Wisconsin County Sheriff David Clarke is facing backlash for telling Milwaukee, Wisconsin residents to get a gun for emergencies, rather than call 911. In a radio ad, Clarke claims personal and public safety is no longer a “spectator sport,” and urges civilians to “get in the game” before police arrive to a scene:
I’m Sheriff David Clarke, and I want to talk to you about something personal…your safety. It’s no longer a spectator sport; I need you in the game, but are you ready?
With officers laid-off and furloughed, simply calling 9-1-1 and waiting is no longer your best option. You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back; but are you prepared? Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there. You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?
Clarke told the Associated Press he chose to get “creative” about facing “fewer and fewer resources” in his department. “After sitting down and thinking about this, I’m thinking ‘Hey, I’ve got an untapped reserve over here, and it’s the public,’” he said.
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.”