Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What about self-defense?

Domestic violence on the rise, experts say -, Salem, MA Another story about domestic violence that completely ignores the idea of self-defense.

For the most part, this is an interview with Candace Waldron, executive director of Help for Abused Women and their Children which serves greater Salem, Massachusetts. There are also a few comments from Sgt. Phil McCarthy, who supervises the Beverly Police Department's domestic violence office.

The director of the shelter, of course, wants the courts and the police to guarantee the safety of victims.
"We all know that leaving an abusive partner is the most dangerous time," [Waldron] said. "We can't guarantee to keep the victim safe if we don't have the entire community behind us in doing that."
Here's a news flash: You can't guarantee their safety even if the police could assign 24 hr. security to every domestic violence victim.

The story comes close to the subject of self-defense with this statement.
"The system needs to be committed to being the strong arm of the law. If not, it needs to get out of the way," Waldron said. "If not, it gives people a false sense of security."
It is one of the few things I agree with in the entire article. People get a restraining order and think that the "system" is taking care of them. They are interesting legal documents, not bullet-proof vests.

As for calling police, it isn't as effective as you might hope in every case.
In 2003, Beverly Patrolman Raymond Beals responded to a domestic violence call involving his son, Jason, and the son's girlfriend, Lori Corbett. The patrolman radioed back that "peace had been restored." However, three days later, Jason Beals stabbed Corbett to death, then committed suicide.
Did they really expect this guy to arrest his own son? Was this calling of the police helpful? Not in the long run.

If you have a violent stalker, then a restraining order may be part of a legal strategy, but you need more than that; you need a plan for your personal safety. You need to recognize that the police are NOT providing 24 hour security for you, that they will only come when they are called and that it will take them some time to get to you. (And that assumes you are able to call before you are seriously injured.) You will be on your own for at least a very dangerous couple of minutes. (What is the 911 response time in your area?)

Admitting any of this, and considering the option of self-defense, is probably beyond the pale for the good Leftists bringing this story to us. Ask people to accept some responsibility for their own safety? Talk about self-defense and discuss guns like they were a good thing? This would probably never happen in Massachusetts, and not in a discussion between a shelter director, and a reporter.

Having a plan and the tools for you personal safety will not, of course, guarantee your personal safety. There are no guarantees in this life. Wearing your seatbelt while driving will not guarantee your safety in a car crash. It will only change your chances of survival. We do all kinds of things that "change the odds" in life.

North Carolina recognized the inability of the system to be all things to all people. When you get a restraining order in NC, you also get info on how to obtain an emergency concealed carry permit. (This lets you carry while they process the regular permit.) Do you think Massachusetts would do something like this? Neither do I.

Self-defense is a human right. Some groups have a demonstrated need to be able to defend themselves. Domestic violence victims make up one such group. The states need to recognize that all of the restrictions on self-defense, and the means to effective self-defense, doesn't guarantee anyone's safety.

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