March 23, 2013

Conflicting Messages

Last month there was a bit of an uproar over a 911 call in California.  The call came from a retirement facility where an elderly woman had collapsed.  In the call, the dispatcher scolds the caller for not helping the woman while waiting for the ambulance.  She pleads with her to find anyone that will help the woman before paramedics arrive.  At one point, the dispatcher asks the nurse to flag down a passerby in the street, rather than wait for EMS.

Most of us have heard, if not been party to, some sort of medical 911 call.  The dispatcher assesses the situation and provides direction on stopgap measures to be taken while waiting for emergency medical personnel to arrive.  They may ask what resources are immediately available, what people on scene may have any specialized training to help, and they help determine how to address the immediate situation.  The caller, or others nearby, are fully expected to be active participants in aiding those injured or ill.

Contrast that with ANY 911 call from a law-abiding citizen facing a potential confrontation with a criminal.  Why aren't the dispatchers trained to ask if the caller is armed and prepared to defend themselves?  Why do they instruct people to hide and wait for law enforcement to arrive?  Sit quietly, help is on the way, is the mantra in these cases.

How many people stand by and watch crimes committed, while waiting on LEOs to arrive, because that is how we have been trained to respond?  Not this guy:
“They’re beating on my front door right now,” he said.
“Okay, we’ve got them on the way,” the dispatcher replied.
“They better hurry up, because I will blow these (expletive) away.”
A short time later, the home intruder managed to gain entry into the home. It was at this point that the homeowner fired several shots at the suspect.
“I just put three rounds in his ass,” he informed the dispatcher.
The most unfortunate part of this story is that the intruder lived, so the fine taxpaying folks of Oklahoma will be supporting him for some time.

And, I am no legal expert, and I don't think this guy will have any problem, but, in my opinion, call 911 and then hang the phone up.  No need to record your intent to defend yourself and give the lawyers something to build a case on.

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