Progressives are, in many ways, predictable. They seek ultimate power, and understand the only way it can eventually be seized is through complete disarmament of law-abiding Americans. So gun control, in whatever way possible in the blowing political winds of the moment, is a never-ending priority.
To this end, the demonization and trivialization of their eternal enemies—Americans that embrace liberty and the Constitution—is essential. Gun owners, and non-gun owners that respect all of the Constitution, are consistently portrayed as potential terrorists, criminals, mentally unstable, and always, fearful and paranoid, a meme taken up by Politico:
The National Rifle Association’s new spot is aimed at people who are already afraid, and hammers Hillary Clinton for wanting to leave them defenseless.
The gun rights group said it’s spending $5 million to run the spot on national cable and on regional stations in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia. The ad does not mention Donald Trump, who the group endorsed in May. But it does dovetail with messages that both he and the NRA have delivered before, casting Clinton as an elitist who would take away individuals’ guns while benefiting from armed protection herself.
The ad, called “Nightstand,” shows a woman, alone in bed, awakened in the night by an intruder. She dashes for a landline phone, and a gun stored in a safe. But it fades away before she can grab it.
A narrator says the average 911 response time is 11 minutes.
‘Hillary Clinton would take away her right to self defense, and with Supreme Court justices, Hillary can,’ the narrator says. ‘Don’t let Hillary leave you protected with nothing but a phone.
“People who are already afraid…” Actually, they’re people who understand reality and make reasonable preparations to protect their lives and the lives of those they love. By all means, take the link and view the ad. The woman depicted therein has her handgun in an electronically opened safe across her bedroom. I suspect the NRA is trying to avoid giving anti-liberty types any opening for criticism. It would be far more effective to place such a safe, if one finds the need for one, on a nightstand at bedside, but that’s a tactical rather than a political issue. More important is the reality of police response.
Police response times are highly variable dependent on geography, police staffing levels, and a variety of other factors. There is no central clearinghouse for this particular statistic. Police agencies are not required to compile or report this information to anyone, and all have a vested interest in reporting such things as favorably as possible. Simply put, some exaggerate, some outright lie.
Here’s a relative sampling from IJR.com:
The DOJ reported a national average of 11 minutes in 2013. However, in 2008 (apparently the most recent data), the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that response time for violent crimes ranged from less than five minutes, to more than 24 hours. The DOJ also reported in 1989 there were 168,881 “crimes of violence” where police response was longer than an hour. It has long been known that Detroit reports an average response time of about 58 minutes. It’s likely substantially longer.
“Response time” is a nebulous standard. Does it mean the time from the moment an officer receives a call until they report they have arrived? Such a time can be quite optimistic. Consider this example, using the scenario from the NRA ad, which is far more common than many wish to admit:
A woman, at home alone, in bed, hears noises and sees a shadow passing her bedroom window. Someone is trying to break in. From the time she picks up the phone until a dispatcher connects with her can take a minute or more, if she accurately dials in the first place, and if the emergency services lines aren’t so overwhelmed she can’t get through (that happens in some urban areas). It will take an additional thirty seconds to a minute for the woman to communicate what’s happening and for the dispatcher to radio or keyboard the call via computer to officers. Only then does the “response time” clock for many agencies begin, but from 90 seconds to two minutes have already elapsed from the moment the woman detected the danger and was able to formulate action in response.
The time necessary for an officer to arrive depends entirely on where they are in relation to the location of the call, time of day, road and weather conditions and traffic patterns. Officers can’t blow through intersections at 80 MPH. They have to crawl through most for safety. If they get into an accident, they have to stop right there and they don’t help anyone. When they arrive, they “call out,” announcing they’ve arrived, but that only means they’re about to put their car in park. If they’re smart, they parked some distance away, out of sight and sound–if possible–of the location. They still have to get out of their vehicle, orient themselves, approach–under cover if possible–and determine the best way to enter the residence. This will take as much as five minutes.
