When Seconds Count …

“When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.”

We’ve all heard that maxim. It’s attributed to Clint Smith, President and Director of Thunder Ranch® (for those of you unfamiliar with Thunder Ranch, they provide personalized training for civilian, corporate, law enforcement and military clients in defensive firearms and tactical skills).

Clint is a Marine Corps veteran of two tours in Vietnam. His experience includes seven years as a police officer, head of the Firearms Training Division as well as being a S.W.A.T. member and precision rifleman.

The man is obviously qualified to speak to the issue of the defensive use of firearms and his statement is the candid, forthright truth: When seconds count, the cops are minutes awaysometimes many minutes away. Too often they will get to the crime scene in time to hang crime scene tape and draw chalk outlines – in other words, much too late.

This is not an indictment of LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers). The vast majority are decent, honorable public servants, who will do their level best to protect the public, including putting their own lives in jeopardy, but there simply aren’t enough of them to be everywhere, all the time.

Response Time

As a point of interest, the highest ratio of police to citizens was in Chicago (2010 numbers) where there were 443 officers per 100,000 citizens. They’re not all on duty at the same time, and they’re trying to police 234 sq. miles of real estate, so you begin to see why they can’t be everywhere at once.

For comparison, NYC has 423 officers per 100,000 residents, LA has 259, and Houston has 257 per 100,000 citizens. But these are raw counts, how many officers are actually on duty to respond to calls at any given time?

Here’s an example: In a 2008 report, San Diego, CA had 1,125 officers in uniform and patrolling the streets (not counting command or administrative personnel). Considering vacations, training, sick, injuries, comp time, etc., there were 181 officers working each shift to patrol the city and respond to calls. How can 181 officers cover 372 sq. miles and respond quickly to all 911 calls? They simply can’t.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution recently published an article in which they surveyed police response times to high-priority 911 calls from seven similar-sized cities. The results are not reassuring.

Atlanta police were the slowest to answer high-priority emergency calls. In Atlanta last year it took, on average, 11 minutes and 12 seconds from the time a high-priority 911 call was received until an Atlanta police officer showed up at the scene.

The response times reported by the El Paso (Texas) Police Department were one second quicker than Atlanta’s, with an average of 11 minutes and 11 seconds. The Denver Police Department posted a response time of 11 minutes flat. Tucson, Ariz., averaged 10 minutes and 11 seconds and police in Kansas City, Mo., and Oklahoma City posted average response times of less than 10 minutes.

Criminal justice professor Robbie Friedmann of Georgia State University said that Atlanta’s response time is “not unreasonable” when compared with the other cities.

He added that “it takes longer than the public likely thinks to respond to 911 calls.”

What Will You Do?

If you’re unfortunate enough to be the victim of a mugging, a home invasion, or a car-jacking, and a bad guy threatens you with a gun (or a knife), what will you do?

Most people don’t have Bruce Lee or Steven Segal martial arts skills and are likely to piss off the bad guy with an unsuccessful attempt. We simply aren’t trained to defeat a villain hand-to-hand, much less disarm one who has a weapon.

And what if you’re a 90 lb. woman or a 75 year-old retired geezer? Fighting back, while in some cases might still be advisable, is unlikely to have a high degree of success against a younger, heavier, more fit assailant.

What will you do if there’s no call box handy, no scissors, and the bad guy refuses to let you call 911, what can you do? Even if you did call 911, and the cavalry was dispatched, it’d still be several minutes before they arrive.

I challenge you to try this: look at a clock – watch the clock for eight minutes. Keep watching – keep watching – until a full eight minutes have elapsed. In a precarious situation, eight minutes is an eternity, but it’s actually a fairly quick police response time. Imagine what harm could befall you (or your family) in those eight minutes. And this eight minute timeframe is based on a 911 call having been placed.

But what if there were no 911 call? No longer is there an eight-minute time limit, the bad guy could be free to take hours to carry out his mischief.

The police aren’t responsible for your personal safety – that’s even been stated by the courts. It’s not the judicial system. It’s not your Mayor, nor your Councilperson’s responsibility.

It is yours and yours alone. And if you’re a parent, your responsibility extends to protecting your children as well.

What will you do? If you are not prepared to defend yourself and your family, you’ve made a conscious decision to accept victimhood, and you and your family must live (or die) with the consequences of your decision.

The Un-gun Forces

Yet these same pacifists decry our decision to be armed.

