Secret Deputies – A Compromise?

My grandfather, Roy Skinner, was a “secret deputy” in Elkton, Maryland, during a crime spree in the early 1940’s.

I still have his little badge somewhere.

The town couldn’t afford to hire more police.

So, the mayor swore in and armed 50 men to be “secret deputies.”

The crime wave stopped.

With the control folks using the Northern Illinois murders as a springboard for further restrictions on gun ownership, the policy that stands the best chance of working—following 48 states in allowing licensed citizens to protect themselves with their guns outside of their homes—seems unlikely to be even considered.

The politicians in the gun control movement generally want to control as many aspects of our lives as possible, even while they cannot protect our children in a college classroom.

Perhaps a compromise might be acceptable.

My grandfather’s role in stopping a crime wave was brought back to mind when I read Jim Bowman’s Blithe Spirit post of February 16th. He titled it,

Do we dare think it?

“If you have dared in your heart of hearts to wonder what if a student had plugged the maniac on stage at NIU with his legally concealed Luger, Ruger, or what-not, know that you are not alone,” he writes, pointing to Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a Facebook group of 11,000 when he wrote about it.

“Are we really satisfied with our policy of restricting weapons? Or is NIU another instance of its abject failure?” Bowman continues.

A commenter on the Quad City Times story to which Bowman linked had this suggestion (which is no longer on the web site):

“I think the way to get around this possibility is to temporarily ‘deputize’ certain students who pass a rigid test. And maybe there should be some prohibition about drinking for those allowed to conceal carry.

“In both these college cases, it seems the shooter came in blazing — but the reloading part would have been a good moment to get him.

“Also not knowing how many or who the “deputies” are on a campus, just public knowledge that they are there, might cause a gunman to choose a different campus.

“AND, the ‘deputy’ would have to be presumed acting in the line of duty if he unloads on the shooter, so the family doesn’t sue him/her for unlawful use of a weapon, etc. after the fact.

“The rest of the students have to respect the fact the deputy is there to protect [them], and not try to ‘out’ him or steal his weapon for a joke, or provoke him, or pretend to be a terrorist, etc. as we know class clowns are wont to do, especially after a 12-pack.

“It would give some peace of mind to students on certain campuses and might even draw attendance to such colleges. All in all, it is devastating to parents who thought all they had to worry about was pregnancy or drunk driving.”

It worked in the 1940’s when Elkton, Maryland, could not afford to hire enough police to deal with crime.

It might work in universities.

Sitting on the front row of the classroom was a 32-year old Army sergeant named
Julianna Gehant.

I’d like her to have had more than her notebook with which to defend herself.


Secret Deputies – A Compromise? — 2 Comments

  1. Hi from Elkton, MD. Just tripped across your blog while working blogging here. I found your mention of your grandfather interesting. Do you have any more details on that? As the war started, a major manufacturer starting producing munitions here. Was his experience related to that population boom? It caused a great deal of problems and adjustments.

    Also enjoyed your blog overall. Thanks for putting the effort into it.

    I have a few. Two are history related and one has a political angle related to preservation.

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