You can either be a victim or remain vulnerable. (Actual 911 tape of a Colorado home invasion in progress).
You can be empowered
Anti-Gun advocates support the idea of remaining vulnerable and being a victim....with no legal right to defend yourself or the lives of loved ones in your own home.
Home Invasions On The Rise
From the NY Times
March 30, 2008
Cracking Down on Home Invasion
By JOE WOJTAS
THE killings of three members of a Cheshire, Conn., family during a home invasion in July has spurred a flurry of legislative proposals in the region to crack down on a crime that officials say has become more prevalent in recent years.
Many law enforcement officials, be they from small towns like Cheshire or urban areas like Jersey City, say they need stiffer penalties to combat the brutal nature of residential break-ins.
“People who go into homes are no longer satisfied with taking stuff and moving on. There’s an element of violence now that’s disturbing,” said J. Darren Stewart, the police chief in Stonington, Conn., where an older couple were assaulted and robbed of $500 and some prayer cards in a home invasion last month. “People want to feel safe where they put their heads down at night and spend time with their families.”
While the F.B.I. does not report annual statistics on home invasions, its Uniform Crime Reports show that across the country, robberies in homes rose 29 percent between 2000 and 2004, 9.7 percent in 2005 and another 8 percent in 2006, the last year for which figures were available.
In the Cheshire case, after the beating of Dr. William Petit Jr., 50, and the killing of his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and their daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, Connecticut lawmakers approved a bill that made home invasion a crime punishable by 10 to 25 years in prison and attached a minimum five-year sentence for nighttime burglaries. Governor M. Jodi Rell signed it into law in January.
The two men accused in the invasion are awaiting trial.
The killings also spurred Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol of Brooklyn to introduce a bill in New York’s current legislative session that would establish three degrees of felony home invasion. They would be punishable by up to 7, 15 and 25 years in prison, depending on the level of violence. The bill is pending.
And while New Jersey is not trying to establish a specific home invasion law, a bill before the State Senate would upgrade burglary to a second-degree offense for anyone entering a building “adapted for overnight accommodations,” regardless of whether someone was home. Those convicted of the crime would face a term of up to 10 years and have to serve 85 percent of it, the same as a burglar who assaults or threatens someone or is armed.
In addition, some members of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police have expressed interest in establishing a separate home invasion law, according to Roman Martyniuk, the organization’s spokesman.
In New York, Assemblyman Lentol, a former Kings County prosecutor, said home invasion “is a crime that really cries out for special attention.” He added: “The law would show the abhorrence we feel for this crime and how it should be handled. We also hope it acts as a deterrent.”
Connecticut’s law had been recommended by a task force on criminal justice reforms set up by Governor Rell after the Cheshire killings. “The tough new home invasion law is the centerpiece — the linchpin — of our criminal justice reform efforts,” Mrs. Rell said. “People have a right to feel safe in their homes — their sanctuaries — and this new law should give them the peace of mind that these crimes will not be tolerated in Connecticut.”
But while Connecticut lawmakers hailed the new law, some in law enforcement were taking a wait-and-see approach.
“It definitely is a step in the right direction, and like all new laws, it’s well intentioned,” said Lt. Jay Markella, the Cheshire Police Department’s spokesman. “But let’s see how the cases go through the court system and if the law is used or taken off the table during a plea bargain. You can create all the new laws you want, but if they are not applied properly there’s really no gain.”
Lieutenant Markella also said that if current burglary and assault laws were applied to their full extent, with maximum penalties and consecutive sentences, the new law would not be needed.
While she supported the home invasion law, State Representative Diana S. Urban of North Stonington, Conn., wants to track it to make sure it is working. Ms. Urban, who heads a legislative subcommittee that examines whether specific programs actually work and should be funded, said she was concerned that those convicted would be freed 10 years later with no rehabilitation. Those convicted of home invasion would have to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.
“Do we then not expect them to do it again?” she said. “Let’s make sure this law makes people in the state of Connecticut safer.”
Earlier this month, the legislature’s Judiciary Committee killed a tougher three-strikes-and-you’re-out bill that would have allowed prosecutors to seek a mandatory minimum sentence of life without parole for someone convicted of three violent crimes. Relatives of the Petit family testified in favor of the bill, which was supported by the governor and other Republicans, who are in the minority in the legislature. But opponents said the bill would have little effect on sentencing.
Republicans vowed to continue pushing for a mandatory minimum sentencing bill for violent repeat offenders. The police said that while laws can punish criminals after they commit home invasion, people can take some simple steps to decrease the likelihood of becoming victims, including always locking their doors, windows and cars.
