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Discussion Starter #1
Pro gun arguements often resort to the idea that the police cannot protect you and that the courts have ruled that they have no legal obligation to do so.
To wit:

From Jeffrey R. Snyder's "A Nation of Cowards":

"The police, however, are not personal bodyguards. Rather, they act as a general deterrent to crime, both by their presence and by apprehending criminals after the fact. As numerous courts have held, they have no legal obligation to protect anyone in particular. You cannot sue them for failing to prevent you from being the victim of a crime. "

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Here in NYC news broke recently that Rev. Al Sharpton had settled with the city for $200,000.

http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/144220p-127591c.html

"The Rev. Al Sharpton, spotted on West Side yesterday afternoon, had reason to smile after city agreed to pay $200,000 to settle lawsuit over his 1991 stabbing. The city has agreed to fork over $200,000 to the Rev. Al Sharpton to settle his lawsuit accusing the NYPD of failing to protect him from being stabbed in Bensonhurst in 1991."

...and....

"Despite a large police detail assigned to protect Sharpton and his supporters, Michael Riccardi was able to get past the cops and plunge a 5-inch steak knife into the minister's chest."

I'm starting to navigate the arguementation presented by both sides of the gun control issue and I'm also trying to get some sort of foundation as to the 'facts' so I can be more critical of the claims made in my reading materials. I understand that the Sharpton case involved a civil case & settlement and as such the outcome was obstencibly based on the city's perception of a possible jury verdict, but even so, would there be any grounds for damages at all if there is no law to support the case and/or an obligation to protect life and prevent an assault that was breeched by the NYPD? Is the info used in pro-gun arguements such as "A Nation of Cowards" misleading, specious, or worded in such a way as to mask the truth?
 

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EOD Guy said:
I think that the big difference here was that there was a police detail assigned specifically to protect Sharpton.
That is correct. Does anyone remember the LAPD telling the Asian Americans who were up on the roof of their business that they were on their own. That they had to fend for themselves. This was during the LA riots.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
quote:
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Originally posted by EOD Guy
I think that the big difference here was that there was a police detail assigned specifically to protect Sharpton.
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Does that sort of thing come with a guarantee?

I mean, it seems that either they tried to protect Sharpton yet failed, or they had no intention of protecting him...allowing the assailant to attack and were thus complicit in his assault.
 

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Lovegasoline said:
Is the info used in pro-gun arguements such as "A Nation of Cowards" misleading, specious, or worded in such a way as to mask the truth?
No, because you are talking about a completely different situation where the police were contracted to provide protection for a group at a specific event. Further, you are looking at a situation where a hustler like Sharpton could cost the city far more than $200,000 just to defend against the case, not a situation where the case was decided in Sharptons favor. Had it gone to trial he would have likely lost, but the city would have had far more than $200,000 in court and legal costs. So he knew he could probably get them to settle out of court, and if he loses he still wins by being in the spotlight and generating controversy, which is his business.

PS In my opinion the best pro gun argument is to assert that people have a natural right to self defense and the means to that defense (ie weapons). Anyone who argues against it should just be killed right there. If they try to defend themselves they instantly lose the argument by either adopting your position that they have that right, or by proving that the right to defend is useless without the right to the proper means (in the case that they lose due to insufficient armament). If they dont defend themselves they lose in the ultimate sense. Yes I am kidding, and it is only a hypothetical example, but the example demonstrates its own validity.

;)
 

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As I understand it, the police have no legal duty to protect individuals from crime.

However, they took on the duty to protect Sharpton by assigning officers to him.

Sharpton then relied on their actions.
 

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There was a case in Washington DC, a woman was raped and beaten while her roomate hid and called 911. A patrol car drove by as witnessed by the roomate and proceeded on without stopping. The roomate was eventually discovered then raped and beaten. The resulting law suit against the police dept. went all the way to the Supreme Court. The ultimate ruling was in favor of the police department as it was held that the police have no obligation to provide protection to individuals. I wish I could recall the speifis more precisely, but I'm sure the ruling is accessible on the net.
 

