Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. does not much fancy all this talk of gun control. His idea: Put an armed officer in every school and public place.
Clarke is no stranger to mass shootings. His county contains the suburb of Oak Creek, where Wade Page opened fire on a Sikh temple in August, killing six and leaving his motive a mystery. Clarke's jurisdiction also abuts the community of Brookfield, where Radcliffe Haughton shot seven women in October, killing three of them, including his wife.
Now that the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has brought gun control to the forefront of political debate, Clarke has decried any effort that increases gun control rather than beefing up security anywhere and everywhere.
"All of these suggestions about the need for gun control are the mindset of sheep," Clarke wrote in a commentary for a tea party website posted three days after the Sandy Hook shootings; his spokesman confirmed the statement's veracity to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"Once the wolf is at the door, you’re helpless," Clarke wrote. "Sure, run and hide from a sociopathic killer. See how far that gets you. You know where that'll get you? 26 dead at Sandy Hook School. No one could stop the shooting and the cops weren’t there yet. The only reason there weren’t more slaughtered is because the wolf took his own life before slaughtering more innocent sheep."
(A somewhat different recommendation from a Daily Beast writer to solve this problem earned wide attention this week, when Megan McArdle wrote: "I'd also like us to encourage people to gang-rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.")
Clarke, who has run as a Democrat in his last two elections, said liberals were "exploiting tragedy once again in our country" and were trying to "use tragedy as a reason to take our rights away. Liberals are shameful." He recommended eliminating gun-free zones for schools and no-guns-allowed signs at stores because that, Clarke said, just invites slaughter.
"I have a better idea to all this run and hide advice," he wrote. "An armed tactical trained officer or security officer in every school and public place (theaters, malls, etc) in America. How are we going to pay for it? With all the money we spend on going green projects and other waste of money social service spending we do."
Clarke cited a visit he made to Israel in which he saw Uzi-wearing security officers everywhere he went. "It was impressive and I felt safe," he wrote. "They don’t talk about gun control in Israel to prevent violence. They dare gun toting perps to bring it."
Milwaukee County's sheriff since 2002, Clarke has earned reelection handily in 2006 and 2010, winning more than 70% of the vote in his most recent race.