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It was not very many years ago that the common refrain echoed by the media after any self defense shooting was that the police advise against “taking the law into your own hands” along with the obligatory “leave it to the professionals.” It’s hard to know how much of this reflected actual police attitudes, and how much was what the media wished to portray as police attitudes, but that was conventional wisdom. Over the last two decades, however, that stance has changed. Now, much more often, we hear comments like, “homeowners have a right to defend themselves”; “you will have to protect yourself and your family”; and “get training so that you can do the right thing” . . .

There was a shooting incident this week during a home invasion in little Centuria, Wisconsin, not far from the Minnesota border. An article on the defensive gun use was titled, “Law enforcement pushes self-defense education for gun owners”.


Eau Claire police officer Kyle Roder says law enforcement is working to make sure people are educated when it comes to self-defense.

“We think people understand the law and know their rights, however, we are very diligent in making sure that they use the proper precautions so as long as we have a public who understands that and is safe, we don’t have this issue,” says Roder.

In the incident, an intruder kicked in a home owner’s door. The resident was on the way to the door, armed with a handgun when the intruder gained entrance. The attacker, Derek Amoroso, was shot in the groin after attacking the resident.

While the benefits of an armed population have long been understood in most rural American communities, urban centers are starting to get the message, too from big city police chiefs like Detroit’s Chief James Craig and urban county Sheriff’s such as Milwaukee County’s Sheriff David Clarke.

The Chippewa County District Attorney said:

“An individual has the right, under the Castle Doctrine to defend their home. You are presumed to act in defense under the new Castle Doctrine law if someone is breaking into your home, so whatever weapon you use to protect yourself with, you’re presumed to be acting in self-defense,” says Gibbs. 

“Always call the authorities and cooperate with the authorities and use deadly force as a last resort,” says Gibbs.

What we are seeing is the climate about an armed population changing. Specifically and most importantly, police attitudes are changing, or perhaps being allowed to be expressed, in support of an armed population. Rural areas have commonly had this synergy, and have had far lower crime rates than urban centers.

Armed Americans and police are natural allies and complement each other. Law abiding people support law and order and peaceful resolution of disputes. It is those who wish radical “change” at any price, who support the overthrow of Constitutional law and lawless rioting in response to legal outcomes that they disapprove of. Police benefit greatly from an armed population that backs them up, and acts as their eyes and ears.

The true “first responders” are armed Americans, and their job should be to hold out until the police arrive. That is one reason criminals tend to flee.  They know that armed backup, in the form of police, is usually on the way. Police are part of the criminal justice system that arrests and processes the criminals after the fact. They may not be good at preventing crimes at the scene, but you have to have a way to process criminals after they are apprehended.

In rural America, this complementary nature of police and armed Americans has a long tradition, and is growing stronger. I predict that more and more urban areas will come to see these benefits and will encourage this development. An early indicator to watch would be the police encouraging and/or offering classes in the use of deadly force to civilians.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

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  1. I just wish we had a real Castle Doctrine again. It was originally not just the right to defend your home, but a bar against no-knock warrants, violent entry by police, destruction of your property during police “searches”, and the like. The point was that you were sovereign in your own home, and the government had to tread very carefully when entering, and was just not permitted to invade and destroy; defense against criminals was part of it because the point was that the government violating your castle made them criminals.

    Now if cops will start standing up for that as well, we might have a chance at getting our Republic back.

  2. I believe that the vast majority of police dissaproval of gun rights and self defense comes from the few at the top. The chiefs that are more pol than cop. They set the “official” policy of their departments and control the message given to the media.

    • Agreed, Police Chiefs, unlike Sheriffs, are hired administrators. If they want to keep their cushy jobs and perks they will parrot the lines they are given whether those are their actual opinions or not. Dressing up in a third world dictator’s uniform with lots of gold braid and stars on their collars doesn’t make them more than human.

  3. “An individual has the right, under the Castle Doctrine…”
    False, an individual had such a right as a human being. Rights do not come from laws. In a just society it is the other way around. Any society that fails to recognize basic human rights as inherent to bring alive is a dying society, which is the exact problem America has been slipping into. Maybe this is the stay of a slip out of that.

    Fingers crossed. At least in spirit, it’s hard to eat with actual crossed fingers.

    Edit: don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing. All steps in the right direction are positive. But even once we get there we will be on a ceaseless treadmill trying to pull us back.

    • Corrected original statement:
      ‘An individual’s inherent right to defend themselves, their property, and their family are legally represented by the castle doctrine.’
      Although I wouldn’t blame the guy who said the simplified version. It’s simpler to read than a corrected statement.

