Sheriff, don't chase ghosts

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Rumor has it that there is some distrust of President Obama.

And with all the legislative sabre-rattling recently about prying assault weapons from the cold dead hands of American patriots, anxiety might be a tad higher than normal, even by North Idaho standards.

Yet the persistent call issues forth for Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger to stand before a cadre of concerned citizens and testify, with one hand on the Holy Bible and the other on his loaded sidearm, that he will actively defend county residents from any incursion of federal forces bent on depriving folks of their Second Amendment rights.

In late January, Wolfinger went public and unholstered his thoughts on several gun issues, but he didn't wade into the muddy water of a puddle reflecting the fears of unfettered federalism. He knows a guy could drown in a puddle like that. He also knows that he has far greater and far more immediate issues to concentrate on since voters hoisted him on their shoulders last November.

Have you forgotten already that, after beating two Republican opponents last spring, Wolfinger clobbered all three challengers last fall? The official tally:

Joe Bodman: 3,284

Tom Dickson: 3,584

Bob Foster: 8,238

And Wolfinger? With his reasoned, responsible approach to law enforcement and civic issues exemplified by many years of public service in several roles, Ben hauled in 39,739 votes. That chasm between the winner and the losers left little room for argument that the vast majority of county residents wanted what Wolfinger offered.

And still do.

Most people want their sheriff to focus on the real and present danger from drug addicts, drunk drivers and thieves. Most want their sheriff's office to do everything it can to cooperate with other law enforcement agencies, state and federal, to get as many bad people off the street as humanly possible. Most are more worried about their March Madness bracket than Uncle Sam knocking down their midnight door and taking their guns away.

Ben Wolfinger's got his eye on the right targets. Those who don't see it that way wield a powerful weapon of their own, but they'll have to wait until 2016 to use it.

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