Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 | Author:

NEW YORK (CNN)Brittany Zimmerman, a 21-year-old college student who wanted to be a doctor, called 911 as she was being attacked by a stranger, police say.

Brittany Zimmerman’s screams and struggle for her life were captured by a 911 tape.

But the police did not come for 48 minutes. By that time, Zimmerman was dead. Her fiance found her body.

Although the dispatcher claimed later to have heard nothing, the 911 tape captured screams, gasps and what sounds like a struggle, according to the court documents.

I have a great appreciation for first responders, whether they’re cops, medical helicopters, or volunteer firemen. And I know that dispatchers, also, must make split-second decisions when they’re juggling multiple calls. Did the dispatcher in this case screw up? Maybe. Would Brittany have survived even if the dispatcher had sent someone immediately? Probably not, unless a cop happened to be driving by.

The real issue here is not whether this particular dispatcher did the right thing or the wrong thing. The issue is that our public schools have conditioned a couple generations into relying on government to solve all our problems, including every emergency we might face.

I don’t know what kind of laws exist in Madison, Wisconsin. (It’s a lovely city, by the way. I spent some time there a few years ago.) But let’s suppose that it’s legal to own a handgun in Madison. Let’s further suppose that Brittany owned a handgun, and knew how to use it. Would the outcome have been any different? We’ll never know for sure, of course, but here are a couple facts reported in this case:

  • Brittany knew a problem existed, and had time to call 911
  • According to police, her door showed signs of forced entry

I think it’s safe to assume that Brittany knew someone was breaking into her apartment, whether she heard unusual noises or saw wood splintering. When she realized that someone was breaking in, she had time to find her phone and call 911. What would have happened if, instead of calling the government, her first response had been to find her handgun and aim it at the door? Would her assailant have been able to even get close to her with a knife? I think not. I think we would be hearing another story about a person who had successfully defended themself against an intruder.

But we don’t think that way in America anymore. We don’t think we have the power or the right to defend ourselves, even in a life or death situation. Shooting someone is for criminals or police, not for average American citizens. And that’s just what our government wants us to believe.

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Category: Bill of Rights
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4 Responses
  1. Don't Tread on Me says:

    I think your commentary on this subject is spot on. I was reading the original story on CNN.com, and saw no comments on their page stating one of the more obvious solutions to this situation, a weapon for personal defense. I found your blog on the same page, and read your comments. Its high time that people realize the police cannot always be there. We need to give people at least the chance to defend themselves in these situations, and end the bloodshed of innocent people who had such great potential.

  2. threecollie says:

    Hear, hear! The police can only arrive in time to clean up after crimes, not to stop them in progress.

  3. ~ Sara ~ says:

    Is this at the same college that had the serial killer?

  4. akaGaGa says:

    Sorry I missed your question until now, Sara. I don’t know if it’s the same college or not. Apparently, the police are looking at vagrants in the area for this one, but that could just be because they don’t have a real suspect.