The Aldrich Alert
Gary Aldrich

A Publication of the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty

Everyman’s War

October 20, 2002

by Gary Aldrich - Volume 2, Issue 46

This article was first published on - October 17, 2002.

Whether the recent sniper killings in the Washington, D.C., area are connected with the "War on Crime" or the "War on Terrorism," these terrible acts provide new evidence that there can never be enough government enforcement officers to protect us all. Seemingly, they can’t even protect a small number of us, if the killer(s) are clever enough.

Those who are advocates for the reach and growth of government, in terms of agendas and personnel, have worked hard to create a myth that "bigger is better." Such mythology is expensive and dangerous because it lulls us into thinking we no longer have to hone skills of self-reliance and self-defense. Notions of an omnipotent government create a fiction that as long as citizens are willing to pay more taxes, they can expect that they’ll be required to do little else but vote and perhaps serve on a jury.

And lately it seems that citizens are even being discouraged from becoming witnesses.

The message we hear from government leaders involved in the recent D.C. area shootings is that witnesses are too stupid to know what they’ve just seen. There are just too many derisive comments by police authorities claiming that eyewitness accounts are "notoriously inaccurate." If what they say is true, will we soon see the end of witnesses at trials, except for those "experts" who are "pre-qualified" to observe?

And since when is making negative comments about witnesses helpful to the eventual successful prosecution of a case?

Even a Republican administration contributes to a widening gulf between ordinary citizens and the elites of our day by promoting a "TIPS" program in connection with the War on Terrorism. TIPS stands for Terrorist Information and Prevention System. The theory goes that only some of us, pre-approved by the federal government, will be asked to be on the lookout for terrorists.

The rest of us are drones, I guess.

With a "don’t try this at home – it’s too dangerous" attitude on the part of the government, how soon will it be before average citizens who actually see something important will be reluctant to come forward for fear some government authority will treat their evidence with disrespect or outright derision?

Since when do we give a pass to citizens by implying that they need not do anything at all, even if they see important terrorist or criminal activity? What kind of message are we sending to our children with this elitist approach? Mind your own business?

Crime and terrorism are every man’s business!

How things have changed in these United States. We used to all pull together during dangerous times. Today the government finds ways to sort us into groups consisting of those who are "authorized" to see something vs. those who can’t be trusted with what they see with their own eyes.

But if a million eyes and ears in the Washington, D.C., area were on alert for the various vehicles allegedly used by the shooter(s), I would bet the killer(s) would soon be behind bars, or perhaps even pushing up daisies.

Isn’t it ironic that a society that can pride itself on higher education, increased SAT scores, and providing the average citizen with news and highly refined methods of research via the Internet from grade school on, has a government that considers its own citizens not smart enough to witness a crime?

How is it that as we become "smarter," the government thinks we’re less intelligent? Could this simply be evidence of the arrogance of power?

One obvious way government authorities treat citizens like children is the endless attempt to disarm the population. This in spite of the clear wording in the Constitution that guarantees our right to own and bear arms. In states like Virginia, violent crime continues to go down while citizens avail themselves with concealed-carry permits that the state must issue whenever shown proof of the required training.

That makes every man and every woman a potential member of a modern-day posse. There is evidence that more and more people are becoming wise to claims that the government knows how to do almost everything better than you can.

For example, by definition only you can provide self-defense.

Recently, the Patrick Henry Center, an organization that I founded, has been training dozens of women, empowering them to carry firearms, perhaps concealed in their belts or purses. We’ve trained nearly 100 D.C.-area women so far, and we’ll train many more before the end of next year. These newly energized and equipped citizens not only are exercising their rights, but they are also experiencing a new-found freedom – freedom from the constant fear of attack from violent predators.

For years the government (and our friends at NOW, etc.) have been telling women that personnel and tons of money keep them safe. This is not necessarily a bold-faced lie, but neither is it the truth. People still have to do some things for themselves if they want to have the best chance of avoiding becoming a victim.

Admittedly, there is little we can do to stop a sniper who stealthily sneaks up on his victim and fires that deadly shot. But before the shooting, while the shooter is acting in a suspicious manner, and right after the shooting when he is rushing to get away, an excellent opportunity is available to identify and stop killers before they can strike again.

It defies common sense to suggest, as government officials do, that it is only they – or their approved representatives – who are authorized to look for and capture the D.C.-area assassins. Ignoring the millions of eyes and ears that could otherwise be available to help them may mean that these killers will get more time to do their deadly work.

People need to be encouraged to "stop, look and listen." They don’t need to be told that their observations are nearly worthless to law enforcement. Every clue will be helpful in a case like this, and if an excited citizen gets some of it wrong, there is much more that he or she will get right! All the clues put together will solve this case and stop the killing.

But an obvious "attitude" is coming from those who claim that government can do anything for you if only you’ll agree to give them more power and send in more money.

The truth is, right now the police don’t really know who the killer(s) are, nor do they have a rock-solid plan to catch them. In other words, they’re "guessing," just like the rest of us.

Police know from experience that there is a high probability that a "mere citizen" will provide the information that will enable them to make that arrest. Another good reason to praise citizens is that we are the very ones who are paying their salaries. And, not incidentally – except in the case of one FBI employee – ordinary citizens are the ranks from which the dead and wounded have been taken.

In other words, let’s behave as if we’re all in this together – because we are.

Self-reliance and self-defense may be alien concepts here in the D.C. area, but in the "Heartland" folks remember how to protect themselves – and their methods don’t necessarily include total reliance on arrogant bureaucracies whose spokespersons suggest, "Duck down if you hear a shot." Government authorities should work together with ordinary citizens and combine the best qualities of both groups to stop the killing.