02 February 2019

Where Were You Then?

Here's another entry in my overflowing file of reasons that law-enforcement officials should not be directly elected, but instead should be qualified professionals appointed by (and subject to appropriate, limited, for-cause-related oversight by) elected officials. One of the local sheriffs in this supposedly ultraliberal state — consistent with the rest of his county government, so at least he's not being (locally) disloyal — has stated that he's instructing all of the law enforcement professionals under his authority not to enforce any part of the new voter-approved Initiative 1639. Just look at that smiling picture and ponder its dissonance from the subject matter!

Don't ponder its dissonance from reality too much, though: You'll hurt yourself. What I really want to know is this, Sheriff Scott (and the same of your white male colleagues and predecessors in the rural and semirural counties of this state): Where the hell were you when your upstanding local citizens were attacking Native Americans over the damned fish catch? Did those citizens' "property rights" and "commercial advantage" somehow justify ignorance of treaty obligations, and justify not just punching holes in boats and nets but beating the crap out of the Others while deputies failed to respond? Where the hell were you and your ilk when American citizens of Japanese descent were being rounded up for internment camps? Where the hell were you when any other civil-rights issue — especially those based on clear constitutional authority like the Fourteenth Amendment's demand for equal protection of the law — arose? Where the hell were you the last time there was a gay-bashing incident off campus at the local high school? Where the hell were you the last time some of the Real Americans in your jurisdiction torched a non-Christian place of worship or business?

You do not get to pick and choose which statutes to enforce, Sheriff. Sometimes there are legitimate allocation-of-scarce-resources issues that mean in practice that you have to prioritize (I've run into them as a CO myself)… but you've made no reference to that. Admittedly, there are ambiguities that need to be resolved in some of the details of I–1639… just like there are ambiguities and professional judgment involved in damned near any enforcement of any law at any time. That doesn't mean you get to decide, in your supreme self-righteous arrogance, that an entire law that appears consistent with even the most generous-to-gun-owners Supreme Court decisions is to be unenforced just because you think some parts of it could be clearer. If it doesn't work for Kim Davis in her merely administrative capacity, it bloody well shouldn't work for you when you are charged primarily with protecting public safety. <SARCASM> But I'm supposed to respect your professional judgment. Just like I learned exactly how much to respect the professional judgment of the popularly elected sheriffs (and their deputies) in Oklahoma and Cleveland Counties regarding airmen and NCOs under my supervision and command who, for whatever reason, didn't look like them. To some of us with moderately long memories and/or horizons beyond, well, the local curvature of the planet, "Sheriff" comes right before "Clark" or "Arpaio" — and it's going to take a few more decades of demonstrated even-handedness before that reaction fades, even for those of us with pale skin and military haircuts who were merely paying attention and actually gave a rat's ass about protecting the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Probably not as long as it takes your collective "the gummint is grievously harming my political patrons' civil liberties by moderately impairing their military-class firepower that has no legitimate civilian usage and no realistic training for any usage" hysteria to fade, though. </SARCASM>

And for you morons who claim that you need to keep a large-magazine firearm handy at bedside for home defense against intruders, do a little bit of math. Compare the amount of time that it takes you to wake up, reach over to that bedside table, retrieve your "equalizer," sight down on a target in a dimly lit bedroom, and pull the trigger… to the amount of time that it takes an intruder with a $12 plastic-handled hunting knife purchased at some nearby convenience store to cross your ten-by-twelve bedroom and really mess up your day. Meanwhile, make sure the "intruder" wasn't your ten-year-old kid having a nightmare or videogame rush who came in your bedroom door. <SARCASM> Besides, your kid might have a chance to live if you don't have one in the pipe and fifteen in the magazine, given your usual marksmanship (which seldom approaches that on display in any Star Wars film). </SARCASM>