Thursday, December 6, 2007

When Seconds Count, the Police Are Only Minutes Away

Negron said every available officer in the city was sent to the mall, and it took six minutes from the time of the call for the first officers to arrive.

There was a shooting at a mall in Nebraska the other day; if I understand it correctly nine people plus the gunman were killed and five more were wounded. It's tough not to be bitter at those who insist that this sort of thing isn't likely to happen again, that we should be disarmed, and that the police can protect us. Even given the best of intentions, the police can't be everywhere (nor should we want them to be). We as citizens continue to abdicate from our responsibilities, with an ignorance of how to defend ourselves being but one example.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that some pregnant mother should have pulled out a knife and charged the man as he was shooting (although I do think that pregnant women would be smart to carry a firearm, seeing as they're very vulnerable). However, someone nearby who a basic understanding of what to do could have saved lives.

In a similar vein, I was driving back from Norfolk to Williamsburg earlier this week. It was getting dark and I noticed that the van ahead of me was periodically swerving halfway into other lanes and generally driving erratically. Knowing that we still had a few miles to go until we got to the tunnel that connects Norfolk with Hampton, I called the Norfolk police and told them about the guy, warning them that the guy was seriously endangering other cars and that in the tunnel there would be very little room to maneuver. The police didn't come.

I stayed a moderate distance behind him, honking whenever he swerved into the right lane or looked as though he were about to crash into the left barrier. Cars found themselves forced onto the shoulder or were cut off. Here's where things go from bad to worse: right before the tunnel some sports car cut me off and then began tailgating the drunk guy. Once we got into the two-lane tunnel, an SUV would periodically pull up next to the guy...but not drive on past. It was the craziest thing: two cars boxing in a drunk guy in a van bigger than either of their vehicles while in the middle of a tunnel, going 55mph. I was praying throughout the whole thing and somehow no accident occurred. Shortly afterwards the van took an exit onto one of the regular streets. I called the Hampton police and told them about the drunk driver and where he'd turned off; they said they'd keep an eye out.

No comments: