A popular law enforcement officer in Maryland recently sat down with AFP to talk about his renewed hope, since the election of billionaire populist businessman Donald Trump on Nov. 8, that the current anti-cop attitude that has taken over most major cities across the U.S. will change, at least when it comes to the man in the White House.
By Dave Gahary
Tucked away in the southernmost part of Maryland lies Somerset County—population around 26,500—where the unemployment is very high, drugs are a problem, and the biggest employer in the county is the Eastern Correctional Institution, Maryland’s largest prison. It’s also the county where Sheriff Ronnie Howard serves as the only elected law enforcement officer.
Howard, a life-long resident of Somerset County, sat down with AMERICAN FREE PRESS to discuss the county, his residents’ concerns, the Second Amendment, the war on police, the mainstream media, Donald Trump, and other matters.
Howard, who’s been married for 29 years and has two kids in college, entered the ranks of the Maryland State Police in 1982 and retired from there in 2008. He spent the majority of his career working road patrol and finished up as a criminal investigator. After retirement he joined the ranks of the sheriff’s office as a road deputy and was elected sheriff in 2014.
The county, which is predominantly a commercial fishery and agriculture-based community, is 54% white and 42% black, with a small (around 2-3%) Hispanic population that’s slowly growing.
The county has over three times the nationwide percentage of blacks.
“A lot of the African-Americans that live here in the county are life-long residents,” he said. “We don’t have the problems that other parts of the country may have.”
AFP asked if there was any racial strife in the county.
“None of that at all—none of it,” Howard said.
“After the officers in Dallas were executed,” he continued, “I had the president of the NAACP come to me and say, ‘Sheriff, I want to apologize for what happened. That was so horrific and so uncalled for.’”
A particularly savage crime that occurred last month in the county reminded the sheriff why he’s behind the right to bear arms.
“The attacker had used a hammer to repeatedly strike a mother and two children in their beds,” he told AFP. “The children were still asleep while they were being attacked. The mother fought briefly before she was overcome by it. All of them are in very critical condition.
“We get quite a few peace orders and protective orders here at the sheriff’s office,” he continued, “and I’ve always said a peace order and protective order is a piece of paper. That is not gonna protect somebody. That’s why I’m such a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment.”
Outgoing President Barack Hussein Obama’s attack on the Second Amendment just doesn’t have the sheriff worried.
“That is one of the hot-button issues of a lot of residents here in the county,” he told AFP. “They’ll come up and say, ‘Sheriff, if President Obama ever institutes martial law, will you obey it?’ ‘No, I won’t.’ ‘Will you support any action or efforts to confiscate our guns?’ ‘Absolutely not.’
“Our founding fathers put the Second Amendment in there for a reason,” he explained, “and that’s to protect us from invaders and also from our own government if it ever comes to that.”
“It’s a rural county. A lot of people have firearms for protection, and a vast majority of people in this county love to duck hunt and deer hunt,” he said. “It would be a catastrophe if the federal government ever came in here and tried to confiscate firearms. The county residents wouldn’t go for it.”
AFP asked if he felt the residents would fight back.
“I’m sure they would resist. There’s no doubt in my mind,” he said.
“The tyranny that we could face today is no different than the tyranny our forefathers faced when they were fighting the revolution,” he said. “No different.”
AFP asked if he fears a federal government gun grab.
“I supported President Trump,” he said. “I voted for him. With him being in there I don’t see any efforts to take firearms from people.
“My feeling is there are enough firearms laws on the books,” he continued. “Enforce the laws that are on the books now. We don’t need to make more. Your law-abiding citizens are not gonna go out here and commit gun violence. Your thugs are the ones who are gonna break into houses or stores and take firearms. They’re the ones that need to be prosecuted, not law-abiding citizens.”
AFP asked how big of a problem the elite media is.
“The elite media—I have a lot of big issues with,” he answered. “During the presidential campaign they were trying to crucify President-elect Trump for every little thing he would say or do. One of the big issues I had with Secretary Clinton was her email server, and she was given a pass on that.”
AFP asked if he was relieved when he heard that Trump won.
“I was, very relieved,” he said. “I was concerned that if Clinton got in, she would make an attempt to go after the Second Amendment. Another reason I was relieved was who knows who she would’ve picked for the Supreme Court, and also for her stance on abortion. I do not, can not, nor will ever support abortion. When she says a child that is still in the womb has no constitutional rights, I’ve got a problem with that. She says, ‘We must protect children and outlaw firearms.’ What about the children in the womb? Don’t they have rights?”
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, is the host of AFP’s “Underground Interview” series.