Photo credit: via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

This Woman Tried to Secure Her Home — And It Got Her Arrested


This article is part of a series focusing on Lens of Liberty, a project of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The Second Amendment clearly grants the right to American citizens to protect themselves, their families, and their property. Furthermore, contrary to radical left-wingers, it gives us the right to more than just muskets and really has not much to do with hunting.

Our right to protect ourselves is sacred — similar to the right to life, it presupposes other rights. What good is it to have freedom of speech, for example, if you can be killed for that speech?

That’s why this recent Liberty Minute caught my eye:

A seventy-year-old church choir director in Arkansas got in big trouble for trying to protect herself and her home. She lives in a part of Little Rock where break ins and violent crimes are common. So, her home had bars on the windows. Apparently that offended some neighbors who complained to local authorities. And they had her arrested. Even though the bars were already on the home before she bought it.

She looked through the lens of liberty and fought back. Telling the town council, ‘if I can find some more bars, I’ll put them up on the rest of the windows.’ She understands what town leaders have forgotten: that the people’s right to protect themselves is one of America’s most important founding principles.

Betty Deislinger, the church organist and choir director referred to in the story, was “arrested and fingerprinted because she refused to remove the bars,” according to CNS News. The charge? “Violating the sensibilities of the local historic preservation commission.”

Instead of throwing a brave little old lady in jail for protecting herself and her loved ones, the local authorities should have decided to address the crime problem. You’d think this would be a no-brainer!

And make no mistake — crime really was a problem for Deislinger.

In 2008, a liquor store robbery gone wrong led to “one of the robbers dying of gunshot wounds on a porch near Deislinger’s house.” CNS News also reported that at the time she purchased the house in 1998 — nearly twenty years before she was suddenly arrested for the bars — her home had been abandoned and inhabited by prostitutes.

According to CNS News, Deislinger said:

I think this is power out of control… I’d rather have a house with bars on the windows next to me than a bunch of prostitutes living there.

Deislinger was punished for protecting her home, when she should be rewarded for being willing to take the risks and do her part to clean up a crime ridden area.

The Lens of Liberty is usually the Lens of Common Sense as well. Policymakers in Arkansas, and across the country, would do themselves a favor by looking through both.

Photo credit: via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

Terry Schilling

Terry Schilling is executive director of the American Principles Project.

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