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.