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I don't know the specific case either, but I know that the courts have said that the police are only required to protect individuals who have a special relationship to them. That special relationship is limited to prisoners, who do not have the means or ability to protect themselves. There was a court case here in CA where an individual who had been threatened several time, later killed, had tried to get a PD to provide protection. I believe they increased patrol activity, which the deceased's relatives tried to argue established a special relationship. The court rejected that argument.

So if you're ever led into or out of court, handcuffed, and someone attacks you then the police must protect you. If you are not in custody, you have the means, right, and duty to defend yourself. Even if you are a felon. In CA the state supreme court has decided that a felon can lawfully use a gun if the gun is obtained only when it is required for self-defense, the felon had no prior plan or arrangement to acquire a gun, and the felon gets rid of it or returns it as soon as it is no longer required. The case involved a situation where someone at a party handed a felon a gun during an attempted home-invasion type scenario.

So, yes, the gun grabbers are trying to deprive people of a necessary right and replace it with a wishful-thinking lie. The fact that NYC settled this case doesn't change that. They settle a lot of unfounded cases, especially if racially charged. They don't care about throwing money around because it's not theirs. It's ours.
 

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Miscarriage of Justice

"There was a case in Washington DC, a woman was raped and beaten while her roomate hid and called 911. A patrol car drove by as witnessed by the roomate and proceeded on without stopping. The roomate was eventually discovered then raped and beaten."

You refer to Warren, Douglas, and Tagliaferro [note THREE names] v. District of Columbia. The citation is 444 A 2nd 1 (I forget the year).

Despite TWO calls to the police, and the assurance by the dispatcher to the caller that police were responding, the cops did squat. Relying upon the dispatcher's assurances, the women in hiding came out, were discovered, and all three were beaten, robbed, raped, and sodomized for hours while DC's "finest" failed to even get their spineless asses out of the cruiser.

While citing all the requirements for the "special relationship" rule to apply, all of which were more than met as shown by the facts on record, the court didn't have the stones to draw the obvious conclusion and find the cops at fault. NOTE: The case immediately following this one in the reporter also let cop negligence slide, claiming no special relationship existed.


"The resulting law suit against the police dept. went all the way to the Supreme Court."

Don't think so. I believe the Federal District Court (it's DC, remember) is as far as this travesty was taken. :barf:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The proviso of 'special relationship' makes things a little clearer...though I'm still not entirely satisfied with my understanding of the
issue, perhaps I'd need to be both a lawyer and prosecuter to fully grasp the logic.

I do not know if Sharpton has a NYC CCW permit and if he does, if he carries...does anyone know?
Whatever else this event is (and it can be read many ways on both sides of the fence) it is a good arguement for taking personal responsibility for one's own defense....not doing so got Sharpton injured and could have easily gotten him killed. ..though it's speculation that if he was carrying he could have done any better in the self defense department.

In the larger view, I may seem to be picking nits, but I'm a BABY at reading and understanding the arguements on both sides of the gun rights issue and much of what I read (even the arguements at the top of the pyramid) seems vague.
Perhaps I need to keep my eyes peeled for pro-gun arguements that reference the police protection issue with more subtlety. Arguements that gloss over the facts and try to simplify things too much tend to raise the 'red flag' of my skepticism.
This post was inspired by reading 'Nation of Cowards' recently. I kept coming across references to this piece of writing as being one of the best out there, and although I enjoyed it, it left many doubts in my mind....when the Sharpton news broke it immediately sent my mind back to the author's claim in 'Nation of Cowards'. I would have prefered he expounded a little on the nuances of his claims even at the expense of damaging the brevity of his writing...it would have made his arguement more watertight.
 

