By Dawn Cranfield
Wisconsin Sheriff Wants Residents to Help Defend Themselves, Get Gun Training
Milwaukee County Sheriff, David Clarke Jr., has starred in a controversial commercial urging residents to take certified safety courses in handling firearms. In the 30-second spot, Clarke opines safety is no longer a spectator sport.
Clarke was inspired to create the advertisement when he was forced to lay off 48 deputies last year and decided he needed to get creative with how he would protect the citizens in his community. He determined the public should and could have their own safety in mind and could collaborate with the sheriff’s office.
“With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option,” he adds. “You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. … Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there.” (foxnews.com)
With the state’s “castle doctrine” in mind, Clarke released the ad amid a flurry of criticism from other area officials and anti-violence advocates. (The “castle doctrine” is designed to protect those who use deadly force against unlawful intruders in their homes, businesses, or vehicles.)
Roy Felber, President of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriff’s Association, said, “It sounds like a call to vigilantism. That doesn’t sound too smart. People have the right to defend themselves, but they don’t have the right to take the law into their own hands. ” (foxnews.com)
Even Mayor Tom Barrett, who was beaten with a tire iron several years ago, is
not being supportive of this call to action by Clarke. Mayor Barrett released a statement criticizing the advertisement stating, “Apparently Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie.” (foxnews.com)
Others who have been critical of the Sheriff Clarke and who have completely missed the mark are people like Jeri Bonavia, executive director of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort. Bonavia recalls the George Zimmerman case when she points out how she believes the ad is irresponsible and believes Clarke owes an apology to the community. She completely misses the facts of the of Zimmerman’s case as she even points out the “stand your ground” law versus the “castle doctrine” cited by Clarke.
Bonavia continues, pronouncing, “If he really believes that he’s not capable of providing for our public safety he should get a different job.” (foxnews.com)
Clarke is not calling for vigilante justice; he has not authorized residents to take arms to the street for thefts, frauds, misdemeanors, prank phone calls, or the like. He has asked the public to protect their person and their family in case of bodily threat; something every American should have the right to do.
He is now being publicly chastised because he has stated, “The government has tied my hands by taking from my budget so I cannot protect you as readily as I would like, so please, protect yourself as is your right.”
This is not vigilantism, this is America.