I may not own a gun, but I cherish my right to own a gun should I want one. Ever since Hurricane Katrina, I’ve realized that police cannot always be there to protect people. What I’ve also realized, is the police officers can be just as dangerous when they’re on the scene as when they’re not. This thought has been swirling around in the back of my brain ever since I started learning about a practice called “swatting.” Swatting happens when a person, either as a (stupid) prank or from real malevolence, calls 911 and reports a hostage situation at the target’s address. These reports always require a SWAT team to appear. Homeowners find themselves awakened when the police surround their house or burst through their doors. The there’s a high likelihood that something terrible will happen, such as the police shooting a befuddled homeowner who appears threatening.
Even without swatting, though, the police can be dangerous because they don’t know who the bad guys are. With the best will in the world, in a confused situation, it’s impossible for them to tell who’s the homeowner and who’s the intruder. In Fort Worth, Texas, police shot a grandfather who, hearing a ruckus from his neighbor’s house (police searching for drugs, as it turned out), grabbed his gun and went over to help out. He never even made it off his driveway but was, instead, was shot dead by the police. I’m not blaming the police. I’m just citing this particular story as an example of the fact that, in fraught situations, police are justifiably nervous and can’t tell good guys from bad. Neighbors, however, know each other, and a homeowner certainly knows who shouldn’t be in his house.