yelled at the people in the parking lot about the noise. Police said two men then came to that man's door and knocked. When the resident opened his door, he was stabbed."

This speaks of something slightly different than my gripes with the mayor of Denver. Nevertheless there is a link. Hickenlooper believes that the police will protect the people. Obviously this victim didn't think that he may be responsible for his own defense. Think about what he did. He yelled at people for making too much noise while beating up someone else, and then he opened his door to answer a knock just moments later. He did so unarmed & unprepared. He got hurt as a result. It's still the fault of the people who attacked him, but if you do not have a defense you shouldn't be surprised that you end up losing a confrontation.

But that's not all that's been happening in Denver:

Denver cops stage hunt for burglar

"Officers searched the well-manicured neighborhood using a dog. The police helicopter hovered overhead with its searchlight illuminating the homes and Cheesman Park. Officers using flashlights searched outside of the mansion for clues. Police also went door to door asking residents if they had seen anything unusual. At the request of one concerned resident, an officer and his dog searched her home."

Now let's examine that last sentence. "At the request of one concerned resident, an officer and his dog searched her home."

When I was a little kid someone in the house heard a noise from the back side of the house. Our neighborhood was not that great; cocaine had been selling pretty steady for a few years & crack was making an appearance. So we called the cops. When the cops got there my grandfather escorted the cops around back & showed them where we thought the noise had came from. He did this carrying an L.C. Smith double barrel. The cops didn't seem worried. In fact they seemed grateful that they had my grandfather as back up. Back then a double barrel was a helluva compliment to two revolvers. "Tactical" didn't mean a damn thing. Two holes with birdshot on one end did.

See the cops understood their role & so did my grandfather. It was not the cops’ job to search the back yard for my grandfather. It was their job to help him search his own back yard. The idea of asking cops in to search your house for an intruder would have been laughable back then unless you were old & infirm. My grandfather was in his 70's that night he had the cops help him search the back yard. Old? Yes. Helpless? Hell no.

It gets worse though:

"The sexual assaults of two girls and their grandmother Monday may be connected to two other sexual assaults in nearby neighborhoods Friday, according to police and neighbors."

"In each of the three assaults, the assailant used a knife and entered an unlocked door, according to police records. No arrests have been made."

A knife. Not a pistol or rifle but a knife. Now what's that first rule about bringing a knife to a gunfight?

"More than 100 Denver police officers from all six divisions of the force are involved in the investigation, Whitman said. The detectives 'don't want to go home until it's solved,' Whitman said. The FBI was updated Tuesday morning on the case and has joined the investigation. Area schools are beefing up security and scheduling meetings with parents, community leaders and police to discuss safety."

"Bromwell Elementary School, a few blocks from the site of Monday's attack, is increasing patrols, particularly during recess, principal Dennis Thompson said. The school sent a letter home with students that instructs children how to respond to strangers. 'We want to reassure parents that safety is foremost,' Thompson said."

Now wait a minute. What the hell are increased patrols in a school going to do? If they're talking about cops doing the patrols then at least if the cops stumble onto something they'll have a chance. But if the patrols will consist of teachers & aides then what would they do if they cornered the guy - paddle him? Thanks in part to our RINO governor Owens & the NRA guns are verboten. All schools in Colorado are criminal safe zones.

"The crimes, said Denver City Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, are a strong reminder for residents not to be complacent about their safety. 'People should keep their doors locked,' Robb said. 'Don't open your door to a stranger. We have a great neighborhood around here, and we get comfortable. Everyone should be on a heightened sense of caution."

Councilwoman Robb probably neglected to mention taking direct responsibility for their defense. I doubt "arming yourselves" was a phrase she used, & more's the pity for it.

"Three assaulted in Denver home invasion"

"Monday night, a man who lives near the most recent attack admitted to being worried. 'By the time I got home, they were putting the (crime) tape up,' he said, declining to give his name. 'What is disconcerting is not having the facts so you can make a judgment,' he said."

