Riots & Broken Windows Theory

In a time when rioting, vandalism, theft, looting, arson, assault and murder have become synonymous with the term “peaceful protest”, perhaps we should look at how we got here and who is responsible. Oh, I know, these so-called “peaceful protestors” are simply exercising their First Amendment rights against a systemically racist system. It doesn’t matter that whatever they thought they were fighting against didn’t actually exist in the first place, what is important now is the violence and destruction. As for how it got to this level, we have their supporters, enablers and sponsors in mayor’s offices, city councils and prosecutor’s offices across the country to blame. It could have been stopped a long, long time ago, but they choose to let it go on and grow for political purposes. The destruction, pain and death we are seeing now is on them. It never had to be this way.  

A little primer on Broken Windows Theory. I’m going to steal Wikipedia’s definition since they have such a nice one: 

A criminological theory that states that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes. The theory suggests that policing methods that target minor crimes, such as vandalism, loitering, public drinking, jaywalking and fare evasion, help to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, thereby preventing more serious crimes.

You can probably relate to this with other common phrases such as ‘Give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile’ or for parents the ever popular ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child’. The concept is pretty simple, the more you let someone get away with things, the more they are going to try to get away with. In the world of criminal justice, if you interrupt criminal behavior early you will better prevent further criminal behavior. Yes, I’m a believer and properly applied, it does work.

So what does this have to do with riots?? What started out as genuinely peaceful protests, something laudable and in the best traditions of our national spirit, quickly devolved into nothing more than looting, destruction, violence and death. Yet those who support and encourage these now clearly unlawful actions maintain it is still a “peaceful protest” and all about Constitutionally protected First Amendment expression. What a bunch of garbage!

What should have happened?  The MOMENT the actual peaceful protests began to break the law, trespass, curfew violations, vandalism, theft and looting, they should have been decisively shut down. The perpetrators should have been arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 

Instead the lawlessness was allowed to grow. What used to be actual protest turned into destruction. First a few businesses were damaged, then looted, then burned. From trying to get bystanders to see their point of view and support their cause to anyone who didn’t bow to the mob’s demands was berated, harassed and beaten. From looking at our nation’s history for lessons to destroying anything that might offend someone. From speeches and signs of unity to rocks, bricks, clubs, lasers, explosives, Molotov cocktails and bullets. From trying to improve the system to “burn it all down”.

It’s not like any of this wasn’t predictable. History tends to repeat itself when ignored, and this one has been a doozy. In the name of political correctness and not wanting to provoke, we’ve allowed people who have zero interest in anything social justice to run rampant in our cities as long as they are holding the ‘correct’ demonstration sign or flag. And it’s not just the so-called “peaceful protests” that have escalated. Crime of all kinds has skyrocketed in these protest friendly cities. Burglaries, robberies, assaults, shootings and murder have been setting new records. It’s apparently okay now to assault someone, anyone, just because. And while you’re at it, how about shooting and killing someone holding their daughter’s hand while walking across the street or a child playing in a driveway. Read a little of the non-filtered news and you’ll see just how bad things have really gotten.

As for who is to blame, look no further than the politicians; the mayors, city councils and prosecutors who have ordered the police out of protest areas, disarmed them of the tools they need to protect themselves and the public and steadfastly refused to pursue charges when law enforcement makes an arrest. Rioters are given a free pass, released without charges in mere hours after being arrested, allowed to go out and continue and escalate their criminal activity. Those who are actually held on charges are immediately bailed out thanks to the funding of celebrities, politicians and rich political influencers who want them back out on the street committing more violence. 

Who hasn’t been spared from charges? The people who have been standing up and protecting their lives and properties from the violent mobs. Activist prosecutors around the country have been quick to charge those defending themselves, especially if they should dare to use a firearm. Even when all of the evidence clearly shows they were lawfully defending themselves or others, prosecutors have made sure they are charged as an example to others. The message is unmistakably clear. If you are committing a crime for the right social cause, you are merely exercising your Constitutionally protected rights. If you are defending yourself against “peaceful protestors”, you are taking the law into your own hands and violating THEIR rights. 

Like many Americans, I am sick and tired of the wanton violence and destruction in the supposed name of justice. What we are seeing now has absolutely nothing to do with any of the names or causes being screamed as justification. It is only for the sake of destruction in order to place political blame and for someone to say, ‘I support you and I can make everything better if you vote for me.’

