A Wisconsin sheriff who says the federal government is a greater threat than terrorists has been named “Sheriff of the Year” by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), an antigovernment “Patriot” group whose members have vowed to stand up to the federal government if it attempts to restrict gun rights.
Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wis., made headlines this January when he released a public service announcement calling on his constituents to arm themselves. Safety, he said, is “no longer a spectator sport. … You have a duty to protect yourself and your family.”
In a second ad, Clarke said Milwaukee residents were endangered by a court system that is “soft on crime” and puts violent offenders back on the streets. “Are you the next victim? You don’t have to be, but that’s your call,” he said.
Clarke’s taxpayer-funded ads, released in the midst of a national debate over gun control, were music to the ears of the CSPOA, whose members suggest that the federal government plans to confiscate privately owned firearms and institute a totalitarian regime.
Founded in 2011, CSPOA is the brainchild of former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, who became a hero to the radical right in the 1990s when he successfully challenged certain provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. Mack, who says he has persuaded more than 470 of the nation’s 3,080 sheriffs and sheriffs’ associations in 18 states to sign a pledge to “oppose and disallow” new gun measures, has said that the “greatest threat we face today is not terrorists; it is our own federal government.”
Clarke agrees with Mack’s assessment, he said in an interview with Milwaukee’s WISN 12 News in May. Noting the low odds of being killed by terrorists — and mentioning the IRS’ singling out of conservative groups for extra scrutiny, government wiretaps on Associated Press writers, the national debt, and other issues that have recently animated the right — Clarke said, “[O]n an everyday basis, to me, federal government is a bigger threat. I could make the case, and I think I just did.”