Many of our un-gun friends bristle at the idea of a gun in the home. We’re more likely to be shot by our own gun than use it in self-defense, they say. A gun is a killing machine and doesn’t belong in a modern, urbane home, they say. We are paranoid; those mugging, car-jacking, and home invasion scenarios we hear about are in gun-infested inner cities, not here, they say.

Neither I nor my pro-defense friends are attempting to force the anti-gun faction to acquire guns. Why are they trying to prohibit us from having the means of our self-defense available?

We are the responsible ones, we are assuming the burden of protecting ourselves and our families – we aren’t asking them to do anything more than just leave us alone. Yet they persist.

They choose to live in a fairytale world where if only there were no pesky guns, we’d all be free to prance and frolic around in a sweet-smelling, unicorn-filled, rainbow-covered paradise. But that’s not the real world. It’s not the one we live in. The real world is populated by scofflaws who choose to take advantage of someone else rather than work for their own sustenance. And they’re willing to inflect pain (even death) to achieve their goals. Bad guys have always been among us, we’ll never be free of them – that is reality and we have to deal with it.

Millions More Guns on the Street

The un-guns offer a simplistic solution: reduce the number of guns “on the street” and crime will go down. The truth is – it’s not true. The following data proves that, read it and let it sink in.

There were 5,555,818 firearms manufactured in the U.S. in 2009 (latest data available). 194,744 of those were exported. Imports from other countries added another 3,607,106 firearms that year.

Doing the math yields a net total of 8,968,179 new or newly imported firearms available in the U.S. market in 2009 alone.

In 2007, the net total was 6,461,824 and in 2008, it was 6,876,842.

So, in just those three years, according to the BATFE, a total of 22,306,845 additional firearms entered the U.S. marketplace.

Got that? Twenty-two million more guns in those three years and yet crime went down. Here’s a link to the BATFE site, you can download the Firearms Commerce in the United States 2011 report as a 31 page .pdf from there.

But Fewer Murders by Gun

At the same time, according to the FBI’s crime statistics, murders by firearms in the U.S. have declined each year since 2007.  This FBI table breaks down the number of homicides by weapon type for the years 2007 through 2011.

The total number of all firearm murders in 2011 was down by 15.1% (1,546 fewer) compared to 2007. The murders by rifle (that would include assault weapons) in 2011 occurred even less often, and were down by 28.7% from their 2007 total.

And the overall decline continues to this day. The following FBI chart illustrates that violent crime (not just murders) is down across the United States again and is currently at a five-year low.

FBI violentcrimeoffnesefigure

That decrease nationally is not reflected in those jurisdictions which have the most stringent gun control laws (like Chicago, IL or Washington, DC).

Let’s be serious. If keeping guns out of the hands of criminals were as easy as outlawing certain categories of guns or ammunition or performing more thorough background checks, then the existing gun laws would have been more effective at reducing gun violence and those cities with the strictest gun laws would be among our safest. They are not.

If the proliferation of guns was a causal effect for crime, how can the un-gunners explain why the crime rate has steadily gone down while the number of guns in the U.S. has gone up by over twenty million new guns (in 2007-2009 alone)?

It makes more sense to attribute the reduction of crime to the proliferation of more new guns “on the street” than the opposite.

The Un-gunners can try to ignore the numbers, but they don’t lie. Their whole premise is built on a foundation of Jell-O – and it’s shaky as hell.

Yet They Want another AWB

Comparing gun crime during the previous AWB (Assault Weapons Ban) with the period since the ban shows that since the ban expired, there have been an average of 435 fewer gun murders per year than during the ban. Taking into account increasing population, the annual firearms murder rate has fallen from an average 3.8 gun murders per 100,000 population per year during the ban to 2.6 gun murders per 100,000 population in 2011 – a decline of more than 30 percent.

A study by the Department of Justice’s research wing, the National Institute of Justice, has the feds admitting that so-called “assault weapons” are not a major contributor to gun crime. Of course they’re not – rifles (of all types, not just assault weapons) accounted for only 3.7% of all firearm murders in 2011.

The study also concluded those weapons are not a major factor in deaths caused by firearms, nor would a new “assault weapons” ban be effective in reducing deaths by firearm. A new AWB is simply an impotent gesture so politicians can point to it and say, “look at what we did to protect you.”

Criminals Ignore the Laws

Any new laws (just like the old laws) only affect law-abiding citizens. Criminals will continue to ignore them, just like they ignore the laws already on the books.

