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Thursday’s 911 crash signals need for personal backup plan

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Today’s early-morning crash of the 911 system across Washington and parts of Oregon, which was largely restored between 7 and 8 a.m., might underscore what the firearms community has long maintained is the individual household’s need for an emergency personal backup plan that includes a defensive firearm.

As service was restored, the Seattle Times and other news organs around the state began down-playing the situation. However, for someone with an immediate, life-threatening emergency, not being able to summon help translates to “You’re on your own.” In cases like that, having a firearm for self-defense is apparently being given greater consideration by a growing number of Washington citizens.

Examiner has been tracking the steady increase in the number of concealed pistol licenses being obtained for the past 18 months, with monthly updates. Last week, the Department of Licensing in Olympia told this column that the number of active CPLs is now above 454,200, and that figure has likely been surpassed by today. Last year, more than 56,700 new licenses were issued, according to DOL data.

The Tacoma News Tribune and other news agencies, quoting CenturyLink spokeswoman Kerry Zimmer, noted that no cause for the crash has yet been identified. The breakdown raises a serious question over which gun rights activists and gun prohibitionists can now argue: This morning’s crash occurred without so much as a high wind, much less a major storm of some catastrophic event, like another volcanic eruption or major earthquake.

Following Hurricane Katrina, there was little semblance of law, much less order, in New Orleans and the surrounding bayou country. In that environment, with widespread looting and other problems, police began confiscating firearms, despite the fact that they knew citizens were not going to get emergency help. Communications were in shambles, streets were impassible and neighborhoods cut off.

It took a joint federal lawsuit by the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association to stop the gun grab.

Today’s 911 system breakdown proves that no system is perfect, even when environmental conditions are good. A disaster will compound the problem, and instead of police being minutes away when seconds count, the cops may not be coming at all. Good time to have a gun for personal protection? Gun rights proponents think so.

MEANWHILE, news broke at mid-morning that liberal satirist Stephen Colbert has been chosen to succeed David Letterman on the CBS Late Show. Ironically, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly might be partly to blame for this.

On Tuesday evening, O’Reilly – cable television’s top-rated evening commentator – lambasted Colbert as “one of the biggest mouthpieces for the progressive movement” and the “darling of the far-left Internet,” according to the Los Angeles Times. This was in reaction to a Colbert skit that mocked O'Reilly's position on marriage and gender equality.

If CBS is as editorially biased as many in the gun rights movement believe, especially after the unhappy departure of investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who broke much ground on the Fast and Furious and Benghazi scandals, O’Reilly’s criticism of Colbert might have been tantamount to a letter of recommendation on the comedian’s resume.

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