  4. Wealthy cities who can afford (or think that they can afford) large police forces, like NY, won’t go for this. Place like Detroit, on the other hand, are so far gone the cops HAVE to think outside their usual box. Milwaukee is interesting – it’s a blue city in a purple state with a strong hunting tradition.

    The Gun Control argument is also easier to make in high-density NY – not saying it’s right, but it has a lot more superficial appeal. In Detroit, there’s a lot more single family detached dwellings.

    • Re: NYC
      “Animals can be driven crazy by placing too many in too small a pen. Homo sapiens is the only animal that voluntarily does this to himself.”
      Robert A. Heinlein

  5. I think the “leave it to the professionals.” part has played it’s self out.. Cops shooting their wives, accidental discharges while shifting their weapon.., shooting barking dogs, shooting people on paper routes while looking for another ” professional” who went rogue.. All this elitism and training has shown me that calling the cops could prove hazardous to the health and well being of anyone in the general area.

    • It goes along with what I posted below. Cops are people. They’re the same people as all of the other U.S. civilian citizens. There’s no actual reason to believe that they are more honest or more moral than the population on average. There’s certainly no reason to believe they are more peaceful or even-tempered, etc. Police officers commit felonies at basically the same rate as the general population. Which, actually, is to say at a rate much higher than concealed carry permit holders. For whatever reason, CCW holders are an extremely law-abiding bunch, as has been shown in the careful statistics kept by Texas, Florida, and other states for over a decade. They (maybe I should say “we”) appear to commit crimes of any severity at a rate like 1/11th to 1/20th the rate of the general population. That applies both to arrest rates alone and prosecution rates. Much, much lower than the norm.

      • “For whatever reason”? It’s because of the sense of accountability. Cops carry guns, but their near-immunity from the law means that they (frequently) don’t treat the carrying of a firearm with the necessary respect and weight. On the other hand, armed citizens have no such protection, and know full well that any misuse of their weapons on their part will bring the full might of the US justice system down on them, so of course they are more responsible.

  6. “Armed Americans and police are natural allies…”

    They’re supposed to be one-in-the-same. Police are civilians. They are not supposed to have rights or powers that any other civilian/citizen doesn’t also have. We simply chose at some point to make law enforcement a profession and have certain citizens doing it as a job full-time. Any citizen can technically perform an arrest. A police officer must receive a warrant and have judicial permission to do various acts, which should be for anything beyond what any non-police citizen can legally do themselves. Police should not have access to firearms or equipment that isn’t also legal for other civilians. Their primary reason for having a firearm — defense from criminals — is the same reason any other citizen may choose to own and carry a firearm. Police are walking the same streets everybody else does and they are exposed to the exact same criminals as anyone else is. Therefore, the firearms, ammunition, gear, etc that the police so very carefully test and select as being the best equipment for their personal defense makes perfect sense for you and I to also have for our defense. If 7 rounds is “more than enough” for me to defend myself and I’m legally banned from having more, then why do the police in that same jurisdiction carry 17 in their pistols? The criminal kicking down my door is the exact same guy the police defend themselves from as well. Except I don’t have backup and don’t make a practice of wearing a pistol and extra magazines on my belt and body armor on my chest everywhere I go.

    • Actually, you do have backup. That’s what 911 is: professional law-enforcement backup available to everyone who calls. It may not arrive with the same alacrity and force of arms as it does when the police call each other for support, but it’s still backup.

      Still, point made: the police don’t face any criminals that some peaceful citizen hasn’t already faced (and suffered from). It’s nice to see police starting to be honest about the fact that even with the most effective possible backup force, law-abiding people are always on point by themselves when trouble pops up–and that we all have the right to do whatever we must to keep self and others safe until backup arrives.

      • You aren’t wrong, but I still entirely discount the idea that the police are your backup. It has been very well established that the police are under NO obligation whatsoever to protect other citizens. Courts right up to the SCOTUS have ruled as such, and there are examples where police literally stood by and watched an innocent victim get attacked, carved up, and even murdered because they were afraid of being injured themselves so they stayed back and watched. This is fine for them to do. Even if they’re THERE. They certainly have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to rush to your house or even to respond at all.

        Besides, average response time to an emergency (e.g. active home invasion) in a major city, where cops are close, is like 6 minutes. If you’re in the suburbs or rural, you’re way into double digit minutes. Even in the scenario where police are doing the very best they can and legitimately want to help you (and I do think that’s most of the time) and rush to provide you with that backup, they still usually arrive only in time to take a report. The BG is gone. Maybe they’re drawing your chalk outline. The cop’s job is to report and then they’ll investigate and such. It’s NOT to actively protect you.