Most officers will not act without backup unless they have absolutely no other choice. Waiting for additional officers to arrive, which is the safest course of action, will take additional time, again, depending on the initial location of the backup officers, but for this example, let’s be generous and add only three more minutes to the overall time.
The officers decide their tactics and enter, but it will take another 3-5 minutes to safely clear an average home.
What’s the actual response time? We’ll use the supposed national average of 11 minutes as a base, and be generous. Let’s say it takes only a single minute for the woman to call and the call to reach the first responding officer. Add the 11-minute average for 12 minutes. Let’s say it takes only two minutes for the initial officer to arrive and get into position at the woman’s home, for a total of 14 minutes. Let’s add only two additional minutes for the arrival and positioning of the backup officers, and we’re already at 16 minutes. Let’s say the home is very small, and the officers are able to clear it and find the woman–or what’s left of her–in only 90 seconds. The actual “response time”–the actual time having any meaning to the victim–is 17.5 minutes.
These times are very generous. Most of the time, it would take substantially longer. In rural areas, it can take many hours for the only Deputy or Highway Patrolman available to respond to an emergency. It would surely take far less time for a determined criminal to break into a home and work his will. The aphorism–“when seconds count, the police are minutes away” remains definitive.
Consider too that our generous scenario assumes the dispatchers and police involved are uniformly intelligent and competent. There are many cases on record where dispatchers have assigned incorrect classifications to calls, making responding officers think they’re going to a mere disturbance or noise call, causing them to roll past, spotlight the place, and roll on while the victim is being raped or murdered within. In other cases, dispatchers did nothing, officers responded to the wrong place, or blew the call off.
“But that’s outrageous! They must have been sued for millions!”
No. They weren’t.
The simple, and necessary, truth is the police cannot be successfully sued for failing to protect any individual citizen. The Supreme Court, in Castlerock v. Gonzalez ruled the police have no duty to protect any individual. Their duty is only to provide general police services to the public at large. If the woman in the NRA commercial were raped or killed because the police took too long, or didn’t come at all, too bad for her and her survivors, but the police will suffer nothing but embarrassment, to whatever degree the police in her community are capable of feeling that.
Back to Politico:
While [Hillary] Clinton has made tighter gun laws, including universal background checks, a centerpiece of her campaign, she has not said she wants to ban firearms or repeal the Second Amendment. However, the NRA points to comments she made at a fundraiser that the Supreme Court is ‘wrong on the Second Amendment,’ an apparent reference to a 2008 case that affirmed an individual’s right to bear arms.
With its latest buy, the NRA has spent more than $11 million to support Trump’s candidacy, adding to its status as the biggest outside spender. The group’s previous spot highlighted that Clinton has armed protection, even as she would restrict it for others.
The case Politico glosses over is the 2008 Heller decision, wherein the Supreme Court definitively ruled, by a 5 to 4 margin, that the Second Amendment does refer to an unalienable, fundamental individual–not governmental: governments have powers, individuals have rights–right. It’s a certainly that Clinton also believes the court, by the same margin, got it wrong in the 2010 McDonald decision, where the court ruled that the Second Amendment applied, under the 14th Amendment, to the states. Both decisions were terrible blows to the anti-liberty cause, immediately invalidating many of their traditional arguments, at least for a few years.
A far more complete and accurate of Clinton’s actual comments on this issue is provided by Forbes.com:
According to The Washington Post, we are supposed to forget that in the early autumn of 2015 Hillary Clinton said the Supreme Court got it ‘wrong on the Second Amendment.’ In point of fact, we weren’t even supposed to hear her say this. Someone leaked an audio recording from a private fundraiser hosted in Greenwich Village. Better known as ‘the Village’ in New York City, this is an upscale neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan known for being stuffed with wealthy, liberal-progressives. It is a place where President Barack Obama and Hillary have gone, again and again, to raise money for their campaigns.
