Friday, April 16, 2010


It's in Ohio:

Ashtabula County: Judge tells residents to "Arm themselves"

In the ongoing financial crisis in Ashtabula County, the Sheriff's Department has been cut from 112 to 49 deputies. With deputies assigned to transport prisoners, serve warrants and other duties, only one patrol car is assigned to patrol the entire county of 720 square miles....

The Ashtabula County Jail has confined as many as 140 prisoners. It now houses only 30 because of reductions in the staff of corrections officers.

All told, 700 accused criminals are on a waiting list to serve time in the jail.

Are there dangerous people free among the 700 who cannot be locked up?

"There probably are," Sheriff [Billy] Johnson said....

Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Alfred Mackey was asked what residents should do to protect themselves and their families with the severe cutback in law enforcement.

"Arm themselves," the judge said. "Be very careful, be vigilant, get in touch with your neighbors, because we're going to have to look after each other." ...

We've found it! Shangri-La for the modern right -- government shrunk (and not even shrunk because legislators and/or citizens chose to shrink it through normal democratic or legislative processes, but shrunk in a way that discredits the idea of government, which is blamed for service cuts), plus the testosterone thrill of locking and loading and self-policing:

Ashtabula County gun dealers and firearms instructors tell WKYC their business has really picked up since the Sheriff's Department cutbacks began some months ago.

"That's exactly why they are coming, so that they can protect themselves," says Tracy Williams, a certified firearms instructor in Jefferson. "They don't feel that they are protected. They want to be able to protect themselves."

This is what the right wants to do to all of America. It wants the whole country to experience a small-government shock doctrine, with romanticized self-reliance replacing government services on an emergency basis. It wants us to get used to the idea that government doesn't have the resources to provide services we've come to expect and believed we paid for.

Any chance of a tax increase to mitigate the shortfall? Well, the linked story says there'll be a proposal on the ballot to increase the county sales tax (the most regressive tax possible, but at least it would bring in revenue). But I wonder what the odds are of its passage -- I see that the current Ashtabula county auditor, Sandra O'Brien, is selling herself as a candidate for Ohio secretary of state by boasting that she helped defeat a sales tax increase in 2005. In a sane society, boasting about something like that when your county is flat broke would be a bad political move; here it's how a scrappy underdog challenges the favorite.

Grover Norquist? Teabaggers? I think you should all move to Ashtabula County. It's the America you've dreamed of.

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