Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee has taken a beating from both the press and members of his own party for suggesting that law-abiding citizens consider owning a firearm to protect themselves. Clarke, a Democrat, made the suggestion in a public service announcement asking citizens to support law enforcement and take personal responsibility for their own safety. Immediately after the PSA aired Democrats in Wisconsin tripped over each other in a race to distance themselves from the sheriff.
Mainstream media talking heads soon piled on the outrage as well.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a twice-failed Democratic gubernatorial nominee and ex-Congressman, fumed that Clarke was encouraging citizens to ignore calling 9-1-1. Others said the sheriff was encouraging vigilante justice. A few media outlets compounded the problem by, like Mayor Barrett, saying Sheriff Clarke called on citizens to “Skip 9-1-1.”
But Clarke never said people should take the law into their own hands or skip calling 9-1-1 to report a situation to law enforcement. What he did say is citizens should exercise personal responsibility for their own safety including. That includes, if necessary, obtaining a firearm and becoming properly trained in using it.
In Wisconsin, before a person can obtain a concealed carry permit they must be trained in the safe and legal use of a firearm.
Liberal heads exploded at what Clarke said not just because he dared to say something that could be seen as pro-gun, but because he dared to encourage people to exercise personal responsibility for their safety. Personal responsibility is a concept that is so foreign to liberals that when confronted with it they confuse it with a heartless lack of compassion or egotistical bluster.
Central to the great liberal hypocrisy is a contradiction between saying you care about people but never respect them and trust them enough to encourage them to assume responsibility for their lives and their own success. President George W. Bush wasn’t that far off when he spoke of the “soft bigotry of low expectations.”
Appearing on CNN on Tuesday night, Clarke and Barrett took turns debating the PSA with noted gun control advocate Piers Morgan. When Barrett launched into a spiel about how terrible it is to encourage people to responsibly own a gun, Clarke outmaneuvered him saying the mayor would have probably appreciated a gun when he was attacked and clubbed with a tire iron a few years ago.
“I’m sure that if you had a gun and a plan that day, the outcome would have been a little different,” Clarke flatly told Barrett. The mayor became the target of the tire-iron carrying thug when he tried to stop the thug from attacking a woman. It was a noble act, but the injuries sustained by Barrett were serious.
After the interview, in which Barrett played second fiddle to the give-and-take debate between Clarke and Morgan, the mayor posted a note to his Facebook page urging citizens to call Clarke out for his comments.
Despite being hammered time and again over his announcement, Clarke consistently says that the reason he released it is because “I trust law abiding citizens.” And that trust is apparently what is causing so much heartburn for the Left. According to their perspective, it is good to trust government, but it is not good to trust citizens exercising personal responsibility.