The unchecked escalation of violence, the destruction of property and lives, the blood and death in the streets, all could have been mitigated a long time ago. Instead politicians chose to surrender to mob mentality and virtue signal their way out of addressing the real problems facing our communities. THAT takes hard work and confronting hard, unpopular realities. It’s much easier to blame everything on someone else and get reelected for another term. 

Vote wisely. 

Bob

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Do You Lock Your Doors At Night?

All parts of our country are covered by a law enforcement agency, even if they are a significant distance away. Shouldn’t that be enough to protect your home? The answer is very simply the police can’t prevent your home from being broken into.  They can only respond after the fact to investigate and attempt to bring the perpetrators to justice. That after-the-fact ‘deterrent’ is what is supposed to stop the crime from occurring. That same deterrent effect is what is supposed to be protecting you and your family from assault, rape, robbery, murder or other mayhem in public. The only thing different is you don’t have a locked door between you and criminal. 

Let’s start back at your house. What prevents burglars, robbers and home invaders from getting into your home is having a hard target. That means a house that can prevent criminals from getting in in the first place. Lights outside so their approach can be seen, cameras so they can be observed on your property, sturdy locks properly installed in heavy door jams to prevent them from getting in and alarms to alert you of their unlawful entry if they are able to get inside. These things, and many more, will help prevent the crime from being committed in the first place. 

Criminals may not be the smartest people in town, but they aren’t morons. If there’s a choice between a hard target and a nice soft, unprotected one, they’re going to pick the soft one every time. 

Now let’s talk about you and your family out in public. You don’t have a nice thick, solid core door with deadbolts to carry around with you. You have yourself and whatever you carry with you to keep you safe from harm.  That means how successful you’ll be depends a lot on your gender, size and skills. 

Sad but nonetheless true, the elderly, women and smaller statured individuals are victimized at alarming rates. Quite simply put, without an effective force multiplier, they are not able to defend themselves from larger or better-armed assailants. There are a variety of effective self-defense items available, up to and including firearms. Your choice of what would be effective depends a lot of your physical abilities. 

Even worse, far too many jurisdictions in our country say you are already adequately protected by whatever law enforcement agency is there and that you do not need to carry a firearm for protection. They say you do not have a special need or sufficient ‘just cause’ to carry a firearm. Even though it is the most effective force multiplier available, it isn’t available to you.  

Now take a look at yourself from a criminal’s point of view. Are you hard target? Do you present a confident, strong image each and every time you are in public? That doesn’t mean you walk down the street in your gi, growling at dogs and punching streetlights. It means you are engaged, alert, on the lookout for threats instead of being fully engaged in on social media on your smart phone.  How you conduct yourself is a major consideration for perspective attackers.  

Side note: If you aren’t familiar with Col. Jeff Coopers Color Codes of Awareness, I strongly encourage you to read it and get some quality self defense training. 

So what is going to prevent someone from victimizing you and your family? It’s not the police who are minutes to hours away. It’s not the prosecutor or courts who in many cases aren’t even willing to give criminals a slap on the wrist any more. It’s fear of their potential victim that will stop them. It’s the criminals fear that they will be injured or killed themselves that will keep them from attacking. 

In parts of the country where the average citizen is not legally allowed to carry a firearm for defense, there is very little to prevent them from attacking anyone they have a physical advantage over.  If they are carrying some kind of weapon – and most criminals are – then physical advantage is less important. 

It boils down to this. Your safety and the safety of your family is your responsibility. Just as the locks, lights and alarms at your home is your responsibility, so is your safety in public. If you think you can effectively delegate this to the police because you paid your taxes, you are very, very wrong. To be safe you need to have the most effective self-defense force multiplier that is right for you readily available.

Until our elected officials get off their collective asses and start working on the causes of crime like poverty, jobs and mental health, and parents return to teaching their children about right from wrong, responsibility and accountability– crime is going to continue to increase. 

YOU are the only one who can prevent yourself from being a victim. Become the hard target no criminal wants to deal with.  

