Yesterday I wrote about the impossible conundrum facing police. They're literally in a no-win situation. If they enforce and uphold the laws, they're accused of racism, abuse of authority, and everything else one can imagine. If they don't, the law-abiding citizens they're sworn to protect and serve will pay the price in the anything-goes free-for-all that will result.
A graphic example of how this plays out every day on the streets of some of our rougher neighborhoods was given in Chicago a few days ago. The video below is profane, graphic and very disturbing. I can only commend the police involved for not giving in to what must, at times, have been the overwhelming temptation to deal with the interlopers as their conduct deserved.
LANGUAGE ALERT: Profanity is frequent and very graphic. If you'd like to read what happened, and watch the video with the sound turned off, you'll find the details here.
Now ask yourself, dear readers: if you find yourself on the streets of a city or suburb like that (say, after a traffic accident, while you're waiting for emergency services to arrive), and you get heckled like that . . . what are you going to do about it? You probably won't have sufficient legal justification to open fire on the mob. If you produce a gun and try to threaten them, their reactions will be just as they are above. They'll dare you to use it, knowing that if you do, the law will basically side with them, no matter how provocative and threatening their conduct might have been. What's more, some of them will probably have guns too. If you use yours, they'll likely shoot back - and your family and anyone else with you will be in the line of fire. You might be well advised to leave the area as quickly as possible, by any means necessary (including hitching a ride with passing motorists), and abandon your vehicle. If it gets stripped or stolen, that's still a lot less trouble than what might happen if you stay with it.
John Farnam's advice (which we've repeated on several occasions in these pages) still holds good. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
The best way to handle any potentially injurious encounter is: Don’t be there. Arrange to be somewhere else. Don’t go to stupid places. Don’t associate with stupid people. Don’t do stupid things. This is the advice I give to all students of defensive firearms. Winning a gunfight, or any other potentially injurious encounter, is financially and emotionally burdensome. The aftermath will become your full-time job for weeks or months afterward, and you will quickly grow weary of writing checks to lawyer(s). It is, of course, better than being dead or suffering a permanently disfiguring or disabling injury, but the “penalty” for successfully fighting for your life is still formidable.
Crowds of any kind, particularly those with an agenda, such as political rallies, demonstrations, picket lines, etc are good examples of “stupid places.” Any crowd with a high collective energy level harbors potential catastrophe. To a lesser degree, bank buildings, hospital emergency rooms, airports, government buildings, and bars (particularly crowded ones) fall into the same category. All should be avoided. When they can’t be avoided, we should make it a practice to spend only the minimum time necessary there and then quickly get out.
“A superior gunman is best defined as one who uses his superior judgment in order to keep himself out of situations that would require the use of his superior skills.”
Words to live by more than ever, in these troubled times. Kudos to those cops for keeping their cool under very trying circumstances. I doubt I'd have done as well.
EDITED TO ADD: It happened in Kansas City last Saturday, too. This time, shots were fired.