Monday, January 28, 2013


There's a common idea behind a lot of what the gun absolutists are telling us right now.

* The current lead story at Drudge is a video of Jason Mattera, a professional wingnut confrontation provocateur, asking New York mayor Mike Bloomberg about gun control. The point of Mattera's questions to Bloomberg is that it's somehow unfair for the mayor of New York City to have more security than, say, a professional wingnut confrontation provocateur. As Breitbart reports:
In the video, Bloomberg is seen surrounded by security. Mattera approaches Bloomberg and asks, "In the spirit of gun control, will you disarm your entire security team?"

Bloomberg’s reply: "Uh, you, we'll get right back to you."

"Why can you defend yourself but not the majority of Americans?" Mattera asks as the mayor walks away. "Look at the team of security you’ve got. And you’re an advocate for gun control?"
* Glenn Beck's Blaze and a number of right-wing bloggers are upset for this reason:
The Department of Homeland Security is seeking to acquire 7,000 5.56x45mm NATO “personal defense weapons” (PDW) -- also known as "assault weapons" when owned by civilians. The solicitation, originally posted on June 7, 2012, comes to light as the Obama administration is calling for a ban on semi-automatic rifles and high capacity magazines.

The answer is: they're for the "personal defense" of agents of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Apparently, ICE agents who may face violence in their day-to-day work aren't supposed to be better armed than the rest of us.

* And then there's David Mamet's fact-challenged Newsweek rant about guns, in which he effectively equates his own family's security needs with those of the family of the president of the United States:
[President Obama] has just passed a bill that extends to him and his family protection, around the clock and for life, by the Secret Service. He, evidently, feels that he is best qualified to determine his needs, and, of course, he is. As I am best qualified to determine mine.
The idea underlying all of this -- and underlying the NRA's "Are the president's kids more important than yours?" ad earlier this month -- is that, in effect, each of us is the president of his or her own country. Each of us is the mayor and police chief and chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of his or her own nation.

This dovetails perfectly with the notion that all taxation is theft and all government spending is larcenous redistribution (your personal Medicare wheelchair excepted, of course). If government should not exist, if fellow citizens owe nothing to one another, if "there is no such thing as society" (a Margaret Thatcher quote that sends a thrill up the leg of every wingnut) ... then it's literally true that governments don't need more weapons than individuals, because the number of legitimate governments in America is equal to the number of citizens.

So, no, these folks aren't making an incomprehensible argument -- they're arguing for a literal war of each against all. And I wish they'd admit that.


Bigfish said...

Mamet: "Obama has passed a bill...."?
How's that work? Presidents don't pass bills: Congress does.

Unknown said...

You take (and re-take periodically) the gun-proficiency tests and the psychological and background tests that Secret Service agents have to pass and re-pass, you can have all the guns you want.

You fail one test, once, and you can never have a gun again.


Somehow, I bet not.

jeff said...

sure thing rick. But what if I dont want to get drunk and get a hooker? Or is that also required to keep a constitutional right? So how many millions of people never commit a crime with their firearms? Guess they all just got lucky, what without all those secret service tests.

MTN said...

Well, I read your blog post. Facetious and snarky basically. You do seem to perceive, however, that many people have a problem with the rich and powerful retaining rights for themselves while attempting to take the same rights from others. This is true. Sometimes we call this hypocrisy, sometimes we use other words.

What else? It is indeed "true that governments don't need more weapons than individuals.." if by that you mean in the aggregate. The Founding Fathers certainly recognized that wisdom. Every citizen is his own government? No, haven't ever heard that one before. We have a government of the people, though. Maybe that's what you meant.

Steve M. said...

You do seem to perceive, however, that many people have a problem with the rich and powerful retaining rights for themselves while attempting to take the same rights from others.

Yeah, that's your line ... this year. Last year, anytime anyone criticized "the rich and powerful," you flung poo and yelled "CLASS WARFARE!!! CLASS WARFARE!!!"

MTN said...

Steve: No. I didn't.

MTN said...

I'm more about "fight the power" but hold down a job and take care of your friends and family while doing so. Work to better your community. Stand up to crime but also give your time to youth so show them a better way.
In days of yore, I would have been called a liberal. Now I'm a right-wing nutter. Alrighty then.

Mothra said...

An interesting post Steve.

The right has entirely missed the point of protection for elected officials; and in the case of the President; for his family.

The purpose is to protect our system of government; not as a special perk for those at the top. To prevent family members from being used as hostages and to prevent the murder of the President to accomplish a political goal.

For the same reason; they see education as a perk for parents and not as a perk for all of society.

Unknown said...

"So how many millions of people never commit a crime with their firearms?"

How many millions of people never kill anyone with their cars? Still need driver's licenses and tests.

"You do seem to perceive, however, that many people have a problem with the rich and powerful retaining rights for themselves while attempting to take the same rights from others."

Well, you're obviously lying when you say you read the post. Or can you identify what rights are being taken away here?

Yeah, none. So we're back to you lying.

Anonymous said...

If drugs are so bad why do doctors get to prescribe them, huh, smart guy, huh? Derp.

M. Bouffant said...

the rich and powerful retaining rights for themselves while attempting to take the same rights from others.
If you believe you're at as great a risk as the president & his family are, you can certainly hire as many bodyguards as you think necessary, but having an armed protection detail is not a "right" that is being taken away from anyone, under even the looniest interpretations of the Constitution.

Victor said...

Everytime I think the gun advocates can't get any louder or more stupid, I'm proven wrong.
Also too: Conservatives.

And I'm going to ask every gun nut on the internet, "Oh, and what well orgnanized militia are YOU with?"
Just to annoy the living shit out of them.
I won't do that to their faces, since they're probably armed, and have anger issues.

The difference, dear gun nuts, between the President, the Governor, the Mayor, Senators, etc., and YOU, is that people might want to shoot them - YOU, they only want to laugh at, you poor, poor, paranoid and insecure folks.

Ten Bears said...

"You do seem to perceive..."

My oh my but aren't we all high and mighty. That's the problem with you people. Pretentious twit.

Bell said...

I'm not anti-gun, I'm pro-kindergartner. After Newtown, what person in his right mind thinks it's irrational to propose some common-sense measures to prevent similar tragedies in the future?

"Freedom to own a gun"? I have the freedom to own a car. But I don't have the freedom to buy an M1A1 Abrams tank, or the many kinds of rounds -- armor-piercing, incendiary, point detonation, delay, airburst, and shotgun-like antipersonnel tungsten balls -- manufactured for its 120mm smoothbore cannon.

Why is it that the people who think our "freedom to own guns" is absolute and inflexible are always the first ones to attack our other freedoms -- of speech, of assembly, of worship (a religion other than their own), of privacy -- in the name of national security?

"Recreational gun use"? Which sports, exactly, require an assault weapon that fires 850 rounds per minute? And is there any mass-killing capacity that would be too much for your recreational activity? 5,000 rounds per minute? 10,000 rounds per minute? Or is the recreational value of high-speed gunfire infinite and unbounded?