When asked about gun control, my reply is …
Quite often I am asked, by well meaning individuals about my thoughts and opinions on gun control, especially in regards to the new youth gun control movement. It seems to me that many of these people like to ask me my opinion because they know I’m a retired police sergeant and a radio talk show host and music radio DJ.
First, you know the old saying about opinions? “Opinions are like a******s.” Yes, that old saying!
I have opinions, just like everyone else. Unlike many celebrities, professional athletes, political activists, etc., I’m smart enough to realize that just because I’m retired police and a radio personality, I’m not suddenly an expert on the matter.
Believe it or not, speaking behind a radio microphone doesn’t automatically make me more intelligent, or insightful than anyone else. It certainly doesn’t make me an expert on constitutional law, or police procedures either.
However, some people just can’t seem to understand a polite, “No thank you, I’m not interested in having that conversation.” I’ve learned from my past mistakes, that when I have decided to take the bait and answer the question with my opinion, it usually develops into an attempt to convince me that I’m an extremist, stupid, misinformed or out of touch.
Likewise, I don’t engage in name calling about those that practice their right to free speech, their right to assemble and their right to protest. As a matter of fact, I wholeheartedly support, and will always maintain their right to free speech and protest, no matter how much I might disagree. The overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers that I know also support these rights.
So, when people ask my opinion, I tell them a single short statement, that is born from my experience. This single statement usually stops all further questions and has always prevented a downward spiral into an argument.
Here is my reply when people ask me about the new youth gun control movement, or any partisan driven political questions about the topic.
“The only reason I am alive today, is because I had a gun and was trained to use it properly!”
That is absolute, unadulterated, truth.
The only reason I can be a husband, father, brother, son, a contributing member of society, is because I had a gun and was trained to use it properly.
As a law enforcement officer I was in four different officer involved shootings in about 10 years.
Now, let’s be honest … how many of you formed a judgement about me from that statement? How many of you assumed that I shot and killed four different people?
I don’t like thinking about those incidents and prefer to not have them, or the people involved rent any space in my head. But, I will give you some details.
- The first two incidents, I didn’t return fire … as I look back it was for many different reasons. During those incidents the decision to shoot or not shoot had to be made in an instant.
- All of the suspects survived. That’s right, by the grace of God and whatever forces were at play during those incidents, we all survived. For that I am grateful.
- The last two incidents, I returned fire. They were long protracted gunfights. One of the suspects was seriously injured and the other was grazed.
That is all that I will discuss about those incidents.
All four of those suspects had something in common. They all had multiple prior arrests and convictions for serious crimes. They had been given multiple breaks and were still allowed to be on the street, to create more harm and endanger more lives. No politicians, or members of the news media ever offered any solutions, or proposals to make a serious effort to combat violent criminals.
Their response always seems to be to blame someone else, gun owner groups are always an easy target. They also seem to think that somehow creating yet more gun laws, I’ve lost count of how many there are, will actually have any effect on violent criminals.
So, when asked my opinion on gun control, or the NRA, or any other gun right group, my answer is very short. “The only reason I am alive today, is because I had a gun and was trained to use it properly!”
And when my wife is asked that question, she tells them “the only reason my husband is alive today, is because he had a gun and was trained to use it properly.”
Even though I’m a retired police sergeant, I’m not a gun collector, or even much of a gun enthusiast. I do own firearms for defense of me and my family and train with them for that reason. People often ask me what are the odds that I will be attacked again in the future. Hopefully that answer will be never, but should it happen to me, my family, or to you, and I am around, I will be prepared and I will take action.
John J. “Jay” Wiley is a retired Baltimore police sergeant and host of the Law Enforcement Today Radio Show and Podcast. Additionally he is a music radio DJ on a popular FM station in the Florida Keys and has many years experience in internet marketing and advertising. You can contact him by email at [email protected].