Clarke Tells Gun Owners To "Fight Back," But Police Say Not So Fast

Area law enforcement officials respond to Milwaukee County Sheriff's message about gun owners fighting back and "simply calling 9-1-1 and waiting is no longer your best option."

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s personal safety message, which called on Milwaukee County gun owners to “fight back” and take a certified gun safety course, started a media firestorm as Clarke appeared on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

The inquiries came after Clarke issued the following public service announcement:

I’m Sheriff David Clarke, and I want to talk to you about something personal…your safety. It’s no longer a spectator sport; I need you in the game, but are you ready? With officers laid-off and furloughed, simply calling 9-1-1 and waiting is no longer your best option. You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back; but are you prepared? Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there. You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?

Airing on news talk radio host Mark Belling’s show, put on the department’s website and posted on the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, the message has unnerved anti-violence and anti-gun groups.

One anti-violence group called Clarke’s message “vigilantism” and a spokes woman from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s office said: "Apparently, Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie," according to the Journal Sentinel.

On Badger Blogger, Glenn D. Frankovis wrote:

…the point is that when someone is breaking into your home, you really ARE in a much better position to respond to the threat than waiting for an Officer to respond to your 911 call (assuming you even have time to make that call).

But Sturtevant Police Chief Sean Marschke said that dialing 911 is just as important as protecting yourself and Clarke’s statement didn't cover everything you need to know about self-defense.

“CCW comes with training and not everyone is going to take the class,” Marschke said. “Some will just take his advice and arm themselves.”

While carrying a gun is an option, it’s not for everyone so dialing 911 is still important, Marschke said.

“Even law enforcement believes in back-up; CCW classes even say that – and I say that when I teach CCW classes,” he said.

Francois Ross, of Glendale, is a certified NRA instructor who teaches classes on personal protection in the home and pistol shooting at the Racine County Line Rifle Club in Caledonia.

Ross said he likes Clarke’s stance.

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” he said. “If you talk to any police officer or anyone in the FBI, and you ask them how many murders have you stopped they will all say zero. Most of those things are over before the cops are even called.”

What do you think of Clarke's comments?

Mike Itzenhuiser January 29, 2013 at 03:15 AM
Clarke hit the nail right on the head. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone. I'll call 911, but not until the perp has lead poisoning.
GearHead January 29, 2013 at 03:59 AM
What's wrong with acknowledging the fact you have an obligation to protect yourself and your family, including the use of deadly force if needed? The partnership is real, because armed help won't arrive at the snap of your fingers. Anyone who is troubled by this has long checked out of their own personal responsibility. What IS dangerous is clinging to the illusion police will keep you safe. Impossible!
Brian Dey January 29, 2013 at 04:11 AM
Tom Barrett is a panty weight. The Milwaukee Police response his horrible in the inner city and Clarke was addressing that citizens protect themselves.
Anthony J Lease January 29, 2013 at 04:24 AM
David Clarke is right. I teach to call 911 if you safely can but the chance of a police response in time to stop the violence is not very good. David Clarke also mentioned the importance of training and any good training course will instruct you to call 911 if and when the situation allows.
Bottom Line January 29, 2013 at 05:43 AM
There was a time when we could rely on protection ... current conditions prove Clarke is correct, we should take appropriate measures to protect ourselves.
me January 29, 2013 at 06:15 AM
Shoot first. Call 911 later
Jane January 29, 2013 at 01:27 PM
Clark is right. He is real and knows what is going on.
Edward Willing January 29, 2013 at 02:06 PM
"But Sturtevant Police Chief Sean Marschke said that dialing 911 is just as important as protecting yourself and Clarke’s statement didn't cover everything you need to know about self-defense." NO KIDDIN SEAN! It's a 30 second ad. You want an infomercial?! He told the listeners to TAKE. A safety course man. Pipe down. What he SAID was responsible, on point and resonated. The reason the left is reacting the way that it is because the message is so powerful and dangerous to their agenda. The nanny-staters are quaking that a big city sheriff would say such things.
GearHead January 29, 2013 at 04:35 PM
It's a shame Chief Marschke couldn't bring himself to admit that having more firearms in the hands of the good guys is a very good thing indeed. Every law enforcement official I know isn't bothered by this truth.
Wayne Nelson Cowles January 29, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Sheriff Clarke is a real hero for taking his stance. Would you folks from the Patch please try to find out how our Sheriff in Racine County feels about this important issue? Thanx.
Blair Nielsen January 29, 2013 at 05:46 PM
One anti-violence group called Clarke’s message “vigilantism” How would protecting yourself be vigilantism? Wouldn't that be going out of your way to look for trouble? Think "Death Wish" with Charles Bronson. Mayor Tom Barrett’s office said: "Apparently, Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie," and I fail to even see a connection here. Liberalism IS a form of mental illness.
c January 29, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Google up Sean Marschke. You'll see a fat overweight dim looking slob. Typical union upbringing, and who in their right mind would pay attention to what a dimwit slob would think?
Johnny Blade January 30, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Wasn't Barret being a Vigilante when he confronted that guy that ended up beating him up .. Barret should of ran away and called 911
GearHead January 30, 2013 at 12:11 AM
He must think it's still their job and only their job to stop a crime in progress, no matter how late to the party they are. Faster response times means hiring more boots on the ground, of course. Union boots, of course.
GearHead January 30, 2013 at 12:12 AM
Your right. He could have saved his skin, and directed the cops to where the dead women could be found.
Majestic Hills Pres January 30, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Actually Chief Marschke is a big pro-CCW instructor. I was in one of his classes, which he charged nothing to enroll in, and he also convinced our Sturtevant politicians to allow CCW in village owned buildings, which you can not do in Racine or Mt. Pleasant. I think he was just stressing the need for training and calling for help, even if it is after the threat has passed. And "C" lets see your picture!
Mike Fischer January 30, 2013 at 12:31 PM
People who are comfortable with guns, probably already have them. What the Sheriff is doing is encouraging people who aren't comfortable with guns to get them. People prone to accidentally shooting the guy from the cable company checking the line, the census taker, the kid selling cookies. Think of the guys you went to high school with - the poor impulse control, the tendency to showing off, the oneupsmanship. Would you really have wanted them roaming around your town with guns in their hands the summer after Senior year? I wouldn't. For that matter, look at the same tendencies among those posting in these comments.
GearHead January 30, 2013 at 01:47 PM
People uncomfortable with guns probably shouldn't own them. The rest of your straw argument is just silly. Where is your evidence of cookie-selling kids being accidentally shot?


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