Just Dying to See the Monuments

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jul 13, 2006 3:50 PM
Apparently, it really has to be a life-or-death situation to make it worth visiting the sights of D.C. these days. The District is in a "crime emergency"-- that's the third one in four summers-- due to a rash of muggings and murders across the city. Fourteen murders in 12 days, to be exact.

Instapundit succintly points out what might be the difference in our crime rate and Florida's, here.

Gun laws, people. Cam Edwards has a Townhall column today that goes into detail about how disarming the people serves to arm the criminals with plenty of opportunity:

Of course, none of these victims have been able to defend themselves.
While 40 states now have “Shall Issue” concealed carry laws, Washington
D.C. residents and visitors can’t even own a gun for their own
protection, much less carry a concealed pistol in order to protect
themselves or their loved ones.

As compared to Florida, where crime rates are falling:

Last year, you’ll remember, Florida enacted the “Castle Doctrine”. That
law states you have a right to stand your ground and defend yourself
against an attack anywhere you have a legal right to be. After passage
of the law, anti-gun groups like the Brady Campaign went on the
offensive. They ran newspaper ads and handed out flyers to tourists in
the Sunshine State, warning tourists to “avoid disputes” and “use
special caution in arguing with motorists”.

All this reminded me of a blog post I did on the old Townhall, last year, about my issues with D.C.'s gun laws. I thought I'd rerun it, since I still feel the same way, and the post has been fairly well lost in Internet space due to the site changes:


Yesterday,
I found out my little bro and his friends were mugged. The little bro
was fine (thank the Lord), but two of his friends were injured after
one of their assailants struck them with the butt of a shotgun. Both of
his friends are out of the hospital and will recover, but the injuries
are not minor. The muggers were not caught. Scum.

A
couple thoughts about this. First, who mugs a group of four college
kids? If I know my brother, he didn't have any more than $20 on him,
and I would bet most of his friends had little more. That's $80-$100
total. It seems to me, if I were a criminal, threatening
someone with violence for $100 might be a risk worth taking. But
actually bashing a couple of kids' heads in? Luckily they're both
healthy, strong boys who will recover, but not everyone would bounce
back from shotgun-butt-inflicted head injuries so surely. And if they
don't, you're a mugger with $100 and a manslaughter/murder
charge. Geez, that's the equivalent of less than 20 hours of work on a
minimum wage job. I'd take the 20 hours and leave the possible murder
charge if I were a criminal. But then I guess I wouldn't be a criminal.

Second,
I was in downtown D.C. when I heard this news. Generally, I play it
pretty safe and I feel pretty safe walking around the D.C. Metro area,
but I'm not. Those guys in Wilmington mugged four male college
athletes, all 6 feet and over, and I think I'm safe. Ha. So,
what to do? I'm not going to freak out or hole up in my apartment. I
grew up in a high-crime city; my bubble isn't just now bursting. What I
am thinking about is how I can give myself at least a fighting chance
to get out of such a situation should it arise.

And
this is the part that gets me. What could I use as an equalizer when
faced with a man with a gun? Maybe a taser or pepper spray? Not bad,
but I'm already smaller than the man. Is it a good move to be less
armed than him too? So, a gun's an option, right? No, not in D.C.
I can't buy, own or carry a handgun in the District. And here's the
problem with gun control in one image. I'm walking in D.C. with a
friend and we find ourselves toe-to-toe with a mugger/attacker/rapist.
We're not armed because we don't break the law, but guess who
doesn't care about breaking the law? That's right, the criminal with a
handgun pointed at me. 

None of this
is anything new. I'm just thinking out loud, and I'm once again amazed
that gun-controllers refuse to see that gun control doesn't cut crime,
despite the evidence. The
whole idea is so clearly non-sensical to me. When I lived in small-town
North Carolina I could have owned and toted a gun anywhere I pleased.
Of course, small-town North Carolina is not where I'm likely to need
one, is it? "Hey, small-town, law-abiding girl. Welcome to the Big
Crime-Ridden City. Please turn in your protection. Thanks so much."

My
gun-controlling acquaintances give any number of rationales for all
these laws. They tell me guns are just inherently evil and should be
banned altogether; they tell me I'm incapable of protecting myself
without shooting myself; they tell me (and this is my fav) that there's
a serious danger of too many criminals being shot should
people be given the right to protect themselves. I just wish the
gun-controllers would spare me their laws and let me decide because
criminals aren't going to spare me their bullets.

But
policy griping aside, I am more than thankful that the little bro got
out of this safely and I'm praying for his friends' quick recovery. And
I'll keep praying for my own safety because I'm pretty sure that kind
of protection isn't outlawed in D.C.