From Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler:
In a letter to the editor last week, Mr. Christopher Boardman outlined his opposition of my support for our citizens’ 2nd Amendment Rights. Yes, I am a supporter of every law abiding citizen’s right to keep and bear arms and do not shy away from defending those rights. As I have said previously, it would be very easy for me as a law enforcement officer, who has the ability to be armed and protect myself and my family, to not stand up for the ability of our citizens to do the same. It would be easy, it just would not be morally right.
In his letter, Mr. Boardman claims to call for civility in our conversations with one another, yet as he personally demonstrated in a most egregious manner his reprehensible and divisive language used to describe residents of our neighboring county, this is not the standard he holds for himself. In an email shared with me by my friend, the late Senator Wayne Norman, Mr. Boardman described attendees at the Senator’s summer fundraiser as, “Cecil rednecks who want to blow people’s heads off with guns.” Mr. Boardman inquired of the late Senator how Boardman’s attendance with these “rednecks” might help him in his effort to become the Sheriff of Harford County. Senator Norman not only was equally disturbed by this generalization of a demographic of the population, but also saw fit to forward these unkind and thoughtless comments (and his personal response) to my attention.
To be sure, we have so many issues we are unwilling to address as a society. Examples of these issues that need attention are: mental health (being at the top of the list); better background checks (tied to those afflicted with mental health issues); better securing of our schools; paying for armed security or additional school resource officers; the desensitization and devaluation of human life by our young through music, videos, and games; absentee and/or neglectful parenting; ensuring break downs in the process of following up on tips do not occur (like we saw in Parkland, in Southerland Springs and in the Fort Hood shootings); and discussions related to more severe penalties and deterrents. Instead of doing any of this, some want to blame the type of gun that a killer decides to use and turn to discriminatory and hateful speech to further their political aspirations.
The Office of Sheriff in Harford County serves all citizens equally with courage, honor, and integrity as our core values. Our law enforcement officers across this nation fight hard to keep violent criminals off the streets, because they are the ones truly responsible for the violence and death that we see.
It is disappointing to see a supposed candidate for this Office that will not support our citizen’s Constitutional Rights, but also one that feels comfortable describing certain members of the community with disparaging and bigoted terms.
The place for those civilized conversations that Mr. Boardman claims are important, but fails to meet, is through our legislative process. I am pleased to say that as your Sheriff, I have been in Annapolis the past several legislative sessions having those respectful conversations with Republicans and Democrats alike, supporting many bills related to public safety and opposing those that are counter to that goal. Much of that effort touches on the issues just outlined, to include 2nd Amendment Rights.
Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler