The tragedy of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts calls each of us to take responsibility for our own security. Government does not and cannot actually protect us and our dependents. Each of us must look primarily to ourselves.
Mollie was apparently bushwhacked while jogging on a lightly traveled road where she was vulnerable. Her sole defensive weapon was her cell phone. As I travel down nearby US 202 I see many individual women jogging alone on the trail that runs along the right-of-way. All are apparently armed no better than Mollie was.
This plea for taking personal responsibility for our own security is not blaming the victim. We don’t feel blamed when public health officials urge us to wash our hands to avoid disease. Government can’t look after us individually. And there will never be enough cops or prisons, ICE or border patrolmen. Government could always do more, but will never be able to do it all.
Politicians’ primary motivation is to solicit campaign contributions and votes based on false promises of government benefits. Of those, security is first and foremost. Yet the motivation to actually deliver on such promises is weak. Politicians conserve their limited influence to cater to constituents who will fund their campaigns and support their reelections. It’s perfectly clear that even those representing crime ridden precincts can do little to protect us from criminals.
Each crime victimization tragedy should be a call-to-arms. Individuals should armor up their doors. We should contemplate when and where criminals ply the streets and pathways. And we should prepare for the very real possibility of predators whom government has not yet caught, or who have been released to prey on others.
In 40 states it’s easy for citizens to carry a handgun, a right exercised by more citizens each year. By latest estimates, 17 million Americans hold concealed carry permits, 7% of adults. The most rapidly growing demographics are women and minorities. Nevertheless, for many the awesome responsibility of carrying a concealed handgun won’t be the first nor last step taken. Some will consider pepper spray or stun guns. Everyone should evaluate their walking and jogging practices.
The important thing is to take personal responsibility. We must give up the habit of looking to government to protect, educate, feed and clothe us from cradle to grave.
Emphasizing personal responsibility has political implications as important as preventing individual tragedies such as Mollie’s. Accepting personal responsibility for life and its preservation makes government and politicians less meaningful.
And that makes them nervous—while keeping us freer.
—‘MarkPA’ is trained in economics, a life-long gun owner, NRA Instructor and Massad Ayoob graduate. He is inspired by our inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and holds that having the means to defend oneself and one’s community is vital to securing them.