This man has the facts he needs to make a judgment. People have been hurt by a miscreant in his area. Nothing more should have to be discussed before a conclusion is reached. What the man wants however is to hear that the attack was a case of the victim knowing the attacker. He wanted to hear that so he could believe he wouldn't be targeted. He wanted it to all go away.

I don't blame him. I understand & sympathize with the desire for a crime in your neighborhood to be totally unrelated to you. But wishing does not make it so.

The facts are very simple: a person with ill intent attacked a neighbor. Why does not matter. How matters only to a degree. No other details are needed to make a decision. It's the decision that's tricky for some.

Three options in any situation. No more; no less. Accept the situation as is; change the situation; leave the situation. In life those are the only options we will ever have.

The man doesn't want to accept the situation. Who would? He obviously is reluctant to leave the situation. How can he? So what he is left with is changing the situation. Trouble is he doesn't seem to know how so he is delaying facing that decision. He hopes he can keep on delaying until the decision is no longer necessary. & there's a good chance he might succeed in that. There's also a chance he won't though.

But the locals are frightened as we'll soon see in more depth.

"After two sexual assaults in east Denver within hours of each other, a few residents are taking action to prevent more crimes."

Sounds promising no?

"A group of neighbors ... where one of the sexual assaults happened Friday, hopes to have a neighborhood directory out to the immediate area by today, said Bev Rocchio...Sjogren said a directory will give residents a name and number to call in an emergency. Congress Park Neighbors, a neighborhood association, has not had a directory since 1999, she said."

A directory? A listing of phone numbers? That's it? That's their plan to "fight back"? Obviously they've never read Dial 911 And Die by Richard W. Stevens. They need to though; & soon.

"The victim told police that a man with a knife came into her home around 1:45 p.m. through an open door and sexually assaulted her. He then fled on foot, she said."

A knife. Not a gun. Not a flame thrower. A simple knife. There are many ways to defend against knives. I wish the victim had been prepared & able to do so.

"Denver police spokesman John White said neither woman was seriously injured in the assaults. Investigators don't believe the cases were the work of a single suspect, and no arrests have been made."

I disagree; a sexual assault can be just as serious an injury as a beating. But they seem to have been mistaken about the number of suspects.

"Citywide manhunt Police identify convicted sexual predator as suspect in five assaults"

In the old days we'd have said a serial rapist.

"Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman identified the suspect as Brent J. Brents, a sexual predator who has been molesting children since he was a teen himself. 'He's an extremely dangerous person,' Whitman said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. 'He needs to know we have all our resources looking for him.' As of late Wednesday, police had still not found Brents."

No; he needs to know that every parent, husband, wife & child are armed to the best of their ability & are waiting for him.

"Police are offering a $2,000 reward for help that leads to Brents' arrest."

Now look; I'm all for innocence until guilt is proven. But this guy is a convicted pedophile. Multiple convictions of sexual assault. The reward should be for his body, not information about him. & that should have been regardless of any assaults he may or may not have made recently.

"In July 2004, he was released after serving 13 years of a 20-year sentence. 'It doesn't look like he behaved badly while he was here,' said Katherine Sanguinetti, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections. Brents was released without supervision, Sanguinetti said, and was required to register as a sexual offender."

Of course he was behaved. He had learned the rules of the game. He knew how to appear docile & reformed in order to gain his freedom.

"The sexual assaults have had Cheesman Park residents arming themselves with golf clubs and turning on their alarm systems in the middle of the day."

Golf clubs? Friggin' golf clubs? Who do they think they're facing - Arnold Palmer? A golf club is better than nothing & in a pinch I'd use one. Hell in a pinch I'd use pocket lent if I couldn't find another weapon (& anything around me will be a weapon if my safety is at stake). But these people have time to prepare. & the best they can do is a 9 iron? (Least I hope it's a 9 iron; I'd hate to think they're making do with a 3). Maybe I should consult an expert. I wonder what Walter in Denver would recommend as the optimum golf club for self defense?

