Meanwhile, back at the rancho in Maricopa, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arapaio announced last Wednesday that he’s arming his deputies with 400 military-style assault rifles. From the official press release:
We look far and wide for the best people and best equipment....This Sheriff’s Office has the nation’s largest volunteer armed posse, we are the only law enforcement agency in the nation known to possess a .50-caliber machine gun which can be used in any needed circumstance and soon we’ll have more semi-automatic rifles in patrol cars than about any other law enforcement agency around.
Excuse me? Volunteer armed posse?
What this says is that Sheriff Arapaio is putting rather large weapons into the hands of non-professionals who are going to be sent out to enforce Arizona laws. While I’m sure someone is training these people, are they doing adequate background checks? Is each volunteer going to take his weapon home so he can have it at the ready when called? Are they installing proper gun lockers in where the weapons are going to be kept? Who carries liability?
What we do know is that in 2011, Sheriff Arapaio staged a raid on a house using a tank and actor Steven Seagal for a reality show. They were supposedly hunting down dangerous people who raised chickens. …or more specifically roosters… for cock fights. Instead, they drove a tank into the LLovera’s house, killing the family’s puppy and some show chickens. Seagal is supposedly a PETA guy; he was active in the campaign to stop puppy drowning in Taiwan! And now…he’s known as Seagal the Puppy Killer.
They needed a tank for this? And this guy is leading a posse?
You cannot convince me that Sheriff Arapaio, the Arizona poster boy for no gun laws, is a shining example of responsible weaponry. Just like you cannot convince me that Gayle Trotter isn’t smoking extreme quantities of ganja before going on talk shows to tell us moms we need automatic weapons locked and load in our house to protect our babies from roving gangs of marauders who break down our doors. Or how about the NRA’s La Pierre going on the talk shows to sell the idea that there should be no background checks at all? Paul Krugman said it best on ABC’s THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos:
What strikes me is we've actually gotten a glimpse into the mindset, though, of the pro-gun people and we've seen certainly Wayne La Pierre and some of these others. It's bizarre ... They have this vision that we're living in a Mad Max movie and that nothing can be done about it. That America cannot manage unless everybody's prepared to shoot intruders, that the idea that we have police forces that provide public safety is somehow totally impractical, despite the fact that, you know, that is, in fact, the way we live.
President Obama was here in Minnesota on Monday to meet with the cops and others involved in battle to write a national gun law. The overwhelming sense of the nation is that the laws we have now are inadequate and that at the very least the availability of automatic weaponry must be addressed in a functional, practical manner. Le Pierre’s cockabarley that law abiding citizens don’t want background checks and that the criminals aren’t going to get checks anyway demonstrates an incipient path to a new form of anarchy that is just not where the public is right now. Add to that Gayle Trotter’s idea that there should be a chicken in every pot and a loaded AR-15 in every foyer closet is not much better.
Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I learned to fire a gun, specifically, a police revolver. I won’t go into the circumstances surrounding that, but I did learn and I was taught how to aim it at a person. I’ve never fired a gun at a person, but I will tell you it is a far different mindset. It is not the same as pointing it at a target or an animal. It’s not like in the movies or the video games. I don’t know if media hardens us against the violence, but I do know it gives us a false impression of what’s like to be facing a gun. Very few people are trained snipers and the odds of AR-15 mom actually hitting someone even with a spray of bullets won’t happen. Instead, everyone around her will die. And like the kids at Sandy Hook or Columbine or in the theater in Aurora, they will not get up again like actors on a movie set.
So what’s a person to do? The obvious thing is to contact your elected representative and tell them you want a sane and practical set of gun laws enacted. Then, don’t just sit down. The NRA is counting on We, the People, growing bored with this process. We cannot grow bored, we cannot stand down.
In the end, this is ultimately about moral courage. Do We, the People, have what it takes to take our country back from brink of armament insanity?
The Wifely Person’s Tip o’the Week
Maybe it’s time for the rest of us to join the NRA.
If a few million normal people join, we could change their board.