“If you’re confronted with an immediate threat to your safety, you’re not going to have time to dial 911,”
Sometimes stating the obvious is necessary, yet the message gets lost in the churn of politics. The new police chief in Detroit received a hail of attention for simply recognizing that even the best response times of publicly provided security leave a lag in which the individual must fend for themselves. Further, Chief James Craig acknowledged that before the city police can render assistance, the call for help must be placed, received and responded to.
Immediate threats unfold dynamically over time and not necessarily in a neat sequence that the bureaucratic police are constrained to follow. The apodictic truth is that any assistance a police force can provide for an individual facing an immediate threat is, at best, supplementary to personal self-defense actions.
Any security service is challenged to overcome this linear progression inherent to threat response, yet bureaucratic police departments are further constrained by the whims of politics. Detroit displays these constraints as the theme of effective supplements to self-defense is muddled by the focus on the department budget, loan bailouts and providing upgraded equipment to the police.
Meanwhile, despite having a reduced police force, the residents of Detroit have precipitated a twenty-five percent drop in the quarterly crime rate. Eight defensive homicides in the course of repelling burglaries and simply ignoring the police department as a post-crime investigative option reveal competing narratives as explaining the reduced crime rate, however, both lines of reasoning show that people do not exclusively rely on publicly funded bureaucracies for their security and restitution needs.
Self-help in the wake of Detroit’s bankruptcy is a prologue to the next evolution of defense and security. Even a well-resourced bureaucracy cannot keep pace with the non-linear, dynamic and immediate threats posed to individuals. Yet when they fail to provide the service and protection so often promised, the call goes out for additional manpower, equipment and funding as though an increase in inputs will automatically produce commensurate outputs.
This linear thinking fails not only because it cannot execute the equation fast enough to keep pace with the fluidity of threat situations, but also because it cannot take into account the key variables.
The bureaucracy cannot even become aware of them until someone brings them into their attention. Then, they must plug these “calls for service” into a regimented framework of policies and procedures constrained by political forces and budget cycles. These constraints limit the ability of even the best intentioned officers to respond to individual needs. Given the nature of all bureaucratic security and policing agencies the Chief’s statement would seem elementary: of course individuals must be able to defend themselves until they can contact supplemental security.
Who in their right mind would question this?