"Mayor John Hickenlooper said police have tirelessly investigated the case. 'No one is more upset about this type of crime than the police officers,' the mayor said."

Bullshit. The parents of the two little girls are much more upset, as is each & every victim. I'm sure the cops are disappointed but no comparison can be made between what the cops may be feeling & what the victims & the victims loved ones are feeling.

Here's more on the suspect & href="http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~53~2716144,00.html">here's yet more.

What we seem to be dealing with here (& I do not claim to believe for certain that this is the guy - it'll take a trial to determine if he was in fact the attacker in the latest cases) is a career scumbag. This is the type of person that Heinlein talked about. If you've never read Heinlein’s Starship Troopers I highly recommend it. For now look to this essay from The Smallest Minority to get the gist of a very plausible theory concerning scum like Brents.

Here's a passage from Starship Troopers:

"...Back to these young criminals -- They probably were not spanked as babies; they certainly were not flogged for their crimes. The usual sentence was: for a first offence, a warning -- a scolding, often without trial. After several offenses a sentence of confinement but with sentence suspended and the youngster placed on probation. A boy might be arrested may times and convicted several times before he was punished -- and then it would be merely confinement, with others like him from whom he learned still more criminal habits. If he kept out of major trouble while confined, he could usually evade most of even that mild punishment, be given probation -- 'paroled' in the jargon of the times.

This incredible sequence could go on for years while his crimes increased in frequency and viciousness, with no punishment whatever save rare dull-but-comfortable confinements. Then suddenly, usually by law on his eighteenth birthday, this so-called 'juvenile delinquent' becomes an adult criminal -- and sometimes wound up in only weeks or months in a death cell awaiting execution for murder."

Heinlein was pretty close to pointing out a flaw with our society - the lack of accountability at an early age. Mild punishments for young offenders don't usually impart the lessons that need imparting. Instead of feeling remorse they simply learn how the system works & more importantly how to work it. Brents behaved well & got out early. Once out he behaved atrociously. If he goes in again I'm sure it'll be a repeat of his previous performance - a model prisoner.

What the trouble is with the justice system is attempts are made at rehabilitation of violent repeat criminals. Now if a person's life can be changed I'm all for it. But a change should not cause a lessoning of a sentence for a violent crime against another person. If he was reformed he should have still been in jail. Why? Because prison should not be for reformation. It should be for separation of those who have shown themselves to be untrustworthy in society. If reform occurs that's wonderful. But that does not alter their crime & it should not alter the sentence for it. Not because prison should be a punishment first & foremost, but it should be a barrier between those who have shown ill intent & the rest of society. In other words if something merits a thirty year time out then a thirty year time out it should be. The person can be reformed in prison just as he can be reformed in society. But in prison if he backslides it has less an effect on society as it would if he backslid after he got out early.

In a similar vein:

"Troubled teenager Michael Fitzgerald had planned to kill his parents by drugging their drinks before the violent encounter that left his father dead, a Westminster police detective testified Tuesday."

"She told Wright that Michael Fitzgerald was 'panicked' and had been 'depressed about his dad hitting him.' In March, Steven Fitzgerald had received a summons for misdemeanor child abuse. A hearing had been set for December."

The kid killed his father & didn't seem to care. There may have been abuse going on which could have partially explained things, but this kid is a murderer. Not a "troubled teen" - a murderer.

Contrast that with the treatment given this kid:

"Teen claims self-defense in stabbing in school cafeteria"

"He said Contrell stood up, grabbed him and slammed him on the ground, then slammed him on the table and slammed him a third time,' [Detective Jaime] Castro said. Richardson 'remembered he had a knife in his pocket,' Castro said. He told police he stabbed Townsend two times 'until Contrell stopped. Then Contrell got up, called him a b---- and walked away,' Castro said. Townsend collapsed as he reached the door to the lunchroom. Richardson ran to a nearby Albertson's, where he called his father and surrendered to police. Richardson said he had begun carrying a knife about nine months earlier after seeing two kids badly beaten, one who was put in a coma, Castro said."

