Milwaukee, WI – County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. is facing criticism for telling residents to skip calling 911 and learn how to defend themselves in the case of a potential threat on their lives.
Clarke said on radio ad earlier this month that he thinks people should learn how to use firearms safely and responsibly in order to defend themselves, because “calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option.”
On CNN‘s Starting Point, Clarke expanded on this perspective, saying that calling the police, in some instances, is “of no use.” Said Clarke:
“There are certain situations — and I think most people get that — where 911 is going to be of no use. For instance, once the wolf is at the door, once the intruder is inside your home, once you’re on the street and someone sticks a gun in your face to take your car or your wallet, you don’t have the option of calling 911.
“In those situations, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself. It’s a public safety message, and I’m just here to let the people know, give them the information as to what’s going on, and to give them options, if you will, as to how to defend themselves in those situations.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett lashed out Clarke’s 30-second ad, saying: “Apparently Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie.”
In an interview with Fox Monday, Clarke rebutted Mayor Barrett’s criticism of the ad.
“Personally I’ve never seen the Dirty Harry movie — but if that’s all the mayor can come up with, that’s pretty weak,” he said. “I think that what’s going on in the city of Milwaukee on his watch is kind of, you know — it looks like he doesn’t have much to say, he doesn’t have much to offer and that’s okay.”
“My job is to protect the public,” he said.
What do you think? Can the police be relied upon to intervene in emergencies, or should people take gun safety courses and learn how to defend themselves?