Monday, October 1, 2007

2nd Amendment

The First amendment draws the most controversy in issues of freedom of/from religion and free speech. This is closely followed by the second amendment and issues around gun control. It would be difficult to find an American who has not been touched by violence or accident where a firearm was involved. In my time working in the crime lab, I was responsible for attending the post-mortem examinations. I have seen what a bullet the size of a pencil eraser can do to the human body. In my years on the police, I have lost friends who were murdered with guns. It is impossible to take the emotion out of this discussion. The best we can do is remember that emotionally charged decisions rarely lead us to reason and justice.

Lets begin with the text.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

What is the “militia?”
"I ask, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people…”--George Mason, Virginia's U.S. Constitution ratification convention, June 16, 1788

The militia is us. At this time this was written, The United States had just emerged from a war with England where the average man was the average soldier. Wars change. Over 200 years later we are engaged in another war, this time against crime and violence.

King Henery III required every subject between the ages of fifteen and fifty to own a weapon other than a knife. This was of such importance that Crown officials gave periodic inspections to guarantee a properly armed townspeople. This was because England did not have a police force until 1829.

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." -- Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book, 1774-1776,

For illustration purposes I will use the Denver Police Department, DPD, I am using the 2006 states available at

The current staffing of the DPD is 1539 sworn officers. The assignment numbers were not published in the annual report but most police departments run at about half of personnel in are assigned to the patrol division where they can immediately be deployed to crime in progress. This would bring us to about 770 officers and supervisors. Consider that due to 24 hours coverage, days off and training, 1/5th of that population is on duty at any one time. This leaves 153 officers to cover the entire 154.9 square mile City and County of Denver, population 566,974 at any one time.

In 2006 there were….
Homicide: 55
Sexual Assault: 373
Robbery: 1285
Aggravated Assault: 2244
Total reported crime in Denver: 46,020 criminal incidents

I believe that Denver Police Department is an excellent organization and they use their limited resources very well. I would encourage my readers to look at the 2006 Annual Report and see how much can be done with so little. Back to the point, Even one of the premier law enforcement agencies can barely staff 1 officer per square mile. Can we truly depend the police to come save us when we need it the most. The people have put this responsibility on our local law enforcement and the police said they were up to the challenge. The truth is that the police do a great job of investigating and prosecuting criminals but we can’t depend on the blue suits coming to save until the crime is over and the bad guys have left.

If we can’t depend on our local law enforcement, who can we depend on?
As citizens, we need to depend on each other. My neighbors can depend on me. I commit to watching their property when they are gone. I will answer my door when they knock. I will make a police report and I will testify in court for them. I am a citizen of the United States that is my responsibility to my neighbors. They have the same responsibility to me. If America has one great failing today, it is because we refuse to honor our responsibility to our neighbors. If it is our responsibility to protect each other, we must be equipped.

I carry a gun when ever I leave my home. I practice. My wife has attended the concealed carry course. She has a gun and she is not a bad shot. Don’t mess with her.

I commit to my readers that I will protect you and your family. Will you do the same for me?

For more information on both sides of the issue I recommend

1 comment:

Reed E said...

Will you do the same for me?

Own a gun? There are many (including myself) who support the right to own and carry but who choose not to do so for various reasons. I hope it's possible to support our neighbors in any case.

What was the rationale for the 2nd Amendment? Was crime really an issue at the time of the nation's founding? Or, rather, were the founders more concerned about giving the people the means to overthrow the govt should it become oppressive?