"Attorney Walter Gerash decried the number of juveniles convicted as adults who are serving life prison terms. 'Pretty soon we'll have to have electric chairs shortened to accommodate 14-year-olds,['] he said. 'What's this country coming to?' Richardson will be back in court March 21 for arraignment. Richardson faces up to 48 years in prison if convicted on charges of second-degree murder and possession of a weapon on school grounds."

Look here for another article about Richardson

It sounds like self defense to me. Over the past few days I've heard many people decrying Richardson's actions on the basis that "violence never solves anything". I beg to differ. First of all it solved the problem of Richardson getting his ass beat & possibly seriously injured or killed himself. It solved the problem of the Nazi's killing the Jews; of Japan waging war against the U.S. & China; of North Korea invading South Korea & a whole host of other problems.

Violence is never the answer? People that believe that don't understand the question. It's not always the answer & it's never the preferable answer but at times it's the only expedient answer.

I don't know all the facts; just what I've read in the paper. But it seems like Richardson was defending his life from harm. For that he will be condemned by those who don't understand the question.

Speaking of which this is how the neighborhood is reacting to the serial rapist/pedophile:

"In the neighborhood, a mix of fear, defiance"

"A vicious attack in an exclusive enclave in central Denver on Monday night sent its comfortable residents scrambling: some into hiding and some into action, with at least one arming herself with a golf club."

What is it about golf clubs? Have they invented an "Assault Iron"? a "Tactical Wedge"? An "Auto & Burglar Putter"?

"Inside the quasi-village - three blocks tucked against the south edge of the Denver Botanic Gardens - some residents bolted their windows and doors, checked their burglar alarms and recharged their cellphones. Yet others defied the urge to retreat and went about their daily routines, walking dogs and jogging alone early Tuesday in adjacent Cheesman Park."

Did any buy more ammo? Perhaps purchase a firearm? Get in some range time with the family?

"Woonoh Kim, 28, owns a hair salon near the second attack at Sixth and Clarkson. As soon as she heard about the assault, Kim said, she began carrying a 9-iron golf club to work for the walk to her car at night. Kim works in the salon from 2 p.m. to midnight most nights. 'I know how to prepare,' Kim said. 'I always lock the door when I am in here."

If the young lady knew how to prepare she'd be packing a 9 mm not a 9 iron.

"I just don't think about it,' said Megan Andrews, 26, a resident near Sixth and Clarkson who was walking her border collie/Labrador mix, Bobbie, late Tuesday. 'I try to be aware of my surroundings,' Andrews said. 'But I have to walk my dog because I live in an apartment."

That's called denial; hoping that by not accepting the possibility that it could happen that it won't happen.

"Leigh Sinclair, a neighbor of the family that was attacked Monday on Vine Street and a crisis-intervention counselor for the Denver Police Department, said she was too scared to walk in the morning. 'I didn't even want to drive while it was dark this morning to go swimming,' she said. 'We've always felt very safe in this little three-block village. This shatters your idea of safety and of your neighborhood."

That’s it. It shattered the idea of safety. The illusion of safety. No one is safe we just all have varying degrees of perception on our lack of safety. A lot of people have had their illusions shattered. This is not a bad thing.

Fear is something we've all experienced. & it's there for a reason. It's a defense mechanism. Many of us try actively to remove all fear from our lives. I say this is fruitless & possibly dangerous. There are always things to fear & if we're not careful we can dull our fear to the point that it fails when we need it most.

No, we should all accept & face our fears. Even act on them occasionally. But we should not be dominated by our fears. We should not let fear control us. Warn us yes. Control us no.

But fear is there & it'll be a shock to most people who've been denying it all this time.

