An big city sheriff in liberal Wisconsin just upped the ante in the gun debate:
The sheriff’s advice is sure to flame the debate on both sides. To be sure, it already has:
Jodie Tabak, Mayor Tom Barrett’s spokeswoman, released this statement:
“Apparently, Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie.”
And there’s more:
Jeri Bonavia, executive director of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, said she hears “over and over” from most law enforcement officials that the community should work to “take more guns off the streets, not add more.”
“What (Clarke’s) talking about is this amped up version of vigilantism,” Bonavia said. “I don’t know what his motivations are for doing this. But I do know what he’s calling for is dangerous and irresponsible and he should be out there saying this is a mistake.”
However, the sheriff is not without his supporters:
Asked about Clarke’s assessment of 911, James Fendry, director of the Wisconsin Pro Gun Movement, said, “It’s never been a great option (calling 911). Unless you can take care of yourself, you’re kind of SOL.”
Fendry, a former police officer, said that he tells citizens, “You’re not armed to be law enforcement. You’re armed to protect your own life and the lives of your family until law enforcement arrives. Do not go on search and destroy missions in your home.”
I tend to agree with the folks who are calling on Clarke to show restraint. The debate is amped up as it is; folks are already looking for any and all reasons to buy a gun. Heck, in many cases they’re looking for reason NOT to buy a gun. And when a cop comes out and says that the white hats can’t get there in time; well, it only serves to embolden the guys in the black hats.
County Executive Chris Abele said Clarke is sending the wrong message.
“I think it’s irresponsible and it doesn’t help public safety to tell the public there’s some kind of imminent danger that they need to go buy guns,” Abele said. “Essentially, you’ve got a (public service announcement) that’s recommending people need to go buy guns because they can’t rely on the response they’ll get from 911. I’m here to tell you, we have phenomenal police departments.”
Roy Felber, president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, said the ad sounded to him like a call to vigilantism.
“That doesn’t sound smart,” Felber said. “That’s why society has police officers.”
One the main and best deterrents to crime is that the cops are on the way and that they WILL catch you. To break that seal, to allow even a hint of doubt tears down that curtain and what’s behind, may or may not be, ugly.