Bob

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Safe Storage Laws – Punishing Crime Victims

One of moldy oldies of the gun control movement is experiencing resurgence these days. Safe storage laws are once again being pushed in communities and states around the country. And as always, it has nothing to do with safety, only control. It is just another way for gun control zealot politicians to intimidate, harass and punish law-abiding firearm owners and minimize their Second Amendment rights, at the expense of the very people who they claim they are trying to keep safer. 

Firearm storage inside the home is a very personal subject. Most people who own firearms for self-defense choose to have them ready in case they are needed. In those situations, seconds really do count. Unlocking a safe, removing a cable lock and then loading your firearm essentially renders it useless as a self-defense tool. 

That of course is the idea behind safe storage laws. Anti-gun politicians don’t want you to be able to defend yourself in an emergency. They want you to be 100% reliant on the government for your safety. Also keep in mind that your local law enforcement agency has no legal responsibility for keeping you safe.  Many lawsuits against law enforcement from victims of violent crimes due to government inaction or negligence have been dismissed, as the police have no duty to protect you, even if they could have and simply decided not to. 

So even though the government knows they can not adequately protect you in public or in your home, they want to make sure you are not able to protect yourself either. By passing so-called safe storage laws, you are required to keep your self-defense firearm unloaded and disabled in your own home. AND… if you do leave your firearm unlocked in your locked home and it is stolen, you have committed a crime. 

Consider the following scenario. You leave your house in the morning for work, give your dog a new chew toy, lock the doors and set the alarm. While you are gone someone breaks into your house. They do this because they know the chances of being caught are low and the chances of any real penalty coming out of it if they are caught are practically non-existent. 

In the quick ransack of your house, burglars find your non-government approved firearm storage spot in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator’s vegetable crisper drawer.* They take this firearm and commit yet another crime and injure or kill someone with it. What happens to you? You are arrested for improper storage of a firearm. 

Now let’s change this scenario a little. Upon breaking into your home, the burglars find your new 10” Wustoff cook’s knife. They take this knife and commit yet another crime and injure or kill someone with it. What happens to you? You are NOT arrested since you were the victim of the crime of burglary and had no involvement in the commission of the crime using your stolen property. 

Let’s change that scenario one more time. Upon breaking into your home, the burglars find your car keys. On the way out the door they go by the liquor cabinet and grab a bottle of Jack Daniels. They take your car and liquor, get drunk and drive the wrong way down the interstate and injure or kill someone. What happens to you? You are NOT arrested since you were the victim of the crime of burglary and had no involvement in the commission of the crime using your stolen property.

I’m not aware of any other situation where the victim of a crime can be criminally charged as a result of being a victim of someone else’s crime. By creating these feel-good but useless public safety laws that criminalize legal behavior inside of your own home, you become both the victim and the criminal with no action necessary on your own part. 

The other side of so-called safe storage laws concerns children gaining access to unsecured firearms. As someone who has been involved in firearm safety for decades, I can honestly tell you there is no excuse for this. There is also no excuse for the bad parenting that lead to it. 

My story: As a child growing up, my family owned firearms, as did most of our relatives. Some were stored unsecured and loaded for home self-defense. I knew where these firearms were in our house and those of our relatives. Did I ever touch them without permission? HELL NO!! Why? Because I was taught the difference between right and wrong, as well as a respect for firearms. 

In my home as an adult, I also kept loaded firearms for self-defense. Did my son ever touch them? HELL NO!! Why? Because he too was taught the difference between right and wrong, as well as respect for firearms. To this day, I wouldn’t even question if my now adult son walked into my house and found a loaded firearm sitting on the dining room table, he would ask before he handled it.  

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has an excellent – and free – program called Project ChildSafe. It combines information, education and gunlocks distributed for free by law enforcement agencies around the country. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has a child firearm safety program available – also free – called the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program. It teaches children what do if they find an unsecured firearm. Both have been successfully educating children and youth about real firearm safety for years. 

Firearm safety and storage is a very personal subject. What works for me in my home may not be appropriate for a home with young children living or visiting in the home. There are solutions for everyone that does not sacrifice safety or security. What doesn’t work for either is a one-size-fits-none government mandate that firearms shouldn’t be available for self-defense. How does being a helpless victim keep anyone except the criminals safe? 

Bob

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*Note to self: Move firearm out of vegetable crisper drawer.