The City of Madison and its Police Department are about to get their johnnies slapped around by the courts. So far, the five men charged for doing absolutely nothing unlawful aren’t asking for money, a fact which city taxpayers must be most grateful for. So far.
If you missed the story, on Saturday September 18th, five men, all of them members of a group that supports carrying guns openly in public, went into a Culvers restaurant a few hundred feet from East Towne Mall, each of them with a handgun in a holster on their belt, and sat down to eat. Some nervous-nellie east-sider called the cops just aghast that something this heinous could happen in MADISON, and the cops went into the restaurant and made a shambles of the Constitution and our state’s laws.
They CUFFED the men, charged two with obstructing because they wouldn’t give their names, and charged all five with disorderly conduct. A few days later, cops dropped the obstructing charge against the two men, but pressed the disorderly conduct charge on all five, who filed a lawsuit last week accusing the city and the cops of violating their constitutional rights.
How many Americans know that you do NOT have to give your name to a cop just because he or she asks for it? Not very many, apparently. And the cops, who are used to getting their way about everything, decided to write those two who understood their rights a nice fat obstructing ticket, which stuck for a few hours until someone who knows the law read the incident report and said “better drop those obstructing charges, boys…..”
Just so we’re clear on this, you do NOT have to give your name or identify yourself to a cop just because he or she asks you to. That is, unless between the time I’ve written this and you’re reading it, the Nazis or Commies have taken over this country. We don’t ask citizens to “see their papers” without damn good reason in this nation. (And don’t get me going on Arizona’s issues with this. Different kettle of fish.)
A few days ago, Madison Police Chief Noble Wray told a local TV reporter he was “proud of the way his officers handled the situation”….and further opined that “we’ll have to decide what to do in situations like this in the future, when someone is upset by someone carrying a holstered gun”, or words to that effect.
How about this, Chief - how about not letting some nervous-nelly eastsider who withers at the sight of a handgun not decide which state laws and Constitutional Amendments apply in Madison? Or should we bring back one of my favorite Madison characters from the 60’s and 70’s, Eddie Ben Elson, who ran for D-A on the platform “only obey good laws.”
I’m not some gun nut. I’ve been trained in firearms use by a highly decorated WW2 combat infantryman: my father. And I don’t carry a sidearm in public and never have; likely never will. And I was raised to respect the Constitution of the United States and its Amendments, and the laws of the sovereign states.
So until those laws or Amendments are changed, I don’t want some whiny bitch dictating which ones are the “good laws.”
Unless she plans to patrol the parking lot at East Towne well after dark, looking for thugs and losers who are UNLAWFULLY carrying concealed weapons and looking for an opportunity to rob or steal.