When rioting and looting are going on all around you, things can go sideways stupidly quick. One moment people are just walking by and the next, windows are being shattered and someone with a brick is chunking it at your head.
At a time like that, your life may well be in danger. If not from the Molotov-tossing Marxist then from the 2×4-wielding Antifa acolyte. You have to do something.
Well, the mayor of Chicago has some advice for you.
The city’s 911 dispatchers fielded 65,000 calls for service Sunday — at times getting 1,000-2,000 calls every 30 minutes, Lightfoot said.
[Mayor Lori] Lightfoot urged people to keep calling 911 — and not open fire on people.
“Obviously we’re aware of the fact that Illinois is a concealed carry state,” Lightfoot said. “Do not take matters into your own hands. Call the police.
“We’ve seen tragedy happen in this country, and recently, when people felt like they could take matters into their own hands. … Let me remind you of the killing of Mr. [Ahamud] Arbery. Do not pick up arms and try to be the police. If there’s a problem, call 911. We will respond. But I urge people to show restraint and do not take matters into your own hands.”
There’s a big difference between what happened to Ahmaud Arbery and defending yourself from a rampaging mob.
Lightfoot’s “advice” may sound fine and good, but there’s a problem with that. You see, earlier in the same article, the police commissioner was talking about just how many calls they got and how busy his officers were. In other words, it became clear there was no guarantee that an officer would be able to come and help you.
In fact, in some places, they may not come at all.
Just called the police because there was just a dangerous standoff between my neighbor and some protestors and got the response: “Sir, the city is under attack. Do what you have to do.” And they hung up. Did that really just happen?
— Scott Barry Kaufman (@sbkaufman) June 1, 2020
So, what would Mayor Lightfoot have Chicagoans do?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that armed citizens should get involved in enforcing the law. That’s generally a bad idea, but the phrase “taking the law into your own hands” has also been applied to those simply defending their own lives. Lightfoot fails to clarify her comments, suggesting that she also lumps it into that category, too.
That’s a problem.
What are people supposed to do? Just politely ask the rioters to hold tight until the police get there? We all know how that would go, after all.
No, when you need to protect someone’s life, there’s no time to wait for the police to show up, especially when there’s no guarantee they will. It’s a strange time to be alive, to be sure, but this is the reality on the ground in many cities.
My advice? Make sure you know your state’s use of force laws. Understand them and have them down pat. Then, if you see a threat and you can act in accordance with the law and/or your own conscience, do what you need to do.
Right now, it seems as if the riots are subsiding. We still don’t know if this is a prolonged peace or just the calm before the storm. What we do know, though, is if things explode again, people in Chicago need to be prepared to defend themselves because the Chicago PD can’t.