At the Oklahoma Capitol, a Sheriff Clarke fan club?

OKLAHOMA CITYMilwaukee (WI) County Sheriff David Clarke now has a fan club at the Oklahoma state Capitol – figuratively, if not literally. 

Videographer James O’Keefe’s new “You Tube” video chronicles hidden camera visits to several urban police departments, where he was told law-abiding citizens are on their own when it comes to facing down unwelcome intruders.

Among the video’s highlights, drawing cheers from pro-gun legislators in Oklahoma, are Clarke’s comments. The law enforcement veteran is seen explicitly urging citizens to defend themselves against criminals, including a memorable line: “We’re partners now. Can I count on you?” 

A quartet of Republican legislators here expressed delight with O’Keefe’s pro-gun message, particularly Clarke’s words. 

State Rep. Tom Newell, R-Seminole, told CapitolBeatOK, “I agree with virtually everything the Milwaukee County sheriff said. He observed that it is a personal responsibility to protect your self, and I’d merely add that it is a right to do so as well. 

“The truth is that no matter how many officers you have in any jurisdiction, they can’t be everywhere and can only respond so quickly to calls. Former state Rep. Rex Duncan used to say that when seconds count, help is just minutes away. That is apt.”

He concluded, “In the end, I believe government has no authority or right to prevent us from exercising our God-given fundamental rights to protect ourselves, our family and our communities.”

Newell’s colleague John Bennett, R-Sequoyah, called the presentation “spot on. The fact of the matter is that police officers cannot be everywhere at once, or when they need to be there. … Two minutes feels like hours when your life’s in danger.”

Bennett told CapitolBeatOK, “We got it right in Oklahoma by ensuring we protect and promote our Second Amendment rights. … Imagine the sickening feeling of not being able to protect yourself or your loved ones and watching them have to go through a tragic or traumatic event while waiting for someone else to come to your rescue. … I would never move to any state that would prevent me from having the capability to use a firearm to protect myself, or my family.” 

State Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Tulsa, said O’Keefe’s “good video” may “bring new awareness to reality. Government is not the solution. Self-government is a solution, that is, our need to rely on ourselves, and our neighbors, for most things.

“Sheriff Clarke essentially said things that I’ve heard plenty of police officers say in private meetings or sessions behind closed doors. It was encouraging that he would speak with such incredible honesty and clarity.”

The video “captured the truth of what every citizen should understand. … I have said in past floor debates on Second Amendment that I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy,” said state Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City.

He said, “Most citizens never have to face the issues of life and death, but this video might help us all understand that it is best to be prepared.” 

Shortey recalled a friendship that developed during the two years he, as a first-term legislator, served with state Sen. Judy Eason-McIntyre, D-Tulsa. He noted she, then in her last two years at the Capitol, had been “anti-gun. Then she faced two intruders in her home, and did not have a weapon.”

The political veteran endured a break-in at her home.  She screamed at the two young thieves — “what in the hell are you doin’ in my house?” – and they ran away. In a 2011 interview with CapitolBeatOK, then-Sen. Eason-McIntyre said she understood that might not be the response from every potential robber.

After her shift on guns, the affable liberal drew close to Senate Republicans, including Shortey and then-Sen. Steve Russell. In her first visit to a gun range, she put 17 of her 19 shots on target: Five headshots, and 12 body shots. She narrowly missed her target twice.

Shortey recalls, “I was privileged to be with her at a local gun range, to help her learn how to shoot. And now, she’s a gun nut like me!” He assert, “I think, for their own safety, every law-abiding citizen in south Oklahoma City ought to own a firearm.

You may contact Patrick B. McGuigan at and follow us on Twitter: @capitolbeatok.