In browsing the news recently, this headline stood out among the tripe: “Why carry a whistle when those vulnerable to crime can pack a pistol?” Struck by the logic of the question, I read the article. Only thing is, the writer, never really answered the query. Instead, he focused on how easy it is for people to get their hands on guns and how that’s going to be the downfall of that city, and civilization as he knows it. I guess we should have expected nothing less, but maybe it’s time to actually put forth an answer. It’s pretty simple, really. If you’re out somewhere and an armed criminal tries to attack you or threatens you, sure, you can dig out a whistle and blow it. But is that really going to stop the bad actor? And, more importantly, is it going to summon the police any faster? The headline, no doubt, has its roots in an effort that Cleveland Councilman Mike Polensek put forward a year or so ago. During a community meeting, he discussed the topic of safety—or lack thereof—that citizens feel on the streets of the city. Polensek had a solution, or so he thought. He handed out whistles, telling those who felt vulnerable that it would help them get help. But that’s pretty much a pipe dream. OK, we can concede that maybe, just maybe, it’s possible someone in a neighborhood might hear the whistle. And maybe in a fraction of those cases, the person who heard it will call for help. But does that really do the potential victim any good? It’s still going to take the police time to respond, and it would likely be more time than it would take for a bad guy to injure someone with a knife or gun. That’s it in a nutshell. A gun—carried by a law-abiding citizen—is the great equalizer. It’s the one tool that doesn’t depend on its user to be physically fit, or stronger than the attacker. Just wiser and more practiced. The councilman undoubtedly lives in a world in which he has never had to deal with the prospect of defending himself, so he has no notion of how important it is to be able to protect himself from a malicious threat. He also appears to be blinded to the fact that many of his constituents realize they can’t rely on the police to protect them, so they need to be able to do that themselves. That writer must live in the same world, one of blissful ignorance of the lives most people lead. But people who have been victimized—or whose families have been touched by violence—know better. Most crime victims make a silent pledge to themselves that they will do everything in their power to never be taken advantage of again. So they do the best thing they can: they buy a gun and learn how to shoot it. And it has been shown time and time again that armed citizens—just by virtue of having a gun—can make a criminal rethink his plans, thus stopping a crime before it’s committed. If the writer of the article in question was trying to get more people on the bandwagon of gun control, he failed miserably. The people of Cleveland—and in many other towns in this nation—have shown their mettle when it comes to standing up to criminals, and guns are a big part of that. That’s why so many Americans cherish the right to carry—a gun, not a whistle.