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Just Dial 911? The Myth of Police Protection

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posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 01:08 AM
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This is a good article from a Washington D.C lawyer on the actual legal expectations the public citizen should have regarding the duty of law enforcement agencies in responding to calls of crimes in progress.

Just Dial 911? The Myth of Police Protection

Richard Stevens is a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and author of Dial 911 and Die (Mazel Freedom Press, 1999).

Underlying all “gun control” ideology is this one belief.” “Private citizens don’t need firearms because the police will protect them from crime.” That belief is both false and dangerous for two reasons.

First, the police cannot and do not protect everyone from crime.

Second, the government and the police in most localities owe no legal duty to protect individuals from criminal attack.

This varies from state to state (including D.C.), but even in governmental bodies areas known for their extremely liberal populations and legislatures, it applies and is written into their actual laws.


The District of Columbia’s highest court spelled out plainly the “fundamental principle that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen.”(5)


A Kansas statute precludes citizens from suing the government or the police for negligently failing to enforce the law or for failing to provide police or fire protection.


A California law states that “neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for failure to establish a police department or otherwise provide police protection service.”(6) As one California appellate court wrote, “police officers have no affirmative statutory duty to do anything.”(7)


The government is responsible for protecting the collective but not the individual. What is the difference?

Many states evade liability by relying on the ironically named “public duty” doctrine. Like a George Orwell slogan, that doctrine says: police owe a duty to protect the public in general, but not to protect any particular individual.

The general rule of law in the United States is that government owes a duty to protect the public in general, but owes no legal duty to protect any particular person from criminal attack. Neither the U.S. Constitution nor the federal civil rights laws require states to protect citizens from crime. As a federal appeals court bluntly put it, ordinary citizens have “no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen.”(11)


So, if you feel that calling 911 and putting your trust into a government entity that has no legal responsibility to protect you, and in some cases are not liable at all if they do not arrive at all, that it your prerogative. I can respect that position. It is the right decision for you, and no reason or explanation is necessary. However, not everyone shares that viewpoint or perspective. All I (we) that cherish our 2nd amendment protections ask for is reciprocal respect for our decisions to keep and bear arms to take that responsibility upon ourselves.

In many areas of this vast country, a response to a 911 call may take a very long time, too long to save one or more lives. Those that cannot rely upon swift response need to take that responsibility upon themselves to protect self and family (and neighbors/friends) without waiting for the arrival of the police. If you live in an area where you can regularly get rapid response to a 911 call to save your lives, then perhaps you do not feel the need to take that responsibility upon yourselves. However, that is not the case for everyone.

Even in some of the very liberal jurisdictions around this country take this legal position, such as:

A Massachusetts statute spells out the rule there: the government has no legal duty “to provide adequate police protection, prevent the commission of crimes, investigate, detect or solve crimes, identify or apprehend criminals or suspects, arrest or detain suspects, or enforce any law.”(8)


So, what does the police recommend if they cannot guarantee you personal protection? In a very tragic and preventable case, in the very firearms restrictive state of Massachusetts when a piece of paper fails to protect someone?

The Massachusetts court in Ford v. Town of Grafion held the city was not liable. The court order that was supposed to restrain James and protect Catherine did not amount to an “assurance of safety or assistance” from the police department. According to the court, when the police advised Catherine “to get a gun for protection,” that was a warning to her that the police were unable to assure her safety or protect her. Because she got no assurances of safety from the police, she had no legal right to rely on the police to protect her.

Case dismissed.


If we are to have respectful discussion on this issue, then we all need to get informed about not only the existing laws already on the books, but also the obligations the police have in regards to replying to an emergency call.

Knowledge and Respect (not emotions) will allow us to discuss this topic to find a suitable middle ground that attempts to mitigate the risk. The ability to understand and accept that there is not such thing as 100% safety in life will also help. All we can do is reduce the risk by using common sense approaches such as (but not limited to):

  • situational awareness
  • acceptance of risk
  • prioritizing the risk based upon actual real probability of that risk actually becoming life threatening
  • understanding the existing firearms restrictions (laws) in place already
  • understanding the media is only looking to make $$$, and fear makes them that money
  • life is precious, we should do what we can to protect it without restricting the constitutional protections for everyone
  • not react in a knee-jerk manner, based upon media generated fear
  • understand the proper terminology of firearms (i.e. the difference between semi-auto and auto)
  • understand the protections afforded by the United States Constitution
  • use the mechanisms in place if constitutional amendments are needed


edit on 11/15/2017 by Krakatoa because: spelling

edit on 11/15/2017 by Krakatoa because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 01:14 AM
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a reply to: Krakatoa

In LA, the police served the Elite first. During the LA Riots, many working class Koreans and other minorities were abandoned by the police because the police ended up guarding Hollyweird and other rich areas leaving them to fend for themselves.

The reason why the riots stopped was due to the National Guard coming in to restore order.



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 01:16 AM
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originally posted by: starwarsisreal
a reply to: Krakatoa

In LA, the police served the Elite first. During the LA Riots, many working class Koreans and other minorities were abandoned by the police because the police ended up guarding Hollyweird and other rich areas leaving them to fend for themselves.

The reason why the riots stopped was due to the National Guard coming in to restore order.


And that resulted in some of the Korean business owners defending themselves and business from looters by using firearms.