“We go to a lot of burglaries where there’s no sign of forced entry, and people tell us, ‘I don’t lock my doors,’ ”Lieutenant Markella said. He also said people needed to return to a time when they knew their neighbors and their habits and checked if they noticed something unusual.
Representative Urban said, “If anything positive can come out of these home invasions, it will be that communities begin to take care of each other like we used to.”
The police also suggested that residents install motion sensors that activate outside lights, have a safe place to hide with a phone and have a dog that barks. They urged people to call them if they saw something suspicious. “That’s what we’re here for,” Lieutenant Markella said.
He said he was not in favor of people having handguns for protection because if the weapons were properly secured in a safe, unloaded and locked, it would take too long to get them during a break-in. He also said a burglar could turn the gun on a victim.
While not everyone can afford a home alarm system, Police Chief Stewart, of Stonington, said a low-cost option would be to keep car keys next to the bed and press the car alarm button if someone broke in. Lieutenant Markella said neighbors might investigate or at least call the police because the alarm was bothering them.
“You can’t prevent anyone from ever gaining access to your home, but you can make it harder for them,” he said. “You have to keep yourself from being made a victim.”
One of my favorite bloggers, The Field Negro, is still talking loud and saying nothing (as James Brown would put it) on this issue.
Some of the main arguments of anti-gun advocates like the Field Negro and others are:
1. Legit, responsible gun ownership will lead to more innocent children harming themselves with guns.
2. Allowing law abiding citizens (those with no criminal past, who have guns properly registered, and use safety precautions, have obtained guns legally, have gone through safety training etc) to keep handguns in the home will lead to more crime.
3. They believe that law abiding, legit gun owners are responsible for the majority of the murders, carjackings, robberies and shooting assaults that are taking place in inner-cities like Philadelphia, D.C., Chicago, L.A., New Orleans, St. Louis, Detroit, etc.
4. Gun use is seldom successful in defending homes, homeowners and their families. But I am always hearing of cases of suspects being shot as they try to do home invasions/burglaries. I guess I am just imagining things.
5. And for Black anti-gun advocates, there is this myth that gun ownership (legit, legal and responsible ownership) is for Whites only.
6. They believe that gun bans will magically take guns out of the hands of criminals (who obtain their guns on the street).
Obviously this is all flawed logic on the part of the anti-gun crowd.... but these are some of their main arguments.
My response to the safety portion of their argument:
Most of the reports that I see of children getting guns and harming themselves tend to occur in homes of irresponsible gun owners who didn't have trigger locks.... and the guns tend to belong to criminals/felons who should not have had the gun in the first place...but they decided to keep it illegally. It's usually men who are on probation or who have priors...and they hide their guns in the homes/apartments of their girlfriends (where kids are present)...so police and probation authorities won't find them.
In other words... most of these incidents occur among the criminal element... that part of the population that we have been talking about who will have guns no matter what... a part of society who cannot be expected to be responsible with firearms and have no right to posses them.
We have had several of these
incidents occur in the St. Louis area over the past few years (kids getting hurt in the home). I can't recall any that took place in the homes of responsible, legit gun owners. All of the incidents involved felons in possession of a gun (against the law), houses that were involved in illegal activity...drug houses, meth labs, etc..., involve guns that are not registered or have been stolen or used in a previous crime, guns with serial numbers removed, or have involved other folks who should not have had weapons and who left them out in the open without the safety locks.
Very few of the incidents you describe actually take place in the homes of responsible gun owners.
The problem with the anti-gun crowd is that they are unable or unwilling to recognize the difference... they blend these two worlds together (legit responsible gun owners with the criminal element). It's an unfair and unworkable comparison. These are two completely different worlds.
I support gun control that would keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. Although the bad guys will still find a way to get their guns (via the street).
To understand the perspective of The Field Negro a little better, please refer to a November 2007 commentary from his blog, regarding a violent home invasion in California, where a man's family was brutalized by three thugs. During the incident, the home owner was able to shoot two of the suspects. Now most people would support the home owner for defending his family. But not The Field Negro... The Field Negro sympathized with the surviving thug and condemned the home owner...who more than likely saved the life of his son. So this is what we are dealing with in this 2nd Amendment debate... extreme far left liberals, like The Field Negro, who tend to be soft on crime and criminals. He, and others, have a reputation for coming down on the side of thugs, rather than innocent citizens who have a right to live in peace and security within their own homes.... the Constitution protects that right too.
Video & slideshow of Gun Owners (legal ones). They come in all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds.
Behind the Scenes Video for the Book "Armed America".
Home Invasion Twarted in Chicago
Woman robbed in Sacramento
Armed America.org Portraits of Americans and their Guns.
Black Man With A Gun