In cities like New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Seattle, officials are bending over backwards to avoid stomping out the violent riots that have accompanied the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality. But in other places, local law enforcement has made it clear that they will not stand for any lawlessness in their jurisdictions, no matter how empowered and righteous the protesters may feel. Those on the law-and-order side of the calculation include Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels, who said this week that he’ll deputize every legal gun owner in the county if that’s what it takes to keep his Florida community from falling to chaos.
Daniels, who happens to be black himself, said in a video on Tuesday that nationwide scenes of violence, burning, and looting would not come to pass in his county.
“We’ll be waiting on you and we’ll give you everything you want. All the publicity, all the pain, all the glamour, and glory, for all that five minutes will give you,” Daniels warned as he stood before a row of his deputies. “Is it a threat? Absolutely not, but somebody has to step up in front of the camera and say enough is enough. Tearing up Clay County? That’s not going to be acceptable.
“If we can’t handle you, you know what I’ll do? I will exercise the power and authority as a sheriff and I will make special deputies of every lawful gun owner in this county, and I’ll deputize them for this one purpose: to stand in the gap between lawlessness and civility. That’s what we’re sworn to do, and that’s what we’re going to do. You’ve been warned,” Daniels said.
In the video, Daniels encouraged Clay County citizens to look beyond the protest signs and the messaging from the media. He said that it’s important to remember that there are far, far more good cops than bad, and that making an enemy out of law enforcement would be a terrible societal mistake.
“Look, folks. Don’t fall victim to subjecting yourself to this conversation that law enforcement is bad, that law enforcement is the enemy of the citizens that we are sworn to protect and serve,” he said. “We swore an oath, and in that oath we swore to support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the government, and that we are duly qualified under the state’s constitution to hold office. That is for me as a sheriff and for these men and women as deputy sheriffs, and we end that with ‘so help me, God.’
“But God is absent from the media’s message or Black Lives Matter or any other group out there that’s making themselves a spectacle, disrupting what we know to be our quality of life in this country,” he lamented. “In Clay County, we know we have a great quality of life. We have a great relationship with our community. But across this country, not so much. I just wanted to take a stand with these men and with these women who feel the same way that I do. Lawlessness, that’s unacceptable in this country. Lawlessness, that’s unacceptable in Clay County, and if you threaten to come to Clay County and think that for one second that we’ll bend our backs for you, you’re sadly mistaken.”
To say that it’s refreshing to see a message like this would be an understatement. It is, however, a much-needed reminder that, no matter what you might hear from the CNNs and Washington Posts of the world, most Americans do NOT want to defund the police. Most Americans do NOT want to let their cities fall to ruin just because a guy was killed in Minneapolis. Hopefully, when this George Floyd moment inevitably passes, sanity will indeed prevail.