When are the politicians going to enact some laws to address guns already in possession of criminals; shouldn’t they go after them first? Wouldn’t that yield the greatest return on investment? Take away the bad guy’s guns and watch the crime rate drop, isn’t that logical? Go right to the heart of the problem; stop violence at its source – the criminal.

They don’t do that because it’s hard; the bad guys won’t give up their guns without a fight and the politicians don’t want a bloody fight, so they implement laws that target the compliant and easier mark, the law-abiding citizen.

They’d better be careful. They are aiming at and firing on law-abiding gun owners when they attack the Second Amendment and they may not like the recoil.

~~~

And finally, please be responsible for your safety and that of your family. Buy an appropriate firearm (and the right ammunition); get professional training on its proper use, be deadly serious about safety, and practice, practice, practice.

About garnet92

Retired business owner, car nut, gun nut, veteran and granddad, I live in a suburb of Dallas
This entry was posted in Political and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to When Seconds Count …

  1. BrianR says:

    Hey, Garnet, I left an answer to your question over at my blog, in case you haven’t yet seen it.

    • garnet92 says:

      I gotcha, thanks Brian. I am up to my arse in Joe B. as we speak and just now getting to his adult life. I will be including his “borrowing” other people’s words, he did it several times. I’ll probably finish the bit tomorrow.
      Best to you,
      G92

  2. Buck says:

    Brian: “Hmmmm…. that may explain that stranger I see in the mirror every morning…”
    Is it that fat, balding guy?
    Gee, he gets around. See him misself.
    Sometimes…

    • garnet92 says:

      I dunno guys, I’d look into it – if he’s gonna be hangin’ around so much, at least he could take out the garbage or take care of your “honey-do” list and leave you to do the important stuff – like drink beer, fart and take naps. The stranger I see in the mirror looks like my driver’s license picture – like the kids say, ewwww.

    • BrianR says:

      Must be a different stranger. My guy has a full head of hair. But it’s a very weird color: silver.

  3. Buck says:

    Heard a lot about Segal off screen. None of it good.

  4. rmekrnl says:

    Reblogged this on my-conservative-perspective and commented:
    Good article, countering much of the current liberal gun ban emotionalism in a clear and logical manner.

  5. rmekrnl says:

    Good article, garnet92. With permission, I’m posting your article’s link to my FB page, as well as a blog roll to my blog.

  6. Grey Neely says:

    Very seldom is a law enforcement officer able to do anything during the commission of the crime by criminals. And after the crime is over and law enforcement arrives at the scene, their first job is to get the facts of what occurred. This includes looking at the everyone involved and bystanders as possible criminals.

    In the event that you do have to defend yourself, first and most importantly tell the law enforcement officers at the scene that, “I feared for my life (or the lives of my family and friends)”. Second, REFUSE to speak further until your attorney is present.

    In some cases (especially in areas where law enforcement is stretched thin), law enforcement will want to “solve” the crime as quickly as possible. That means you can be accused of the crime. Or, if law enforcement in the area has a “PC or Liberal Slant”, you can be looked at as taking the law in your own hands.

    In most cases you will be taken to “headquarters” to be questioned. SAY NOTHING (except that you want your attorney present). Your attorney can do your talking for you. In my own case, I trust my attorney completely (he is a gun owner and a judge).

    Unfortunately, if sometype or gun ban or registration scheme is passed by the US Congress, things will get interesting in a hurry. Most of us who own weapons will face the final choice: Do we give in to tryanny, try to wait out the legal challenges, or do we fight? Right now I don’t think the US Congress will do anything this stupid. However, some states (like California and New York) have already done this or about to try it. What the gun owners will do in these states (and the reaction of these states’ law enforcement personnel) will be a “learning experience” for all of us.

    • garnet92 says:

      Thanks for visiting and commenting, Gray. I agree that the anti-gun groups are smart enough to know that confiscation of our guns is premature, RIGHT NOW. They’re laying the groundwork for registration which will untimately be followed by confiscation. I think that Omammy and his minions are willing to proceed incrementally, little by little, chipping away at our gun rights – like the analogy I like to use – the frog in the soup story. I’ve been pleased to learn that my county’s Sheriff is one of those who signed the pledge to refuse to take guns away from law-abiding citizens. At least, in Texas we still have some conservative-leaning law enforcement. Be well and come back when you can!

  7. Buck says:

    Couple of things.
    First: Brian R, the “Policeman is your friend and protector” is taught from the First Grade onward.

