I've written before about the real danger of relying on the police and the 911 service to summon help when you're the target of criminal aggression.
That danger has been made horrifyingly clear in a number of recent news stories. To name just two:
- A police officer's daughter was kidnapped and killed - despite five calls to 911 while she was still alive.
- An armed citizen caught a burglar in the act, but the 911 response was so inept that the burglar was able to make his escape while the citizen tried to satisfy the operator's queries.
There are many more such tales out there. Here's another one. There's even a book, Dial 911 And Die, that's full of such horror stories.
I'm posting this because a friend of mine found herself in a similar situation this morning. She had a restraining order against her former boyfriend, but when she left her apartment to go to work, he was standing by her car, smirking at her, one hand concealed behind his back, beckoning to her with the other. He said to her, "I'm going to settle your nonsense for good and all" (or words to that effect).
She turned and fled back to her apartment. He followed, but a stream of other people leaving for work slowed him down. By the time he reached her apartment, she'd been able to get inside and lock the door. She was calling 911 as he began pounding at her door, yelling insults, describing (graphically) what he was going to do to her when he got inside.
The police did their best to respond: but morning rush-hour traffic delayed their arrival. They got there twelve and a half minutes after her call. They arrived to find her front door splintered, panels kicked out, and on the point of breaking open.
The only reason my friend is still alive is that the apartment next to hers is occupied by a very nice couple. The husband is in the Marines, and he insisted that his wife learn to shoot. Hearing the disturbance, she stepped outside carrying her shotgun, and proned out the bad guy on the floor, waiting for the police to arrive. This was three minutes after my friend had called 911. Without her neighbor's intervention, the man would have been inside her apartment four minutes after she called . . . and would have had over eight minutes to do as he pleased with her until the police arrived.
He was carrying a butcher's knife.
Anyone who knows even a little about the use of such a knife can use it to kill anyone else - particularly someone smaller and weaker than themselves - in less than thirty seconds.
Even if he hadn't been armed, he's more than strong enough to have inflicted crippling - perhaps lethal - damage in short order. It only takes one punch in the right place, you know. If you don't believe me, read this - and think again. There are plenty more stories to confirm that truth.
I've spoken with my friend on several occasions, urging her to arm herself and get training in personal protection, but she's always said that she could never shoot another human being.
Guess what? She's just changed her mind!
I gather from my conversation with her this afternoon that her neighbors have willingly agreed to take her shooting with them every evening this week. Tomorrow morning she's going to a gunshop with them, and will invest in a shotgun as a 'starter weapon'. I reckon that by the weekend, she'll be able to use it well enough to protect herself in her apartment. She's also going to start the process of applying for a concealed carry permit, and will buy a handgun and learn to use it.
She's lucky. Thanks to her neighbors, she'll have time to do so. (Her ex is behind bars, and will stay there for violating his restraining order until he's tried on the latest charges.)
Many who are caught in her situation aren't so fortunate.
Dear reader, if you haven't prepared yourself to deal with a robbery, or assault, or similar situation - do so now.
You may not have time to do it later.
EDITED TO ADD: In response to e-mails received concerning this post, I've started a series about a suitable firearm for home defense (assuming that the individual is a beginner, not an experienced shooter). The first article is here. I hope it helps.)