911 Society

Self reliance seems to be a lost concept in our society today.  Growing up in a rural community, I experienced a lifestyle that Mrs. Donut would tell you should have been from decades before.  We didn’t have anyone close by, so if we needed something, we had to figure it out or do without.  The closest grocery store was about 30 miles away, and it was not even close to being a 24 hour operation.  If we didn’t prepare for whatever may come, we had to suffer through it until we had an opportunity to get what we needed.

I can vividly remember being about 10 years old and coming home from basketball practice with my mother driving only to witness an unknown male climbing out of one of our windows and sprinting away.  My parents were recently divorced at the time, so it fell in my lap to be the first one inside the house to see if anyone was inside.  I remember grabbing the fire poker from the fireplace in the living room as soon as I came through the door.  I went room to room holding that thing like a baseball bat, trying to stop the shakiness from my 70 pound body and to stay brave.  I channeled my inner John McClane as I swung open each door and entered rooms ready for a fight that never materialized.

After I was satisfied that no burglars remained inside, I went out and waved my mother and sister inside.  Mom took an inventory of the things that were rummaged through and decided that some items were missing.  She then called the Sheriff’s Department and about 45 minutes to an hour later a Deputy arrived to take a report.  I spent about the next month or so with my full armament of a single .22 rifle, pellet guns, and a Bowie knife under my bed just in case that bastard came back to get something he missed.  Luckily, he never did.

Life is different in the Donut.  Folks here call the police to report that 2 feet of a 2×4 piece of lumber is in the roadway rather than stopping to kick it out of the way.  We get called to ask neighbors to be quiet, to urge children to get dressed and ready for school, and to play mediator when little Johnny is getting picked on at the neighborhood park by little Bobby.

I’d like to think that the Donut wasn’t like this prior to my arrival.  Surely there was a time when our citizens would be respectful of neighbors, or at least have the courage to knock on a door to ask for music to be turned down.  Surely once upon a time, a child who was refusing to get ready for school would receive an ass beating and get pushed out the door.  Hopefully there was a time that Johnny’s parents would speak to Bobby’s parents to try and work out the problem.  If not, little Johnny would be told to punch little Bobby square in the nose if he chose to pick on him again.

We’ve created a society in which many people do not resolve problems on their own.  Now we live in what I call a “911 society”.  It’s no longer common for people to get involved when they see a male shoving a female across a parking lot.  Nope.  I called 911.  See a kid spray painting a building in your neighborhood?  By all means, don’t address the problem.  Call 911.

Calling 911 has become the answer to all of the problems found in the Donut.  Why?  First and foremost, it’s easier.  Secondly, it’s safer.  It doesn’t have any potential for getting the citizen witness in harms way.  Calling 911 is now the socially responsible way of dealing with things.  It absolves the caller of any guilt for inaction and then provides them with leverage to complain that a responding officer wasn’t able to locate the source of the problem.

What most folks don’t realize is that there is a finite number of officers on duty.  We may be tasked out on other calls when your call comes in to dispatch.  We may be on the other side of the jurisdiction.  By calling, you have initiated a process.  By getting involved, you may have been able to resolve the issue before we needed to be called.  Or you may have been able to keep the suspects on scene in whatever given incident is at hand.

I wholeheartedly understand the citizen who will not get involved in a violent situation because he or she is not capable of defending himself or herself.  I understand passing something by and calling 911 because your family is in the car with you.  Fortunately, those kinds of incidents aren’t as frequent in the Donut, however the calls for random things where there is no danger of violence or personal injury fill up the call logs.  When those violent incidents are dispatched, our officers are spread out across the jurisdiction answering non-emergency 911 calls and now have to haul ass to get there.

Odds are pretty good that your home will not be burglarized while a police car is idling nearby.  That being said, unless you live in a high crime area where a police car is frequently idling nearby, you may indeed encounter a burglar inside your residence while you’re at home.  It’s going to take us a little bit to get to your home, no matter how fast we’re driving.

If that bump in the night becomes a bursting door or window, the time to call 911 is after the burglar is being held at bay.  If you have no means to do so, shame on you.  If you aren’t comfortable with guns inside your residence, weapons of opportunity such as frying pans, butcher knives, or even a rolling pin may be enough to buy you the time to make a call to 911.  I’ll do my best to get there as soon as I can, but you have a responsibility to safeguard your life and the lives of those you love.  It’s time to channel that inner John McClane and utter the “yippee-ki-yay” of your choosing while you go to work in that defense.

For the record, this makes the second dozen of these posts.  If you’ve missed some of the first two dozen, check out the “Stale Donuts Archive”.   As always, please feel free to comment in the comments section or on my Facebook page.  If you know someone who would enjoy this post or any of the others, feel free to share it with them!

It’s time to go patrol the Donut…


About donutcountycop

I am a husband, father, and coach who began a career in law enforcement at a very small agency in 2003. After a deployment to Iraq with the USMC reserve in 2004, I changed agencies and moved to a “donut county” that borders a major US city in 2006. My current agency is composed of about 50 sworn officers, and is the busiest agency in our part of the donut. I am currently a mid-level supervisor who is in charge of a night shift, and serve the department in many other areas that include SWAT, FTO, and primary instruction. I’ve been around long enough to lose the illusion that I have every answer to every problem and now fully understand that my experiences have prepared me for little else than a life of wearing a badge and pistol.
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2 Responses to 911 Society

  1. An older boy in my neighborhood used to pick on me when I was about 5. My mom talked to his parents, who were worthless, and it didn’t stop. I was sitting on the porch when he rode his bike by and he said something pretty vulgar. My brother and mom heard it. He looked at my mom who said, “Sick ’em.” An ass whoopin’ ensued, no police were called, and the boy left me alone.

    I like yippee-ki-ya, Mr. Falcon. Best movie edit, ever.


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