Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 703, December 30, 2012

"Put some nice, long, jaggedy teeth in the Bill of Rights"

Previous Previous Table of Contents Contents Next Next


Why You Are a Fool to Rely on Police Protection
by Neale Osborn

Bookmark and Share

Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

The background for the decisions of our Supreme Court. (source:

In the early morning hours of Sunday, March 16, 1975, Carolyn Warren and Joan Taliaferro who shared a room on the third floor of their rooming house at 1112 Lamont Street Northwest in the District of Columbia, and Miriam Douglas, who shared a room on the second floor with her four-year-old daughter, were asleep. The women were awakened by the sound of the back door being broken down by two men later identified as Marvin Kent and James Morse. The men entered Douglas' second floor room, where Kent forced Douglas to sodomize him and Morse raped her.

Warren and Taliaferro heard Douglas' screams from the floor below. Warren telephoned the police, told the officer on duty that the house was being burglarized, and requested immediate assistance. The department employee told her to remain quiet and assured her that police assistance would be dispatched promptly.

Warren's call was received at Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters at 0623 hours, and was recorded as a burglary-in-progress. At 0626, a call was dispatched to officers on the street as a "Code 2" assignment, although calls of a crime in progress should be given priority and designated as "Code 1." Four police cruisers responded to the broadcast; three to the Lamont Street address and one to another address to investigate a possible suspect. (This suggests that when they heard that there had been a burglary, the police must have felt that they had a promising lead on a culprit.)

Meanwhile, Warren and Taliaferro crawled from their window onto an adjoining roof and waited for the police to arrive. While there, they observed one policeman drive through the alley behind their house and proceed to the front of the residence without stopping, leaning out the window, or getting out of the car to check the back entrance of the house. A second officer apparently knocked on the door in front of the residence, but left when he received no answer. The three officers departed the scene at 0633, five minutes after they arrived.

Warren and Taliaferro crawled back inside their room. They again heard Douglas' continuing screams; again called the police; told the officer that the intruders had entered the home, and requested immediate assistance. Once again, a police officer assured them that help was on the way. This second call was received at 0642 and recorded merely as "investigate the trouble;" it was never dispatched to any police officers.

Believing the police might be in the house, Warren and Taliaferro called down to Douglas, thereby alerting Kent to their presence. At knife point, Kent and Morse then forced all three women to accompany them to Kent's apartment. For the next fourteen hours the captive women were raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon one another, and made to submit to the sexual demands of Kent and Morse.

The victims sued the police department. Their basis was as follows. (from same source)

Appellants' claims of negligence included:

  • the dispatcher's failure to forward the 0623 call with the proper degree of urgency;

  • the responding officers' failure to follow standard police investigative procedures, specifically their failure to check the rear entrance and position themselves properly near the doors and windows to ascertain whether there was any activity inside;

  • the dispatcher's failure to dispatch the call received at 0642 hours

The court's decision:

By a 4-3 decision the court decided that Warren was not entitled to remedy at the bar despite the demonstrable abuse and ineptitude on the part of the police because no special relationship existed. The court stated that official police personnel and the government employing them owe no duty to victims of criminal acts and thus are not liable for a failure to provide adequate police protection unless a special relationship exists. The case was properly dismissed by the trial court for failure to state a claim and the case never went to trial

So I say to all of you who claim we have no need to own weapons for self defense because we have the police to protect us, "REALLY? And what is your basis for that ignorant statement?"

Wake up and smell the coffee, people. The police are there to clean up the mess, collect evidence, and put the people who broke the law in jail after the fact. But even if you call them, tell them there's a crime in progress, and request help, there is no right to expect them to respond, no right to expect them to actually check the premises, and no right to expect them to protect you if they do show up. Face it, the ONLY people responsible for your safety are you and any private company you choose to hire. NOT the police you are forced to pay for from your taxes. Take some classes, learn to shoot, determine if you would use the gun in time of need, and if you believe so, take your safety into your own hands and buy a gun. Or don't. But don't put your faith in a cop. because they aren't paid to be there for you.

Also available at

Was that worth reading?
Then why not:

payment type


Big Head Press