        On the other hand, cops DO have backup because they obviously back each other up as absolute, unquestionable priority #1 plus they often work in pairs or more so they literally have physical backup everywhere at all times in that case.

      • I think the woman who was attacked and raped by her ex-boyfriend in Oregon last year would disagree that police are there as “backup”. She called 911 and was told there weren’t any cops available due to budget cuts. The 911 dispatcher actually told her “if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away?” If that’s what passes for backup, then you’re better off on your own.

    • Hell, I’d even argue that the average cop faces LESS of a threat than the average non-LEO (I refuse to play into their hands by referring to non-LEO’s as “civilians”, as it implies that cops are soldiers). Not only do cops carry an array of defense tools in full view on their belts (taser, mace, baton, gun, etc), but crimes against a cop carry far harsher penalties than crimes against a random non-LEO.

  7. It may take a while but enough urban exposure to reality will handily trump grabbers’ propaganda…if self defense events are reported accurately…without slanting the events and results toward an anti-gun theme as is soften done by ‘authorities spokesmen/women’ and media in places like metro and urban CA.

  8. Mr. Weingarten should also have pointed out the incredible results of the survey at the PoliceOne website.

    More than 15,000 verified active and retired police officers responded to a survey with overwhelming support (on the order of 95% in some categories) for armed good people. I think that survey really emphasizes the point of this story.

    Here is a link for anyone who wants to see the results themselves:

    • That’s one point… if one conducts an actual survey of police officers (NOT politically appointed chiefs, commissioners, etc) you will find that they’d much rather you know how to defend yourself. This has been true as long as I’ve been around, and probably long before then. But when the media wants to talk to someone, the go to the chief or the spokesman. In fact regular officers can get in deep caca for talking about such things to the press.

      The second point I’d mention is that there’s a difference between defending your home/family and going out to prowl your neighborhood looking for potential muggers.

  9. My old agency has citizen police academies.
    One night a week for about 8 weeks and a couple Saturday’s tossed in for things like firearms.
    For just that purpose.
    Classes are almost always full.

      • Haha. Nope. I was outside of that.
        But I know of one agency in Washington County that still has the courses.

        • Must be the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
          Actually, we’ve got a pretty good sheriff in Lane County.
          Sheriff’s, as you know, are the ELECTED, chief law enforcement officer in a county.
          In Oregon, however, he does not have control over his own budget, making him a virtual slave to the County
          It would be a plus, I think, to divorce the county general budget from the sheriff’s budget, and let the citizens vote on the sheriff’s budget SEPERATE from the county budget, thus returning control over law enforcement back to the sheriff.

          • “Sheriff’s, as you know, are the ELECTED, chief law enforcement officer in a county.
            In Oregon, however, he does not have control over his own budget, making him a virtual slave to the County

            I know two of the commissioners here, and they say in Oregon the only thing commissioners can do is reject or accept the sheriff’s budget. If they reject it, it becomes a campaign issue. From their point of view, they really have no control over the sheriff’s budget because they can’t do anything about specific items.
            So the last sheriff here bought fancy expensive SUVs and other toys, and there wasn’t anything they could do unless they were willing to send all the deputies home because no money for pay.

  10. If someone breaks into your house, threatens you and your family, you have the right to shoot him in the dick.

  11. By the way we have to stop calling police “first responders”. They are not. We the People are the true first responders. Rather, police, firefighters, and paramedics are professional responders.

  12. Police chiefs generally speaking lean against gun rights and for gun control because they answer to a mayor and city council, both of whom can fire or demote them, and the urban areas tend to be very anti-gun. Sheriffs answer to their constituents, and are in generally rural areas where people are much more pro-gun, so sheriffs are generally very pro gun rights and anti gun control.

  13. Call me a pervert but I want to know the rest of the story. What was the bad guy shot in the crotch with?

  14. To your point: there is a small Ohio town whose police station advertises CPL CLASSES held within. I’d say that is police supporting their community. Its a beautiful thing.

  15. Several of the CPL courses in my area are taught by local police officers. To a man I have heard each of them say to new shooters “we can’t get to you fast enough in an emergency. It is up to you to defend yourself”.
    My wife’s family includes half a dozen LEO’s and I don’t know a single one of them who isn’t in favor of citizens owning/carrying guns.

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