May 12, 1995
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents once were hailed as heroes, but now they’re often hooted at for their blunders, real and imagined. They also are frequently criticized for their high-handedness in dealing with state and local police agencies. They never are idolized as they once were.
However the truth of the matter is that the FBI still is one of the premier police forces in the world. Their agents do thousands of things right for every one thing they do wrong. Nobody, and no organization, is perfect.
Even if FBI agents were only one-tenth as good as they are, I would vastly prefer to entrust the security of the nation and my personal freedom to them than I would some self-anointed militia.
I’d rather count on state police, county cops or the Podunk Police Department to protect me and my family than I would a bunch of men who dress up in combat gear, take assault weapons into the woods and play like they are preparing for the day they’ll have to take over the country.
These men are convinced the day will come when they will be forced to overthrow the government. They believe that federal forces of evil are at work, planning to take away their guns and enslave them.
The problem with these men is that they have a National Rifle Association mentality. They have been sucked under by NRA propaganda that says there is a plot to destroy their freedoms, and that the plotters are “jack-booted thugs of government.”
The NRA is telling them what they want to hear. They are easily bamboozled, because they want to believe the key to personal freedom is personal ownership of guns and other weapons of war, no matter how sophisticated. The NRA tells them they are in danger of losing their weapons, their homes and even their lives, and they nod and say, “Amen.”
The fact of the matter is, I have been around awhile and I never have heard anybody in government, elected official or bureaucrat, or federal cop of any kind, say all guns should be banned. I never have read that any of them ever said that.
I never have read an article, editorial or column in a newspaper or magazine, or what have you, saying personal ownership of guns should be abolished. I don’t remember hearing that, or reading that, anywhere, from anybody.
Sure, there are legions of people who would like to see weapons designed solely to kill people be banned nationally. There are some who would like to see handguns banned. But I have yet to hear from anybody, even a real kook, that hunting weapons and target shooting weapons should be made illegal.
There is no movement, in or out of government, to take away personal freedom, unless it is being hatched by the militia groups who want us to believe they’re going to save us.
What it comes to our safety, freedom and way of life, government is not the problem. The problem, and it is a growing problem, is the number of people running loose out there who feel they have to get even with government for its mistakes of the past.
They are the threat, and we can thank God we have the FBI, and other police agencies, right down to the local level, ready to stop them. They will stop them. Nobody and no group is going to take the law into their own hands in this country and get away with it. That’s a fact. I am not defending the FBI because I once was a part of it. It was just before World War II, and director J. Edgar Hoover probably was the greatest hero in the land. I had a distinguished career, rising from lowly clerk messenger with an annual salary of $1,440 to the lofty post of fingerprint clerk at $1,800.
New employees had to line up outside Hoover’s office, then one at a time march in, look him in the eye, shake hands and tell him your name and hometown. I was so much in awe that I probably said “Richard, Britton, Snider, Oklahoma.” Hoover turned out to be substantially less than he was cracked up to be, but his decline didn’t start in my days there. During my time he was a tough, demanding, fearless leader, probably more respected than most presidents.
When the truth came out about him it was a huge letdown for those of us who still have his autographed picture hanging on the wall. I hope Fred will forgive me.
The FBI slipped some, too, in terms of national respect and prestige, but it didn’t fall apart. It still is a highly effective police agency, and does outstanding work every day that goes unreported. All of us should be happy they’re on our side in this strange time when terrorism is being used in the name of patriotism.
The National Rifle Association appeals to ignorance and is a plague upon the land.