(Why you MUST be ready to take care of yourself)
By Cranford Blackmon
Before we get started, let me say 2 things:
1) I used to be a police officer (so this is all true)
2) This article doesn’t put down police officers (get lost police haters!)
Still interested? Then read on.
We like to think that the police (or any law enforcement officers) are there to take care of us. I mean we’ve all heard of the police motto “To Protect and Serve” right? Well they do, to the best of their abilities. Sure, there’s the occasional bad apple in a department; that one officer who is avoiding work or anything dangerous just to get through the shift and get paid on Friday! But that’s not the norm.
But even in an area and with a department that is full of outstanding, brave, go-getters, you shouldn’t bet on an officer helping you out of a dangerous situation.
Here’s 4 reasons why that’s true:
Why won’t the police help?
1) They’re busy – Officers are dispatched on call after call after call. Sometimes those 911 calls require more than 1 officer. Sometimes, it’s A LOT more. When not responding to 911 calls, they also have to complete any follow up off of earlier incidents. When not doing that, they are supposed to try to patrol as many areas of their assigned beat as possible. And, believe it or not, sometimes they even have to use the restroom!
2) They’re somewhere else – All that stuff I just mentioned in #1, is probably NOT right by your house, your business, or wherever your emergency is. It might be, but the point is this: even if they are able to respond to your issue immediately, they still have to get to your location. That officer coming to help you might be 6 blocks away or 15 miles away. They have to deal with traffic and drivers who have no idea HOW to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle with flashing lights and a blaring siren! Getting to you takes time, even when they’re going as fast as they can.
3) They’re frustrated – They must adhere to laws and department policies that get more and more constricting. They must answer to bosses who are worried about being on the news because they made a decision that didn’t turn out right. They have to help and protect people who are willing to sue them at the drop of a hat. Even if an officer does his job right, he can be sued. Even if the lawsuit is dropped because it was frivolous, there is still a stigma attached to the officer. Plus, if that officer was suspended for the duration of the investigation, he or she now has the added financial burden. And if you have watched the news this year, you know that some people call on the police in order to ambush the very officers rushing to help them. They MUST be wary and guarded at every call they respond to. I bet every one of you reading this has quit jobs for far less frustrating or dangerous situations!
4) They’re NOT psychic – That means they can’t come help you just before a robbery happens, just before an assault happens, just before a kidnapping. If an officer doesn’t see a crime take place, they won’t know about it until AFTER it happens. That’s usually when someone calls 911 – AFTER a bad thing happened.
None of this means they don’t want to help you. They do want to. No one puts up with that much stress and frustration because they like the low pay, long hours (even on holidays!), and risking their lives on a weekly if not DAILY basis. They do it to help make a difference in their communities.
So, what DOES all this mean?
It means you must be as self-sufficient as possible. You must make your home your fortress. You must learn to stop an attacker, slow them down, or escape them until those officers arrive. But you can’t do that with your head in the sand.
It is up to you and you alone to be responsible for your own safety (and for your children). There are classes in almost every city (many put on by police departments or Sheriff’s departments). There are many books in the bookstore AND in the library about home safety, self-defense, protecting yourself and your family, first aid, and more. No one is born knowing how to be safe, to stop an attacker, to escape a terrorist, or fortify your home or workplace. And no one is going to come to your house offering to give you free classes, when you want, where you want.
Money and time spent on learning to save your own life (or that of a loved one) is the greatest investment you can make. There are plenty of people who want you to be safe, who want to teach you to be safe, but the responsibility is still on YOUR shoulders to go find those people, those books, those classes AND to do what you learn from them.
Are you willing to make that investment? If you are, call around to find classes you can take. Go to the library and read books about safety. You can even go to our blog where there’s lots of free information that is FOCUSED on teaching you to be safe! (Did I mention those articles are FREE?)
Remember, you can’t depend on others for what you are unwilling to do for yourself.
Until next time, stay safe!