In the last few weeks our country has witnessed a gruesome massacre of innocent children in Newtown, Ct., then only to have more acts of violence to follow in other parts of our country. The people responsible for the acts who survive need to be held responsible for what they have done and be prosecuted to the fullest, not pled down to lessor offenses. These attacks have done two things:
1) First, it has given new fuel to the cause of gun-control in our country. The people who support new gun control and gun ownership restrictions are trying to use these incidents to further their cause and persuade the general public that new laws, new restrictions, and new regulations will prevent further attacks. I respect their opinion, but I disagree.
New attacks on our 2nd Amendment right will not prevent these senseless, vicious attacks.
Making it harder for law abiding citizens to protect themselves by being armed will not stop these attacks.
New limitations on magazine capacity will not prevent these tragedies, nor will the banning of certain rifles or semi-automatic handguns.
Promoting “gun free zones” will not prevent these attacks.
2) The second thing that has happened is that people have been awakened out of their false sense of security. Our nation, our children are under attack. I believe these attacks will not go away, but instead could become more frequent. We must realize that these attacks will not always be “somewhere else” or happen to “someone else”. Not only are we facing an enemy from foreign terrorist groups, but also from within our own borders, from our own citizens. Whether the attacker is from a terror cell, a radical citizen of our own country or a deeply disturbed, possibly overmedicated teen, the results are the same. Terror, destruction, and the loss of innocent lives.
Realistically, I am afraid we cannot stop all the attacks. If guns were totally eliminated in our county the attacks would continue with another source of terror and another source of destruction and death. That’s why any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the constitutional rights of the citizens of the county I’m entrusted to serve and protect, shall not be enforced by me or by my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Boone County, Arkansas.
Instead, I would like to recommend that we take the following steps:
1) Prepare to defend our citizens (including the children in our schools) by developing and exercising training methods to prevent these attacks from occurring in “gun-safe zones”.
2) Protect our public schools, colleges, and churches by allowing them the ability to protect themselves with properly trained and armed citizens. Not allowing these institutions to have a number of armed “protectors” within their confines is like asking a sheep dog to protect sheep with a muzzle on.
3) Develop a county wide incident response plan specifically for our schools. If each school implements a different course of action in response to a crisis, it slows down the ability for emergency personnel to respond to eliminate or neutralize the attack and also provide assistance and medical care.
4) Urge all local law enforcement and emergency response agencies to train together for crisis events.
5) Provide training information that will help school staff, parents and the general public to identify warning signs that would possibly alert authorities to a possible threat.
This is just a start and I realize as the types of threats and source of threats evolve, we will have to adapt and evolve our training methods and tactics also.
The bottom line is we must use common sense, teamwork, training, and a deep resolve to protect our citizens while not violating the unalienable rights of our citizens.
Boone County Sheriff