By David Codrea
30 June 2002
William J. Sencio
Chief of Police
New Britain Police Department
125 Columbus Boulevard
New Britain , CT 06051
Phone: (860) 826-3067
In re: "Free
gun lock giveaway arrives in city" --New Britain
Herald, 29 June 2002
Dear Chief Sencio,
Your participation in Lt. Governor M. Jodi Rell's politically opportunistic
gun lock "giveaway" brings to mind the comments of ex-Gotti hit man
Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, who observed, "You will pull the
trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins."
Sure, safeguarding weapons (or any other potentially dangerous household
items) from unauthorized access is something all responsible people should do.
But to promote a one-size-fits-all approach as a panacea can result in defense
tools being inaccessible by authorized users -- at the time when they are needed
the most. So I trust you responsibly cautioned lock recipients that in
situations where they need to defend themselves, even a delay of a second or two
can mean the difference between life and death? And that this will give their
attacker(s) a critical advantage?
I am also troubled by comments attributed to you in the referenced story.
"Chief William Sencio said the police force was fortunate not to have to
respond to these accidental shootings and said people didn't really need to own
guns. 'People have to reminded [sic] that when you own a weapon that there's a
responsibilitiy [sic] that goes with it. If someone feels there's an intruder in
their house, they should turn the lights on because nine times out of 10
intruders will leave,' Sencio said."
"Nine times out of 10"? What if it's in the daytime? What if the
attacker invades their house INTENDING to victimize the resident, like a stalker
ignoring a restraining order?
Do you have a statistical rationale for making this claim -- something that
has been peer reviewed and validated? Or is it just an unsubstantiated utterance
that people are supposed to believe because you are an "authority" and
therefore "know best"? Besides, assuming that your numbers are right
(which has not been demonstrated), what have you just advised unarmed homeowners
to do in that one situation out of 10?
Defense experts, people qualified to train your officers, even caution
against racking a shotgun slide in home invasions--lest you give the intruder
(or intruders -- one just doesn't know at this point!) knowledge of your
presence, situational awareness, defense capabilities and whereabouts that they
can exploit. Do you train your officers to make such information known in fluid
tactical combat situations against undetermined assailants with unknown
offensive capabilities? Do you tell them to announce their presence and
location, and turn on the lights?
Remember the Manson Family murders, Chief? Sharon Tate and her guests already
had the lights on. Should they have turned on more?
Or how about the eight student nurses killed by Richard Speck? Would another
lamp or two have made a difference?
Oh hell, Chief, let's get closer to home. How about New
Britain's very own quadruple murderer, Marco Camacho, who took out two men
and two women at a Southington home six years ago? Are you saying they
would have been okay if they had simply turned on a light?
Do you think there's a chance that the advice you have so casually propagated
might end up getting someone killed?
Tell me something, Chief -- is your department legally accountable for
failing to protect individual New Britain citizens? Even if they dial 911?
Don't bother answering -- in his book "Dial
911 and Die," attorney Richard Stevens has already researched this
question for all 50 states, and tells us that in Connecticut, "an injured
citizen cannot sue the police or the city government for their failure to
protect the citizen from criminal attack."
As far as people having no "need to own guns," I guess we have no
need to own Bibles, books, or even copies of the New Britain Herald, either. But
we have a right, this right is inalienable, and it will not be surrendered to
some government bureaucrat who (totally inappropriately!) questions it based on
a subjective assessment of "need." And it seems the Founding Fathers
-- the ones who wrote that pesky Constitution guys like you swore to uphold and
defend, disagreed with you:
"No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms." ---Thomas
"[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which
Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...[where] the
governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." ---James Madison
"[W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body
of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young,
how to use them;" ---Richard Henry Lee
"Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are
the birthright of an American...[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in
the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in
God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." ---Tenche
I'd say these clear and reasoned arguments trump your historically and
morally indefensible opinion. It seems the Founders intended that it would be
the people, and not solely agents of the state, like you, who would wield the
"terrible implement of the soldier." It seems they felt this was
NEEDED so that we could not only protect ourselves from common thugs, but from
potentially tyrannical ones as well.
Besides, common sense, as documented in countless news accounts, tells us
that you don't know what the hell you're talking about.
Operation Self Defense was established
on the KeepAndBearArms.com website to demonstrate "the truth about how many
people use guns to legally defend life, liberty and property." Check out
their "Latest Stories", listed on the right side of the web page, and
then access their archives. Then be sure to follow up by reading "The
Best Defense" and "Guns Save Lives" by author Robert A.
If, after doing this, you still want to maintain that people "don't
really need to own guns", and that turning on lights will reliably and
consistently deter the evil predators among us, I invite you to demonstrate the
courage of your convictions by immediately disarming yourself and the entire New
Britain police force-- and issuing flashlights instead.
Redondo Beach, CA