Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke who released a radio ad urging Milwaukee-area residents to learn to handle firearms so they can defend themselves while waiting for police said Friday that law enforcement cutbacks have changed the way police can respond to crime. In the 30-second commercial, the Sheriff says:
I need you in the game. 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.
There however is a huge fly in the ointment, according Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, it simply isn't true. There hasn't been any recent layoffs or furloughs in the suburban police departments or in Milwaukee. Unfortunately Think Progress, a site I refer to often, failed to do their ground work and bought right into this PR scam. They state in their article about the subject:
While it is true police departments have thinned — thanks to Republican public sector budget cuts — Clarke has an absurd expectation that citizens could act as interim police officers, with minimal firearm training. Armed citizens usually do not stop violent crime, and their intervention only increases the danger and bloodshed, “given that civilian shooters are less likely to hit their targets than police in these circumstances.”
While they do make a valid point about GOP austerity efforts aimed at the public sector and vigilantes taking the law into their own hands, in this case it simply isn't true as Chris Abele explained. The real motivation however seems to be fourfold:
- Get frightened people to buy guns.
- Get frightened people against gun control.
- Get frightened people to demand an increase in the police dept budget.
- Get Sheriff Clarke's name in the news.
Milwaukee County Sheriff and Tea Party Member David Clarke Jr. is ambitious man, this ad serves to turn people against the current mayor, thereby laying the groundwork for his possible run for mayor in 2016 or other political office in 2014. Having the NRA and ALEC in your back pocket would go a long way in funding any campaign. Think Progress would have seen through this scam had they simply listened to the AP interview. By reporting it the way they did they fed into this lie and became useful idiots by spreading this spurious propaganda.