“Do I Feel Lucky?” (Well, Do I?)


Nothing wrong with shooting, as long as the right people get shot. ~”Dirty Harry” Callahan, “Magnum Force”

Crime is in the news to stay. Whether or not you want to blame it on the Great Recession, broken families, the hopelessness of various groups, Hollywood, video games, extreme leftists, extreme right-wingers, or Snooki, it’s a fact of life in 21st-century America. The old news adage tells us that “if it bleeds, it leads.” There’s been a lot of bleeding recently. And in places we might have previously, perhaps erroneously, considered “safe.” Not just in the inner cities of Philadelphia, L.A., and Chicago, but Peoria, IL, Minot, ND, Newnan, GA. Small towns. Midsize bedroom communities. In short, where a lot of Americans live and work and play.

I don’t know about my readers, but I’m concerned. Why should I be, anyway? I’m a law-abiding, carry permit-holding, martial-arts knowledgeable single woman who lives in a pretty safe area. I’m a registered Libertarian who believes in legalizing pot and assault weapons. I don’t have kids or roommates or pets or elderly parents. In short, I’m the kind of person least likely to give a rat’s ass about crime statistics.

So why do I?

Well, punk, do ya?

The reason is twofold. I was raised in a household of military and law enforcement types who really believed in a Samurai-style code of honor. Treat everyone with respect until they give you a reason not to, women and children first, all that John Wayne stuff. I really and honestly believe that people need protecting. There are, thank goodness, still a lot of good men and women in this world who are willing to be protectors with little or no reward. Police officers, military personnel, firefighters. But the idea of defending the weaker among us doesn’t have to be limited to those in uniform. It starts with each and every one of us. If we are capable of it, we should want to protect others. It should be second nature. Sadly it isn’t.

The truth is there’s a lot of predators out there. I could write an entire discourse on why this is so but, since this is a blog and not a book, I won’t. In any group of people, regardless of age, ethnicity, or background, there will always be punks who want to prey on the weakest links. Yeah, I know, it sucks to be human. They’re the kind who give Homo sapiens a bad name in the universe.

And not all predators are your garden variety thugs and rapists. There are, as Bernie Madoff and Rod Blagojevich have shown us, plenty of sharks and hyenas with nice haircuts and expensive suits. And they’re just as dangerous as the thugs, if not more so.

I care about crime and crime prevention because it all impacts me in the end. If people weren’t so self-absorbed and short-sighted, they’d realize that because of crime, we all have to pay. Higher prices at stores because of shoplifters. Higher property taxes to hire more police officers and build more prisons. More polluted earth and water because of people moving farther and farther away from cities to escape crime. And so on and so forth. Crime impacts everyone, especially the law-abiding.

I plan on staying a law-abiding citizen. No amount of despair would be enough to make me want to ruin my life by knocking over a convenience store for a few hundred bucks (remember that guy a week or so ago who robbed a bank just so he could get free health care in jail?) Besides, I’d never hear the end of it from my friends and family.

The original, still the greatest

At the risk of sounding cliched, I’m not suggesting every man, woman and child in America become a Dirty Harry-styled vigilante in order to fight the rising levels of crime. Let law enforcement do their jobs…that’s what they get paid to do. On the other hand, if I were a criminal, I’d be a lot less likely to bother Mr. or Mrs. John Q. Citizen if I knew there was a possibility he or she might kick my ass or blow me away. An armed society, after all, is a polite society. I’ve always been very pro-Second Amendment and I plan on staying that way, provided proper safety and training are taught.

My advice to everyone would be to remain vigilant. Trust, as the proverb goes, but verify. You’re much less likely to be a target if you have your eyes and ears open. Walk in pairs or in groups, especially if you’re a woman. Invest in some self-defense training (you’ll be glad you did.) Take safety precautions at home. If you’re a pet lover, adopt a guardian breed dog at your local animal shelter. Make eye contact with strangers. Keep a weapon, even a pepper spray can, where you can find it.

I don’t want to see a society in which everyone is distrustful of one another and paranoid of strangers. That’s not what America should be about. But it never hurts to be prepared. The Boy Scouts have that part right.

As for whether or not I feel lucky, I still do. I’m as prepared as one might ever be. It’s the others I worry about…but I know I can help protect if I ever need to. It’s just the right thing to do and there’s nothing cliched about that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on June 29, 2011.

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