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Thoughts from another site

March 29, 2018

There has been a fair bit of coverage, lately, of the call by retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, John Paul Stevens, for the repeal of the Second Amendment. The coverage should not be unexpected. After all, it is not only a call for undertaking a significantly difficult political action, it is also a call for repealing what many (including me) consider a fundamental right.

I want to note, from the outset, that Justice Stevens’ call is not unique. Among others, we can consider the following:

  1. This
  2. This one
  3. Oh, and this
  4. Let’s not forget this
  5. This, too
  6. And this one
  7. Can’t overlook this one
  8. And, finally, this

For years those of us who were unapologetic in our support of the right to keep and bear arms were told things like “no one serious” or “no one significant” was calling for a repeal of Second Amendment rights. While I do not know the absolute requirements to be a “serious” or “significant’ person in the eyes of gun control advocates, surely a recently retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court qualifies. Presumably, those who were making such calls beforehand not only fell short of being serious or significant, but were also not true Scotsmen.

We have been reminded repeatedly since the Heller decision, that even the Dark Lord Scalia recognized the Second Amendment allows for reasonable restrictions upon the right to keep and bear arms. The amendment we are told, is not an impediment to such restrictions and, again, “no one significant” was calling for its repeal. All those calls for repeal were meaningless and did not reflect the views of a significant number of “significant” gun control advocates. The amendment, then, was safe and all people (significant people, anyway) were seeking “reasonable” restrictions and “common sense” gun laws.

And then, Stevens.

Many gun control advocates, especially those on the American Left, are now faced with a conundrum. Shall they go “all in” with what my experience suggests many have long supported, or shall they distance themselves from the trap that is largely of their own making by criticizing the views of the man who was, during his tenure on the Supreme Court, “a leader for the Court’s liberal wing”?

Already, we are hearing that his call for a repeal was “a counterproductive distraction” and that what he said and what he meant were entirely different things.

Cockroaches and bright lights come quickly to mind, as do rats and sinking ships.

In my most dispassionate moments, and I have them occasionally, I recognize three things as true.

  1. Those gun control advocates who do not seek a repeal of the Second Amendment (and there are some), now get to spend some of their time, energy and effort, distancing themselves from Stevens remarks. For these folks, I have some degree of compassion (though none for their position). Their already uphill battle just became harder.
  2. Those gun control advocates who do seek a repeal of the Second Amendment (and as the first set of links suggests, there are some – I would argue, more than a few), will absolutely also seek to distance themselves from Stevens’ remarks. For these folks, my compassion is pretty much nonexistent.
  3. It will be, in many cases, impossible to distinguish between the two groups. I suspect many Second Amendment proponents will engage in the metaphorical equivalent of “total war” in the months and years to come. To those in the first group, allow me to suggest you brought this on yourselves. In your desire to get what you wanted, you made a common mistake – you failed to adequately distance yourselves from the more extreme members of your own movement. I hesitate to use the word “quisling,” though it does come rather quickly to mind.

Look, if you are in favor of more gun control, and your position is best described by #1, above, please remember that you were warned. Supporters of the right to keep and bear arms told you, publicly and privately, that the surveys and polls you said indicated widespread support for your ideas, were terribly flawed. We told you that our experience has been that most gun owners will either not respond to such surveys and polls or they will lie. We said, time and again, that “the devil is in the details” and that regardless of what you believe gun owners support, it is the specifics of much gun control legislation that sinks it. We told you we are far more devoted to this fight than you. We spoke of our devotion to liberty and the Constitution.

We did all those things and you ignored us and our warnings. It would have been better to listen and not become involved in efforts to engage in dishonest tactics and attempts to shove something down our throats. Now, you are associated with those folks we were assured (by both you and those in the second group) do not exist.

For those whose position is best represented by #2, you too were warned. You were told, more than once, that the American people would not simply accept your plan to remove the protection of a specifically enumerated and fundamental right. Like those in the first group, you elected to not listen. You were convinced you had won the culture war and that such a victory gave you a mandate to impose your view of the world on your fellow citizens. Allow me to suggest one of two things happened. First, it is possible your declaration of victory was premature. That is, the culture war has not ended and you have not won. The second is an alternative – that you have won the culture war and have, through your words and actions, succeeded in fostering a significant counter-culture. I am more than a little curious as to which alternative you will decide you face. My suggestion is that you go for the culture war not being over. Many of you are, perhaps, too young to remember what happens when you face a large, determined counter-culture, but the Left taught us a lot about them. You would really rather face a not-yet-decided culture war.

Regardless, we now know you* and what you want in a way we never did, before. Congratulations.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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One Comment
  1. OldNFO permalink

    Well said sir! Thank you!

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