    Second: I would suggest looking for a comparison of crime rates from any day in the past 10 years to crime rates of the ’40’s or ’50’s. Seems to me the knowledge of an armed homeowner plus the certainty of speedy trial, quick appeals process and quicker carrying out of sentence would be much better deterent than taking guns away from the homeowners.

    • garnet92 says:

      Buck, your second point is one that’s been a sore subject of mine for a long time. One of the main problems with our “criminal justice system” is that it’s broken. Criminals are able to plea-bargain more serious crimes down to misdemeanors and if they get any jail time, it’s minimal, trials are not speedy, appeals take forever, and carrying out sentences (especially murder offenses) can take decades. The bad guys simply weigh their chances of getting caught and if caught, the chance that they’ll do any serious time, and calculate that “CRIME DOES PAY.” And it that’s not enough, our prisons are “overcrowded” so we let criminal loose to commit more crimes – it’s CRIMINAL what our criminal justice system is doing.

  8. BrianR says:

    You nailed it.

    I have no idea where ANYone ever got the idea that cops are some kind of bodyguard service. It’s simply preposterous. They respond AFTER a crime has been committed. They’re not a preventive force. And, in fact, the Constitution rightfully limits the actions they can even take BEFORE a crime is committed.

    Nine times out of ten, they show up after a crime is over, and their efforts are directed toward capturing the perp.

    Even if they do show up while a crime’s in progress they don’t go charging in like Batman and Robin. They have their own safety to look after, too. They stage, set up, prep, and MAYbe then go. At Virgina Tech, they were on scene for over 45 minutes before going in. At the Aurora Batman movie scene, there were cops on traffic duty right outside the theater. Didn’t seem to make much difference in either case.

    Too many people seem to think that real life is like a bad Steven Segal movie or something (not that there are any GOOD Steven Segal movies…).

    • garnet92 says:

      And you re-nailed it. I think that many people think that if they call 911, the cops will arrive before they hang up the phone, but as you point out, many times they arrive 30-40 minutes later and they still have to coordinate and stage and prepare, etc. so actually confronting the perp (if it does actually happen at all) could be an hour or more after the 911 call. It seems so logical to me that you shouldn’t depend on anyone other than yourself to defend yourself (and your family).

      And even though Segal is a piss-poor actor, I still like his movies – I like movies where the bad guy gets his ass whupped. BTW, Segal is actually a real-life gun nut. I saw an article in one of the gun magazines a couple of years ago where they showed a couple of tricked-out 1911 race-guns he had and was proficient with. The writer shot with him and confirmed that Segal was an excellent shot.

      • rmekrnl says:

        Many people are unaware that Seagal is actually, among many other things, also a real-life reserve deputy sheriff, highlighted in his TV reality series, “Steven Seagal: Lawman,” beginning its third season some time soon.

    • BrianR says:

      Looks like I may have stepped on a couple of opinions.

      I know Segal’s a gun guy, and a reserve cop in a couple of jurisdictions. But guys, that just doesn’t make him a good actor, IMO. Sorry.

      BTW… you guys seen what he looks like lately? He’s going the Marlon Brando route, and it’s getting kinda hard to believe him in any kind of physical role.

      At least of they decide to remake “Ghostbusters”, we know who they can cast as the Doughboy Monster at the end! Or maybe he can get a part-time gig doing Michelin commercials as the Michelin Man.

      ;-D

      • garnet92 says:

        Hah! Good actor? Not Segal, if it weren’t for “bad” he wouldn’t do acting at all. I never said he was good! I just like movies where the good guy (even Segal) whups up on the bad guys.
        And he has been getting a little “portly,” a little “rotund,”perhaps? But you may not know that he is due for recognition by the Academy…

        Academy Sports is honoring Segal as the actor most likely to split the seams of his two-man tent.

      • rmekrnl says:

        Didn’t step on mine. Never said he was a good actor. Like someone else said, just enjoyed some of his movies because they were about good guys against bad guys, like the one a few years ago where he took on the Jamaican gang, and had some good action, including some martial arts stuff, in them.

        And we all get older, Brian, but I agree it’s harder to take him seriously now than before.

      • BrianR says:

        “We all get older”…?

        Hmmmm…. that may explain that stranger I see in the mirror every morning…

      • rmekrnl says:

        Wait ’til the voices inside your head start talking to you and you start talking out loud back to them, or you leave one room to get something in another room and by the time you get there, you’ve forgotten what it was. It’s all coming. Just be patient.

  9. Pingback: The Pesky Truth About Guns and Gun Laws | Pesky Truth

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