Put Not Your Trust in Federalized Sheriffs
by William Norman Grigg
"You look depressed."
"I was lamenting. I’ve lost my innocence."
"You lost that some time ago. If you've only just noticed, it can't have been very important to you."
Exchange between Thomas Cromwell – the Machiavellian Lord Chancellor of England – and Richard Rich, an ambitious functionary who had sold his soul in a buyer’s market, from A Man for All Seasons.
"I will not enforce an unconstitutional law against any citizen of Smith County," insisted Sheriff Larry Smith. The sheriff wants his constituents to believe that he would refuse to participate in a federally mandated gun grab, or permit one to be carried out by federal officials within his jurisdiction. Yet ten days before Smith offered that assurance, his office had taken part in an early-morning SWAT rampage throughout East Texas in which 73 warrants were served as part of the federal government’s patently unconstitutional war on drugs.
During a December 2011 campaign debate, Smith said that he wanted to "invest more resources" – that is, redirect wealth plundered from the productive – into a "Drug Task Force," and insisted that under his administration the Sheriff’s Office would embrace a "Task Force mentality" in dealing with law enforcement issues.
The problem with the mindset Sheriff Smith was extoling should become obvious once it’s understood that the German term for "task force" is einsatzgruppe. By their actions many multi-jurisdictional task forces in contemporary America are increasingly faithful to their historic pedigree.
Smith’s devotion to narcotics task forces might be the residue of his early law enforcement career, which included two years as a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration – an agency that could be considered the mentally deficient stepchild of the CIA, which is the world’s largest narcotics syndicate.
Twenty years ago, an ATF einsatzgruppe launched a murderous raid against an isolated religious group at Mt. Carmel outside Waco. The warrant they were enforcing was clotted with falsehoods. The investigation that produced it was haphazard. Its target, Vernon Howell -- aka David Koresh -- was suspected of trivial violations of federal firearms regulations, and had indicated his eagerness to cooperate with ATF investigators to clear the record.
If an arrest were to be carried out – and one was neither necessary, nor justified – it could have been performed during one of Koresh’s frequent solitary jogging expeditions, or one of his routine visits to town. Instead, the ATF – seeking a dramatic, high-profile enforcement action to generate headlines for the scandal-plagued agency – staged a paramilitary assault on the religious sanctuary. They did so even though the raiders had lost the element of surprise, and when they arrived at Mt. Carmel they opened fire on the building despite the fact that an unarmed Koresh had confronted the stormtroopers with his hands up, pleading for them not to shoot.
Four ATF agents were killed during that Sunday morning raid. Their deaths were utterly unnecessary, and entirely well-deserved: They were attempting to murder innocent people, and the would-be victims acted within their rights in using deadly force to defend their homes against that assault. The criminal clique that had sent the ATF to attack the Davidians sent a larger contingent to lay siege to their residence, and eventually arranged for the holocaust that annihilated 76 people, including seventeen small children.
Like most gun owners in Eastern Texas, Smith can remember where he was the morning of April 19, 1993, when the Mt. Carmel refuge went up in flames. He was on the scene as an agent of the ATF, which he had joined in 1989. Smith believes that the initial ATF raid on the Davidians was justified, and that the entire operation was at least a partial success. It’s doubtful that his assessment is shared by many gun owners in his jurisdiction.
Larry Smith is among dozens of sheriffs who have gone on record in opposition to the Obama administration’s impending firearms restrictions. All of them have promised to intervene to protect their counties from federal tyranny. And all of them are active collaborators in the same.
Kieran Donahue was sworn in as the new Sheriff of Canyon County, Idaho on January 14. Three days later he joined the ranks of "refusenik sheriffs" by promising not to implement any federal gun policy at odds with his responsibility to "uphold the Constitution."
Unfortunately, that resolute statement of principled defiance was fatally undermined when Donahue – in the same press conference -- expressed his willingness to continue his office’s collaboration in the federal "war on drugs" and displayed his indecent eagerness to accept new federal subsidies to deploy deputies to guard public schools as soon as the funds are available.
Wendy Olson, the official assigned by the regime to act as the federal regime’s legal sub-commissarina for Idaho, has said that her office will fully comply with new federal firearms mandates. She pointedly noted that the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office – like most others in the country – has officers who are cross-deputized to serve on federal einsatzgruppen. During last year’s campaign the future sheriff proudly boasted of his work as an "undercover officer" with the FBI-supervised METRO Violent Crime and Gang Task Force.
"In these changing and difficult economic times it is a great benefit to have all law enforcement agencies working together in order to share costs and resources," insisted Donahue. Those words will almost certainly come back to haunt Canyon County gun owners when – not "if" – the Feds make it clear that they are willing to "share resources" only with sheriff’s offices who are on board with the gun grab.
Donahue insisted on playing coy about the fact that he’s for sale. Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims was shameless. She told the local ABC affiliate that while she will not enforce unconstitutional gun laws, she also "backs the added funding for local law enforcement, especially in schools."
Her office has a huge budget, a small but significant portion of which is derived from proceeds seized through a federally supervised "asset forfeiture" program.
In 2009, Mims was the "local" face that was pasted onto the Obama administration’s "Operation Save Our Sierra" marijuana crack-down, which was personally supervised by federal Drug War Commissar Gil Kerlikowske. This campaign involved 300 personnel from local, state, and federal agencies – including military pilots that flew Black Hawk helicopters over targeted areas. The manpower and hardware were deployed in a mission best described as militarized horticulture. It’s quite easy to see how the personnel and assets used against "illegal" plants could be employed to confiscate "illegal" firearms in the future.
