Letter to the Editor: Sheriff’s Second Amendment Sanctuary Pursuit Makes His Performance Less Honorable


I find it increasingly disturbing when public officials, especially those in law enforcement, decide on the strength of their own beliefs or convictions, they are not going to follow or enforce the laws enacted by the legislature and voted into law by a majority of the voters.

Questioning constitutionality of laws is acceptable when processed through the judicial system as explicitly enshrined in the Constitution of the United States and those of each state. Why should the people tolerate or accept public officials who (not likely constitutional scholars) violate their oath of office, exceeding the scope of their duties and responsibilities, by volitionally choosing which laws they will enforce, which they will not enforce or upon whom they will enforce the laws.

I worked in law enforcement for 36 years for one of the largest sheriff's departments in Southern California. I was a deputy for 10 years and a sergeant for 26 years, working the streets on patrol at seven different sheriff’s stations for 30 of those years. I've seen an abundance of the horror, pain, harm, injury and death of gun-related crimes and the negligence of gun owners. I was a school sergeant for three and a half years during the time of the Columbine mass murders, and my school deputies thwarted several gun violence incidents at schools in the years that followed.

I’ve seen several colleagues killed by guns and brazen crimes committed with high capacity magazines in weapons designed originally to efficiently kill lots of people in war.

What I haven't seen is any significant or effective measures taken to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill, or angry, violent individuals and those with specific criminal intentions. I find it to be a ridiculously huge stretch of “logic” and imagination to suppose the authors of the Constitution intended the Second Amendment to allow every person the right to keep and bear arms, without regard or consideration for a person's mental health, propensity for violence or criminal inclination.

Nor could they imagine the rise of independent armed militias, neonazis, white supremacists or other radical groups who feel they have the right to amass arsenals and actively train and rehearse their espoused intentions to resist and kill law enforcement, government officials and contemplate the overthrow the government of their own volitional beliefs.

What I find repugnant is the unrestrained killing of our children and innocent citizens by violent individuals who our laws and we continue to fail identifying as mass murders, whether mentally ill or just angry, violent, vengeful people intent on making a statement, by murdering as many innocents before commiting suicide or suicide by cop.

I'm reminded of the fire triangle many learned about in grade school. Oxygen, fuel and heat (or an ignition source) are the three ingredients which enable a fire.

We learned a simple fact: if you remove any side or element of the triangle, you can prevent a fire.

Guns are like oxygen. They are ubiquitous and far too easy to obtain by virtually anyone, like oxygen.

People are equivalent to the fuel, catalyzed with the gun, ignited by their anger, despair, nihilism, irrationality, violent ideological self righteousness or other mental illness and instability.

Sheriff Rob Snaza's proposal and stance on enforcing the laws of his choice is a political determination and it makes his performance of the profession less honorable.


Gregory McHenry