The Only Defense is Self-defense: The myth of police protection

The notion that cops are legally required to protect society (the public) implies that they have an obligation to provide security services for every individual within society. An obligation to protect every individual in society implies that a cop who failed to protect anyone in his vicinity from all harm, has not only provided insufficient security, but can and should be held accountable for the failure by law. Indeed, such a mandate also precludes any protector from being a source of harm toward any individual within society. Many people may very well assume this to be the case, but nothing could be further from the truth. Police have no legal duty to respond and prevent crime or protect the victim.


Warren v. District of Columbia – 1981 – Two women were upstairs in a townhouse when they heard their roommate, a third woman, being attacked downstairs by intruders. They phoned the police several times and were assured that officers were on the way. After about 30 minutes, when their roommate’s screams had stopped, they assumed the police had finally arrived.

When the two women went downstairs they saw that in fact the police never came, but the intruders were still there. As the Warren court graphically states in the opinion: “For the next fourteen hours the women were held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon each other, and made to submit to the sexual demands of their attackers.” The three women sued the District of Columbia for failing to protect them, but D.C.’s highest court exonerated the District and its police, saying that it is a “fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.”


Castle Rock v. Gonzales – June, 2005 – The Supreme Court ruled that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm, even a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation.

The police didn’t respond to a woman’s pleas for help after her estranged husband violated a protective order by kidnaping their three young daughters, whom he eventually killed.

For hours on the night of June 22, 1999, Jessica Gonzales tried to get the Castle Rock police to find and arrest her estranged husband, Simon Gonzales, who was under a court order to stay 100 yards away from the house. He had taken the children, ages 7, 9 and 10, as they played outside, and he later called his wife to tell her that he had the girls at an amusement park in Denver.

Ms. Gonzales conveyed the information to the police, but they failed to act before Mr. Gonzales arrived at the police station hours later firing a gun, with the bodies of the girls in the back of his truck. The police killed him at the scene.


Upon hearing such news, some may grovel that we pay taxes and we expect only the best services from our tax funded social institutions (This is another subject entirely). They may even call for a change in the law that would guarantee the protection they came to believe had always been there, but was not. This is a mistake.

It’s a mistake because the very idea of “protecting society” or “protecting the public” is a logical absurdity. Protection has meaning only when there is a threat, against whom a protector is expected to employ force in defense of another. Since the concept of society includes everyone, not one remains toward whom any protector may aggress. Thus the phrase “protect society” is self-contradictory and meaningless. No one can be obligated to protect everyone without simultaneously being restricted from acting in a manner necessary to do the protecting.

No. Protection is a concept that requires at least two opposing forces. Opposing forces create a split. A split always results in at least two parts. Therefore protection is a concept which is applicable only to a society which is split into the protected and the protectors vs the threats.

Since protection is aggression against a perceived threat for the supposed benefit of the protected, protectors become a guaranteed source of aggression toward any deemed to be a threat.

That portion of society who will become the protected class will always be entirely made up of individuals who do as they are instructed by their protectors. Control is a necessary prerequisite to protection, for one cannot protect that which cannot be controlled. Those who do not do as they are told (a.k.a. criminals), will come to be considered as a threat to the protectors themselves and subsequently the target of the protectors aggression.

So we see that the protectors primary concern will always be self-defense followed closely by the will to control. Acting in a manner intended to control another individual is in and of itself an act of aggression, which will no doubt bring about a condition in which the protectors will be met by an ever-increasing resistance. Try punching a random stranger in the face every day and see if you don’t have to work harder to maintain your safety.

It should be clear by now that the protectors have become nothing more than an aggressive force against both the presumed threats as well as those they claim to protect. The threatening class is aggressed upon directly and externally, while the protected class suffers under the demands laid forth by those who they once expected would be serving their best interests. Sadly many of the protected class will never come to see situation for what it truly is; slavery. The protectors, in order to maintain control, will continually seek to expose an ongoing and ever-increasing threat which they will declare as a danger from which only they can defend society. From the point of view of the protector, this must be, for if ever the protected class came to the conclusion that they no longer required the protectors’ service, they may very well seek to do as they please and all control would be lost. Interestingly, any member of the protected class may become a member of the criminal class if at any point he or she refuses to obey the commands of the protectors.

John Hay said it best. “The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it.” – John Hay (1872)

Now if aggression is what we seek protection from, it must be so, that only we ourselves can be trusted to guard against it. To place such responsibility into the hand of another, as we have seen, is the equivalent of entering willfully into servitude. So who is in the best position to defend the individual from imminent threat? Who is in the best position to calculate risk, prepare for uncertainty, and protect and guard life? The individual himself. No one else.

If every individual has the right to defend his life, liberty and happiness, then acting in self-defense against any aggressor, even when the source of the aggression is the alleged protectors of society, must be considered a morally justifiable action. All aggression is inherently illegitimate, and all defense against it ought to be carried out with the least force necessary to thwart it.