The Washington Post is, surprisingly, contemplating the wisdom of carrying a firearm for self-defense. The article accompanying this video doesn’t quite get there. And there’s something very wrong about the events shown above. More on that after the jump. Meanwhile, credit where credit’s due: WaPo scribe Courtland Malloy isn’t ruling out armed self-defense for DC beleaguered citizens. At least not out of hand  . . .

Say you’re sitting at a bus stop in the District, alone at night, when a suspicious person approaches. There have been more than 475 robberies in the city this year — a 70 percent increase over this time last year — and many involve the theft of electronic devices such as smartphones.

But your chances of being victimized are greatly reduced because:

a. Your smartphone has a disabling device that makes it worthless to robbers.

b. More police officers have been assigned to street patrol.

c. You have a gun.

I know which answer TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia would choose for that test, being responsible people who understand the importance of self-reliance in a life-threatening situation. People who understand that a firearm is both a personal defense and a deterrent to criminals—in places where concealed carry weapons are “allowed” by government. Which they aren’t in DC.

Guess which way D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier answers the multiple choice quiz? Give up?

Police Chief Cathy Lanier believes the correct answers are (a) and (b). At a news conference last week, she said that a greater police presence has resulted in more than 100 arrests in robbery cases. In addition, police chiefs throughout the country will be lobbying the Federal Communications Commission, cellphone service providers and phone manufacturers to allow for the shutdown of stolen phones so that robbers can’t resell them on the black market.

“What’s going to stop this is stopping the profit,” Lanier said.

Sure. It’s an answer you can set your clock by. Here’s Malloy’s partial “common sense: solution:

Back to the bus stop example, which comes from a D.C. police crime report on Feb. 14: A woman was sitting at a bus stop on 11th Street NW about 1:30 a.m. when she was robbed of a laptop, cellphone, books, cash and credit cards.

Was the woman at fault for being out that late, carrying so many valuable items? Can she really expect to sit at a bus stop at any hour and not be targeted by criminals?

Risk avoidance — add that to the multiple-choice self-defense quiz.

Or, as criminals might put it, winning. Or losing, if there aren’t enough sheep to prey upon. All of which makes the correct answer all of the above, including a gun. Now, about those mask-wearing undercover cops . . .

If law enforcement officials wearing ski masks bereft of any clear indication of their police affiliation grab a suspected perp away from the scene of the crime and pull him into some sort of passage why wouldn’t he defend himself? And then get charged with resisting arrest, of course.

And what would happen if these Ninja cops happened to grab the wrong guy who had (in theory in DC) a legally registered and licensed concealed weapon? There’s a strong possibility of a gunfight at the Hell No It’s Not OK Corral.

That’s what happens in a culture without self-defense firearms: the cops lose all fear of, and consideration for, legally armed civilians. Good people go down. Armed or disarmed, collateral damage cuts both ways. Me? I’d rather be armed. And I’d have the proverbial woman at the bus stop carrying, too. You?

12 Responses to What if these DC Undercover Cops Got the Wrong Man?

  1. The problem really is undercover cops exerting their police powers. Im ok with undercover cops gathering evidence that would otherwise be difficult for a uniformed officer to get, but when they try and arrest someone or pull a gun on someone, there is just no way to know if they are really the police or not.

  2. If DC allowed CCW, I might actually visit there and spend money there.

    I’m 30 minutes away, and I’ve been to my nations capital exactly once in the past 2 years, and that was under protest!

  3. Not only would conceal carry discourage robbers, it would also discourage “police” from wearing ski masks and pulling unsuspecting passersby into dark alleys. That’s the most ghetto “police” tactic I’ve ever seen.

    I can’t imagine a lawman in Texas accepting that assignment; not necessarily out of concern that wearing ski masks and pulling people into dark alleys isn’t really what police should be doing, but from the knowledge that a ruckus would ensue. I’m fairly certain that Texas’s self-defense laws would protect a citizen who resorted to all-out fisticuffs in that situation, and if a guy in a ski mask were to produce a gun before he produced a badge, it’s legally every-man-for-himself time.

    Holy smokes.

    • Considering the astronamically high violent crime rate in DC (1,330.2 per 100,000 people, more than twice any state) any person grabbed by a masked man dragging them towards an alley would be very wise to shoot first and ask questions later. I would feel bad for any police officer shot, but if you act like a violent criminal in the most violent area of the US what do you expect? Perhaps the police should stop acting like the Gestapo or the Stazi and start acting like a civilian law enforcement agency assigned to protect the people.

      • “Perhaps the police should stop acting like the Gestapo or the Stazi and start acting like a PEACE OFFICERS assigned to protect the people.”

        Fixed.

  4. Undercover cops pretending to be civilians shouldn’t be surprised if they get treated like civilians. Blame us for believing them?

  5. I was astounded that a person could be laying face down on the subway platform and have people calmly walk around him. When I saw the passerby bend down, stupid me, I assumed he was checking on the condition of the guy, not ripping him off. I guess I’ve been out of the city for too long.

  6. “Police Chief Cathy Lanier believes the correct answers are (a) and (b). At a news conference last week, she said that a greater police presence has resulted in more than 100 arrests in robbery cases. In addition, police chiefs throughout the country will be lobbying the Federal Communications Commission, cellphone service providers and phone manufacturers to allow for the shutdown of stolen phones so that robbers can’t resell them on the black market.”

    Both of those require you to be a victim. Neither of them prevent you from getting robbed, they only talk about after the robbery. So DC Police Cheif is basically saying to shut up and be a victim, we may arrest them later after they have traumatized and victimized you. Also 100 arrests for 475 robberies does not impress me or instill confidence. I know I certainly can’t brag to my boss that I did 1/5th of my work.

    “Was the woman at fault for being out that late, carrying so many valuable items? Can she really expect to sit at a bus stop at any hour and not be targeted by criminals?”

    Yes, damn that woman for having a job that requires her to work late. It is her fault, if she was a good DC resident she would not have a job and work hard, she would live off of tax dollars. It is her fault, not the fault of the criminals, the police, the politician or society for putting up with this. When did we start blaming the victims, not the criminals?

  7. You could ask the same thing about no-knock warrants. Any society that expects innocent adults to meekly submit to having their person or property violently violated by individuals of uncertain identity as a matter of course, has the objection to that violation routinely dismissed, and the resistance to it made a crime in and of itself; is broken, perhaps past the point of redemption.

  8. Ok two things; first of all WTF!? I saw no “undercover police officers” in that video – none, whatsoever. I saw two guys in ski masks pull a third person into a side corridor which appears not to be covered by cameras.
    Secondly, I saw this after I saw several people walk by a man laying on the ground face-down in a public area. No one made any attempt to help the apparently unconscious guy.

    Now we all have to exercise common sense and situational awareness, I do carry but I guarantee you that had I seen a dude in a public area loitering in a ski mask I would have turned around, walked the other way and called the police as my preferred course of action.

    Having said that can we please set aside the issue of guns for a minute and think about how SHAMEFUL THIS WHOLE SITUATION IS? This video and the attendant facts make me ASHAMED of the state of our country right now. No one tries to help an apparently unconscious guy in a public place, jack-booted and masked THUGS grab an American citizen without identifying themselves while CONCEALING their identity!?
    Doesn’t this outright scare anyone else? I’m fairly certain that the Gestapo, the KGB and any other fascist secret police organizations started out their snatch and grab operations just like we see in this video.

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