Thursday, 03 November 2011

South Carolina Sheriff Tells Citizens: "Arm Yourselves"

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Sheriff Chuck Wright (left) of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, opened a news conference on Monday about an assault and attempted rape on Sunday in a local park by exhorting his law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from criminals: “Our form of justice is not making it. Carry a concealed weapon. That’ll fix it.” Wright was pointing to the example of 46-year-old habitual criminal Walter Lance, of Spartanburg, to express his frustration with the flawed justice system that allows such a man to still be out on the streets committing crimes. Lance's latest arrest was for allegedly choking a woman walking her dog in Spartanburg's Milliken Park on Sunday and attempting to rape her.

According to Fox News, Wright told his citizens:

It just struck me wrong that we keep telling everyone "trust us, trust us, trust us," but in reality, you need to protect yourself. If you are not a convicted felon or someone who causes trouble or don't have any mental issues, buy a weapon to protect yourself and get some good training.

Fox reported of Sunday's attack in Milliken Park:

Lance ... was charged Monday with kidnapping, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and grand larceny in connection with the attack. Lance was ordered held without bond, Wright said.

Wright suggested that had the unidentified victim been armed, perhaps with a .45-caliber handgun concealed in a fanny pack, she would have stood a better chance fighting off her attacker.

"If she didn't shoot the guy, she could have at least stopped him and made him leave her alone," Wright said. "You can defend yourself."

Lance has been charged numerous times over the past decades with crimes against women and with resisting arrest. At the time of his latest alleged attack, he was on parole for a federal gun charge. His rap sheet contains more than 20 criminal charges dating back to 1983.

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Sheriff Wright voiced his disgust with those who believe that locking up dangerous criminals doesn’t make the populace safer: "Liberals call me and tell me the chain-gang form of justice isn't working. Well," he countered,"let me inform you, your form of justice isn't working either. … This [Sunday's assault in the park] is a horrific crime. Her life was threatened so many times."

Wright maintained that offenders such as Lance should not have the chance to "violate a good, upstanding woman," adding that Lance "doesn't fight police or men folk — he just goes after women. No woman can stay married to him because he beats them down too much. ... I don't think [he] deserves to be out in our society, walking alongside our women."

Wright then described his frustration over repeatedly having to tell rape victims to get on with their lives: "I'm tired of looking at victims saying, 'There's life after this,'" he emphasized. "I'm tired of saying, 'We're sorry, we can't keep [criminals] in jail.'" 

The sheriff pointed out that there are small, easy-to-handle handguns which women may purchase, and that accuracy was not paramount, because short-range defense is what the situation requires. He urged local women to obtain a concealed-carry permit, and also suggested that they walk in groups.

"We're not trying to raise up a militia here, we're sending a message to the bad guys that we're tired of it," he said. "I'm through getting bit."

Since his comments, over 200 people have called Wright's office affirming his stance.

Fox News reported:

Asked if he believed his message resonated with Spartanburg County residents, Wright replied: "I would say that if you're a concealed weapons permit instructor, you're about to make a lot of Christmas money."