Monday, April 30, 2012

Arizona to Illinois

Eveyone has heard about the anti-immigrant sheriff in Arizona. But we ought to be paying more attention to the Sheriff of Lake County, Illinois, Mark Curran. He was one of the speakers on a panel hosted by a bunch of pro-gun groups and was vigorously supporting changing the law in Illinois so that everyone would be able to carry handguns. He wore a gun on his hip as he spoke, and no jacket, so that it was obvious to everyone just how strong and personal his support is for guns. To people who are not familiar with the upper middle class suburb where sheriff was speaking, it might not seem odd for the sheriff to be openly carrying a gun. But anyone who knows the town of Buffalo Grove will understand how incongruous his display of weaponry was.

Most of what Sheriff Curran said was just the standard pro-gun stuff – we should all carry guns to protect ourselves from muggers, rapists, and other local bad guys. But one statement Curran made was quite remarkable. He said that Al Quaeda and the Taliban are going to come to Illinois because they know that Illinois does not allow people to carry guns to defend themselves.

Well, that's different, isn't it? Sheriff Curran didn't tell us how he knows what the Taliban and Al Quaeda are planning. Maybe he pulled one of them over for having a broken tail light and they started talking. He didn't tell us if he has shared his information with the federal agencies which are responsible for our national Security. But he was quite emphatic. So, not only does Curran think we need to carry guns to protect ourselves and our wallets from common thugs, he thinks we need to carry pistols to protect the country from international terrorists. Apparently Curran thinks the Department of Homeland Security, the police departments, the National Security Agency, our armed forces, and the CIA aren't capable of protecting us from this foreign threat. We are going to have to protect the entire United States ourselves with our handguns.

It would be easy to simply dismiss Curran as a nut case. But he is a powerful elected official. He runs a jail. He has armed officers patrolling the streets. He is the highest Republican official in his county. And he thinks that the bogeyman is coming to get us.

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