TITUSVILLE, Fla. - The Brevard County Sheriff has strong words for members of his community and abroad about the potential threat of terrorism: This is war and you better be prepared.
Sheriff Wayne Ivey released a video on Facebook urging citizens to prepare for the possibility of a terror attack close to home. "Terrorists and active shooters are using every weapon available to target citizens: guns, knives, trucks, hammers, and even explosives," he said. "Folks, now, more than ever is the time for our citizens to be prepared to serve as the first line of defense," said Sheriff Ivey.
He said "doing nothing" or "just hoping it won't happen to you" won't save your life.
His message immediately prompted a conversation about gun safety and gun control, while being shared thousands of times on Facebook. One commenter asked, "How is this helpful? You are doing more harm than good by trying to get everyone armed and on edge." While another commenter said, "This is what we have been waiting to hear from our elected officials. Cowering and hiding is not a good defense."
Another commenter says, "My concern is that most law enforcement officers I talk to in other parts of the country are (rightly, I would say) very leery of walking into a situation in which EVERYONE is armed."
Sheriff Ivey made no apologies for his warning.
"As everyone knows, I am probably one of the most politically incorrect sheriffs in the country and to be honest, I'm good with that," Sheriff Ivey acknowledged. "What I'm not good with is sitting back and waiting for the emergency to happen," he said.
Sheriff Ivey said that when an attack happens, once 911 is called, law enforcement is on the way, but it's the citizens who must try to "neutralize or eliminate" the threat until they get there.
He urged citizens not to wait any longer to formulate their defense plan should an attack happen. "You have to make a decision right now, right this moment, to be prepared to save your life and those you love when the attack happens," he said.
Some of the ways he listed for preparedness was for concealed carry permit holders to always carry their guns, at all times possible. "It's not doing you any good at the house or in the car when the attack happens," he said. Those who have guns, though, should train often, he says.
For those uncomfortable with guns or those without a concealed carry permit, the sheriff asks people to consider carrying a stun gun.
More importantly, he urged people to mentally and physically prepare ahead of time for the possibility of an attack.
"It takes a community to protect a community," he said. "Right now is the time to prepare for an emergency. The best case scenario: you are mentally and physically prepared and that day never happens."
Watch his entire message below: