Saturday, February 14, 2015

Scholars



Here's another of my newspaper columns, running today in the local paper. A little esoteric regarding a local voter initiative, but the point is wider:

What does our state have in common with Georgia? As of a couple of weeks ago, this: the legislatures of both now have special limitations on guns at their personal places of work, while keeping them unrestricted pretty much everywhere else. 
Speaking of hypocritical, I saw a cartoon featuring a sign in a gun shop window that read “Sixth Annual Obama-is-coming-for-your-guns Sale.” Heh. Might it be that gun manufacturers have been purposefully ginning up a baseless, if lucrative, fantasy? If so, given spectacular gun sales in the past few years, it’s been a far better scam than those Nigerian lotteries that keep emailing me. (Republicans ARE coming for your Social Security, by the way.) 
“Stop gun confiscation,” read a pre-election anti-594 sign on my daily walk. Had I seen the owner I’d have asked what was in the law that would lead to appropriation of legal guns, because I couldn’t find it. When it happens around here that a legally owned gun is confiscated from an innocent owner, I’ll pay attention. Until then, I can’t marshal much sympathy for the “I won’t comply” crowd. Because those folks who rallied in Olympia after I-594 passed seem neither to understand nor accept America’s most fundamental fundament: Democracy. Voting. Election results. If they did, since they don’t like how it turned out, what they’d be doing is challenging the legality of the law in court, not gunslinking around the capital, dragging their kids behind them, grandstanding their intention to be lawbreakers. 
Not long ago, there was an editorial in this very newspaper, suggesting people NOT go forward with a lawsuit attacking I-594. I disagree: if gun owners don’t like the law, I’d much rather see them lawyering up than taking to the streets in full watch-me-carry mode. (Heads-up to potential plaintiffs: guns aren’t allowed in court, either. I know: crazy, right?) 
Meanwhile, consider that at the Olympia rally were people fully armed while loudly and proudly announcing their intent to break the law; yet they made it back home, unhassled, unharmed, and free. Which isn’t nearly as true about Tamir Rice, a 12 year old kid with a fake gun, killed two seconds after cops arrived in response to a fearful caller; nor is it particularly true about John Crawford, a man killed while merely holding a for-sale air rifle while talking on a cellphone in a Walmart, in a state where it would also have been legal had he been flashing an actual rifle. He’s much deader than any of the people at the rally, too. Likewise those two NYC police officers whose sickening murder was, of course, blamed, by the usual rightwing screamers, on President Obama. (To think there was a time, for a few hours after the attacks of 9/11, when I admired Rudy Giuliani!)  
Compared to all this, it’s hard to see the ralliers, who might have to sign a piece of paper or wait a bit before buying pretty much all the armaments they want and brandishing them anywhere except where our brave leaders work, as the ones bearing insufferable burdens when it comes to guns.
But here’s the point: over the years there’ve been plenty of election results I haven’t liked, yet I’m still glad I live in a democracy. (Although it’s increasingly unclear that I do, seeing how easily for sale it’s become.) I rant. I roar my displeasure to the uncaring cosmos, and brook the received animus in return. But one thing I’ve never done, nor see myself doing anytime soon, is breaking the law over it. Believing in America means accepting its electoral outcomes, or using legal means for redress. 
In the Olympia law-busters’ action there’s grand irony: elections are the single most powerful bulwark we have against their dreaded government overreach, and are the exact opposite of what they’re calling tyranny. It makes me wonder which vision of America those people are intent on defending with their guns. The Constitution, after all, contains more than the second amendment. Maybe holy Mike Huckabee needs reminding of that, too. He just unlimbered himself of the opinion that if states don’t like rulings of the Supreme Court, they should ignore them. That’s patriotism? Sedition, more like.
  
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