Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn is getting widespread praise for standing up to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) yesterday at a hearing on a bill that would ban assault weapons.
Flynn deserves the support. Graham, who actually is what amounts to a moderate in today's Republican Party, was just parroting the National Rifle Association line about prosecuting those who lie on gun background check forms when Flynn called him out on it.
Flynn said that he and prosecutors didn't have time to go after people who lied on the forms. That's just "chasing paper" he said. It was sufficient that these people were stopped from purchasing guns. Going after them for lying on the forms would be a waste of resources, he said. Red herring exposed.
But what was more telling was what Graham said under his breath. After a brief heated exchange, Graham seemed to be easing out of the confrontation by asking Flynn about his budget. Flynn said that his budget was stable, but not increasing.
Graham responded, "What this police chief is facing, is what every police chief is facing, less money so you may have to defend yourself."
Watch the exchange.
Wait a minute. Isn't Graham from the budget slashing party? Isn't he one of the guys who wants to starve government so that the cops can't get there in time?
Is Graham joining Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke in suggesting that the answer is to arm yourself so you can shoot the bad guy before the cops get there?
Another segment from the Chief Ed Flynn lecture series on, 'What's Best for Freedom-Loving People,' in his testimony against the Second Amendment in Washington D.C. He actually tells you what's best for you in defending yourself from a violent attack in a city where violent crime rose nearly 10% and aggravated assaults went up by 33%. He can't figure out why you need an assault rifle. How about this for an answer: Because that's your decision, not his.
This is from the same guy who in an interview with the local newspaper flippantly said that people are willing to wait for the cable guy or a furniture delivery so he doesn't think it's unreasonable for people to wait for a police squad to show up. Wow! And yet he and the Mayors Against the Second Amendment group that he has aligned with do not trust law-abiding citizens to make decisions on how best to defend themselves.
Of course, Flynn didn't testify against the Second Amendment, but against assault rifles like the one used to kill twenty innocent kids in Newtown, and the name of the organization is Mayors Against Illegal Guns, not "Against the Second Amendment."
It's not just the NRA-pandering distortions that discredit officials like Graham and Clarke. It's their vision of America that's really frightening. And, of course, it's just ridiculous. You are far more likely to kill a family member or an innocent person with your gun than you are to stop an intruder. For every instance in which a gun in the home was shot in self-defense, there were seven criminal assaults or homicides, four accidental shootings, and 11 attempted or successful suicides.
The idea that "only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun" isn't at all supported by the facts. And even if it were true, is that the kind of society we want to live in? An armed camp where the fastest draw survives?
Extremists with unsupported and unsupportable arguments about guns like Lindsey Graham and David Clarke have had the field to themselves for far too long. We need others to join Chief Flynn in fighting back with facts, reason and passion.