A Florida county sheriff became an overnight viral sensation after taking to Facebook to encourage people to arm themselves in the “war” against terrorism, claiming that active self-defense is the only way for people to ensure their own safety. His message was met with its fair share of controversy, however, with some commenters blasting it as simple fear-mongering.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey posted the message on Facebook on Wednesday in the wake of a workplace shooting in Orlando that claimed the lives of five victims. The video also flashed images of the deadly Fort Lauderdale airport shooting and the Pulse nightclub massacre to drive home its message.
“Folks, now more than ever is the time for our citizens to be prepared to serve as the first line of defense, not only for them, but for their families,” he said. “What’s next is to fully understand that this is war, and you better be prepared to wage war to protect you, your family, and those around you if attacked.”
Instead of running, hiding, and waiting for law enforcement officers to come save the day, Sheriff Ivey suggested a more direct approach to neutralizing a terrorist should one ever appear.
“What they don’t count on is being attacked themselves, having to become defensive to save their own lives,” he claimed. While calling 911 is a sure way to get emergency responders to come to one’s location, Ivey continued, “Until they arrive, it’s up to you and those with you to neutralize or eliminate the threat.”
Ivey went on to argue that self-defense should not be a political issue. “No matter who you are or what your position is on guns, there’s no denying the fact that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun or knife is an armed and well-prepared citizen or law enforcement officer,” he said.