Guns don’t kill people, but far-right extremists do

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66 Responses

  1. Dan Miller says:

    And even if we leave this aside, I would hope we can come to a consensus that carrying a gun to a town-hall meeting or non-gun-related protest should be unacceptable. It’s a blatant attempt at intimidation, and inimical to any form of democratic debate, even the debased form that takes place at these meetings. Nobody–not the Panthers, not the NRA, not the militias–should carry guns to a health care protest.Report

  2. As McArdle said, it’s mainly just dumb because protesting in general is pretty pointless. But since it’s no threat to the President, is it really that big of a concern? If so, why not call for a repeal of the laws that make it legal to carry a gun in public?Report

  3. mike farmer says:

    What’s the solution? What can be done to prevent far-right violence against the left? I mean, even if the fire-arms were prevented from being carried, would the far-right be even more dangerous, concealing their weapons and acting on their anger?Report

  4. mike farmer says:

    Yes, we need a Goldstein. I also wonder how we are going to protect Limbaugh and Beck from violence caused by left-wing rhetoric.Report

  5. mike farmer says:

    I can see some left-wing, latte-drinking, Berkenstock wearing, drugged out, communist hippie-type, after reading Frum, beating Limbaugh to death with bong as Rush is teeing up at the ninth.Report

  6. mike farmer says:

    with a bong, dammitReport

  7. Nob Akimoto says:

    I’m pretty sure most people don’t think fire arms are appropriate props to be brandishing around at what are ostensibly meetings of civil society because of the chilling effect having a weapon has on your opposition (in plain words: intimidation) rather than because anyone’s afraid they’re going to actually shoot things up.Report

  8. mike farmer says:

    “because of the chilling effect having a weapon has”

    To paraphrase Obama “If they bring a knife, we bring a gun” — he didn’t say what to bring if they bring gun first — a bazooka?Report

  9. Bruce Smith says:

    The constitutional right to bear arms was to stop British Fascist tyrants tyrannizing the community. Now you have American Fascist tyrants tyrannizing the community not just over the health care issue but on a remorseless daily basis and particularly in the African-American communities. The right to bear arms has turned into the right to be a thug!Report

  10. adolphus says:

    Why are we, or McArdle, only concerned with violence directed at the POTUS? If something does happen, I’ll bet it is against a lower level official or at a random event far away from the major events.Report

  11. Paul Barnes says:

    What about the daily violence committed against women and the unborn through abortion? *ducks head*Report

  12. Sam M says:

    I am from Pennsylvania, long one of the easiest places to get a carry permit. So as soon as I turned 21, I applied for mine. I got accepted, of course, and went to the sheriff’s office to get it. The sheriff, an awesome character named Smokey, started handing it to me, then snatched it away. “Listen,” he said. “You can basically carry a gun anywhere in the state now.”

    “Yeah,” I said. “And that’s the way it ought to be!”

    “Sure,” he said. “I agree. Only one thing: Don’t be an asshole.”


    “You can carry it into a bank. Don’t.”


    “If you are driving through Allegheny County or anywhere near Philadelphia and you get pulled over for speeding, they are going to ask if you have a gun in the car. Tell them the truth. More than likely, they are going to try to take it from you. They aren’t allowed. Give it to them anyway. Call me. I’ll get it back for you.”


    “DON’T BE A JERK.”

    “OK, Smokey. I get it.”

    “Seriously. If you are an idiot, you are going to get arrested. Or shot. And it will be your own fault.”

    The world needs more Smokeys.Report

  13. Bruce Smith says:

    Buy a gun. Whilst holding it you can watch the trust decay in communities on TV. You won’t feel scared anymore and most of all you are being a good little American minding your own business!Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Bruce Smith says:

      I’m from Colorado. I own four guns. My Coloradan friends think that my guns are okay, as these things go, nothing to write home about. Well, the mauser taken off the body of a dead Nazi sniper is pretty cool. The others are nothing to write home about. They discuss stuff like their desert eagles and their winchesters and whatnots. We play poker in a room (garage, really) where there are at least 4 guns in various places.

      I have a friend who moved here from New Jersey. I brought him to play poker once. He freaked when I mentioned the various guns that were in the room at some point later. “What???” I pointed out that I was a gun owner “WHAT????”

      I’m guessing it’s a cultural thing.

      I can appreciate that you think that my lifestyle is dangerous to you and your children. I assure you, you have nothing to fear from me.Report

  14. mike farmer says:

    It’s really the bullets that kill you.Report

  15. Sycophant of the Bourgeois says:

    Do you guys think it’s right to protect yourself from arrest for not paying taxes?Report

  16. Bruce Smith says:

    Is it really so difficult to understand the contradictory nature of a right that allows one individual security, or peace of mind, at the expense of another? This right to bear arms rests on a belief in magic; namely that there can be an infallible process for detecting sociopaths and preventing the supply of arms to them. Belief in magic is always an abdication of responsibility.Report

  17. mike farmer says:

    “Do you guys think it’s right to protect yourself from arrest for not paying taxes?”

    Only if you have some kind of nuclear weapon you can threathen them with.Report

  18. Bruce Smith says:

    Make your mind up. Fallible law or no law.Report

  19. Bruce Smith says:

    Or better still trust or no trust.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Bruce Smith says:

      For the record, I trust that you are an adult who is capable of making his own decisions and I trust that you could own a firearm without harming yourself or others.

      It seems that you don’t trust me.

