NOTE: This post was originally published on US4Palin. The transcript was prepared by AGU-NY State Coordinator Ron Devito and the interview was conducted by AGU-PA State Coordinator Kevin Scholla.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff was criticized by anti-Second Amendment activists after recording a message to citizens intended to give them options for keeping their families safe. Sheriff Clarke is not backing down. Instead, this Sarah Palin admirer is fighting back and standing up for the people. American Grizzlies United kicks off multiple pro-Second Amendment initiatives on the heels of the successful Day Of Resistance. After her electrifying speech last year, CPAC is bringing Governor Palin back for 2013. Plus, Palin’s President’s Day message and tracking Todd’s Iron Dog adventure. Steel Resolve, our weekly commentary with Sarah Steelman is also featured. Steelman isn’t running for Congress in Missouri’s 8th District, but she is supporting someone who is.
Sheriff Clarke: Not for Me to Tell You How to Defend Yourself
Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke was elected three times. He created quite the stir when he released a public service announcement (PSA), in which he said that citizens have the choice and right guns to protect themselves, because they were the true first responders. Response times for burglaries and rapes are 54 and 56 minutes respectively in Milwaukee County. Over the past two years, Wisconsin has enacted the Castle Doctrine and has made it easier for law-abiding citizens to obtain concealed carry permits (CCW). Clarke said, "it is not up to me to tell law-abiding citizens how to defend themselves, but if you’re going to partner with me, you have to be ready." The PSA caused all the anti-gun groups to come out of the woodwork against Clarke.
You are Responsible for your Own Safety
"I knew there would be blowback from the left and anti-gun people here in Milwaukee County, but this thing went nationwide," he said. He continued, "they knew it would resonate with law-abiding people and they didn’t want that to happen." Clarke said his enemies first tried to destroy the message, then the messenger, then both. He had been dealing with this for 10 years. "You are responsible for your own safety. The police are not the front line in a person’s personal security," he said. Police are a responsive agency, he said. They cannot be everywhere at once. Milwaukee has furloughed 1,500 officers in the face of budget cuts, which has driven up response times. Violent crime is on the rise at 9% overall.
"I Trust Armed Law-Abiding Citizens"
"I trust armed law-abiding citizens. It’s grounded in the law, here in Wisconsin. The concept that a person is not responsible for his or her own security is foreign to me," he said. Clarke spoke about a criminal arrested on 14 felonies committed during a crime spree. The perpetrator was released on low-bail, re-armed himself in violation of the law (felons are not permitted to own guns), and committed 17 more felonies, mainly carjackings and armed robberies. "You can plead for mercy, hide under the bed when an intruder comes in, or you can fight back," Clarke said in his ad. He said, "it’s time to give the crooks something else to think about. There are 155,000 people in the State of Wisconsin who have permits to carry concealed weapons." He spoke about an off-duty officer who shot a robber and said the average citizen should be able to do the same thing. "You have to be mentally prepared."
"We will get there, but if you’re being jacked, or if an intruder is breaking into your home while your wife and kids are sleeping, you’ve got to have a plan to deal with the situation and you have the tools. The State of Wisconsin has given them to you. You have to be prepared to use them," Clarke said. "It’s a hard thing to do for a law-abiding citizen to point a gun at another human being and shoot him. It’s easy for a criminal to do it. Once they’ve done it, it becomes easy, but for the average law-abiding human being, it’s a tough thing to do." He said if comes down to a choice between a law-abiding citizen and a criminal, the criminal should lose.
"I Answer to Citizens, Not Other Politicians"
The Mayor and Police Chief of Milwaukee are against Clarke and his message. The police chief works for the mayor, but Clarke is independently elected at the county level and says he is on the people’s side. "I don’t answer to another politician like the chief," he said. He related how the Mayor intervened in a crime and "got beaten to within inches of his life with a tire iron. He found out what the average citizen has to deal with on an ongoing basis. If had a gun and a plan, he would have had a different outcome." Clarke said the mayor now has a security detail – which he does not begrudge, but "I would think after that beating, he would be a little more sensitive to the plight of everyday citizens."
