Oklahoma Sheriffs Want Citizens to Arm Themselves for War Against Muslims

Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony is so afraid of so-called radical Islamic terrorists he's urging the people of his Oklahoma county to arm themselves in preparation for war. In a letter shouted in all caps, Anthony cites the San Bernardino shooting as the source of his fear. 

"It may come a time that you as citizens may be called upon to defend the citizens of this country against all enemies foreign and domestic that want to do us harm or kill us," Anthony wrote. "By no means do I want to scare anyone, but the attacks are real."

"The times are changing and we live in a more violent world," he wrote. 

Anthony isn't alone; Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney also posted a message on Facebook using oddly similar language. 

"These people have vowed under their religion to destroy all who do not follow their beliefs," McKinney wrote. "Radical Islam has openly declared war on us and has vowed to attack us here—on our soil—and they are here with more coming." McKinney goes on to say he's not exactly concerned about Stephens County as it's a smaller, less populated county in Oklahoma, but "the citizens of Stephens County has seen the evil committed by criminals in our communities." He went on to encourage those who are trained to carry their concealed weapons.

If that isn't enough, a police chief in Hughes Springs, Texas, told residents last week that President Barack Obama is the real enemy. 

Randy Kennedy, chief of the small east Texas town, warned people about a potential "revolution" in a video where he claims President Obama is working to disarm citizens. In the video, Kennedy says that weapons are, “also there to protect us against a government that has overreached its power." He continues his message specifically addressing President Obama, “You are not our potentate, sir. You are our servant.”

“Be ready when the wolf comes to the door, because it’s on its way," he warns.

Anthony is right, the times are changing, but not because we face the imminent threat of radical foreign terrorists. The overwhelming majority of mass shootings are done by white men and American citizens. While the crime rate is at a 30-year low, mass shootings are at an all-time high, and that's not because of foreign terrorism.

McKinney might think "these people" are under some sort of direction from "their religion to destroy" good, old-fashioned, God-fearing people like himself, but if that were true, ISIS wouldn't be spending the majority of its time killing other Muslims. According to a 26-page report from the United Nations released last week (PDF), ISIS kills anyone who objects to its policies. In the first eight months of 2014, the UN concluded that at least 9,347 civilians were killed and at least 17,386 were wounded either at the hands of ISIS or with ISIS as the primary actor. 

These cops do little to instill confidence in a community's safety if their most important concern is ISIS, instead of domestic terrorism from mass shooters. However, they're unlikely to control the sale of guns, instill additional background checks in their counties or pass ordinances to prevent the sale of semi-automatic weapons. They're also too underfunded to do things like behavioral profiling to pre-empt mass shootings. Instead they're ginning up fear about terrorists and further stoking the fires by claiming the president is coming for their guns. 

They should spend a little more time focusing on ways to protect and serve their communities, instead of spreading xenophobia and panic. 


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