Roy Exum: Our Huge American Crisis – The Chattanoogan


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During just one week last month, March 15th through March 21st, our FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System had 1,218,002 requests for clearance to sell individuals firearms. Yes, you read it right: 1.2 mm in just seven days. But to better understand America’s fears, our keen yearning for safety, and a frightening chasm between conservatives and liberals fueled by thoughtless politicians and sightless “progressives,” look at our nation’s first quarter.

In January we have evidence to believe that about 4 million guns were bought legally in the United States. In February, with just 28 days, there were 3.4 mm, and the month’s total in March -- according to the FBI system – was 4.7 mm.

Wow! That's 12.1 million in new gun sales in the first three months of 2021, or – might I also say – over 1 million guns each week this year.

The ”why” is easy.

In New York City, over 5,300 uniformed officers have retired or flat-out quit, a 75 percent uptake from last year. And in Portland, 115 officers are so fed up with “toothless” riot control every night that they have surrendered their shields. The “defund the police” City Council is now shocked that reaction time on 911 calls is so deplorable. As one former official succinctly put it during an exit interview: “The community shows zero support."

“The City Council are raging idiots!” he yelped the fact they are stupid a given, and oh, does it show.  “The Mayor and the council ignore actual facts on crime and policing in favor of radical leftist and anarchists’ fantasy!” And, God bless him, in every large city in our nation underpaid, over-worked, and publicly ridiculed police officers are making an exodus from the rough-and-tumble daily grind.

Chattanooga is no different. This week I was gifted an emailed from a respected and admired member of the Chatttanooga Police Department who informed me was hoping to work a few more years but that because of what he sees and reads and hears, this seems to be a pretty good time to end a thankless career, and to find better ways to devote the rest of his life. I am not about to reveal his name, lest The Legion of the Miserable will clutter his way.

But he shared some “out takes” with me that revealed his heart, and that of most other city officers I really admire. Mark my words, when 9-1-1 calls fail to be answered in the city, this after modern-day riffraff has driven our officers away, God forbid the lessons 12.1 million firearms bought in just the last three months will help explain your folly.


-- On not letting officers use union dues to support their legal defense in civil or criminal proceedings: “I though most people in journalism were pro union.  I guess not.”

-- On suspending traffic stops for minor offenses such as an expired tag: “Maybe this is a good thing; I will never have to pay my annual registration fee again and this will be a welcome relief as I retire and will be on a fixed income.  I will be able to drive as fast as I wish, and traffic signal adherence will be optional.  If I want to throw my empty McDonalds bag out the window it will not be an issue so my truck will not stay cluttered.”

-- On the “introduction of social workers” performing police officer jobs: “This is actually a welcome reform.  I never did like going on some of the mental health crisis calls with violent people and would prefer to cruise neighborhoods and wave to people.”

-- On no more “Stop & Frisk”: “Another welcome reform -- it is a lot safer to stay out of communities and respond only after the shooting is over and pick up the pieces.”

-- On doing away with “qualified immunity”: “I guess this is really not an issue after some of the good reforms because we will no longer be doing traffic stops anyway and the social workers will handle all the violent calls involving lawfully-challenged people.” [NOTE: Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that shields public officials from civil liability in lawsuits brought by victims of civil rights violations. Until recently, qualified immunity wasn't a well-known concept outside the legal profession.]

-- On the handling of peaceful protests: “This should not be an issue either because if something goes wrong, the social workers can handle the mob and keep them from burning down the social services office with their eloquent verbal skills.”

The Chattanooga City Council flirted with defunding the police last year and, while those with “walking around” sense stilted the conversation, a proposed police "control committee" that almost got on the ballot is blatantly insulting. This, mind you is in a city where every week a black shooter “pops a cap” into a black victim and the black community – the overwhelming majority fine people – lives in fear of gunshots every night.

A haughty crowd of ministers loves to ruffle the community’s feathers on all issues they can uncover, but mention the name of Jamichael Jones, 29, who died after being shot Monday night on Chamberlain Avenue … Or how about D'Avonte Wofford, who was 18 when he was caught with two AK assault pistols and a bundle of marijuana before he was sentenced to 18 months is prison yesterday. “Those are police issues! They do not concern us.” Right.

The Chattanooga police officer offered in closing: “It is too bad all these reforms cannot be enacted sooner, or I would stay, but I feel in this transition time it is best to retire."


There was a law enforcement term I needed to have clarified – qualified immunity – so I called the Chattanooga Police Department to speak to an officer (refuse to call them ‘cops’). After a lengthy recording instead of a live person, I finally got a very professional type on the line, gave my name, and the reason for my call, and asked if an officer was available. “They are all in the field.”

I then asked if I could leave my number in hopes of a return call. “It doesn’t work that way,” said the expert, admitting she was not an officer. “What is your address?”

“We don’t have an address, is an Internet website.”

The professional really balks, “Without your address, I am unable to determine the sector.”

“What! … Ma’am, never mind, but now I know why some people dislike the police.”

Haughty and arrogance don’t play in my ballpark when I try to be nice as possible to people, most especially ‘professionals.’

And all government telephones should require a human answer to those who pay taxes – any salaries.

But know your sector …

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