Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. was the Keynote Speaker at this year’s KnifeRights.org Sharper Future Awards Breakfast. Sheriff Clarke has been an outspoken champion of the Constitution and especially the Second Amendment. He is a veteran lawman with over 30 years experience, 13 of those as sheriff, and has managed to increase his vote % in each reelection despite opposition financed by the likes of Nanny Bloomberg, who never met an aspect of plebeian life he did not want to control.
Sheriff Clarke opened with remarks on the “Ferguson Effect”. He says he can never recall a time where the political class has so turned their back on the police, when they usually are more interested in seeking endorsements from LEO organizations. The Sheriff said that tragedies happen. Police do not have a pause button and must react on their training, experience, and sometimes yes, a guess. While I do not claim to know the answer to the situation, I want to believe him when he says that “it is a privilege, not a right to serve in an elected position”.
While I do not often take elected officials at their word, I look at 3 things when feeling confident that Sheriff Clarke is not a part of the problem. First, his increasing vote totals indicate that his citizenry believes he is doing a good job. Second, the only noise I hear grumbling against the Sheriff comes from outlets such as Daily Kos where they are taking issue with the things they disagree with, no allegations of corruption or misconduct. One only needs to look at the arrows being slung at Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona to know that if there were anything that the left could hang on the guy they would (and he is a Democrat. Just not the right kind of Democrat).
Lastly, and I believe most important, is that the Sheriffs outspoken views on freedom are incongruous with his playing a major role in the problems at hand.
“Freedom means more to me than anything. When the Constitution was written my people were not included. The 13th and 14th Amendments gave me my freedom, and it is precious to me. The Second Amendment is a check on Government institutional tyranny.”
Granted, lying to a room full of people is a job-related skill for a politician, however I do not get this sense from him while watching him speak. He used this theme of freedom to move the conversation onto knives.
He said that when Doug and Suzie first approached him at the NRA show, he found the concept of “knife rights” peculiar. He had never reflected on just how insane they can be in terms of both numbers and complexity. This is why we need KOPA (the Knife Owner Protection Act)
“If I leave my home and cross a state line, I am still protected from search by the 4th Amendment and self-incrimination by the 5th. Why is the 2nd Amendment the only one that is subject to change. It’s a mess”.
“What is special about a knife? Why not a hammer? We don’t regulate this tool. I can do damage with a hammer. I can hurt someone with an automobile, or a screwdriver. re they going to come up with screwdriver length restrictions? It is insane to think about.
We are being conditioned over time, with little resistance, to think of knives as bad. I could hurt someone with my coffee mug here. I won’t because it is the Cowboys and I don’t want to break it, but I could.
The laws change all over the place. Who the hell is supoosed to keep up with that?”
He told the story of how he first came to love knives. His dad was a retired Army paratrooper who took up recreational skydiving. He used to have a knife on his jump gear in case of emergency. It was (gasp!) a switchblade. He chose it because it was the right tool for the job.
He closed by saying that all of us in attendance have the duty to go and spread the word. The Knife community needs to organize. Politicians will only respond if they think you represent a voting block large enough to make a difference. Get involved.
“It isn’t about the size of the knife, the type of knife, it is about Freedom” – Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.