When Hillary said this, she was at the home of John Zaccaro, who is the widower of the late Geraldine Ferraro. Ferraro was a congresswoman and, in 1984, the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential nominee. On the recording you can hear these wealthy and/or connected people applaud after Hillary says, ‘I was proud when my husband took [the National Rifle Association] on, and we were able to ban assault weapons, but he had to put a sunset on so 10 years later. Of course [President George W.] Bush wouldn’t agree to reinstate them…. And here again, the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment. And I am going to make that case every chance I get.
“Every chance I get.” There is only one possible interpretation of Clinton’s comments: she believes there is no fundamental, unalienable right to keep and bear arms. This means there is no anti-gun measure she will not support, including confiscation and imprisonment of lawful gun owners.
Remember too, Hillary’s “Basket of Deplorables” quip, which she applied to half of Donald Trump’s supporters, which might reasonably be around half the electorate. Consider that in concert with this from CBS News:
For the final question of the first Democratic presidential debate, moderator Anderson Cooper alluded to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who said, ‘I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.’
Cooper said to the debaters, ‘You’ve all made a few people upset over your political careers. Which enemy are you most proud of?
Hillary replied, broadly smirking:
Well, in addition to the NRA, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians. Probably the Republicans.
She considers the NRA and Republicans in the same class as the Iranians. This means half of America, and not a few progressives, as a great many progressives have become new gun owners during the Obama years. A president believing half the nation her enemy, and holding all the levers of executive and judicial power, with a compliant media at her back, would be sorely tempted to invalidate any portion of the Constitution that got in her way. Barack Obama has cleared that path.
But that’s not the only possibility. Clinton explicitly supports various background check schemes, which differ from registration only by a few words or the application of creative punctuation. Perhaps she knows, perhaps she doesn’t, about the 1968 Supreme Court US v. Haynes Decision. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled, by an 8-1 margin, that convicted felons cannot be prosecuted for failing to register a gun, or for possessing an unregistered gun. It’s a violation of their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination! It’s a certainty her anti-liberty advisors and supporters know about it. That decision could easily be extended to virtually any anti-gun policy by a compliant Supreme Court, progressives being in general very weak on crime and friendly to criminals.
As to the Supreme Court and Clinton’s intentions, one need only read the dissent in Heller and the dissent in McDonald to understand the current minority would deconstruct Heller and McDonald in a heartbeat, and all they need is one more progressive justice, which Clinton would nominate, and even a Republican controlled Senate would confirm. Add two or three more, and the destruction of the Second Amendment would be accomplished for a generation, perhaps permanently.
Keep firmly in mind the Court would not need to overturn Heller or McDonald. They would merely need to rule–as they argued in their dissents–that virtually any restriction on keeping or bearing arms is inherently reasonable, and that strict scrutiny, the highest standard for judging fundamental rights cases, does not apply to the Second Amendment. This would allow the court to relegate the Second Amendment to mere ink on yellowing paper, making it without application in the lives of individual Americans. This would allow lower courts to run wild, upholding any restriction dreamed up by state legislatures or city councils, including outright bans. Tens, even hundreds, of millions of Americans would be rendered instant criminals.
The results of such a decision, which, if Hillary Clinton is elected is a certainty, would be disastrous. Not only would respect for the rule of law evaporate, Police officers would be put in the position of having to seize citizen’s guns, and law abiding citizens would inevitably be put in the position of using deadly force to resist confiscation of their guns. It is the kind of lawless progressive overreach that could easily provoke civil war and actually, eternally, split the nation.
Remember that the Second Amendment does not grant a right; no government can grant a fundamental, unalienable, natural right, nor can it take one away. It has nothing to do with hunting or sports, and is only secondarily intended to acknowledge the right to self-defense. Its primary, most important, purpose is to provide citizens with the means to resist, and if necessary, overthrow, would-be tyrants like Hillary Clinton.
It would be better to avoid the necessity.