My sergeant and I interviewed the homeowner, assuring him his actions resulted from fearing for his life against serious bodily injury or death. A responding investigator queried as to whether we had "coached" the victim. But our position was more about the proper assimilation of facts and fears than dishonest motives. No point in the victim being a victim… twice.This attitude is the opposite of the idea that all police are out to put as many people in prison, no matter what.
The next day the body of a young man was found behind the homeowner’s shed, killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest. It was later determined the deceased was part of the three-man robbing crew that had threatened the homeowner the previous day and had committed over 30 burglaries in the area. There was no need to interview the homeowner again. Self defense yesterday… justifiable homicide today.
A theme that is sometimes found on the Internets is that police live to imprison as many people as they can. That has not been my experience. Police are individuals. They tend to be more cynical than most, probably from dealing with the worst in society as a regular part of their job. But most of them attempt to do the best they can at their job, most of the time. Most of them do not see maximizing the number of people in prison as their job. Most see their job as maintaining order and the rule of law.
Police and armed citizens are natural allies. Both are pushing to maintain the rule of law. They tend to support and reinforce each other. A society that maintains the rule of law has low homicide rates. Societies where the rule of law is missing have high homicide rates. Such societies are dangerous for both police and armed citizens. There are no such societies where the right to be armed is acknowledged by the government. This forces police in those societies to be antagonistic to armed victims. Even in states that are hostile to armed citizens, most street cops are sympathetic to armed citizens. The police have seen the result of disarmed citizens all too often.
Armed citizens usually see police as specialists who work for them to assist in the maintenance of the rule of law. Most police see armed citizens as allies and/or equals. These attitudes prevent police power from becoming dominant, resulting in a police state.
The Georgia police officer has the right idea. Celebrate armed citizens as part of society that maintains the rule of law. Societies that do not have this dynamic tend to accumulate more and more power in the government, with less and less residing with the citizens.
Political power is a real world zero sum game. The problem is that power in government is necessary to promote and keep the rule of law. The genius of the American Constitution is to spread that power widely and in competing institutions. It has been the best way to maintain freedom in the real world.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.