"A few blocks down on Gilpin Street, Mary Ewing bolted into action, calling every house on the block to update a phone list. 'We have everyone's numbers in a plastic sheet near the phone,' Ewing said. 'If anything happens, we quickly can call everyone to let them know.' She said she cleaned out her garage to prevent intruders from hiding there, cleaned the clutter out from under her windows and took in the garden tools. 'But I won't get a gun.' she said. 'I'm terrified of them. Instead, I take my cellphone to bed with me every night."

Again, read Dial 911 And Die by Richard W. Stevens.

But Mary has made a choice. She'd rather submit to her fear about guns (called hoplophobia amongst us gun nuts) than face the fear of a serial rapist/pedophile operating in her area.

A phone won't do a damn thing but let the cops know where the next body will be. A list of phone numbers? Does anyone think that this slime bag will wait patiently till someone gets through dialing their emergency tree?

Afraid of guns? Bullshit. That's a justification for a fear of responsibility. Mary doesn't want to be the one responsible for her own life. She'd rather rely on someone else, be it a neighbor or a cop. A firearm would take away that delegation of responsibility in such a way that she couldn't deny it. She's not afraid of guns, she's afraid of self reliance.

"Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, in whose district the attacks occurred, has scheduled two public meetings for residents: at 6:30 tonight at Teller Elementary School at East 12th Avenue and Garfield Street, and at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Bromwell Elementary School at East Fourth Avenue and Columbine Street. At tonight's meeting, Police Chief Gerry Whitman will speak about the investigations and precautions for residents to take."

Will Councilwoman Robb move to lift the unconstitutional & immoral ban on bearing arms that Denver has in place? Will Chief Whitman talk about being prepared to defend their lives? Will anyone mention anything about the theory or techniques concerning defensive shooting? Will anyone offer free lessons to any resident who wish to learn how to shoot & defend themselves? The meeting won't be that useful without any or all of the above. Instead it'll just be a feel good party to make the sheep feel like the wolf has run away.

"Victim urges neighborhood to fight back, rally Saturday"

Finally, some sanity.

"The victim of Friday's sexual assault at a Denver pet store is urging the neighborhood to come forward to fight the attacker and participate in an anti-violence rally on Saturday."

Or not.

"The store will be here and ... we will continue living and ... I need to continue living,' the victim said. 'I realized this was an issue so much bigger than myself. They need to know this violence is not going to be tolerated and that this neighborhood is going to be safe again.' The woman and her friends plan to have a rally at the pet store on Saturday to show support for her and other victims."

Violence was tolerated. Violence will be tolerated. Unless someone is willing to use violence to stop it then violence will continue in that neighborhood. Wishing does not make it so.

Again I point to a piece from The Smallest Minority. It's his dangerous victims trilogy. Here's the first installment. It leads to the other two. Also of note is his essay called Those Without Swords Can Still Die Upon Them Or: Why I Am a "Gun Nut".

"The owner ... is determined to reclaim her business and her life,' Lisa Ransdell, a friend of the victim's and organizer of the rally, said in a written statement. 'You can affirm the right of women to live and work free from fear by attending a rally at the store this Saturday."

Attending a rally with non-violence on the flyer will do nothing to affirm any Rights. Rights are only affirmed through violence or the threat thereof.

I see this kind of thing frequently; usually to raise money or awareness for the plight of battered women. Again, violence is the answer. Predatory violence can only be stopped by protective violence. Rallies, murals, candles lit at midnight won't do a damn thing except provide a gathering place for people to project their own delusions & hopes onto others.

Let me try this again: if you want to stop this guy then kill him. There simply is nothing that will be as effective as taking his life to prevent him from taking yours. Buying a gun & learning how to use it may not bring you to that "special place" or a "healing zone". What it will do is give you a chance at not becoming the next victim. It will also give you a chance to keep this asshole from creating more victims. I know it will shatter the illusion that people can be reasoned with, but that's an illusion that needs to be shattered.

Some people just need killin'. That's a throw away line form some movie or other & it gets used jokingly a bit in some circles. But the fact is some people do just need killin'. If a person is breaking into your house then that'd be a prime example.

