According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, : Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. set off alarm bells Friday with a radio spot some view as a call for citizens to arm themselves. In the radio ad, Clarke tells residents personal safety isn’t a spectator sport anymore, and that “I need you in the game.”
“With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option,” Clarke intones.
“You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back.” Clarke urges listeners to take a firearm safety course and handle 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?”
“With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option,” Clarke urges.
The spot aired at least once – during the last hour of the Mark Belling show on WISN-AM (1130) on Thursday. Clarke spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin posted it to the department website on Friday. She said she did not know where else or how often the spot would be broadcast, or how much the department spent to air it.
Clarke has served as lightning rod before, most recently when he called for schools to arm teachers after the Newtown, Conn., massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school. News of the sheriff’s gun ad quickly generated [anti-gun] feedback.
Jodie Tabak, Mayor Tom Barrett’s spokeswoman, released this statement:
“Apparently, Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie.”
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Asked about Clarke’s assessment of 911, James Fendry, director of the Wisconsin Pro Gun Movement, said, “It’s never been a great option (calling 911). Unless you can take care of yourself, you’re kind of SOL.”
Fendry, a former police officer, said that he tells citizens, “You’re not armed to be law enforcement. You’re armed to protect your own life and the lives of your family until law enforcement arrives. Do not go on search and destroy missions in your home.”
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