When you exhaust your options to avoid a crime, then what?

By Gerard Valentino

According to a story published on Toledoonthemove.com the Toledo Police are recommending that women lock their car doors to combat a crime spree in the area that includes violent assaults, robberies, and even a sexual assault.

The story goes on to say that in the latest assault, a woman was attacked on the way to her car after work.

Basically, the Toledo Police are admitting what everyone should already know. It is not the job of the local police, or their responsibility to protect any single individual. Supreme Court rulings confirm that the police cannot be held responsible if a person is attacked, even if there is reason to believe it will happen.

As security experts have said for years, your security is your responsibility. Either you take it seriously or you put yourself at risk.

The goal isn't to turn your car or home into a fortress, or to avoid people. Instead, you can take some basic precautions that won’t drastically change your life, but will help you and your loved ones live more safely.

One of the most basic precautions is to pay attention to your surroundings. Take note of the people around you, what they look like, and what they're doing. Are they watching you? Coming toward you? Do they appear to be out of place or threatening? It seems obvious, but when police ask a crime victim to describe what happened, the victim usually says something like, "He came out of nowhere," or "I was attacked before I knew what was happening."

These are the words of people who go about their day oblivious to their environment and provide ideal targets for criminals who prefer surprise attacks.

Another precaution is to trust your instincts. If you're paying attention and you see someone moving toward you, your gut may tell you the person could be a threat. Listen to your gut. Start walking in another direction. Cross to the other side of the street. Lock your car door immediately and drive away. Do what your gut tells you to do and don't worry about being "politically correct" or looking foolish if you're wrong.

Of course, if a criminal wants to attack you, there's nothing you can do to prevent it. Locking a door or walking away may deter a crime of convenience, but it won't stop a determined bad guy.

That is why the right to bear arms is such a vital piece of the security puzzle. Once you accept the fact that your security is up to you, not the police, and after you take ordinary precautions to lower your risk, you must ask yourself, "Then what?"

The police carry guns for personal protection. Why? Because they train for every possible violent situation and have tools and tactics to deal with them, but they always ask themselves, "Then what?" That's because no matter how many ways you have to deal with violence, no matter how careful you are, some criminals will take it to the next level. And if they do, what is the response?

As a citizen, you must ask yourself the same question. Once you exhaust all practical options to avoid a crime, "Then what?"

No one is saying to use a gun to handle every situation, because each situation is different. Gun rights advocates simply fight to make sure all options are available to anyone who decides to take self-defense seriously. If you decide against having a gun, that's your choice.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where walking away or locking your doors won't work, and when you admit that the police can't be there to prevent a crime, then what?

Protecting gun rights means preserving the right to have an immediate and effective answer to that question.

Gerard Valentino is a member of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation Board of Directors and his first book, The Valentino Chronicles – Observations of a Middle Class Conservative, is available through the Buckeye Firearms Association store.

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