It's scary to think that that might be true. & I can understand people wanting to look for another option. But we as humans simply don't have the luxury of another option. When someone is trying to harm you he will either stop because he doesn't really want to hurt you badly or he'll stop when he's satisfied at the level of pain you're in. The only thing that will later this is if some outside force acts upon him to dissuade him from attacking you. 99% of the time that means you can either take the beating/raping/killing quietly or you can kill him first. Choose the latter. If you live to regret it you'll be one up on the asshole that tried to kill you.

"People who want to attend the rally should bring signs and placards condemning violence against women, respect the victim's privacy by not using her name and bring noisemakers to get the attention of others who pass by, Ransdell said."

Hmmm, so violence against men is okay? Why not have a placard that says predatory violence against anyone is not cool & should be met by disproportionate protective violence?

As for not using the victims name - it's been used. I'm not sure what harm it would do at the moment but I'll try to respect her wishes.

"I have always been a fighter, and this is just one other fight that I have to fight and will,' she [the victim] said."

How the hell is she fighting? I know it has to be rough on her & I dearly wish she hadn't endured what she did. But holding a rally where the one solution to the problem is dismissed out of hand is not fighting. Going back to the place where she was assaulted is not fighting. Talking about what happened is not fighting. It may be necessary for her recovery & it may be a good thing for a number of reasons (well the latter two examples that is) but it is not fighting. Fighting would be for her to learn how to defend herself & become prepared to do so.

What she is doing (by the rally) is wishing. Wishing does not make it so. She may feel a sense of "empowerment" & anything that helps her emotionally may be seen as a good thing, but nothing will "empower" her more than knowing she is capable of preventing someone abusing her by force. Nothing.

I have a cousin who's in her early 20's. She's very pretty & young & cool & all the things a 20 something year old girl should be. A while back she was at home with a friend of hers. Her boyfriend (whom she'd been seeing for several months) came by. He was drunk & she didn't want to let him in. He broke through the glass door & beat her & her friend (another 20 something year old girl) up. Dragged her out into the yard & tried to run over her with a pick up truck. She went to the hospital but didn't stay too long before she was released. My aunt made a big deal out of getting the restraining order. Her brother is a lawyer who helped make the process as smooth as possible for them. My uncle reacted like I would have: several people restrained him for a few hours to keep him from going to the punk who beat up his little girl, then would check on him a few times a day to make sure he wasn't sneaking over there. My uncle isn't a gun nut but he's big, strong & has a bit of a redneck streak. Beating up his only daughter will bring that out of him. (Hell, I almost made the drive back there for a similar purpose my damn self.)

In any event the restraining order was granted & they all feel much better. I tried to reason with them - that the restraining order wasn't worth a damn & that if they wanted my cousin to be protected they could either A: take turns being her round the clock bodyguards or B: teach her how to defend herself. There simply aren't any other options. You can either defend yourself or hope someone else does it for you. Ignoring the threat will not make it disappear. Wishing does not make it so.

Officials reassure nervous residents

"For the past year, Fotheringham had never bothered to use her home security alarm. It's on now, she says. And when she goes to sleep, she's in a locked bedroom with her two border collies."

I believe Col. Jeff Cooper said that evil is not overcome by running from it. I'll submit that evil is not overcome by hiding from it either. It's definitely not overcome by ignoring it.

My ex wanted to see Panic Room when it came out. She thought it'd be a good thriller to watch. She was kind of taken aback (even though by then she had an idea of how odd I was in her world) when I refused to go see it. Spend money watching someone hide in an allegedly secure room w/o the means of sustaining life in the face of an attack? Eight dollars to watch that when in real life it would last ten minutes either way? After ten minutes either the panic room would be the murder scene or it'd be the lounge where the cops got the account of the justifiable shooting from the heroine.

