Responsibilities

While trying to think of a theme for today, I remembered an encounter I had some years ago with an anti-gun liberal. I had worked with this woman for a couple of years. I usually had little association with her outside of some planning meetings. This time, our group met outside the office for lunch at a nearby diner well-known for its quality of grease.

Somehow the conversation got around to guns. Several of us in that group were shooters. This particular woman, of course, was not and made her opinions on guns known to the group, “No one should own guns! Guns only kill! The police will protect you!”

It was that last statement that made everyone laugh which made her angrier. We then attempted to educate her that the police have NO obligation to protect her, me, any individual and there were U. S. Supreme Court decisions to support that statement. This woman refused to listen, of course.

It is time again to remind people of these facts. The police, the Sheriff, any government agency, has no responsibility to protect any individual. Here are some pertinent court decisions to prove that point.

Warren v. District of Columbia is one of the leading cases of this type. Two women were upstairs in a townhouse when they heard their roommate, a third woman, being attacked downstairs by intruders. They phoned the police several times and were assured that officers were on the way. After about 30 minutes, when their roommate’s screams had stopped, they assumed the police had finally arrived. When the two women went downstairs they saw that in fact the police never came, but the intruders were still there. As the Warren court graphically states in the opinion: “For the next fourteen hours the women were held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon each other, and made to submit to the sexual demands of their attackers.”

The three women sued the District of Columbia for failing to protect them, but D.C.’s highest court exonerated the District and its police, saying that it is a “fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.” [4] There are many similar cases with results to the same effect. [5]

Ah, but you say, that is the District of Columbia. It’s not a state but a federal enclave. It’s different for states.

Sorry, but you’re wrong. Here’s another case that originated in Colorado. It had the same result as did Warren v. DC.

 

7/15/05 SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES No. 04-278 TOWN OF CASTLE ROCK, COLORADO, PETITIONER v. JESSICA GONZALES, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS NEXT BEST FRIEND OF HER DECEASED MINOR CHILDREN, REBECCA GONZALES, KATHERYN GONZALES, AND LESLIE GONZALES .

 

On June 27, in the case of Castle Rock v. Gonzales, the Supreme Court found that Jessica Gonzales did not have a constitutional right to individual police protection even in the presence of a restraining order. Mrs. Gonzales’ husband with a track record of violence, stabbing Mrs. Gonzales to death, Mrs. Gonzales’ family could not get the Supreme Court to change their unanimous decision for one’s individual protection.

Justice Scalia wrote the opinion of this decision. He said:

The horrible facts of this case are contained in the complaint that respondent Jessica Gonzales filed in Federal District Court. (Because the case comes to us on appeal from a dismissal of the complaint, we assume its allegations are true. See Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 508, n. 1 (2002).) Respondent alleges that petitioner, the town of Castle Rock, Colorado, violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution when its police officers, acting pursuant to official policy or custom, failed to respond properly to her repeated reports that her estranged husband was violating the terms of a restraining order.1

 We conclude, therefore, that respondent did not, for purposes of the Due Process Clause, have a property interest in police enforcement of the restraining order against her husband. It is accordingly unnecessary to address the Court of Appeals’ determination (366 F.3d, at 1110—1117) that the town’s custom or policy prevented the police from giving her due process when they deprived her of that alleged interest. See American Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40, 61 (1999).14

Read more on this decision here.

This Colorado decision is somewhat unique because of the implied versus actual protected provided by the restraining order. The implied protection was valueless if the enforcing agency did not respond which the Castle Rock police failed to do in this case. In other words, the actual value of the restraining order was nullified by the inability or willful inaction of the police to enforce the order. In other words, a piece of paper, the restraining order in this case, provided no protection against an aggressor with a knife.

There has been another case, DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services that pertains to minors in custodial care. In this case the Department of Social Services failed to respond to complaints of parental abuse against a dependent minor child. The beatings were reported to the Department of Social Services who refused to intervene. The issue came to a head when the father continued beating the child finally causing severe brain damage and retardation.

The Court’s decision can be summarized in this short segment.

A State’s failure to protect an individual against private violence generally does not constitute a violation of the Due Process Clause, because the Clause imposes no duty on the State to provide members of the general public with adequate protective services. — Cornell School of Law

The critical component of all these decisions is that the state, whether it be Federal, local municipality, or a state government has no obligation to protect any individual. In fact, government has no obligation to come to the aid of any individual for any reason. Since this has been proven true in the Courts all the way to the US Supreme Court, who does have that responsibility to protect the individual? No one…except that particular individual who must protect himself.

If the government has no obligation to protect individuals from harm by others, then that same government cannot prevent any individual from acquiring the means for the individual to protect themselves from any person or agency.

That is the real purpose for the Second Amendment.

 

 

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