Unarmed Homeowner vs. Home invaders: At the mercy of animals

By Tim Inwood

In August of 2007 I wrote about the July 23rd home invasion that befell the family of Dr. William Petit.

It is a sort of thing that happens too often in the United States: criminals, who have been paroled then repeatedly go back to a violent life of crime, plus another family lulled into a false sense of security thinking the police will be there to protect them in their “good neighborhood”. As usual, the end result is
tragic. (For the details, I hope you will go back and read the previous article.)

The reason why I am writing about this incident again is the revelation from the Cheshire, CT Police Department that after setting up a perimeter around the Petit home, the police stood by for over 25 minutes without acting.

During this time, we know that Jennifer Petit was strangled to death. The daughters, who were tied to their beds, were burned alive. I am not telling you this to second-guess the police or to criticize their actions. I am sure they viewed this as a hostage
situation and felt they needed to figure out a way to communicate with the thugs holding the family before acting. The reason I am telling you this story is to remind you that the first line in your defense is you. To leave it to others is pure folly.

You must remember that even though a police department’s motto might be “To Serve and Protect”, they are legally under no obligation to act quickly or at all. This was decided in Warren v. Washington D.C. three decades ago.

As the NRA-ILA article on this incident is interwoven with a larger story I will include just the part concerning the “Warren” event.

    “On March 16, 1975, three female roommates living in a townhouse in the District were awakened by the sound of the back door being kicked in. Before the woman sleeping in the second floor bedroom could react and flee, she was attacked by two men, who repeatedly beat, raped, and sodomized her. Two other women on the floor above heard their roommate's screams and acted. Carolyn Warren called police at 6:43 a.m. and was assured help was on the
    way. She and her other roommate then crawled out a
    window onto a roof for safety.

    From their vantage, they saw a police car slowly drive past, then move on through a back alley, never stopping. The terrified women crawled back into the house and again called police. After hiding for half an hour and hearing silence downstairs, they assumed police had arrived. But when they descended to the second floor, they too were confronted by the attackers.

    The police, in fact, did not respond at all to the second desperate plea for help. The three women were held captive for an unspeakable 14 hours of repeated beatings, rapes and assaults.

    Warren and the other victims sued the District and the police department. In 1978, the D.C. Superior Court ruled, "a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen."

    Later in 1981, the D.C. Court of Appeals went further and ruled, "The duty to provide public services is owed to the public at large, and, absent a special relationship between the police and an individual, no specific legal duty exists."

    The decision in Warren v. District of Columbia had no effect whatsoever on either the politicians who had disarmed innocent Washingtonians or on the media, who continue to support the gun ban with the false argument that people should depend on police for protection.

More recent and closer to home is the story of a home invasion in Franklin, Ohio on February 4th. Michael Arnwine and his grandchildren were threatened at gunpoint and the thugs actually shoved gun barrels in the mouths of the children.

Luckily, no one was seriously injured, but it is pretty clear there was no gun in the home, as everything of value was taken and no gun is mentioned.

When unarmed, you are always at the mercy of the criminal. They are fortunate to be alive.

I revisit these horrific events to remind you all that the first line in your personal defense, and that of your family, is you. Law enforcement only shows up in the aftermath for the clean up. So if you don’t already have one, purchase a firearm and get training in the safe use of firearms. I then urge that you get your concealed handgun license training and your license to carry your gun.

I know that many of you think I am speaking to the choir here but you would be surprised how many people I hear from - good folks who write me and let me know they have read some of my writing and they are flirting with the idea of getting a handgun and their
CHL. My advice to all is to move ahead and do it. But please do a modicum of research as well.

I also advise you: get the best firearm you can afford. After all, we are talking about a tool that protects your life, so don’t go with the cheapest gun you can find. Quality made firearms from a well-known maker who stands behind their products is the best route to go. Look at it this way: if you are lying in a pool of your blood after being attacked by a thug and find you are staring at the cheap handgun in your hand, the one you got for $150 and failed you, then you should not be surprised. You sold your life on the cheap and paid the price for it.

I also advise you get something in the largest caliber you can handle. A .22 LR is great for paper punching or small game, but is not a good defensive round. In a revolver the experts advise you should get at a minimum a .38 special with at least three inches of barrel length and, in a semiautomatic, I do not recommend anything smaller than a 9mm parabellum. Don’t go right out and snap up a .44 magnum, as this will be too big and too much gun for the neophyte.

As you ponder this, let me advise you to look up your local gun shop. If there are none near you, there are several gun shows that take place around Ohio throughout the year. I am very fond of Mike Duve’s PRO shows.

The People’s Rights Organization puts on an excellent show and they stage them in several different places around the state. They are also active in protecting our gun rights. You can always find me at the one in Wilmington promoting my club, the Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmens’ Association, as well as the Buckeye Firearms Association.

In fact, I plan to be there on the weekend of February 16th, so drop by and say hello.

The other show I love is the Ohio Gun Collector’s Association show. A little tougher to get in to this show, as you must know a member of this club to get a guest pass to get in. However, it’s well worth the bother of finding one, as this is a fantastic show and you will see many historic firearms and learn a lot from the displays.

So my friends, if you have not done so already, I hope you will step up and take control of your own destiny. Buy a gun and learn how to use it. Practice and get the entire family (that is mature enough) to do so as well. Don’t let the sad fate of so many others befall you. Be prepared to defend yourself from the criminals that walk amongst us.

Tim Inwood is the current Legislative Liaison and Past President of the Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen's Association, an Endowment Member of the NRA, Life Member of OGCA, and a volunteer for Buckeye Firearms Association.

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