The role of police in society

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Via Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit), this interesting cartoon by Michael Ramirez:The Shield

The good professor goes on to make the reasonable point that the police don’t protect victims from crime, they protect criminals from the retaliation of victims and their families.  This is actually similar to the role that lawsuits play in the civil world–instead of getting your friends to beat up and steal from someone who harmed you, you can submit your complaint to an expensive, protracted process in which nobody suffers physically.  Interestingly, some placed (especially in the South) actually enacted laws permitting you to sue for insults, not so much because of rampant rudeness, but because they were passing laws outlawing dueling at the same time.  The violent process for redress was replaced with a non-violent one.  The origins of this are ancient; the Bible identifies the sons of Aaron as judges to resolve disputes without vendettas, and amazingly, even prescribes filing fees (to be paid in livestock).

Those of us who take self-protection seriously know police aren’t about saving your family from crime.  As the saying goes, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”  That’s not a slam on cops; it’s just reality in a world where we don’t have them–or want them!–in our driveways 24/7.  The most we can hope for the majority of the time is investigation and deterrent effects.

That cowering family bothers me for that reason.  At a minimum, Dad should be standing between his family and danger.  And really, mom should be just as ready.  She’s going to spend a lot of time away from Dad, and guns are the great equalizer when it comes to physical strength.  To pretend that the police are a shield for the average person is fatuous, is the basis for all moronic “gun control” legislation, and depends entirely on living in a society where decent behavior is the norm.  If civil society breaks down and crime becomes widespread, self-defense will be SOP, just as it has been historically.  That will be good for exactly no one.

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