But that's what people do: they try to hide from unpleasant reality. Some just do it mentally while others do it physically as well. There’s nothing worn with having a "safe room' to make a last stand in, but a last stand is not made with a phone & two dogs. That's a last mistake, not a last stand.

"Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said this is the quickest he has seen a suspect identified when the victims didn't know the attacker. 'While he couldn't discuss details of the case, Morrissey made a promise: 'We're on the verge of a quick apprehension.' The audience responded with a loud applause."

Of course they applauded quickly; they wanted to stop him at the part they liked before he went & said something to shatter their illusions.

Denial. They abrogate the responsibility of self defense to others then wish fervently that the others can be effective. In the process if they have to ignore certain realities (like the cops cannot guarantee anyone's safety) so be it.

I may seem to be a little harsh on the residents of this Denver neighborhood. I in no way mean to imply that the blame for the attacks is on anyone but the attacker. These people, especially the children in no way deserve what has happened to them.

But that is not to say that everyone has acted & is acting ideally. When you leave your door unlocked it is still the burglar's fault for breaking in, but you could have done more to make it difficult for him to do so. Likewise when you deny yourself & your family the option of violence in self defense then you shouldn't be shocked that someone uses violence against you or them. Infuriated & angry & disgusted with the perpetrator? Absolutely. But you should also realize that there are things you can do to prevent yourself & your loved ones form becoming victims.

All the talk of non-violence sounds nice to people. & I admit I'd like nothing more than a non-violent world. But that's not the world we live in. It won't be anytime soon. We cannot make the world non-violent through rallies & candle light gatherings. We can make sure the ratio of protective violence to predatory violence is appropriately balanced (with the protective violence enjoying a healthy margin).

The city of Denver discourages protective violence through their laws concerning carrying weapons or owning certain types of weapons. They also fail to mention the duty of a person to protect his self & his family. The local "leaders" decry the use of any violence, even protective violence as being evil. The residents in turn adopt this philosophy that all violence is bad & that if they hold enough rallies; talk about it enough; show they won't tolerate it by holding up signs to that effect then it will go away & the bad people will leave them alone.

Wishing does not make it so.

If they want to stop the violence then they have to become violent. If they want to stop the predators then they have to stop acting like prey. If they want to live in safety then they have to learn how to provide it for themselves - each & every person, not abrogating their duty to someone else.

Here's a page with info & a pic of the suspect. He won't be swayed by vigils, or rallies, or "empowering words" or murals or anything that these poor misguided people think will help. He has a knife (at least) so it'll take a weapon of equal or great merit to stop him (a firearm is ideal for taking on a serial rapist in a knife fight). It will take violence to keep him from inflicting violence on you.

Of course it wouldn't surprise me in the least that the reward wouldn't be given if someone killed him in self defense. Batsards would claim that'd send the wrong message. They’d be wrong. It'd send the right message - that should you treat them as prey people will defend themselves & society will approve.

If you're in Denver or anyplace else for that matter remember that it's not the cop's job to protect you; that's your job. If you think you can pass it off to someone else you're fooling yourself & neglecting your civic duty. In any event be careful; it's a dangerous world whether you admit it or not.

Posted by Publicola at February 17, 2005 09:29 AM

You'd best be careful. Keep writing long posts like this, and they'll start mistaking you for me!

Good piece, BTW.

Posted by: Kevin Baker at February 17, 2005 11:30 AM

Your point about Panic Room is one I've considered for quite some time. It's amazing how many thrilling, suspenseful Hollywood Movie premises turn into short films once a righteous person picks up a handgun.

It's particularly poignant Drew Barrymore's scene in Scream. I know for a fact, through word-of-mouth here in Hollywood, that Ms. Barrymore is an entertainer and a human being of the highest order, but she does have an upsetting aversion to firearms. However, a gun in her character's hands would have ended that movie before the opening credits.

Sometimes I think my fellow Hollywood types oppose gun ownership just because it makes cheesy suspense thrillers harder to write.