Clarke was born and raised in Milwaukee. He has 35 years in law enforcement, 24 of which were with the Milwaukee Police Department. He loves the city that has been his home his entire life and said, "I want better schools, safer streets, and I want to use that as a force multiplier to aggressively go after the crooks in this city."
Left is Hypocritical on Guns and Violence
He said while it is sad that politicians will exploit tragedies such as the Sandy Hook School shooting to push their gun control initiatives, this has been going on a long time. He said the mass shootings are tragedies but they are outside the realm of every-day street violence. Clarke noted that the left is now referring to gun control as "violence reduction." He said leftists have no interest in real violence reduction. Crimes in Milwaukee are not committed with "assault weapons," large magazines, or ammo bought over the internet, Clarke said. He said the left simply wants to infringe the Second Amendment out of existence. He said politicians like Mayor Barrett are soft on crime, set low bails, and refuse to confine criminals for long periods of time. Yet, they want "violence reduction." "They’re speaking out of both sides of their mouths," Clarke said.
Clarke did research on straw purchases and only 43 cases in 12 years were brought up for prosecution in Milwaukee County. The conviction rate is 46%. Sentences range from fines to probation. Only three individuals went to prison with sentences of 18 months, two years, and two and one half years. Straw purchase is supposed to be a 10-year felony. "That’s the hypocrisy of the left." The city’s police chief won’t join with Clarke in calling for harsher penalties for those who use guns to commit crimes. The police chief wants to send straw purchasers to a county jail rather than prison.
Sarah Palin an Inspiration
On former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s outspoken support of the Second Amendment – which has been second to none – Clarke said, he appreciates her standing up for it. "I admire her. From the time she got into this real public life….I read her book, Going Rogue, and I’ve got to tell you: what a fascinating read! I find her to be an inspiration." He spoke about, "her courage and some of the things she had to go through and how she had to stand tall and stand fast with all the blow back that she had to put up with, even before becoming the Vice Presidential nominee two elections ago and even since then." Clarke said, "but, I use her as a source of inspiration and if you get the chance, please pass on my well wishes and thank her for her service to our country."
What Left Calls "Common-Sense" is Assault on the Second Amendment
Scholla asked about Wayne LaPierre, President of the NRA who got ripped for saying "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." Clarke agrees with LaPierre and said, "the left likes to talk about a ‘common-sense approach to firearms ownership.’ It’s not common-sense. It’s an assault on the Second Amendment, and they don’t have the courage to say it, because they know it doesn’t poll well with the American public." Clarke said he understands that the Second Amendment is not absolute, but it has been chipped away enough that we need to leverage the laws we already have, such as those pertaining to straw purchases and felons in possession. "The Second Amendment is as sacred as the First," he said.
Scholla hosts a TV show with a Sheriff – Delaware County’s Most Wanted – and sees the inner workings of a sheriff’s office. "You people are heroes every day, and if you don’t know it from the Piers Morgan types, and anti-gun bureaucrats, you are appreciated, and I want you to know that from us here."
Steel Resolve: Jason Smith for MO-8
"I’m sure that you all know there is a special election going on here in Missouri for the Eighth District Congressional Representative," Sarah Steelman said as she opened her Steel Resolve segment. She continued, "I’m happy to report that Jason Smith, the Republican nominee for the seat being vacated by Jo Ann Emerson is a steadfast conservative." She said Smith is currently serving as her state representative "and understands that Washington is broken and dysfunctional. Smith knows the government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. He has fought against both federal and state regulations that are interfering with farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to raise crops and cattle."
Steelman continued, "he has fought for property rights and land owners, and he will stand strong against the over-reach of the EPA in every facet of agriculture and business. Most importantly, Jason Smith understands that it is freedom that has made America the greatest and most prosperous country in the world. He knows that freedom is a value we hold dear. Freedom allows us to dream our own dreams and pursue our own definition of happiness no matter what it is. He knows that our Constitution protects our natural rights given to us by God and that no government can take those away from us. Most importantly, he will fight to protect our freedoms. Jason Smith will take good Missouri common-sense to Washington. He will help fix what is broken."
Steelman invited listeners to check Smith’s website at: http://jasonsmith.com and donate to his campaign. "It is critical that we send conservatives like Jason Smith to Congress," she concluded.
Complete Audio Transcript of Interview with Sheriff David Clarke
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