Personal Safety

Why Does a Civilian Need an AR-15?

AR-15 Gun

(Photo Credit: USA Today)

You can be a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and not support civilians having access to an assault weapon like an AR-15. A weapon of war like an AR-15 isn’t needed for killing deer and squirrels, so don’t say assault weapons are necessary for hunting. Hunters will be successful without using assault weapons. If you’re really serious about ending mass shootings, then you will reach the responsible conclusion that federal legislation banning the sale and possession of assault weapons for civilians is required.

Err on the Side of Life

Although I’m not a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and not an active hunter, I’m a passionate champion of the 2nd Amendment. In fact, I agree with much of what the NRA has to say about gun rights. Also, as a pro-life individual, I believe in promoting the right to life, a culture of life. With an earnest pro-life advocacy, I, reminded of what President George W. Bush once stated in a different context, choose to “err on the side of life.” To “err on the side of life” in the current gun rights/gun control national debate means, from my perspective, to take whatever actions possible to save as many lives as possible.      

Assault Weapons Aren’t Necessary for Hunting and Personal Defense 

Since assault weapons aren’t essential to hunting and defending one’s person and property, these weapons shouldn’t be available to civilians—they should be reserved for the battlefield. Plenty of powerful guns will still be available to civilians. It’s not, therefore, a zany idea to advance federal legislation banning the sale and possession of assault weapons for civilians.


Democrats and Republicans need to exercise moral and political courage and face the gun lobby, the NRA head-on to foster a true culture of life in America. It’s going to be more and more difficult to attempt to articulate right to life positions while still permitting civilians to purchase and possess assault weapons.

If you’re going to be pro-life, then be pro-life regarding all issues.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Lessons from Two Very Different Criminals


Numerous stories in the news can shake us to our core.  Every so often, however, there comes a story that brings a smile to your face.  Not because it’s uplifting, but because it involves a criminal so guileful or so stupid that it seems too strange to be true.

Facebook and the Fugitive

BBC News reported that Maxi Sopo moved to the U.S. from Cameroon in 2003.  Initially, he made his living selling roses in Seattle until he found a far more lucrative occupation: bank fraud.  According to The Guardian, Sopo collected over $200,000 in credit from various banks while employing various false identities.  This new career allowed him to leave Seattle to resettle in Cancun, where he spent his days enjoying the sun and his nights enjoying the clubs.

Like most people in their twenties, Mr. Sopo was an avid Facebook user and eager to share updates and photos from the pristine beaches and posh nightclubs for which the city is famous. He was clearly enjoying himself and made sure to insist subtly that he wasn’t being supercilious in his posts.  As reported in The Guardian, this was revealed by frequently using all capital letters to express himself.  He was enjoying himself so much he began to be less than hesitant to make new friends on the social networking site.  One of his newer Facebook friends was a former Justice Department official Mr. Sopo had met in Cancun.

Social networking, Mr. Sopo soon found out, is one of the first things any successful fugitive should abandon.  Not long after the Justice Department official and some of his associates put two and two together, the Mexican authorities promptly arrested Mr. Sopo, and sent him back to Seattle.  The Seattle Times discloses that he could receive up to 30 years in prison.

We do, of course, have ways to be vigilant against such people.  You can guard yourself from becoming a victim of bank fraud through services like LifeLock protection or you can check your bank accounts daily and make sure that all transactions are ones you’ve made.

Hermit, Interrupted

Now, there are less greedy bandits; people who pilfer more than steal.  Such is the case with the “North Pond Hermit,” Christopher Knight.  According to Salon, Mr. Knight had lived alone in the woods for 27 years.  During this time, he had managed to survive in the rugged wilderness of central Maine by committing over 1,000 burglaries until he was finally arrested on April 4, 2013.  He was caught in the act after Sgt. Terry Hughes of the Maine Warden Service set up surveillance equipment in the dining area of Pine Tree Camp.  The Morning Sentinel explains that Sgt. Hughes apprehended Mr. Knight as he was carrying supplies from the camp at around 1:15a.m.

Mr. Knight was not stealing much, just the food, clothing and equipment from cottages and campsites that he needed to sustain himself.  He was also fond of stealing books The Morning Sentinel, disclosed.

Mr. Knight’s actions were discrete—unlike Mr. Sopo’s.  No one arms the security system at night out of fear of someone like him will raid the pantry.  Rather, we worry about car and computer thieves, and protecting ourselves with identity theft protection services.

In a way, Mr. Knight’s actions are quaint because robbers are rarely after the contents of your refrigerator and bookshelves.  Had he been stealing larger items, his victims would’ve felt far more violated.

To safeguard your home from being broken into and learn how you can protect your finances, Follow LifeLock on Twitter.  You will find tips on how you can protect yourself from identity theft, bank fraud, tax fraud and home invasion.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

10 Ways to Protect Your Home from Burglary

Home Burglary

Although there are no panaceas to end home burglaries, there are many important things we can do to be proactive in preventing our homes from being burglarized.  Our homes are places where we share our love with our families and we desire for them to be secure.  The purpose of this piece is to offer ten ways to reduce the chances of your home being burglarized.

1. Purchase a home security system.  When people see that your home is protected by a home security system, they’re less likely to attempt to burglarize your home.  They know that your home is being monitored by a 24 hour team of security experts, which will immediately trigger police officers to come to your premises.  Robbers don’t want to see the police.

2. Don’t leave windows and doors unlocked.  Sometimes people make it easy for their homes to be robbed by leaving windows and doors unlocked.  Before you leave your home (and even while you’re home), make sure all windows and doors are locked.

3. Don’t advertise when you’re away from home.  Don’t let everyone know when you’re not at home.  You increase the likelihood of your home being burglarized when you do this.  Stop announcing on Facebook where you’re located when you’re not at home.  You’re letting people know you’re not at home.  Facebook “friends” can be some of the very people who can and will break into your home.

4. Stop posting pictures of your home and possessions on Facebook.  Too many people let robbers and potential robbers know exactly what they can steal from them by posting on Facebook every new thing they buy and have in their home.  While it’s understandable that you’re proud of your home and possessions, there are cruel people out there who want to steal your things.  Don’t entice them into stealing from you by posting pictures of your home and possessions on Facebook.

5. Vary the way you use your outside and inside lights.  Don’t make it easy for folks to know when you’re away from home. Robbers look for a routine pattern of how you keep your outside and inside lights on, so vary the way you use your outside and inside lights.

6. Have a reliable neighbor to watch your home and/or the Neighborhood Watch.  Be sure that your neighbor and/or Neighborhood Watch can truly be trusted to watch your home.

7. Purchase a real or fake security camera outside of your home.  A real or fake security camera can make robbers less likely to feel comfortable attempting to burglarize your home.

8. Don’t make it easy to see the inside of your home.  Many people don’t have curtains and mini-blinds and you can see the inside of their homes.  This is a significant mistake.  While you should certainly have the right to not have curtains and/or mini-blinds up to your windows, just know you’re giving robbers a clear view of what you have in your home.

9. Don’t bring and invite everyone to your home.  The more people you invite and bring into your home the more people who are familiar with your home and what’s in it.  This, of course, increases the likelihood of your home being burglarized by someone you invited and brought into your home.

10. Purchase a gun.  Even when you’re home, people will try to rob you.  When they make the decision to do this, be prepared to greet them with some bullets.  You have a right to defend your home and family from a robber.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison