Wednesday, January 4, 2012

- Stupidity In The Pro-Gun Blogosphere

I’m a gun guy. I’m very public about it. My friends all know that it’s a first principles issue with me. I believe that law abiding citizens should be able to arm themselves with only a minimum of intrusion into the decision by the government. In other words, unless you have already given us all some reason to believe that you are unreliable or irresponsible (and even that bar should be set pretty high), then you should be allowed to carry a weapon for self defense.

I consider myself an active member of the subculture which is made up of hunters, sport shooters and gun owners of various stripes. Put the phrase “buying a shotgun” into google and my article on the topic is either first or second on the list. I’ve taken hundreds of non-shooters from the New York area for their first shooting session, and I’ve made more than a few converts to the cause. The pheasant hunting and sporting clays shoots that I host semi-annually draw dozens of participants – virtually none of whom have ever handled a firearm before they met me.

I think my pro-gun, pro second amendment bonafides are well established. I don’t think anyone would believe that I’m an advocate for a restrictionist view or that I’m secretly harboring some government control sentiment. I’m not. So with all that said, let me toss out a few words about the web-talk on the Meredith Graves case.

As you probably know, Meredith Graves is a 39 year old Tennessee woman who tried to check her legally owned pistol while going to see the 9-11 memorial in NYC. She was immediately arrested, and is now facing a 3.5 year mandatory sentence for illegal possession of a firearm in NY. Mike Bloomberg, totalitarian wanna-be that he is, also accused her in his press conference of being in possession of cocaine – a statement which proved to be false.

To people like Mike Bloomberg and to be frank, many other people in greater NYC, ownership of a firearm is in and of itself evidence of intent to commit a crime. So punishing possession of a firearm as if it’s a violent act, makes perfect sense to them. “Why posses a gun unless you intend violence?” They’ll ask. They make no distinction between a law abiding citizen operating within the law to defend themselves and their family, and a gang banger trying to rob a bodega to buy crack.

This is stupid, and the prevailing political opinion in the country reflects that. As the data continues to support the ‘more guns less crime’ thesis, support for gun control is falling rapidly - even in NYC. And those that continue to support it are increasingly viewed as unreasonable. Even devoted leftists like Obama are staying away from the gun control debate because they know it represents political death for them. And it’s entirely possible that Mike Bloomberg’s position as the last anti-gun zealot prepared to ignore the evidence to the last, is the main reason he will never be a Democrat candidate for the Whitehouse.

But the stupidity on the blogosphere from the right has been palpable on this issue too, and I find that troubling. The people on the left have had their minds so polluted by straw men that they can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality. But the people on the right have no such excuse. They’re just being stupid. What’s worse, they aren’t even being polemic in a constructive way. They’re just being plain old idiots. And that idiocy is hurting the cause of changing bad gun law by confirming the biases of the only people left to persuade.

The stupidity of the right on this issue falls into two broad groups. They are the ‘run away’ contingent, and the ‘Alamo’ contingent.

“Who would ever want to go to NYC anyway?!” say the runaway contingent. “I’d never go to a horrible place like that! Whoever lives there should move away to a wonderful place like where I live.” While I can appreciate a feeling of loyalty to your home, this is a stupid argument.

10 million people work in Manahattan and nearly 30 million live within commuting distance of it. The average income in this area is substantially higher than almost anywhere else in the country – much higher than anywhere that has less restrictive gun laws. Life is about trade-offs. And it’s possible that some of us are willing to accept a bit more personal risk in exchange for a higher income. Think of us as the pioneers who braved hostile Indians and a harsh environment to make our way. The only difference is that our risks are imposed by the government instead of the wilderness.

What’s more, if some of us don’t tough it out here, there will be no one clear thinking enough to change the bad law. So if you can’t find it in yourself to support us in our efforts, at least do us the courtesy of shutting your pie hole and not making it easier for our mutual opponents. You aren’t convincing anyone of anything.

The “Alamo” contingent takes a different stance. They all say that Meredith Graves should adopt a course of action that will sacrifice her personally to the broader principles that they think are most important. She should ‘stand and fight’ or “sue Bloomberg”, or some such, even though it will all but certainly mean a loss for her and jail time. They see that personal sacrifice on her part as a small price to pay if it will prove a point for the rights of gun owners. This is obviously idiotic advice, and thankfully, Ms. Graves attorney will never let her follow it.

