Police are on our side, for the most part, and many of them lay their lives on the line nightly to serve and protect fellow Americans and immigrants in neighborhoods that the rest of us avoid. But do they have a legal duty to respond quickly or effectively to our 9-1-1 calls?
No. If police arrive in time to prevent a tragedy, that’s nice, but it’s up to them. They aren’t legally obligated to dispatch, patrol or operate well. It’s been litigated from different angles, and it was eventually settled by the Supreme Court.
In March 1975, two men kicked down a Washington DC single mother’s door and raped her. Two upstairs neighbors heard her screams, called 9-1-1 and were told help was on the way. But it wasn’t.
When they didn’t arrive for 12 minutes, the neighbors called 9-1-1 again and were told again to sit tight, that police were coming. One shouted down to encourage the downstairs mom that police were en route.
This alerted the rapists to the women upstairs. They broke into the upstairs apartment, kidnapped all three women at knife-point, and for the next 14 hours, beat them, raped them, robbed them and forced them to perform sexual acts on one another.
The victims later sued the District of Columbia municipal government, which employs the police. The government fought the women’s lawsuit and did not settle out of court. That city, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in America, argued in court that its police owed no specific duty to the brutalized victims. The courts agreed.
The Supreme Court settled the law on this issue in a 2005 ruling. In that case, police failed to enforce a court order against a Colorado ex-husband who abducted his three daughters, ages 7, 9 and 10. The girls’ mother reported the abduction and violation of the court order, and provided reliable information on their location, but police did not follow up. The ex-husband later shot his three girls dead.
The bereaved mother later sued, based on the court order’s language that “you shall arrest” the violator. When the lawsuit reached its final appeal, the Court held that the fatal inaction was “within a well-established tradition of police discretion” despite “apparently mandatory arrest statutes.” The law of the land, since 2005, is that you have no legal right to police protection.
You do, however, have a legal right to keep and bear arms. The government is Constitutionally prohibited to infringe that right. And so you have a capacity, if you can keep it, to protect yourself, your daughters and your downstairs neighbor from violent criminals.
The 2nd Amendment was under attack Saturday, just across town from where the three women were overwhelmed and dehumanized by knife-wielding criminals in 1975. March for Our Lives organizers claimed that 2 million adolescent supporters participated, including over 800 “sibling events” across the nation. They assure us that their attack on gun rights will continue during the midterm elections this Fall.
If you have trouble remembering which is the March for Life and which is the March for Our Lives, just remember that the March for Life is the annual prolife rally that is largely ignored by the mainstream media, not breathlessly promoted. Or you can remember that the March for Life is a protest against the killing of over 60 million defenseless, unborn American children since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
The March for Our Lives, on the other hand, was partially funded by Planned Parenthood, an organization that has committed 8,058,657 abortions, by one count, since 1970.
“Everyone has a right,” Planned Parenthood tweeted Saturday with breathtaking irony, to lead “a life that is healthy and free of violence.” A Planned Parenthood spokesperson boasted to BuzzFeed News that the government-subsidized organization is “teaching and hosting trainings” for young anti-gun activists. They provided the students with “logistics, strategy and planning” assistance. Likewise MoveOn.org, underwitten by billionaire immigrant George Soros.
But the March for Our Lives is also funded by a number of large contributions from Hollywood celebrities, entertainers and corporate donors, including $50,000 from Joshua Kushner, brother of Trump son-in-law Jared. Some of the celebrities attended the anti-gun rally, protected by armed security.
Law enforcement failures are apparently of little interest to the NeverAgain movement. The police officer who stood inert in front of the high school he was assigned to protect, the ignored warnings about the shooter’s intentions, the FBI’s failure to follow up – none of this seems to matter as much as the opportunity to launch impassioned attacks on Republicans and the NRA. Why not?
At what point do we admit that this is not a children’s crusade? Hardened leftist adults, with other fish to fry, have provided its infrastructure, funding and even its goals. The kids have compelling and tragic stories that give them value to people who would have happily crushed their skulls and dismembered them less than two decades ago. But the kids are not in control of this movement.
I’m not a mind-reader. I don’t know how sincere the adolescents are. I’m not sure that I could have resisted, at their age, the seduction of the spotlight, the opportunity to feel like a rock star. It wouldn’t be fair to expect wisdom of them. Not now.
Although a few have surprised us: Parkland survivor Kyle Kashuv, for example, considers himself a NeverAgain supporter but seeks a middle ground of hardening targets and improving security without infringing his fellow citizens’ right to keep and bear arms.
“The only way change will be accomplished,” the high school junior said, “is if we stop using inflammatory language, we sit down and have a logical discussion, we don’t call the person the enemy, we don’t shout at them and we don’t boo them. That’s the only way a positive change will be made.”