Sheriff Gilbertson says, in his campaign commercial, that he took an oath to defend the constitution of the United States and the laws of Oregon. Notice that he doesn’t say that he kept his oath.
First among the laws of the state of Oregon is its constitution. It says that prisoners in jail shall not be kept with unnecessary rigor, which would be unnecessarily evil. Before Sheriff Gilbertson took office, I told him about the unnecessarily rigorous conditions in the jail, where prisoners are given insufficient clothing to deal with the temperatures maintained, such that half the prisoners have to wear blankets, against the jail rules and a danger to officers. He was all sympathy as a candidate, but had no sympathy once he had assumed office. I asked him a few weeks ago if he had increased the temperature or the clothing; he said he had not.
Second among the laws of the state of Oregon are its statutes. Both the U.S. and Oregon constitutions forbid suspicionless searches. And yet, sheriff deputies search everyone except officers of the court who attends a hearing in a courtroom, using metal detectors that are set to maximum sensitivity, beeping even after a person has emptied all pockets, apparently detecting grommets and fillings in teeth.
In that search, the deputies enforce airline rules regarding weapons, rather than Oregon law, which specifically exempts pocket knives and says that objects that are not normal weapons become weapons only if they are used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used as a weapon. The Sheriff follows the dictates of the Oregon Department of Justice rather than state law, forbidding all sharp-edged objects, including my 4″ sewing scissors and 2″ pocket knife.
This is unnecessary evil, and creates a dangerous no-weapons zone where anyone intent on killing has a clear field, as there are no weapons in the hands of good people to interfere with ill intent. Major Nidal in Fort Worth showed us how effective airline rules are at providing unarmed victims. And in our own courthouse, the only prisoner to escape did it with the help of an accomplice who seized the only weapon in the room-a deputy’s gun.
In the two areas of our county where our sheriff has the most control, the jail and the courthouse, he ignores the constitution and laws of the state of Oregon and does unnecessary evil. His job is to do the necessary evil of enforcing the law, no more and no less. He goes over that line and violates his oath to uphold the law.