Posted by: Scott Ganz at February 17, 2005 12:30 PM

Nothing says "respect my personal space" or "Empower THIS" like 12 gauge 00 buckshot... Ideally delivered from a pump shotgun with a pistol grip...

Although one could make a compelling argument for the precaution afforded by 135 grain .357 Magnum Hydra-shok hollowpoints... Or even 230 grain .45 ACP like G-d and John Moses Browning intended...

Oh hell, this is America. We're pro-choice. Pick the method of deterring criminals that works best for you. Just make sure it's measured in caliber. Or gauge...

Posted by: Jay G at February 17, 2005 02:35 PM

Well, it ain't a Casull, but it's still a 454. I recommend the graphite shaft.


Posted by: jed at February 17, 2005 05:28 PM

Well done! I have made almost the exact same points to many of my "well-heeled" friends in suburban-Atlanta. While we do have a good (not Vermont-style) CCW in Georgia, Atlanta has an influx of new residents that don't share/understand our gun culture. We're not supposed to carry in restaraunts that serve alcohol, but if it's concealed and you're acting responsibly....if a tree falls and no one is there to hear it...you get the point.

I am, however, the only combat veteran Marine they know so I usually get looks not at all dissimilar to the looks I get from my dog when I tell him to get off of the couch. There really isn't much I can add to your post because you have pretty much hit all of the primary points. It never ceases to amaze me how much people just don't believe anything will happen to them.

Another thought; your comment regarding the movie "Panic Room" reminds me of a particular home security companies TV add with the mom doing wash while the kids play. Two mutants decide to "visit" their house. While gaining entry to the home, glass is broken and an audible alarm is activated. Suddenly, Suzie Homemaker springs into action by LOCKING THE DEADBOLT AFTER THE ALARM HAS SOUNDED. The children run to the mother like frightened ducklings, the phone rings with a call from the alarm company...here comes the good part...Dad shows up looking like a confused dip-shit!! No gun, no baseball bat, hell, not even a 9-iron!

(I wish I could remember where I read it, but a long time ago I read someone's opinion regarding the obligation of decent, law-abiding citizens to remove (by violence) anti-social miscreants from the general population. It ran along the lines of John Lott's work and the benfits to society in the long run, etc. It was very Ayan Rand-ish, but it wasn't her. Maybe you could enlighten me if you have any information...?)

I truly believe that the ad agency and the alarm company created this commercial to portray the family as sheep....until the alarm company responds. Bottom line: if it wasn't so serious and deadly, it would be funny.

Keep up the great work.

Semper Fi

Posted by: Chris W at February 17, 2005 08:49 PM

Chris W.

First, thanks for having been a Marine.

Also, JESUS, I thought I was the only one who had that reaction to that exact ad! (Admittedly, a foolish thought. That's what I get for living in LA.)

I love the way the dad comes off as the largest of the heroine's many children. That aww-shucks look on his face, the classic attire of the suburban wimp, it all made me sick. Fortunately, my wife and I feel a bit differently about those situations...

Posted by: Scott Ganz at February 18, 2005 12:00 AM

Excellent (and duly linked) post! Looks liek the only diference between Denver and Boston is the chowder (and recent abundance of sports championship trophies).

Posted by: Bruce at February 18, 2005 09:10 AM

Excellent post. Hopefully some responsible female will have a surprise in her pocket for that rapist. Preferably a lethal surprise.

And Jed, that Big Bertha 454 driver is actually made by Ruger for Callaway, believe it or not.

Posted by: Cutter at February 18, 2005 09:36 AM

True, this may be long, but it has been time well spent and your fisking of the situation here in Denver is ded on. The propaganda emanating from Denver's officials, supporting victimization of the sheeple as the way to live without violence, makes no sense at all to anyone who is truly "empowered" to live free.

I've taken the liberty of posting a link to this to spread the word, and I will be making you a regular destination.

Thanks, great reading!

Posted by: Rhythm Master at February 27, 2005 04:22 AM
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