Self-Defense Advocates Urge Americans to Arm Selves, Not Wait for Police


The national debate about gun control has taken an unusual turn in the rural town of Nelson, Ga., where the city council is considering a measure to require homeowners to own a firearm, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke made the same plea to residents: Arm yourselves, because we might not be able to get there in time. Agitator James O’Keefe, the man behind video stings against Acorn and NPR, released a video in which secretly recorded police officers in the New York area acknowledging that homeowners are “on your own” until help arrives. As gun-rights advocates retrench after the elementary school shootings in Newtown, some are turning to “on your own” as their mantra. The message is that Americans can’t afford to wait for police to come and that their surest defense is self-defense. That mind-set concerns many police chiefs, dozens of whom support gun-control measures proposed by President Obama. The result is tension, particularly in big cities, where police feel they are in an arms race with civilians. “The fundamental idea at work here is citizens’ relationship with the state, and that informs this gun debate in part because when you have a gun you don’t need to dial 911,” said Jennifer Carlson, a professor at the University of Toronto who studies gun culture.

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