Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The anger of a nation aroused
Those who've read this blog over the years, and who know me personally, will be aware that I'm not an extremist. I tend to be centrist in many of my views, with a conservative or classical-Liberal overtone, but I'm not 'out there' at one extreme or the other. I also tend to avoid those who are 'out there', as I find the notoriety they attract tends to be contagious.
There are some voices in the pro-Second Amendment, firearms-enthusiast community that I find deeply disturbing. These include, for example, instructors such as James Yeager of Tactical Response, who's got himself into all sorts of hot water over the years with his outlandish, patently unsafe methods of instruction, and who most recently has had his concealed carry permit suspended thanks to an outburst he placed on YouTube. It was so 'out there' that it received international attention. He's since apologized, but it's too late - his rantings have become precisely the sort of 'ammunition' the anti-gunners want in their attempts to demonize all of us as irresponsible hotheads. Thanks for nothing, Mr. Yeager!
They also include the so-called 'Three Percenters', who tend to be vociferous in their condemnation of any and all restrictions on firearms ownership, carry and use. (Linoge has written trenchantly about them, and to some extent - but not entirely - I agree with his perspective.) They appear to completely ignore the long-standing legal position that reasonable regulation of a right does not equate to its denial or abrogation. (That's the principle underlying the often-cited distinction that the right to freedom of speech does not give one the right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater, when there's no fire burning.) Some states take that to extremes, of course (in particular New York, New Jersey, California, etc.). Their 'regulation' of firearms rights is so extensive as to arguably amount to a violation of those rights; but unless and until our legal system agrees with that position (and we are, after all, a nation of laws), we have to accept the status quo. If we don't, we literally make ourselves 'outlaws' in the true sense of that term - we are outside the law.
However, what happens when the entire nation is subject to a violation of the Second Amendment? This is what many, including myself, fear may happen tomorrow when President Obama announces new gun control measures. As I pointed out a couple of days ago, they're likely to have everything to do with 'control', but of the people, not of guns. New York's just-passed gun control legislation is a classic example of this reality. It's already been adequately analyzed by others, so I won't repeat the exercise here. I expect something similarly drastic from President Obama.
There comes a time when one has no choice but to take a stand for one's beliefs. If you won't do that - if you don't hold any beliefs or principles strongly enough to be willing to stand up for them, to say "Thus far and no further" - you're pitiful. You're no longer a free human being. You're a sheep, to be shoved around with the flock by those who want to herd you, sheared of whatever assets you have that are valuable to them, and eventually treated as food to be consumed. I'm not a sheep, and most of my friends and acquaintances aren't either. We're not going to be treated as a flock to be herded, particularly in the area of gun control.
I'm not advocating violent revolution; but others, such as Mr. Yeager, are. Matt Bracken has put up a blunt warning to all law enforcement officers and agents, making it crystal clear that there are those who will resist the registration and/or confiscation of their weapons by any and all means necessary, up to and including the use of lethal force. He's not alone in sounding the alarm. A useful series of links to more such articles may be found here.
I fear we stand at a watershed moment in US politics. If President Obama attempts to usurp the authority of the Constitution, and intrude on the 'turf' of the legislative branch, by means of executive orders, to impose gun control measures that are unacceptable to many in the country, I believe he will have crossed a line from which it will be difficult to turn back. I strongly encourage political mobilization and resistance, as I wrote last week, but there are those who will not be satisfied with political resistance alone.
I hope and pray it's not too late for both sides in this debate to reconsider, before taking steps that will perhaps be irrevocable . . . but I fear it may well be too late. Extremists - the gun controllers and President Obama on one side, and gun rights fanatics on the other - have staked out their positions and show no signs of being willing to back down.
Who will fire the first shot at Fort Sumter this time?