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 01:17 AM
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a reply to: Krakatoa

be careful what you wish for :

just think about this for a second

" what if " :

the police // govt had a duty to protect the individual

the first obvious questions :

from what ?

it ammuses me that people cite these rulings - while being utterly oblivious to what they actually mean

PS - dont get me started on the people who complain when the govet attempts to mandate even the most reasonable actions for public protection
edit on 15-11-2017 by ignorant_ape because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 01:19 AM
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originally posted by: ignorant_ape
a reply to: Krakatoa

be careful what you wish for :

just think about this for a second

" what if " :

the police // govt had a duty to protect the individual

the first obvious questions :

from what ?

it ammuses me that people cite these rulings - while being utterly oblivious to what they actually mean

PS - dont get me started on the people who complain when the govet attempts to mandate even the most reasonable actions for public protection


Sorry, I don't quite follow you on that? Could to clarify it a bit more for me please?



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 01:21 AM
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If we are to have respectful discussion on this issue, then we all need to get informed about not only the existing laws already on the books, but also the obligations the police have in regards to replying to an emergency call.

Police aren't the first people on the scene, victims are.

You want to defend yourself, instead of grabbing a phone, grab a firearm.



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 01:24 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr

If we are to have respectful discussion on this issue, then we all need to get informed about not only the existing laws already on the books, but also the obligations the police have in regards to replying to an emergency call.

Police aren't the first people on the scene, victims are.

You want to defend yourself, instead of grabbing a phone, grab a firearm.



I agree, 100%. Do not misunderstand the OP on this perspective. I am NOT advocating for more government protections at all. Only trying to provide knowledge on what their legal obligations are to provide an educated discussion.



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 01:33 AM
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a reply to: Krakatoa

No problem, just chiming in...

Typicallty by the time a call is placed it is already an emergency. Whatever is happening is already happening.

The police are going to respond eventually, but they are "responders" , not preventers.


The Massachusetts court in Ford v. Town of Grafion held the city was not liable. The court order that was supposed to restrain James and protect Catherine did not amount to an “assurance of safety or assistance” from the police department. According to the court, when the police advised Catherine “to get a gun for protection,” that was a warning to her that the police were unable to assure her safety or protect her.


Restraining orders aren't bullet proof. Police cannot be liable for protecting everyone all the time. They know this. Thats why the advice to get a firearm for protection. The problem with that from a police perspective, is the more firearms at the scene the more dangerous they perceive their job to be.

As far as they are concerned, the less firearms in public hands, the less chance they will be injured or killed.

Same with the people that pass the laws.



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 01:39 AM
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a reply to: intrptr

That pretty much sums it up, they are responders not preventors, that should inform any thinking person with all the knowledge they need when dealing with police.



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 01:56 AM
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originally posted by: hopenotfeariswhatweneed
a reply to: intrptr

That pretty much sums it up, they are responders not preventors, that should inform any thinking person with all the knowledge they need when dealing with police.

There are scenarios and there are scenarios. 'IF' one is lucky to wake up in the middle of the night to the sounds of home invaders coming thru a door, and 'IF' they can get to a firearm, load it and prepare themselves for whats coming, and 'IF' they have a little extra time after all that, then also call 911.

Otherwise don't bother, the sound of the phone call might alert the intruders to your presence. If that happens you can always say,"I'm armed, and oh yah, police are on their way".



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 02:01 AM
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a reply to: intrptr

I have a dog. So do my neighbors.
Golden retriever but he barks at just about everything. I know about it when someone (anyone) gets within 50 yards of my yard.

(Shut up Tucker!)
edit on 11/15/2017 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 02:08 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: intrptr

I have a dog.
Golden retriever but he barks at just about everything.

So how do you know its an actual threat or not?

The preferred guard dog sits quietly until the intruder is all the way in the house, then goes 'nuts'..



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 02:11 AM
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a reply to: intrptr




So how do you know its an actual threat or not?

Thing is, I pay attention every time, at night.

Funny story;
One night my previous Golden (Jason) went really nuts one night, like I'd never heard before. I was lazy ("Shut up, Jason!").

Next morning it turned out that I had left my car unlocked in my driveway and was ripped off. I pay attention to my dog now. Bigly.

Oh, the asshole got my flip phone and prescription sunglasses.

edit on 11/15/2017 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 02:19 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: intrptr

I have a dog. So do my neighbors.
Golden retriever but he barks at just about everything. I know about it when someone (anyone) gets within 50 yards of my yard.

(Shut up Tucker!)


Good for you Phage. That is your choice. Others choose differently.



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 02:23 AM
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a reply to: Phage

This is gonna hurt, people that would target you will cater for the dog, a steak laced with poison will achieve the desired result.



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 02:26 AM
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a reply to: hopenotfeariswhatweneed

Yeah, well. If my dog (and the others in the neighborhood) winds up dead of poison I won't sleep well for a while. For more than one reason.

I'm glad I don't have to live in fear but I have nothing against gun ownership in the name of personal protection.

edit on 11/15/2017 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 02:30 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: intrptr




So how do you know its an actual threat or not?


Funny story;
One night my previous Golden (Jason) went really nuts one night, like I'd never heard before. I was lazy ("Shut up, Jason!").


You should arm your dog. Seems laziness isn't a factor for Jason. You might still have your property if you merely had transferred your personal responsibility to your dog.

What if your neighbor was in trouble or something?

Why does Jason even bother?
edit on E30America/ChicagoWed, 15 Nov 2017 02:38:03 -060011amWednesdayth02am by EternalShadow because: add/correction



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 02:31 AM
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a reply to: Phage

I'm not sure I'm against it either, I've seen first hand what happens if the dog is good at its job, I guess it's like circumventing gun laws, no defense is fool proof.



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 02:35 AM
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a reply to: starwarsisreal

More BS by liberal media,I live in So Calif,I have never had a problem with the police here,they are very diligent,liberals complain about police,yet they are the 1st ones they call



posted on Nov, 15 2017 @ 02:36 AM
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a reply to: EternalShadow

He's a golden retriever. A golden retriever.

Awesome companion and burglar alarm, nothing more.



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