23:59:59: A Letter to Your Local Chief Law Enforcement Officer - Part I
Dear Chief [insert name here]:
I am writing this letter as an extremely-concerned citizen to you in your official capacity as this jurisdiction's chief local law enforcement officer.
As you are likely more aware than I, our state's finances are a shambles, and accordingly, so too are the finances of our community's government. Layoffs, essential service cutbacks, reduced operating hours -- all of these expedients and more will be tried in a likely-futile effort to compensate for the astonishing drop-off in sales, property, and other tax collections in the current edition of the Great Depression.
But that is only the start of our shared problems. On top of the devastating economic collapse across our nation, the current Administration in Washington and its allies in the Congress are attempting to impose an unprecedented level of nanny-state control over every single citizen. Combine that social-control agenda with the equally-unprecedented militarization of local and state police forces over the past twenty years, interpose the pro-freedom Tea Party movement and its allies, overlay all of these ingredients with a historic economic downturn that gets worse with each passing month, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Constitutional activist Mike Vanderboegh attempted to describe the concerns of the active and growing freedom constituency in our nation's politics with his recent essay, "Yeah, but what does that Three Percent thing MEAN?". I commend that essay to you for your background information, but it is another recent Vanderboegh article which is more directly relevant to our discussion today.
In last month's "“Choose this day whom you will serve”: An Open Letter to American Law Enforcement", Mr. Vanderboegh challenged law enforcement executives such as yourself to consider the following scenario:
...So ponder that deteriorating social trust that holds civilizations together, and then ponder this: the worst is yet to come.
What will happen when we are faced, God forbid, with some dislocating national disaster -- natural or man-made -- that makes Katrina look like a kindergarten playground? Now, even if you intend to run off like some New Orleans policemen did, to see to the safety of their families rather than keep order in the city, you are still going to need the cooperation of the armed citizenry in your home neighborhood to protect your family.
You -- ALL of you -- law enforcement officers, will then need us, the armed citizenry -- ALL of us willing and competent to muster -- to defend public order against the tide of chaos represented by five or ten million gang members and the tens of millions of panicked unprepared refugees or opportunistic criminals left unrestrained by a breakdown.
Do you seriously think that federal police, all 150,000 of them, will actually help you in that event, beyond issuing orders that they will not be personally endangered with carrying out?
You will then be on your own, and you will have us. At least those of you will who have the sense to plan now to make that happen in the event...
Lest you think Mr. Vanderboegh is a lone crackpot scribbler issuing doomed-to-obscurity manifestos from some dank basement, consider the following excerpt from this essay by noted financial writer Karl Denninger, which also came out last month:
...Let's face facts: while today we all count on being able to pick up the phone and call "911" if we need an officer to take a report on our stolen stereo, if the bad times come you will need us, not the other way around. We the people will, under such a circumstance, have the luxury of determining whether your oath of office has been faithfully discharged, or whether the only difference at that instant between you and the gangbanger is that you've got a fancy hat and a nicer car.
Most of us, should we determine that you're just the thug with the fancy hat will hide under the desk. We won't shoot at you - that's not our way. We're law-abiding citizens, for the most part, and while we will shoot back, we won't shoot first. But what we won't do is help you, because your time - your opportunity to help us prevent this catastrophe - will have expired. We will protect our neighbors, our friends, our fellow citizens.
But that's all.
You will get to deal with Zombieland, and in the back of your mind as you're literally consumed will ring that old saw you laid on us for the last two decades: "I just follow orders; I don't make the rules."
Be honest with yourselves: Is this where you want to be, or would changing things now be worthwhile? Would regaining the trust of the people be a good thing? Would replacing the large percentage of law-abiding citizens who now would spit on your shoes with those who will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you, weapons facing the oncoming zombie hoard, be a good thing?
If so you have some work to do and there's still time left to accomplish it...
It is the cooperative spirit of these two important essays that I offer these suggestions for how you could, with only the inherent authority you already possess as this jurisdiction's chief law enforcement officer, begin to build those soon-to-be-vital bridges to the majority of our community:
1) Immediately make your law enforcement firearms training facilities fully accessible to the public: Currently, only certified LEOs can access both the known-distance pistol and rifle range at the county's training facility, as well as the new tactical "shoot house" constructed with the Federal law enforcement assistance/stimulus grants last year. For all but four days of each month, all of these publicly-funded training facilities lie empty and unused.
You can, with the stroke of a pen, change that policy and allow lawful gun owners to train at the facilities on a cost-fee basis (to cover the incremental additional staffing that the increased hours would require). In addition, I and other members of the community who are certified handgun and rifle instructors would welcome the opportunity to teach other citizens how to safely and accurately use their weapons. Liability issues could be handled on a waiver/indemnification basis.
This single step alone would be a concrete step showing all of our jurisdiction's citizens on which side of the line you will stand should civil unrest develop. However, there are two other concrete actions that you could take -- today -- that would further enhance your reputation as a true public servant, rather than a fully-bought-and-paid-for local stooge for the Federal law enforcement and disaster management apparatus based in Washington:
2) As a senior member of our jurisdiction's emergency management agency, insist that practical medical classes be started immediately for our citizens: As a career public safety officer, you know that in a true emergency, virtually all medical resources in our county will be overwhelmed in the first hour of the crisis. To help our citizens survive until our more-traditional medical infrastructure is repaired/resupplied/augmented, you could persuade your EMA colleagues to initiate realistic practical medical training on a volunteer basis immediately at local schools. The curriculum would begin with basic first aid/CPR (modified appropriately to reflect realistic disaster durations) and would culminate with a course akin to wilderness survival medicine (where the time to obtain traditional medical resources is assumed to be days or possibly longer). Costs could be handled on a fee-basis, and I am confident that students would be willing to waive any future liability in exchange for admittance to the class.
3) Release our jurisdiction's relevant FEMA contingency plans for public review and comment: Simply put, you and your fellow public safety executives know in detail what FEMA and other Federal agencies plan to do in the event of civil unrest or disorder here in our area. It may turn out that those plans are perfectly rational and reasonable, and disclosure of them into broad daylight will serve only to reassure our fellow citizens. On the other hand, there is a significant and growing number of people in our area who have grave misgivings about those plans. Only by embracing disaster contingency transparency and making those plans available for public review will you be able to reassure those of us who doubt both the motivation and the competence of the Federal disaster response mechanism.
Chief, I hope you understand that by "disaster", I am not simply referring to a hurricane, earthquake, or other such natural occurrence. In Part II of this letter, I will explain exactly the kind of man-made disaster that may face us all as the American economy moves into critical condition.