Friday, September 02, 2005

The Superdome Wasn't Safe?

This isn't such shocking news when you've read my earlier post which predicted that there would be crime in the Superdome when officials prohibited individuals from bringing weapons. My prediction was right on target (pardon the pun), when I said that unattended weapons would be taken by looters. The houses that were not completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina were completely ransacked by looters. In my earlier post, I predicted that a prohibition on weapons would cause a higher level of crime inside the Superdome. Even with military police there to ensure people were safe, many people in the Superdome faced a dangerous environment permeated with the threat of violence.

According to Dr. Charles Burnell who treated sick people inside the Superdome, "We had three murders last night. We had a total of six rapes last night. We had the day before, I think, there were three or four muders. There were half-a-dozen rapes that night. We had one suicide last night. We had one military policeman shot." Rather than remain in a dangerous environment, the doctor said, "Until I can insure that I'm not putting my life in any significantly dangerous situation as I was before - I will not be back in the Superdome."

We see violence frequently in areas where people are disarmed for the same reason that we see violence infrequently in hunting camps and gun stores. When we disarm people, we eliminate one of the more critical risk factors that a criminal considers prior to committing a crime: what is the likelihood that the person I decide to harm will kill me? An armed individual is in a unique and advantageous position to defend themselves from crime. Unlike an outsider observing what may appear to be an altercation in which the victim is not clearly identifiable, the victim knows with 100% certainty the distinction between herself and her attacker. The ability to operate a firearm requires no substantial physical strength, and often does not require marksmanship because the average distance between the victim and the attacker when a gun is used for self-defense is only around 7 feet.

The decision to disarm those seeking shelter in the Superdome likely harmed more than it helped. Irrational fears should never be substituted for rational ones.

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