The red-hot issue of the day is the recent massacre in the Parkland, Florida high school. It has the nation’s attention – as it should. True to form, the media runs to the nearest chief of police to get a statement.
If they can round-up a nationally-known chief, all the better. Here are some names you may know:
- Scott Israel, Sheriff Broward County
- Kevin Lystad, Chief Miami Shores PD
- Bill Bratton, Chief (ret) NYPD and LAPD
- Kevin Navarro, Chief Chicago PD
- Charlie Beck, Chief LAPD
No matter the individual, you can count on them to come up with something to say into the camera. The media assumes and portrays that when a chief speaks, he is reflecting the sentiment of the cops in his agency.
Unfortunately, too often such an assumption is wrong.
Current newspaper articles report that the Chiefs of Police all over South Florida are strongly advocating for more strict gun control laws. Article go on to suggest that the majority of the Florida Chiefs of Police are of the same opinion.
WHAT DID HE SAY?
As an individual street cop, I read this stuff and wonder, “Who agrees with what the Chief is saying on this? Certainly not me.”
Go to a monthly union meeting, or stop for a barley pop at the end of your shift with others from your crew, and you will likely hear the same thing. Chances are you would never hear an experienced street cop advocating for more government control of guns.
Yet, the politicians hear some chief with oral diarrhea advocating for more gun control and they judge that all 800,000 cops across the country want more government intervention in their lives.
No matter how famous, chiefs who spout-off like this are talking like eggheads. The issue of active shooters in schools has been an important topic in law enforcement circles ever since Columbine.
Here are some of the areas where either the chief and the rank & file are often going in opposite directions.
- Law enforcement wants more gun control laws. No, we don’t. Most often, the proposed laws won’t fix the problem. In addition, criminals don’t obey laws anyway, so why adopt another one?
- The AR-15 is NOT an assault rifle. It has been known for many years as the “Modern Sporting Rifle,” intended for hunting and other sporting uses.
- The AR-15 is NOT as powerful (i.e. distance it can shoot) as full-sized, ‘regular’ rifles.
- The AR-15 is not now – and never has been – used by any military organization anywhere on the planet. It simply isn’t powerful enough.
- A chief should know that the Supreme Court has ruled the right to “keep and bear arms” is a fundamental right under the Constitution. It can only be restricted by a court of law where the individual had the benefit of due process. Therefore, taking away someone’s Second Amendment rights takes a lot more than simply putting them, “on a list.”
- A chief should know the history of prior attempts to force gun owners to register their weapons. It won’t happen without a major fight. Government registration enables confiscation. It happened in Australia and Venezuela. Foreign country, you say? It also happened in New Orleans following Katrina and last fall in Puerto Rico following Irma.
- Citizens have primary responsibility for their own defense – and sometimes, their only defense. During Irma last fall, residents in the Florida Keys were advised that if they dialed ‘911’ no one would respond. Those people shouldered responsibility for their own defense for multiple days. Chiefs know this.
- A big deal has been made about how mentally messed-up people would be identified. Any street cop who has been on the job more than a couple of weeks could likely list all of the mental misfits in their section and can drive you to their front doors. The street cops in any community know EVERY potential problem-child and where they live.
- One of the gun law restrictions spewed out frequently is government to limit the number of rounds a magazine may hold. Who knows how many bullets will be needed to defend the lives of you and your family? No one. That is why cops are exempted from following any such law. And, if the cops are off the street during a hurricane or other disaster, why should your ability to defend yourself be limited? It shouldn’t.
- There is also talk about raising the age to buy a long gun to 21. Let’s put this in perspective. A twenty year old Marine who is home on R&R cannot buy a rifle to go hunting with his Dad. Is that what you want? Me neither.
The point of all of these examples is this: a real cop would never say them out loud – especially not to a member of the media. Cops know of the shortcomings of each example.
COP NO MORE
A chief or sheriff who stands in front of a camera and says stuff like this has become disconnected from his troops and the jobs they do every day.
A chief who runs their mouth with such nonsense implies one of a few options.
They may be a “politician wanna-be” who has his eye on running for some public office after he retires from his cop career.
The other possibility is that the chief is looking for the approval of the Coastal Elite Left so that he can retire and be hired into a ‘cushy’ job that pays well and doesn’t require much work – like a hot-shot consultant.
WRAPPING IT UP
First, don’t let their BS upset you. It isn’t worth it. They have renounced their membership in the Brotherhood and should be treated accordingly.
Second, if you feel strongly enough about it, try to find a SAFE way to let the public know where the street cops in your agency stand on these issues. The key point is do in away so you don’t get yourself jammed-up.
Leadership failure in law enforcement is at an epidemic level right now. We need to remember our Oath, be true to each other and support the people in the communities we serve.
At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.
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