A few years ago, when Mims and her department faced a $4 million budget deficit, the Fresno County commission had to scrounge up $10.6 million in plundered funds to prevent layoffs in the Sheriff’s Office. That money most likely won’t be available next time Sheriff Mims wants to avoid handing pink slips to her deputies. It’s quite easy to imagine a scenario in which her federal supervisors will introduce her to a new variety of alchemy -- converting confiscated "illegal" firearms into federal subsidies.
Four sheriffs in Oregon have announced their opposition to the renewed campaign to disarm citizens. Among them is Sheriff Brian Wolfe of Malheur County (who, in the interests of full disclosure, is a childhood friend). In a letter to Vice President Biden, Sheriff Wolfe declared: "I believe that the Constitution stands above all laws and executive orders of this Country. I want to be very clear that no one employed on our team at the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office will enforce or support any laws or executive orders that are not consistent with the Constitution of this great land."
If only those inspiring words were consonant with Sheriff Wolfe’s actions. Like every other sheriff in the country, Brian Wolfe violates the Constitution on a routine basis.
Last August, the Malheur County Sheriff’s Department casually announced that it had found several small marijuana gardens during a two-week aerial surveillance operation conducted with the help of the National Guard.
Acting as the department’s official stenographer, the Argus Observer newspaper reported that Sheriff Brian Wolfe will now "contact property owners and acquire search warrants if needed." Warrants would not be necessary, Wolfe observed, if the property owners consented to the searches. The Sheriff pointed out that the plants may be part of legal medicinal marijuana operations, or could have been planted without the owner’s knowledge or consent.
At this point an actual journalist would have asked Wolfe why his office was conducting warrantless aerial searches of private property without probable cause. After all, the Sheriff has admitted that none of the property owners was a criminal suspect.
The Malheur County Sheriff’s Department spends part of each summer arresting marijuana plants – that is, dispatching its SWAT team to barren locations in rural Oregon to clear out patches of marijuana.
Sheriff Wolfe insists this is necessary to "protect the public," which is more acutely threatened by the unconstitutional, paramilitary operations of his own department. Wolfe’s department spends a great deal of time seizing contraband and prosecuting people who possess it. That experience will prove quite useful when – once again, not "if" – the Feds decide to treat legally owned firearms as illicit contraband.
There isn’t a single county sheriff’s office in the country that hasn’t compromised itself by accepting federal funds, and collaborating in unconstitutional federal enforcement operations. They’ve long since lost their innocence, but are pretending that they’ve just noticed that fact.
Nothing in the U.S. Constitution authorizes the Feds to prohibit the consumption of narcotics or any other substance. Indeed, last time the Feds undertook a campaign of national prohibition, they had to change the Constitution in order to do so. Unless they’re investigating charges of treason or counterfeiting, sheriffs should not collaborate with the Feds – and in such circumstances the Feds themselves should be treated as the primary suspects.
If you take the nickel, you take the noose. If a sheriff’s office receives so much as a farthing of federal funding, it will be subject to federal mandates. That principle was underscored about seven years ago in the case of Josh Wolf, a 24-year-old video blogger imprisoned for refusing to turn over a portion of footage he shot of tumultuous street protests during the G-8 summit in San Francisco.
The Feds claim that Wolf, who spent two-thirds of a year in prison on civil contempt charges, possessed footage of a police car being set on fire. Wolf maintained that he didn’t have the material the Feds were after, and that under California's very liberal journalist shield law, he wasn’t required to turn over his confidential, unpublished material. A Federal District Court Judge ignored Wolf's argument and incarcerated him in a detention center in Dublin, California for contempt.
The alleged assault on a San Francisco police car would be a municipal matter, and the California shield law is obviously a question of state law. Why was this dealt with in a federal court?
As Time magazine pointed out: "The Feds say they have jurisdiction over the case because the police car is partly U.S. government property since the SFPD receives federal anti-terrorism money."
Note well that the Feds didn’t claim that the regime paid for the specific cars that were reportedly destroyed, only that the police department had been subsumed into the federal law enforcement apparatus because it had received some quantity of Homeland Security funding.
What this means, in principle, is that any police agency that receives a dime of federal Homeland Security money is effectively an appendage of the Department of Homeland Security (or, to use the appropriate German expression, the Heimatsicherheitsdienst).
This is obviously true of municipal police departments, which are innately illegitimate paramilitary bodies in no way accountable to the public they supposedly serve. We’re invited to believe that local elected sheriffs are different – at least where the incipient gun grab is concerned.
The ranks of the refuseniks will continue to expand, and they will feed gun owners a steady diet of bold talk about their willingness to interpose on behalf of their constituents if the Feds come for their guns. Some of them may be sincerely committed to do so. But until they stop actively collaborating in existing federal abuses, why should we assume they would be willing to take the side of the public against the Feds when the Regime decides to come for our guns?
By Way of Illustration...
... we see the following act of felonious assault and kidnapping by Citrus County, Florida Deputy Sheriff Andy Cox, who threatens to murder innocent, law-abiding gun owner. It took less than two seconds for this this cretinous, foul-mouthed tax-feeder to drop the pose of superficial geniality. His first instinct, on learning that this harmless man was armed, was to threaten to murder him, because he had been indoctrinated in the belief that Mundanes simply cannot be permitted to bear arms.
When assessing the credibility of "constitutional sheriffs" as protectors of the right to bear arms, bear in mind that sheriffs are politicians and administrators; the patrol officers in their departments are people like Andy Cox.
William Norman Grigg [send him mail] publishes the Pro Libertate blog and hosts the Pro Libertate radio program.
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- Vicente Maduro: A New Hero for American Conservatives
- Vester Lee Flanagan, Social Justice Avenger
- Follow the Silk Road
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