What Ms. Graves should really do is make any deal she can which lets her escape NY with a minimum of cost and inconvenience. Beyond that I leave it to her lawyers who know the terrain much better than I to give her specific advice. As a full time resident of one of the most tyrannical state government’s in the country, I’m not a believer in sacrificing one self to make a point; especially when the bad laws will almost certainly be changed in the near future anyway.

I see no need to climb up on that cross when they are about to ban crucifixion. Laws aren’t changed by self sacrifice and I don't believe in martyrdom - especially for the one who would be martyred. Although few will admit it, the bureaucracy prides itself on its ability to steamroll individuals, and I see no point in fighting losing battles. Shut up... nod... and live to fight another day when you stand a better chance of winning. That's my take on it.

New York’s gun laws are going to be changed for two reasons. First they don’t accomplish the goals of minimum ‘gun violence’ that gun banners have hitched their ‘control of everyone’ wagons to. Most people, even in New York City, only view government control of their lives as a reasonable cost if it accomplishes something. If it doesn’t, then they’d rather be left alone. More and more that's the prevailing view in New York City regarding gun control.

Second, I think they step over the line with regard to constitutionality, (certainly they violate the spirit of it as applied) but that’s a subject for legal debate. Either way though, I can read the tea leaves and tell what’s coming. The laws are going to change. The trend has been going that way since the Clinton Administration, and it shows no sign of reversing. Gun banners are increasingly marginalized and rightly so. So it does no one any good to offer up stupid arguments. All we do is confirm the biases of people sympathetic to a gun ban position, and delay the inevitable victory for our side.


ikaika said...

Consider me a run-away - lol

This case you've mention is in essence a "test Case".

While I agree with you that challenging a law through self sacrafice is treading on thin-ice, to say that no one ever changed a law by getting arrested, well, that's not entirely true.

In the end - Tenessee girl will be free-on bail pending trial, a deal will be made by her NY Attorneys, but if a deal is not reached, this will be another 2A test case.

Seems like it was set-up as such.

Tom said...

I thought so too until I read the details. She certainly fits the bill as a sympathetic defendant. but I'm not convinced it was. I think she was just being naive and didn't realize that gun ownership is considered a violent crime in NYC.

Tom said...

you know... I've thought about it a bit, and you're right. If someone wants to take a stand themselves, then that's OK with me. But I still think it's BS to urge others to 'prove a point' when there is no evidence that your yourself are willing to do the same.

I'm not talking about you specifically - to my knowledge you haven't advocated Martyrdom. But lots of other people I know have, and every single one of them would lack the courage (or determination or whatever) to take that stand themselves. That's why I call BS on it.

ikaika said...

I agree that you can't sit back and drink PBR's and demand someone else take the hit for the "common good".

It just seems too coincidental in advance of the reciprocity bill.

In a way - Bloomberg and his anti-gun stance will come out "toothless" when this specific case is settled.

remeber the elderly harlem woman that shot some perp with her questionably licensed .22 pistol conveniently loaded and "carried" in her wheelchair.

I think bloomy gave her a medal...

Tom said...

I'm gonna have to challenge that one too.

Absent evidence to the contrary, I think it's more likely Bloomberg sent her to prison for three years. And he probably held a press conference besides talking about how he lowered gun crime as well.

ikaika said...

Found the story:

Associated Press

Margaret Johnson's wheelchair might have made her look like an easy target. But when a mugger tried to grab a chain off her neck Friday, the 56-year-old pulled out her licensed .357 pistol and shot him, police said.

Johnson said she was in Harlem on her way to a shooting range when the man, identified by police as 45-year-old Deron Johnson, came up from behind and went for the chain.

"There's not much to it," she said in a brief interview. "Somebody tried to mug me, and I shot him."

Deron Johnson was taken to Harlem Hospital with a single bullet wound in the elbow, police said. He faces a robbery charge, said Lt. John Grimpel, a police spokesman.

Margaret Johnson, who lives in Harlem, has a permit for the weapon and does not face charges, Grimpel said. She also was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and later released.

She didn't have a carry permit. She broke the NYC law by keeping a loaded gun on her person.

There is no exemption for going to or from a range.

The pistol had to be unloaded and transported in a closed case.

Tom said...

