In this article I’m going to speak plainly about three things:
- The status of our government in California, which reflects the status of our current federal government.
- The necessity of citizen’s personal empowerment.
- The meaning of the phrase, “No man is an island” and how it applies to our current circumstances as citizens of the Golden State.
The status of our government in California:
The changes that have unfolded in California’s legal landscape, coupled with the real results of police defunding, the refusal by some District Attorneys to prosecute crimes, growing homelessness, rampant public drug abuse, and the exponential increase in the illegal immigrant population have prompted a critical examination of personal safety among citizens in the state.
California has instituted disastrous policies which have resulted in increased crime and decreased safety. In addition to pushing for the defunding of police, California legalized certain crimes (such as theft under $950), which has led to an epidemic of shoplifting by large, coordinated groups followed by the closure of stores and the abandonment of some cities by large chain retail outlets. At the same time, California has released tens of thousands of violent offenders from its prisons while refusing to prosecute the commission of crimes in its major cities. Since 2021, California has given over 76,000 inmates, including violent felons, the opportunity to leave prison early as part of an effort to reduce the prison population. At the same time, several local governments partially defunded their police and sheriff’s departments.
Not surprisingly, Police in several California cities no longer enforce laws against vagrancy, public drug abuse, public nudity, and defecating and urinating in public. In fact, on March 1, 2023, “The Hill” published a list of the 28 types of calls that the Los Angeles Police Department will no longer respond to. Among them are public intoxication, urinating or defecating in public, landlord/tenant disputes, and “suspicious circumstances-possible dead body”.
It wouldn’t matter if the police enforced many of the state’s laws anyway, since some local District Attorneys refuse to prosecute them. Progressive Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has either refused to prosecute or supported leniency for the commission of many crimes. They include:
- Misdemeanors: Gascón has announced that his office will not prosecute many low-level offenses, such as driving without a license, drug possession, and resisting arrest.
- Juvenile crimes: Gascón has stated that his office will not prosecute juveniles as adults, even for serious crimes such as murder.
- Cash bail: Gascón has announced that his office will not request cash bail for most offenses, arguing that it unfairly impacts low-income defendants.
- Gang enhancements: Gascón has stated that his office will not pursue gang enhancements, which can add years to a defendant’s sentence if they are found to be associated with a gang.
- Three strikes law: Gascón has stated that his office will not seek to apply the Three Strikes law, which can result in a life sentence for defendants convicted of three serious or violent felonies.
The results of these policies have become so dire that some California cities resemble scenes from dystopian movies like Judge Dredd or Mad Max. Billionaire Elon Musk, whose X platform is headquartered in San Francisco, recently describes the city as a scene from “The Walking Dead”.
While California Governor Gavin Newsom, the state legislature, and local district attorneys are defunding police, discouraging enforcement of the laws, and generally coddling criminals and encouraging criminal behavior, Newsom and Attorney General Bonta (along with the legislator) have declared war upon the rights of law-abiding Californians to defend themselves. By any measure, California has the strictest gun control laws of all 50 states. Yet more gun-control laws are proposed and passed in the state every year. Fortunately, pro firearms rights organizations like the California Rifle and Pistol Association and Gun Owner of California, bolstered by judges appointed by President Trump and several landmark Supreme Court decisions, have been slowly beating California into submission to the Constitution.
The necessity of citizen’s personal empowerment:
As a concealed carry permit instructor in California, I have seen firsthand how California’s terrible policies have impacted the way people think about their safety and the steps they are taking to protect themselves and their families. Citizens who once felt safe and had confidence in the ability of their local police to keep dangerous criminals at bay, are beginning to wake up from that fantasy. More and more Californians are taking responsibility for their own safety – abandoning the notion that police are anything other than an after-the-fact agency. Police, in many cases, are simply government employees who show up after the damage is done. Even when they do show up, their hands are tied.
Armed with that understanding and the Bill of Rights, Californians are taking steps to protect themselves and their families. Millions of California citizens, who never wanted a gun before, have purchased at least one gun for home defense and learned how to use firearms safely, effectively, and responsibly. Hundreds of thousands of Californians have applied for and obtained concealed carry permits to protect themselves and those they love in public places. Millions more are in the process.
The meaning of the phrase, “No man is an island”:
I find the new awareness of California citizens and their efforts to take responsibility for their own security refreshing, but a major concern remains. California’s attacks upon the rights of citizens, from COVID lockdowns, to punishing free speech, and crippling self-defense rights, has driven a deep wedge between the citizens and their government servants. This is understandable since the government servants have forgotten whom they serve and have sought to lord over their masters. But that’s not the only division I see.
The heavy-handed draconian California nanny state has also worked diligently to divide California citizens along racial, ethnic, religious, political, economic, and philosophical lines. Thus, California citizens no longer trust either their government or each other to a large extent. Consequently, the percentage of Californians who feel isolated and alone grows every day. Make no mistake, this is by design.
Division is almost never good. When people are at odds with one another, they lose sight of their common enemy. Progressive politicians – by nature the common enemy of a free people — understand this. Which is why they focus their efforts on creating division in almost every area of life. Consider what I’ve written above. Why else would the policies of California’s progressive leaders promote rampant crime, defunding police, unchecked illegal immigration, widespread drug use, racial division, destruction of free speech, pitting the middle class against the wealthy, disarming citizens, and the weaponization of government against their political foes? It’s simple. The servants want to control the masters. To do so they pitted the people against each other. Hence the ancient maxim, “Divide et impera” – Divide and rule.
The founding fathers of the United States fully understood this danger of government – that it would always seek its own empowerment at the expense of the people. This is the very reason why the U.S. Constitution was written and why the Bill of Rights is such a crucial part of it. Consider just the first and second amendments. Both secure the personal powers of the people: the power to believe as they wish, the power to speak their minds, and the power to resist by force of arms (either to resist criminals or to resist the oppression of government).
The personal empowerment of American citizens, and by extension California citizens, is essential to our freedom. We each have the power to believe as we wish and to speak our minds. But without the power to resist by force of arms, those first two powers are easily stripped away. What better time to strip them away than while we aren’t looking – while we are too busy bickering among ourselves to notice. We must take a step back, recognize that we’re being suckered, and broaden our point of view.
There is a reason why the founders wrote this phrase into the second amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”. You and I can provide for the safety of our individual families and for our own safety by taking a few steps:
- Secure our homes with good locks and lights.
- Learn to be aware of our surroundings.
- Buy a gun for home defense.
- Take some firearms classes and defense classes.
- Obtain a concealed carry permit to protect ourselves in public places.
That will do a lot to secure our homes and families, but it will not secure our state, our country, or our freedoms. To do that requires community, not division. As the poet John Donne wrote:
“No man is an island,
Entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.”
No man is an island. We are all part of the whole. Divided we can be conquered and ruled. United we stand invincible. Here’s my advice. Take the simple steps I’ve listed above to protect yourself and your family against the ever-growing dangers present in our state. Then get to know your neighbors. Build friendships with them. Build a sense of community right where you live. You don’t have to agree on everything. In fact, you may not agree on anything save this – you are both humans. Start there and add to that humility and patience. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the result.