Friday, January 6, 2012

Is it OK?

I'm guessing that by now you've heard about the young mother in rural Oklahoma who, armed with a 12-gauge shotgun, saved herself and her three-month old baby from two intruders by killing one and thereby persuading the other to flee.

Hooray for her, but do note the question she had for the 911 operator she called before actually pulling the trigger: “I’ve got two guns in my hand...Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in the door?”

"Is it OK?"?

As it happened, the dispatcher told her to do what she had to in order to protect herself and the baby.  But what if the operator had demurred, or worse, had told her to wait until "competent authority" arrived?

If you recall, there were a spate of stories this past summer about the authorities in various communities fining kids for operating street-side lemonade stands without first obtaining the appropriate permits.

If we've come to place in this country where our reflex is to ask for permission first in even the most extreme circumstances, circumstances that demand immediate action, or to wish we would have done so for the most petty of practices, then I submit that in any meaningful sense, we are no longer a free people.

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