I notice that it doesn't say anything about Bloomberg leading a parade in her honor (which was the part I had an issue with).

ikaika said...

nor was she prosecuted. (she is being sued by the "victim"/ would-be mugger)

The follow-up: turns out she got a limited permit when she was a bus-driver... i doubt this.

I dug deeper, she is the granddaughter of Gangster "Bumpy" Johnson of Frank Lucas fame.

Friends in high places.

Tom said...

It's the universal rule of NYC gun politics. No connections, no permit.

frithguild said...

Bumpy Johnson - no relation to Gabby Johnson - I just looked it up.

Estelle Griswold, the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut opened a birth control clinic in New Haven, Connecticut and was fined $100 for it. This was an obvious test because they looked at Harlan's dissent in Poe v. Connecticut, where he argued the law against providing contraception services was ripe for a constitutional challenge. His argument makes my blood run cold:

"the full scope of the liberty guaranteed by the Due Process Clause cannot be found in or limited by the precise terms of the specific guarantees elsewhere provided in the Constitution. This 'liberty' is not a series of isolated points pricked out in terms of the taking of property; the freedom of speech, press, and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures; and so on. It is a rational continuum which, broadly speaking, includes a freedom from all substantial arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints."

We can only wonder what "That Girl" from Tennessee was looking at before she took her gun to the 911 memorial. The spot she chose to get caught, a place of national interest and mourning, and as public as you can get, tells me it's a setup. Setups are not as transparent as they used to be [sigh].

Tom said...

Wow ... such cynicism.

As I said in other posts, "setup" was my very first thought too. But 3.5 years is a very long chance to take, and the way she got caught made sense to me. I know people form other parts of the country who would never think to not carry a gun until they saw a sign that told them 'no guns'.

The fact is, NYC's gun laws are deeply out of step with the rest of the country so it makes sense that there would be more incident's like this.

And if you're a gun ban proponent breathing a sigh of relief that they managed to get a dangerous 4th year med student odd the streets for threatening your safety by owning a gun, just imagine how many people from other parts of the country remember 'not' to check their guns and just wait outside the metal detectors instead.

frithguild said...

Hmmm, - they just dint tell me in Med School that New York is a bad place to go packin'...I'll be hornswoggled!! Now who can argue with that?!

Who would have thunk that money from somewhere would have little nooks in our cities occupied for most of the summer? Yes, I am becoming more cynical with time, but we live in stange times. Not quite as strange as when the working class that escaped into slavery opened the gates for Alaric. But I'll bet Miss Graves has thousands of Facebook friends now, almost as much at LiknedIn and, now that the Mayor of a great metropolitan city has unjustly accused her of a heinious and undoctorly offense, maybe a book deal in the offing to defray the cost of med school.

After all, "That Girl" just wanted enjoy her right to carry while respecting the well recognized public buildings exception in Heller:

"Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.FN26

FN26. We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.

District of Columbia v. Heller 554 U.S. 570, 626-627, 128 S.Ct. 2783, 2816 - 2817 (U.S.,2008)

It all just fits too neatly. I call Shenanigans!

Anonymous said...

To imply that Meridith Graves is a part of a so-called setup is not only rediculous but laughable! Having known her and her family for many years, I can assure you she has more integrity and respect for herself, as well as her family, to be involved in such a thing.
She has worked and studied hard for 4 years to become a doctor. The thought of her throwing that ambition and dedication to the wind is absurd.

Gosh darn y'all northerners sure are cynical folks! Take your mayor.....he opens his mouth and inserts his old feet a bunch! Wonder if he knows how to man-up and apologize for his false accusations?? An honest young lady's reputation is being ruined just because she wanted to pay her respects to those who lost their lives on 9/11..Does honesty not pay in New York City????

Signed by a permit carrying, gun toting old Tennessee gal. Southern by the Grace of God!!! Y'all come see us, ya heah!

Tom said...

You have me and my readers all wrong Ma'am. We are very much on Meredith's side and please feel free to tell her so.

But you have to understand, our government is not benign. We have been treated like we are incapable of running our own lives for so long that we always assume that someone is trying to put one over on us.

And another thing, Mike Bloomberg is most certainly not "my mayor". I sat next to him once at a fundraiser and found him to be one of the most arrogant and insufferable people I've ever met. If you (or anyone) expects him to apologize for anything don't hold your breath.