The good guys and Sheriff Tweet

Harry Welty

When my junior high buddy’s Father gave him an air rifle he asked me to go with him to an NRA gun safety course. My parents, who never owned a firearm more lethal than a squirt gun, didn’t mind. The police had once investigated them for attacking friends with squirt guns.

There is only one conclusion to draw from that kind of governmental overreach – we need more lethal weapons to protect us from Big Brother.

Good guys recently overran Michigan’s capital to protect us from Big Brother Fauci. They were answering the tweets from the “Chief law enforcement officer of the United States,” (self proclaimed) Sheriff Trump. They brought their semi-automatics to warn the Governor that the Posse Comitatas is here to protect us from Democracy if necessary. The Posse has a storied history.

For 10 years after the Civil War federal troops were thinly spread over the defeated rebel states. Among their “peace keeping” duties they protected schools for black children for whom education had been outlawed under slave state laws. They also enforced constitutional amendments granting citizenship and voting rights to former slaves. In protecting the freedmen the troops were honoring fallen comrades whose blood had consecrated many a battlefield as the last full measure of their devotion to the Union.

But that’s not how the defeated traitors saw it. Ex-confederates regarded the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments extending God’s “unalienable” rights of equality to all men as an abomination when these rights were extended to their former property.
Like today’s sheltering-in-place, freeing slaves was ruinous to the South’s economy. With so few Union soldiers it was easy for the KKK to put on bed sheets and burn, shoot and lynch freedmen foolish enough to think their side had won the war.

To end this “Reconstruction” the South offered Republicans a deal after a controversial 1876 presidential election. If the North pulled its federal troops out the South they would let Republican Rutherford B. Hayes claim victory over Democrat Sam Tilden.

To make sure no American soldiers ever again stuck their bivouacs into the South they passed the Posse Comitatas Act. No more would military intervention be permitted to control civic disturbances in any state. Crowd control authority was given to local sheriffs, who could keep order by forming posses.

A generation of Baby Boomers in the ‘60s might not have known about this statute but could see it in action every week. Boomers had about 20 TV westerns to choose from on television. They regularly saw TV sheriffs deputize posses to track down bank robbers, cattle rustlers and Indian gun runners.

By the 1990s the National Rifle Association had devolved from championing hunters to lobbying for gun manufacturers. Their ubiquitous bumper stickers read, “I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands.”

Boomers infatuated with posses decided they didn’t need a sheriff. Like the Klansman of yore the posse comitatus protect America like turbaned jihadis carrying Kalishnikovs through a middle eastern war zone.They became heavily armed survivalists ready to repel an attack from Red Dawn, aliens from outer space or liberals run amok. Damned liberals think that man-killing-machines ought to be licensed like a car.

So sacred is the gun to Second Amendment enthusiasts today that they shrug off 24,000 annual gun suicides and 14,000 homicides as a small price to pay.
But those deaths pale compared to the deaths of 2 percent of the US population by corona virus. That would take out 6.6 million Americans. That’s six times the number of warriors who died in all of America’s wars.

A vital part of the “Pro-life” Republican Party, gunslingers point their semiautomatics at public officials to warn them that corona virus deaths are a small price to pay for getting America back to work.

Now its Dr. Fauci who is the NRA’s mortal enemy, not “bad guys with guns.”
At 69 and long retired I’m economically expendable. I planned to live another 30 years to watch my grandchildren grow up but I’d sacrifice for them. But its not just me at risk. It turns out stray viral infected spit could kill my grandsons too, despite their youth. And my wife had a pacemaker implanted after heart surgery a year ago. She has to take antibiotics for dental work. She’s also vulnerable!

The Posse wants me to sacrifice a helluva lot to reelect Sheriff Trump. And let’s be honest – he’s been a lousy sheriff. For months while the virus got a jump on us he kept bragging about how he had it under control. Those big-talking lies put my grandchildren, my wife, our doctors and nurses, our nursing home residents and staff in the jaws of death.

So, no thank you “good guys.” Take off your grinning death masks and stop brandishing your goddamned semiautomatics. Put them back in your gun lockers. I’ll take my chances with the bad guys.

Welty shoots his guns off at