      Is that a me problem or a you problem?Report

  20. Steve says:

    You need to display the gun as you’re never really sure when someone will point out your small penis.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Steve says:

      For the record, my really small penis has not been pointed out by anyone without permission to do so. Never once. I live in a “will issue” state, though.

      Is that something that people have to worry about in states with heavy gun control?Report

  21. Jaybird says:

    It’s easier for me to sympathize with Vicki Weaver than Lon Horiuchi.Report

  22. FYI – McArdle has a follow-up post this monring on the subject that is fantastic. Here’s a bit:

    “And if you think about it, you already know this. You have access to fatal weapons every day. How often, after a fight with someone, have you been seriously tempted to run them over with your car? Or grab a knife from the rack in the kitchen and brandish it at them? Put rat poison in their morning coffee? Or take an exacto blade to their throat while asleep? The men in the readership, at least, could be fairly confident of their ability to stab their spouse to death whenever she says something really awful. Yet none of you have done it. Virtually no one else has done it, either, except for people who were already clearly deeply troubled–either abusive, or mentally ill. That’s why not a lot of hunters report getting into disputes with their friends or family that suddenly, unexpectedly, and tragically, turn violent.

    It would be a very good thing if we could take guns out of the hands of criminals. But they really don’t seem to make ordinary people any more murderous. (Possibly more effective suicides, but this is hard to assess, since the gun suicides may just be more determined people who would otherwise choose another, equally effective and irrevocable method). There is more we could be doing to keep criminals from getting guns–unlike most second amendment supporters, I would support extending the requirement for background checks to private sales. And perhaps there should be a presumptive temporary revocation for those who have restraining orders out on them. But with 220 million people in this country and a very long border, no gun control scheme is going to make much difference in the availability of guns to people who really want to have them.”Report

    • Herb in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

      I’m familiar with the arguments about outlawing guns and then only outlaws having them, but I like Ole Smokey’s arguments better. “Don’t be a jerk.”

      Jaybird’s got the right tactic. Be responsible.

      The guy taking an AR-15 to a public event may be exercising his right, but he’s certainly not being responsible.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Herb says:

        I would prefer that everyone who qualifies as “responsible” purchase a gun.

        I want a whole buttload of “negative externalities” out there for the irresponsible folks with guns.Report

  23. Dan Summers says:

    To build on what Dan Miller said waaaaaay up at the top, even if it’s legal to do so, it is still wrong to carry a gun to any civic event, much more one attended by the POTUS.

    Even if the people who do so do not pose an imminent threat to the President’s person, they are making an inherently menacing point by bringing the weapon. It is implied that they are armed, and that they consider said arms a part of their opposition to the government. The association between armed opposition and the President is uncivil in the extreme, and does not comport with the behavior of responsible, adult American citizens.Report

    • Ultimately though it seems to be more about the openness of the gun than it’s actual presence i.e. it’s intimidating to the opposition. So in that respect i think if you’re going to say no to it you really have to ban guns from being carried in the open completely. Otherwise there are always caveats. Someone might carry a gun to an away football game of their favorite team. Their kid’s Pinewood Derby race. Etc. If an openly carried gun is inappropriate in any situation where possible conflict exists, then it seems sensible to just ban the practice all together.

      I think it’s still important to remind people that these guns are being carried outside of these townhalls. No one is taking one inside therefore the threat to others’ free speech is non-existant.Report

  24. Bruce Smith says:

    Where is the difference between the sociopath who believes they are outside the social contract and has the right to personally determine right and wrong and the so-called normal individual who pretends this too? How can adult responsibility, therefore, be properly exercised?Report

  25. Art Deco says:

    I happen to think that there is real cause for worry, especially considering the borderline eliminationist rhetoric coming out of the far-right, as well as the fact that members of the far-right have by and large been responsible for a considerable amount of political violence over the past twenty years.

    To just what are you referring?Report

  26. Bruce Smith says:

    Yep. That should go down well with the kids who’s mother has just been killed by a stray bullet in some drugs turf war!Report

  27. angulimala says:

    Sometimes I wonder if the intention of carrying these weapons isn’t just to intimidate any supporters of health care reform who might show up at the event.Report

  28. Bruce Smith says:

    Yep. Plenty of gun and substance abuse makes America strong!Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Bruce Smith says:

      Perhaps you could look into passing laws.

      Maybe, if you passed enough laws, you’d be able to lock up enough people to finally live in a society where you could finally trust your neighbors again.Report

  29. Bruce Smith says:

    Yes. I will continue to push along with others to have laws changed to reflect shared moral positions. I will do this because I believe Liberty, or Freedom, can only exist by society imposing tolerable limits upon itself. The contradiction and impotence of Libertarianism is believing you cannot have laws because that means imposing morals on others without their consent. So hey ho you have to be cool about the drug dealer selling crack cocaine, or guns, to your kids at the school gates! It’s unworkable and it’s a nonsense.Report

  30. Bob Cheeks says:

    I dunno, is it possible that those strapping pistols to their hips are just taking precautions to guard against more violent acts by BO’s Core or Union thugs?
    It’s a shame that in Barack’s America you have to protect your First Amendment right to free speech.Report

  31. Bruce Smith says:

    Preventing widespread abuse by human beings of other human beings (like slavery and gun murder) relies on constraints to liberty agreed by majority and not individual consent. Libertarians meanwhile struggle to understand that Libertarian constraints (no limits to personal liberty without consent) are actually an attempt to impose a value system on Liberty without anybody’s consent. A direct contradiction in terms!Report