The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 8, 2013

Our Readers Speak — Friday, Feb. 8, 2013

Is Raleigh Sheriff Tanner a rogue cop?

I do not understand why a sheriff thinks it is OK to disrespect the President of the United States of America by calling him a moron. God help us because those that hate America and think this is happening because of racial prejudices and ignorance might just be right.

I read an interesting article in Forbes’ Jan. 16, 2013, issue and will apply it to Raleigh County Sheriff Steve Tanner, who has proclaimed he will not enforce federal gun laws.

There is nothing more dangerous than a rogue cop, and when police start deciding which laws they will enforce and which they won’t, then America is no longer a nation of laws. Just how will Tanner stop federal officers from enforcing federal law? On what basis will he decide which laws are unconstitutional and which are not?

There are federal laws that require registration of destructive devices. If I were to build a surface-to-air missile capable of destroying an airliner, can I assume that Sheriff Tanner would not only refuse to enforce federal registration, but would actively prevent federal agents from arresting me?

None of President Obama’s executive orders would confiscate legally owned weapons. Even if the White House eventually manages to convince Congress to restrict ownership of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which amendment to the Constitution says a 30-round clip is an absolute right?

Besides, what other laws would Sheriff Tanner selectively enforce? Speed limits? Civil rights? The right to remain silent?

County sheriffs enforce the laws. They do not make them. If Sheriff Tanner feels so strongly about a law that he cannot enforce, then he should resign in protest. Or he could use the prestige of his badge to convince lawmakers and the voters to change those laws. That is the right thing to do.

Refusing to enforce the laws is wrong and one that will someday backfire on those who support him. Those who break the law to defend your rights can also break the law to take them away. Can we as a nation allow a rogue cop, or anyone else, to disrespect our black president or his office by calling him a moron and expect other nations to respect us?

Kathleen L. Scott

Mount Hope

 

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