This past Friday, I was on my way to work in downtown Denver. It was early and hardly anyone was on the streets. As the shuttle pulled up, I heard a commotion across the intersection. We pulled forward and as we did so, I saw a pile of people on the ground – three people on top of one, pounding away.
I’m always amazed by people and how they respond to a crisis. One woman haughtily asked, “Where are the police and why aren’t they doing their job?”
I tend to get snarky in situations like these, especially since I’ve personally been the victim of an assault from a complete stranger that occurred in broad daylight, without provocation, while surrounded by people. (Ironically, exactly one year prior. The man came up behind me and punched me in the head – I never saw it coming.)
But, back to the present. I looked at her and asked, “Has anyone called 911?” She glared at me. Then I asked, “Can anyone get a picture?” Another passenger said, “That’s a good idea!” but she was already dialing 911 and as I rummaged in my bag for my phone, I looked at the haughty woman and told her (yes, I get bossy, too) “Get your phone out and take a picture!” She scowled and looked away.
As I got off the shuttle outside my building, just a couple of blocks down the street, I saw the attackers yelling and running. They were getting away. I dialed 911 as I walked across the street and was greeted with a message (in four languages) telling me not to hang up.
Say what? I was on hold with 911? I had no idea that could happen in real life! By the time the call was answered, the attackers were long gone, so I gave a description and hung up, completely disgusted.
There has been a lot of controversy over gun control lately. Advocates say that we don’t “need” to arm ourselves because we have the police to assist us. They say that we don’t “need” x-amount of bullets because it’s unnecessary or a sign of paranoia. Some places even forbid carrying Mace.
Let me just say that after my personal experience and what I witnessed on Friday, I believe more strongly than ever that you should be able to protect yourself however you see fit. Bad guys aren’t always going to be alone when they attack. They aren’t going to give you fair warning of what they’re about to do. And, the police might not get there in time, even if you can get through to a 911 operator. Plus, bystanders will often ignore a crisis that’s right in front of them, believing it’s not their problem or their responsibility to help.
Explain to me: Why should innocent, law-abiding citizens be less armed than the criminals who would do them harm?