The sniper who paralyzed Washington

By Joseph Farah

The area surrounding the nation’s capital is paralyzed with fear.

Some people are staying home from work. Some parents are pulling their kids out of school. Others are avoiding shopping and pumping gas.

All this apprehension because one sniper – possibly with an accomplice – has begun picking people off at long range in Maryland, Washington and Virginia.

Police officials say the manhunt has become the No. 1 priority of the local, state and federal governments.

And despite all those government resources and manpower, seemingly little progress is being made in the investigation. Press conferences are held virtually on the hour. Police officials have begun begging the gunman to give himself up. Officials are talking about an unprecedented level of cooperation between government agencies.

I hope they catch the murderer of nine soon. But I’m not optimistic. Bureaucracies are inefficient. The bigger they are, the more inefficient they get.

The cops on the street see the problem. They say they are ordered to pursue leads without being given any sense of priority or even where to report their findings. Others say they check out tips only to find others have been assigned to cover the same ground already. Detectives say much of their time is wasted briefing their bosses.

“It’s a total bureaucracy, with guys who never worked a homicide wanting to know every little detail,” one detective told the Washington Post.

All this confusion created by one gunman shooting people over a wide geographic area at random.

Just imagine if there were 10 shooters, or 100, or, God forbid, 1,000 organized terrorists at work.

Once again, I point out this weakness in American law enforcement not to alarm people, but to demonstrate that ordinary citizens cannot and should not count on the government to protect them, their lives, their property and their family members. The government can’t do it. It’s not possible.

But people can defend themselves – and should. To do that, government needs to get off the backs of the ordinary citizen, to stop harassing the great majority of law-abiding people and to stop preventing them and discouraging them from getting the tools they need to do the job themselves.

Never has this been more obvious and a higher priority than since Sept. 11, 2001.

I don’t know whether the sniper is working in sympathy with or at the direction of our organized terrorist enemies. It really doesn’t matter. The principle is the same.

Americans can only defend themselves and protect their families and communities effectively if they are armed and vigilant. Instead, the government fears the citizenry and continues to disarm the very people who could put a quick end to this slaughter.

What we are witnessing is an illustration of the weakness of gun control. Gun control offers nothing to deter criminals from using guns. It only deters law-abiding people from using them. Gun control isn’t going to stop a terrorist from shooting people. It only deters good guys from shooting back.

Don’t put your faith in government. If you do, you will be gravely disappointed – not to mention, lose your freedom. Instead, put your faith in God and the proven principles of self-defense and personal responsibility that are prescribed by virtually every faith – and certainly by both Judaism and Christianity.

I strongly suspect America may see much worse terrorism than what we are experiencing right now in the Washington area. Recognize that all of the policemen in the world can’t stop it. They can investigate. They can respond to it. They may even eventually apprehend the perpetrators.

But the real deterrent to this kind of mayhem – whether it is simply thrill-seeking or politically motivated – is a fully mobilized, prepared and well-armed citizenry.

That’s the only answer – at least the only effective one.

I don’t expect government to wake up to this reality and admit it is helpless to protect and defend the people. It’s up to responsible citizens to protect themselves and their family members. You can watch the mayhem grow, or you can be part of the solution.