Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spartanburg County Sheriff Speaks the Truth

It is a rare occurrence these days to hear a Sheriff utter the truth in such a plain fashion.  For doing so, I understand the Sheriff Wright is taking some flak as a result of remarks he made during a news conference to the effect that women should walk in pairs, and get and carry a handgun. A discussion of Sheriff Wright's remarks can be found at Opposing Views and at WYFF Channel 4.

Sheriff Wright is absolutely correct in everything he is saying here, even if what he says is not "politically correct." What the critics of Sheriff Wright do not apparently understand is the difference between vigilante justice, and self defence. If a woman is able to stop a rape herself because she carries a gun, or if someone with a carry permit is able to stop a rape, that is legitimate defence of self, or of others.  The police can not be everywhere all the time, and when they do stop a crime, it is usually their good fortune to be at the right place at the right time.  The unfortunate fact is that the police usually come to the scene after the crime has been committed, document the evidence, and find the perpetrator.  Only someone with a gun can possibly hope to stop the criminal in his tracks at the point where he commits his crime.  Sheriff Wright was just acknowledging these facts.

Also, keep in mind that when the criminal chooses to break the law (and it is a choice) he takes the risk that someone may well try to stop him.  He can only hope that the person who does try to stop him will not kill him in the process.  But that's a risk he takes of his own accord.  Still, we know that criminals do evaluate the risks they are taking, and Sheriff Wright is correct that if more people carried guns routinely, there would be less of this type of crime.

Vigilante justice, on the other hand, occurs when someone decides to seek revenge after the crime has been committed, either because there is no system of justice, of because justice has failed.  While our courts continue to work, the vigilante is as much an outlaw as the perpetrator he pursues.  But, in a state of nature, or in a state of lawlessness, vigilante justice is the only kind there is.  Indeed, many criminals engage in vigilante justice because the kind of business they pursue is outside the law, and they can not rely on the police or courts for justice.

Some years ago, during the Bush administration, men gave up some of their time to go to our Southern border and observe illegals coming across from Mexico.  These men were called "vigilantes" by the liberal press and the President.  But they were not.  Much as a neighborhood watch, which observes and reports to authorities, so were these men acting to observe and report to Customs and Immigration.  President Bush did a great disservice to these men in calling them "vigilantes."

Finally, I would note for the North Carolina legislature, that this woman's rape occurred in a park.  You can cry all day long about the danger to "the children" from having guns around them, but which is more traumatizing to kids: to have their mother assaulted and raped in front of them, or to have concealed handguns around them protecting them?  I know from personal experience that my grand kids never even notice the concealed gun on my hip.  They just aren't paying attention, which is why we have to. 

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