Each year, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the Second Amendment Foundation sponsor the Gun Rights Policy Conference. It takes place this week in Tampa. If you can get there, attendance is free.
Why am I concerned with the prospect of Hillary Rodham Clinton as President of the United States? Let me begin to count the reasons.
For many years I have been a sworn police officer. Mrs. Clinton’s dislike of police has long been a matter of record. From her contempt for the Arkansas troopers on her bodyguard detail when her husband was governor of that state, to the disdain with which she treated Secret Service when she was in the White House, to her campaign’s recent announcement that it was not interested in an endorsement by the Fraternal Order of Police, it is clear that Mrs. Clinton is no friend or supporter of law enforcement.
For many years I have been an expert witness in weapons and homicide cases, on both the criminal and civil justice sides of the house. Even-handed fairness is the very essence of justice. Go back to her earliest professional days, when her ethics were questioned during the Watergate matter. Go back to the case where her ethics came into question in her defense of a child molester. As we look at the questionable contact more recently between her husband and the Attorney General immediately before the AG abjured from deciding on Mrs. Clinton’s prosecution in the email matter, we wonder about even-handed fairness by a potential President whose appointments to the US Supreme Court will determine the tenor of that body for the next generation or two.
For many years I have been a life member of the NRA, and a responsible gun owner and firearms instructor. When a candidate compares groups you belong to – and thus, by extension, you – to terrorists, you start getting nervous.
We live in a time when there is strong sentiment to put suspected real terrorists on lists such as the no-fly list and the no-gun list. A candidate conflating law-abiding Americans with terrorists is unacceptable. It is not surprising that some American gun owners watch the rise of Hillary Clinton and feel like German Jews witnessing the ascendance of Adolf Hitler. (And, before anyone invokes Godwin’s Law, I invoke Ayoob’s Corollary to Godwin’s Law: If you don’t want to be compared to Nazis, don’t act like one.)
If you want to save the children, why not become an activist for banning private ownership of swimming pools and hot tubs? After all, there is nothing in the Bill of Rights that guarantees the right to own such things, the way there is with firearms. You could play the Bloomberg Card and change the terminology to fit your narrative. “Oh,” you could say, “we just want to regulate your swimming pool. We’ll start by demanding twenty-foot-high fencing, nuclear facility grade if you please, around the pool property. And of course, require 24/7 lifeguards.” Michael Bloomberg could afford that, just as he can afford his large, heavily armed contingent of round-the-clock bodyguards. Ordinary folks can’t afford that? Too bad. There you go being selfish bastards again, instead of thinking of those poor children!
Of course, all those nice, law-abiding citizens whose hard-earned pools you might want to brick over will say, “But – but – we didn’t install that pool to kill anybody!” Well, guess what, law-abiding gun owners didn’t spend their hard-earned dollars at the gun shop so they could kill people, either, or American sidewalks would be littered with corpses.
“But, pools are beneficial to society. They relax people. And there are all kinds of healthful benefits from swimming, and exercises physically challenged people can do best in pools.” True. And guns are hugely popular in sporting applications, from target shooting to harvesting meat from the hunting field. And marksmanship is one of the few sports at which some physically challenged people can compete and win on equal ground with the able-bodied. More than once, the handgunner in the wheelchair has been overall top shot in my classes.
And, as statistics show to those who simply open their eyes and minds, guns save a huge number of innocent lives and prevent a great many serious crimes.
All of which is why banning guns, or restricting them to the rich and privileged, makes no more sense than doing the same with hot tubs and swimming pools.
Sorry to be away from the blog longer than usual. It was a busy week, and frankly, a busy month. I spent last week teaching an advanced 40-hour MAG-80 class at Firearms Academy of Seattle. The prior three weeks had encompassed MAG-40 classes, also 40 hours each, in Colorado hosted by Hershell and Denise Phillips, Alaska hosted by Todd and Tammy Smith, and at FAS hosted by Marty and Gila Hayes. Many thanks to them and the great range safety/coaching crews they put on the firing line.
There was no time to comment on what else was happening in our world, and there was much.
With no advance warning (and, apparently, no input from the affected industry) our President issued an Executive Order that could have a profound, business-killing impact on the most vulnerable corner of the firearms industry. Read that and tell me how it’s going to reduce crime or man’s inhumanity to man on a larger scale, or be anything but a mean-spirited slap in the face of the firearms industry and the law abiding people who buy that industry’s products.
In Baltimore, after trials of three of the six officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray resulted in one hung jury and acquittals on the rest, the prosecutors decided to drop the pending cases. How coincidental that this decision came right after a judge announced that defense lawyers for the accused cops would be able to cross examine prosecutors about issues in the matter, such as the prosecutors’ failure to furnish exculpatory evidence to the defense.
Ya know, if this was an online class in Ethics 101 instead of the firearms blog at Backwoods Home, we could get some interesting learning points out of this. Had the decision-making district attorney said “OK, so maybe we shouldn’t have thrown cops under the bus without evidence to placate rioters and uninformed crowds,” I would have to give such reasoning a thumbs up for being ethical in the here and now as opposed to when the decision to bring those cases was made.
Or if District Attorney Marilyn Mosby had even said, “Hey, I personally think those cops did wrong and should be prosecuted, but after failing to gain a conviction three times out of three, I have to consider my fiduciary duty to the public as an elected official not to waste the taxpayers’ dollars on cases unsupported by facts in evidence, so I’m dropping the charges,” well, I’d have had to judge that action with that motivation as being within ethical parameters.
But if this blog was an online ethics class, I’d have to say:
“Class, your optional assignment is to write an essay on the theme of, If You Do The Right Thing For The Wrong Reason, Have You Still Really Done the Right Thing?”
With the anti-gun stronghold of Chicago, nobody thought the state of Illinois the last holdout against lawful concealed carry would ever pass a shall-issue permit law. Surprise they did!
And Illinois can thank the Illinois State Rifle Association, Illinois Carry, and IGOLD for that.
IGOLD stands for Illinois Gun Owners Lobbying Day. For a decade, these committed Americans have marched in the state capitol of Springfield and made their concerns known … and they changed the paradigm.
This past week, I finally got to an IGOLD and was damn glad I did. It was a recharging of the batteries, a reminder that self-reliant armed citizens come in every color, every gender, and every stratum of what pollsters sometimes call socio-economic class. We are the most egalitarian of subcultures.
I had the privilege of addressing the gun owners on why Gun-Free Zones are actually Hunting Preserves for Psychopathic Murderers who seek prey who can’t fight back. Illinois law, I’m told, currently prohibits carrying guns in rest stops. Now, a rest stop in 3 AM darkness is to rapists and kidnappers what a watering hole is for leopards hungry for antelope. Yes, that sort of thing needs to be changed. And, judging from feedback, the IGOLD folks have the attention of the legislators…see here.
A nationwide thumbs-up for IGOLD, ISRA, and Illinois Carry! They are inspirations and role models for us all. In the pix you see in the above link, the lady in the lead of the parade marching seven blocks on a walker is Colleen Lawson, one of the named plaintiffs in the landmark SCOTUS decision for armed citizens’ rights, Otis McDonald, et. al. v. Chicago, and with us at the IGOLD gathering were the widow and daughters of Otis McDonald, the lead plaintiff, a man I will be eternally proud to have known.