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Love:

From Jeffrey R. Snyder's "A Nation of Cowards":

"The police, however, are not personal bodyguards. Rather, they act as a general deterrent to crime, both by their presence and by apprehending criminals after the fact. As numerous courts have held, they have no legal obligation to protect anyone in particular. You cannot sue them for failing to prevent you from being the victim of a crime. "

I actually read this little essay, it was quite nice..
I will post a link for others that are interested.

http://www.rkba.org/comment/cowards.html
 

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Lovegasoline said:
In the larger view, I may seem to be picking nits, but I'm a BABY at reading and understanding the arguements on both sides of the gun rights issue and much of what I read (even the arguements at the top of the pyramid) seems vague.
Perhaps I need to keep my eyes peeled for pro-gun arguements that reference the police protection issue with more subtlety. Arguements that gloss over the facts and try to simplify things too much tend to raise the 'red flag' of my skepticism.
I dont understand why you want to pretend it is so complicated. It really is as simple as, "Do human beings have the right to defend themselves and the right to possess the means to that defense or not?" Its not rocket science.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
"Do human beings have the right to defend themselves and the right to possess the means to that defense or not?"

Many legislators and big swaths of the public, unfortunately, appear not swayed by your arguement Mus.
The city I live in does not believe that I have the right to defend myself by use of a privately owned pistol when I exit my home and enter into public space (although that right is legally exercised by a select minority). If I felt the issue could be resolved via your statement alone, I would be more than pleased. Don't get me wrong, I agree with your statement and its simplicity. However, my opponents are not persuaded...all roads may lead back to that concept, but getting there is another issue. Legislators state a variety of reasons for denying me that right; and one reason presents me with the existence of the institution of the police to defend me. If in the future I expect to lucidly debunk that assertion, I need to have the facts to make my case. And if the facts are more nuanced than they first appear, then I want to relentlessly follow them to their source until I can wring the practical truth out of them and display them clearly. Once the issue of the right to keep and bear is raised, legislators and politicians who oppose gun rights will start reciting their litany of reasons in opposition and I want to be able to slap the truth into their faces. I want to make certain my arguements are accurate and not merely a repetition of broad declarations rooted in vagaries.
It's a matter of doing a little reading and then plugging in knowledge/experience/events as they appear to merit further examination until I can make better sense of what is true and what is apochryphal.

I'm still unclear just what the level of responsibility and liability is when LEOs (ex. NYPD) take on an assignment to protect a citizen and the citizen is subsequently the victim of a violent crime.
One thing I have learned from the Sharpton case is that, liable or not, the police can fail in their responsibility to protect a citizen from a violent crime, even when they are professionally focused on that one specialized task alone. Sacrifice and duty, as well as skill, have their bounds. That alone throws the burden of self defense back to the sole responsibility of the soveriegn citizen.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
chinafltsailor said:
I don't know the specific case either, but I know that the courts have said that the police are only required to protect individuals who have a special relationship to them. That special relationship is limited to prisoners, who do not have the means or ability to protect themselves.
I wonder if by that logic I can be considered a prisoner...the city has denied me the constitutional right to own and bear arms thereby leaving me without the means to protect myself; and by doing so the city accepts full responsibility and liability for my safety :p

Seriously though, if the anti-gun contingent asserts that the police will protect me, are they willing to embrace the repercussions of that logic by making the police/state accept full responsibility and liability for my safety in regards to violent crime?
 

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No, the anti-gun contingent isn't willing to accept any such responsibility. They are intentionally lying to you and your life means nothing to them.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You know Chinafltsailer, that might just be the cold, hard, naked truth.
That the concept of 'citizen' is obsolete. The Power Elite has their guns, their rights to own and bear and/or their body guards.
Is my welfare and my life of any profound concern to them...and if it is, where does it reside on their hierarchy of significance?
A chilling thought.
 

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Lovegasoline said:
Many legislators and big swaths of the public, unfortunately, appear not swayed by your arguement Mus.
Well hopefully more of them will see the light before its necessary to resort to violence to retain our rights.

Lovegasoline said:
That the concept of 'citizen' is obsolete. The Power Elite has their guns, their rights to own and bear and/or their body guards.
No doubt they want to make it obsolete. If you arent a citizen and you pay taxes what are you? A slave.

Lovegasoline said:
Is my welfare and my life of any profound concern to them...and if it is, where does it reside on their hierarchy of significance?
It is in a larger sense, and Im sure it falls in place much like where feeding the livestock would to a rancher. But like a rancher the welfare of the herd as a whole is more important than individual animals, and you will expect to lose some to predators and disease over the longterm. Its all about the bottom line.

Lovegasoline said:
A chilling thought.
Indeed.
 
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