Unexamined Premises

A Hill To Fight On — Not a Desk to Die Under


It really does appear that the Left wants to engage on the subject of “gun control” — or, to use their latest euphemism, “gun safety.” Led by two of the unloveliest of their specimens — Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Dick Durbin of Illinois — the emboldened progressives clearly feel the time to strike against Americans’ Second Amendment freedoms is now, while the shooting iron is still hot.

The Right’s natural reaction when confronted is, of course, to cut and run. Being liked is far more important than being right, and as for standing on principle, that went out the window with the Gipper long ago. Indeed, the history of the modern GOP is one of pre-emptive surrender, reaching across the aisle and fleeing from any kind of direct confrontation with the Democrats in a desperate attempt to pacify them and their natural allies, the Ivy League-educated national media, better known (in Orwell’s famous phrase) as the Pansy Left. With even alleged Tea Party stalwarts like Marco Rubio earning strange new respect by coming out foursquare in favor of Amnesty Lite, movement conservatives might be forgiven for thinking they’ve been defeated across the board, and that the country they grew up has all but vanished.

That’s why the battle over firearms — which as far as the Left is concerned has only one true objective, which is the complete abolition and confiscation of guns in civilian hands — is so important, because it’s a fight conservatives can actually win. And, in winning, can make many new friends among hitherto reflexive Democrat voters who (thanks in large part to the GOP’s inarticulateness) haven’t realized that “progressives” do not and never will have their best interests at heart. And what could be more in one’s interest than self-preservation?

Just look at the disgraceful video from the DHS above. About the only tactic it forgot to include — other than “bring your own gun to unsafe environments and know how to handle it responsibly ” — was Kiss Your Ass Goodbye.

The problem right now is that, in the fight over personal firearms, the Right has lost control of both the narrative and the vocabulary. When I was growing up in San Diego, it was a common sight to see kids carrying their air rifles or even the .22s they got for Christmas as they headed into the hills around Mission Valley to go rabbit hunting; today, some busybody would call the SWAT team. Attending high school in Honolulu, I was part of a JROTC program and nobody was shocked to see a young teenager in a khaki uniform carrying around an M-1 training rifle (the firing pin had been removed) or a .22 out to the shooting range. For us, “gun control” really was all about shot groups. Schools as “gun free” — i.e. “free-fire” — zones? Not on your life.  Had there ever been an “active shooter” on the campus of St. Louis High School back then, 400 guys would have gone to their lockers or to the armory and shot the sonofabitch out of his socks.

What the Left has managed to do, however, is to convince a significant voting bloc — white, educated, affluent urban professionals — that the mere presence of a firearm within reach will suddenly set off an uncontrollable urge to go postal.  “I just wouldn’t trust myself to have a gun in the house,” I often hear my lefty friends say, and of course with an attitude like that, I wouldn’t trust them either, so perhaps it’s just as well. They also consistently confuse the issue by nattering on about such non-existent things as high-magazine clips, and confusing the term “semi-automatic” with “machine gun,” whether ignorantly or, more likely these days, willfully. Playing on people’s fears, they seek to both disarm and unman the populace, leaving everyone entirely dependent upon yet another government entity, in this case the police.

No, not this guy:

Gee, Officer Krupke…

These guys:

… never mind

Now, one thing conservatives need to stay away from is the trope that firearms are needed to protect innocent members of the Michigan Militia and Aryan Nation white-supremacist compounds in Idaho from the black helicopters patrolling the skies in the service of the ZOG in Washington. The heavily armed cops of today are a response to two events, both of which conservatives ought to use in their favor. The first is the upgrade in weapons that the bad guys use, part of the eternal arms race between good and evil. The second is the residual effects of the “war on terror,” whose ineluctable end result has been to make every cop a RoboCop.

Yes, we read a lot about various associations of chiefs of police trying to get guns “off the streets.” Ask any cop below the rank of captain, though, and you’ll find that the police welcome the presence of responsible citizens with firearms; cops are people too, and they realize that the cop’s motto — “go home alive at the end of your shift” — ought to apply to civilians as well. As the police will be the first to tell you, they can’t be everywhere. Nor, legally, is it their duty to save you, as the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in its 1995 Castle Rock v. Gonzales decision. New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse wrote at the time:

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm, even a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation.

The way to win the “gun control” argument, therefore, is to frame it for what it really is: the Democrats’ attempt to strip away the right of self-defense to the citizenry, cloaked in its traditional sheep’s clothing of “compassion” and “reasonableness.” But you need to know is that when they whine, “how many bullets/magazines/guns does a person need?” the answer in their minds is zero. And the lying starts at the top.

As the last election showed, the GOP has all but completely alienated blacks and Hispanics — and yet, paradoxically, these are the two groups who a) are the most victimized by crime and b) have the least trust in the police. Shouldn’t the right to defend oneself and one’s family be of paramount importance to them? If so, then why are they allowing rich white yuppies from Harvard who can’t tell a clip from a bobby pin and a 15-round magazine from the new issue of Vanity Fair to dictate to them what they may or may not use in the course of self defense?

Principles, not programs. Conservatives need to couch the debate in terms of personal freedom and personal protection. Take a page from Alinsky and surround themselves at press conferences and photo ops with people who have saved their own lives and those of others with their personal firearms. And make the Left have a “Kitty Dukakis” moment over and over again:

More: Is the NRA Winning the Influence Battle?

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