Picture this: On some not-so-remote night, you are awakened by an insistent thumping on your door, or perhaps by the sound of breaking glass. You stagger up and groggily go toward the noise, maybe muttering or worse. Perhaps you have the time and presence of mind to grab your home defense tool of whatever description, and maybe you awaken your spouse and get him or her (and any children) to a more secure part of the house. Now what? What are you prepared to do?Like many of you, I have been self-sufficient and responsible for more decades than I care to remember, starting with my days in the Scouts and continuing through my backpacker period in the 1970s. As a downy-faced youth barely out of my teens, I raised my right hand and solemnly swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Virginia, an oath I have reaffirmed five times since and take very seriously. In the intervening thirty-five or more years, I have served as a member of state, local, and federal law enforcement organizations. I was a prosecutor for about twenty years and have practiced law in and out of government. I competed in intercollegiate shooting sports back in the day, and have maintained safety and proficiency ever since. I have food, water, medical supplies, radios, batteries, ammunition and other prudential stores securely on hand, just as I am sure many of you do. I do not scare easily.
But I am concerned today more than I have ever been. Why?
Go back to the opening paragraph of this post. In the time I used to introduce myself, you have stumbled to a window and looked out over the street. Oddly, you note, the police already seem to be there to deal with this apparent home invasion. Good, it saves you the 9-1-1 call and allows you to relax some. The cavalry is already here! That reflex, borne out of a century of trusting relationships with law enforcement officials, just might get you killed tonight.You see, the police are not here to help you – to either serve or protect you – tonight. They are here to search your home, detain your family members, and perhaps to arrest you or them. No, this is not some bad dream from 1930’s Nazi Germany, or Stalinist Russia. .. but it might as well be. Your crime? Rumored possession of a twelve-round magazine.