Thursday, February 12, 2009

Forced to Defend Self, Congo Town Defeats Rebels

Rebels sent torture victims into the Congolese town of Bangadi to intimidate the townspeople to surrender.

The town's three police officers fled in terror and repeated calls to the military and U.N. were unanswered.

"We were sending warnings and begging for help practically every day for two weeks. And nothing happened," said community leader Nicolas Akoyo Efudha. "We finally understood that we were abandoned — in danger and without protection."

So, in an act of desperation, the townfolk decided to arm themselves -- mostly with antique firearms, swords, machetes, and knives. They came up with a plan and fought back.

To the suprise of the Associated Press reporter who reported this story, the residents of Bangadi have successfully driven off two attacks by the Ugandan rebels, who have killed at least 900 people in this remote northeastern corner of over the past seven weeks.

It should not come as too much of a surprise that simply having the will to resist can significantly increase your odds of surviving a violent attack. This town's success has encouraged other villages in the area to resist as well.

But wait for this -- Michelle Faul, the AP reporter on this story, says aid workers and human rights activists are watching this with "trepidation" because they "fear these self-defense groups could transform into a menacing force."

This has to be taken out of context somehow. It can't possibly be true that "aid workers and human rights activists" are worried about people rightfully defending themselves? These workers and activists are presumably there to ease the suffering of the poor villagers dying and suffering at the hands of savage rebels. But if the villagers actually fend for themselves and protect themselves from being killed, that provokes concern?

I'm concerned that we could also be facing an growing segment of our culture that frowns on self-defense and self-reliance. Their answer is "let the police handle it." Cops can't be everywhere and most response times are minutes to tens of minutes long before they arrive. We've also said it before -- public safety officials are under no obligation to protect any one individual's property or person.

Bad guys strike precisely when there are no cops around. When you are attacked, you can expect to be on your own as well.

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