Guns and guv’mint
The dialogue — or if we’re being frank, shouting match — that’s occurred over the last decade and intensified with the recent shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin and Connecticut is kind of like the low-level, street-corner cocaine of the democratic process: it may still retain some semblance, some traces of what it was originally meant to be, but it’s become so diluted by Drano, baking powder, insanity and apathy, it bears little resemblance to its former self.
In the interest of keeping strained metaphors to a minimum, this column is not going to be a long one. Double shifts and a death in the (pet) family have left me pretty emotionally exhausted this week, so any reaction — emotional or analytical — I may have had to the globules of crazy that dripped from gun advocates’ mouths this past week aren’t going to manifest themselves until much later on.
That doesn’t mean, however, I still don’t know bulls**t when I see it. And the best way to debunk bulls**t is to lay bare the truth, wide open and uncut. Granted, it won’t change the minds of those who don’t want their minds to be changed, but it’ll make me feel a hell of a lot better. 1. Gun Advocate: “Obama wants to take away all of our guns!”
I mean, yeah, if he had more of a spine, then he totally would. The truth, however, is that even a wholesale ban on assault weapons (AK-47s and the like) isn’t seriously on Obama’s docket right now. Even Crazy Uncle Joe, who’s known for wandering or sprinting off the reservation at times and taking the administration’s talking points to the extreme, is being realistic about the logistics involved in that.
Yes, such a ban is expected to be included in a new gun control package the administration will bring to the table in the coming weeks. But Obama and his advisors are, publicly, not hinging the success of the bill on passage alone. In any case, bills get renegotiated, fragmented, rewritten and reworded all the time in the legislative process. The long game, however, seems to be parlaying the surely high-profile nature of the bill into more serious discussions about ammunition limits, bans on high-capacity magazines, and cracking down on violations of gun laws already in place.
Rhetoric like this, however, is being used by gun ownership advocates — i.e., the nutcase faction of them — to not just imply, but explicitly threaten the government with an armed rebellion. Per Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano: “Here’s the dirty little secret about the Second Amendment: the Second Amendment was not written in order to protect your right to shoot deer, it was written to protect your right to shoot tyrants if they take over the government. How about chewing on that one.”
The two comma splices are only the fourth-most egregious thing about that statement. Is Napolitano simply playing the conservative role expected of him as an acolyte of Fox? Maybe. Probably. But words like this incite, and point towards a gleefully self-fulfilling prophecy. 2. Gun Advocate: “If [insert business or institution name] had armed guards or employees, these tragedies never would have occurred!”
Like I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, there were armed guards at Columbine when the shooting occurred, and that didn’t stop those people from being killed. Virginia Tech had a whole freaking police department on campus; same result.
And because that works so well, State Rep. Brad Klippert plans to introduce a bill during this year’s legislative session to allow teachers and other school employees to carry a weapon at work.
The Kennewick Republican told the Herald on Thursday he hasn’t drafted the bill yet, but he said no educator would be required to carry a firearm at school.
Klippert, a Benton County sheriff’s deputy, said he wants to collaborate with recently elected state Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, who suggested similar legislation in late December.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do on this,” Klippert said. The 2013 legislative session begins on Monday.
The proposal comes in the wake of last month’s shooting massacre of grade-school students and teachers in Newtown, Conn., said the Tri City Herald in Washington state.
Never mind that statistics clearly illustrate the mere presence of a gun exponentially increases the likelihood of someone within the vicinity being shot. This bill probably won’t actually see the light of day, but it’s incredible how deeply civilian vigilante fantasies can penetrate our real-world society. 3. Gun Advocate: “Stay out of my gun cabinet, dictator!”
In a minute, I’ll talk briefly about why the last word of that sentence holds some shade of truth. For now, let me explain why the gun issue doesn’t make Obama a dictator.
What sparked this thread of accusation is the administration’s statement that President Obama might utilize an executive order to issue the discussed bans and restrictions. But again, the executive orders in question refer not to a nationwide purge, but to mandates that would more strictly enforce existing violations, as well as more strenuous studying and tweaking of laws already on the books. The administration is even being relatively mum regarding the ammunition limit, which is, depending on which line you choose to toe, a sign of the president’s weak stance on the issue, or a shrewd, subtle move in the context of a long game.
To deviate from the main narrative a bit, it really speaks to the ideological kowtowing that conservatives are more afraid of Obama’s milquetoast gun control initiatives than they are his aggressive reinforcement of the NDAA.
What’s the NDAA? Glad you asked.
Strictly speaking, it’s the National Defense Authorization Act, which primarily specifies the allocations of budget expenditures for the United States military. The most troubling aspect of the act, however, reads that any person — U.S. citizen or not — that engages in a “belligerent act” against the United States or its government, can be detained without due process. The written law conveniently neglects to elaborate on what constitutes a “belligerent act.” Are we talking overt terrorism? Anarchist rhetoric? Farting at a correspondents’ dinner?
It’s dicey, but this is an issue on which the time might be right for right- and left-wingers alike to protest together. This is a law that threatens the sanctity of everyone’s constitutional rights, and should be treated as such. Afterward, we can get back to arguing over which GOP senator’s picture we should put beside “rape” in the dictionary. You Might Also Like: