San Bernardino is so bankrupt that the city’s attorney is advising residents to “lock your doors and load your guns,” in the face of budgetary cuts that have downsized the police force by 80 officers.
City Attorney Jim Penman made his comments to about 150 residents at a council meeting assembled to address the uptick in crime, including the recent murder of an elderly woman. Since 2011, the California city has seen a 50 percent increase in murders.
“Let’s be honest, we don’t have enough police officers. We have too many criminals living in this city,” Penman told KCBS-TV. “We have had 45 murders this year. That’s far too high for a city of this size.”
Councilwoman Wendy McCommack, the organizer of the meeting, added, “You could tell the swell of frustration was coming over a lot of folks. They did not feel like they could get an officer out as quickly to some of the quality-of-life issues that they were dealing with as they would have preferred.”
Under fire for the blunt statement, the city attorney of 25 years didn’t back down. “You should say what you mean and mean what you say,” Penman insisted.
“I’m not advocating that people go out, who don’t have any training, and buy firearms. I certainly strongly caution anyone who has children at home not to have a loaded gun in the house,” said Penman.
McCommack defend the overall sentiment Penman expressed.
“We need to take our streets back, we need to take our neighborhoods back and we need to protect our homes, and that’s what I think Jim was trying to say.”