Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
The idea that our freedoms exist is indisputable. Every human being craves liberty, if only for the things they personally want it for, but do have it for that, they have to acknowledge that yes, freedom exists.
But for things many don’t approve of, they seek to stamp it out. Liberty for me but not for thee, if you will.
Others will simply refuse to see any other path forward through difficult and troubling times besides the one requiring people to give up their freedom.
That’s likely what’s happening in Tulsa.
Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin is calling for a 9/11 style response to gun violence and suggesting people may have to give up some of their freedom in exchange for gun control.
Franklin said, “Law enforcement – we are the experts. We’re the subject matter experts at protecting America – right? – protecting our cities. And, you know, we should be utilizing that in that manner. So I am charged with protecting this community. And if there are better ways of protecting it, I think we should be looking at those better ways to protect it.”
Public Radio Tulsa quoted Franklin saying:
Ultimately, I’m a Second Amendment guy…But I’m okay giving up some of that freedom, right? We had to give up some of that freedom after 9/11. I’m okay with waiting three days, five days, or whatever to get my firearm if I go out and purchase another firearm. So I’m okay with a pause to allow for weapons to be purchased and allow the government and the gun companies to look at the background and do a thorough check before that gun goes to someone.
Franklin may be willing to give up some of that freedom, but I’m not.
Let’s remember that as a law enforcement officer, people like him are often able to pressure legislatures to make them exempt from many of the rules that govern people like you or me. So it’s unlikely he’d actually give up that freedom.
He expects us to give it up.
That’s how it usually works. The people who talk about giving up liberty for safety are never talking about giving up their liberty. Not really.
Most of the gun control crowd are more than happy to give up their right to keep and bear arms because they don’t value it. There are other things they value and they’d resist giving those freedoms up.
For Franklin, he’s likely to be exempt anyway. It won’t actually matter to him because he can still do what he wants without a problem.
But he should also realize that these waiting periods only inhibit the law-abiding citizens of Tulsa, not the criminals. He has to know that in his line of work.
The problem is that being a police chief is ultimately a political position. You have to play ball with elected officials, which often means parroting their preferred talking points. My late father was a police chief and wasn’t very good at that, which is why he retired a second time. He was going out the door either way.
Franklin is better at that than Dad was, clearly.
The difference is that Dad never wanted to curtail the freedoms of society in a misguided attempt at combatting crime.
You can trade liberty for safety, but in the end, you’ll not just deserve neither, you’ll get neither.