Video: Milwaukee County sheriff’s PSA on self-protection

posted at 10:01 am on January 26, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

One rule of thumb when hosting a radio talk show: don’t bring an audio clip on the air “cold,” i.e., without having heard it yourself.  That’s probably especially true when you’re guest-hosting for a good friend and mentor.  However, after Hot Air reader Tim R sent this to me near the end of the first hour of last night’s Hugh Hewitt show, I asked Duane “Generalissimo” Patterson to check it out for hour two as I was wrapping up an interview with John Eastman on the recess-appointment ruling.  In the break, I asked, “Can we use that?”  Duane answered, “Oh, hell yes.”

The sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin has a new public-service announcement on radio on protecting yourself, and it’s causing quite a stir in the community:

In the PSA, Sheriff David Clarke says, “With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. But are you prepared?”

 “You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?”

Sounds pretty straightforward and honest.  The police and sheriff’s deputies can’t arrive instantaneously to rescue citizens from every or even many violent crimes, and so it’s incumbent on people to learn to defense themselves.  The Fox affiliate leaves out a very important part of the PSA, though, which the Journal Sentinel at least mentions:

Clarke urges listeners to take a firearm safety course and handle a firearm “so you can defend yourself until we get there.”

Yes, instead of either cowering under the bed or buying a weapon and shooting wildly, Sheriff Clarke wants citizens to receive proper instruction in self-defense — which includes learning how to handle a weapon as well as the proper uses and legal limitations of self-defense.  These courses instill discipline and self-control, as well as prepare people for the unlikely-but-still-possible situation where they may be the only defense they have against a violent criminal.

Of course, that produced the usual hysteria:

“If he does not feel he is capable of  doing this, and he’s not qualified to take on this role of public safety, he should resign and he should do it today,” said Jeri Bonavia of the non-profit Wisconsin Anti-violence Effort.

Bonavia says Clarke is asking citizens to become vigilantes.

“To issue a blanket statement that people should be out there, arming up, and taking care of safety matters that really law enforcement officials are trained to do, is just irresponsible,” said Bonavia.

The office of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in a statement: “Apparently Sheriff David Clark (sp) is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie.”

Apparently, Barrett never watched the Dirty Harry movies, only one of which was about a vigilante (Sudden Impact, the worst of the series), and none of which had citizens acting in true self-defense.  Dirty Harry wasn’t about citizen vigilantes; it was about a sworn peace officer who used excessive force to deliver his own brand of justice.  In fact, Sheriff Clarke is warning his community that it’s impossible for police to rescue all the citizens from violent criminals, as Clint Eastwood manages to do in the film series, and that it’s their responsibility to learn how to defend themselves.

There’s a lot of irresponsibility in Milwaukee County, but it’s not coming from Sheriff Clarke.

Update: Fixed the headline — it’s Milwaukee County, not Milwaukee Country.

Update II: I messed up the video code when I added the first update. It’s now fixed.


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