Don’t Meet Biden’s New Gun Grab with Appeasement. That Never Works
The Biden administration has finally decided to reward its anti-gun allies for their loyalty and donated cash. No, it can’t democratically pass anti-gun laws, since Americans’ representatives oppose them. But it can promote insidious Red Flag laws in many states. These laws put the burden of proof on innocent gun-owners to prove they’re not “dangerous,” after a single accusation by nosy neighbors or vengeful ex-partners. Such laws are the equivalent of the government censoring all speech or writing by a citizen, after a single phone call alleging libel. (Read my entertaining effort to “Red Flag” the entire Bill of Rights, to render it “safer.”)
Biden’s Justice Department can abuse bureaucratic power to harass gun-owners with new and pointless restrictions on one of the safest guns in America, the AR-15. Less than 3% of killings take place using rifles of any kind each year, according to the FBI. More people each year get beaten to death with hammers. Perhaps we should heavily regulate those useful items, too.
Don’t Try Appeasing Insatiable Extremists
So it’s not about saving lives. Then what do anti-gun activists want? What’s their endgame? It might prove helpful to know that, don’t you think? You can’t judge someone’s interim, “moderate” proposals — what they think they can pull off just now — without knowing his long-term goals. Because it’s one thing to agree on a compromise proposal if you’re confident it will endure. It’s quite another to grant someone half a loaf, knowing that he intends to take all the rest and leave you to starve. That’s the difference between negotiation and appeasement.
Neville Chamberlain and his friends believed that Hitler’s Germany only wanted to reunite postwar Germans left orphaned by Versailles. They either hadn’t read (or hadn’t taken seriously) Hitler’s testament, Mein Kampf. It clearly said that he wanted a new German empire that reached all the way to the Urals. That would mean killing or enslaving hundreds of millions of “inferior” Poles, Russians, and others.
So if your opponent in a negotiation has openly extremist goals, don’t give him an inch. Or show any weakness. Yes, you can accept incremental progress in your own direction, as pro-lifers work to limit late term abortions. But you can never willingly grant any concessions that move in the wrong direction. You must fight them like the very last hill you might have to die on. Let the gun-grabbers take the Rhineland, and eventually they’ll end up in Paris.
They Intend to Render Us Helpless
Thankfully, gun rights activists have long recognized these basic facts. And they’ve known for decades the end-game of gun control campaigners. Namely, a disarmed populace that depends entirely on the government for protection from violent crime. A citizenry rendered helpless to resist any future tyrannical government. Plus a few hobbyist hunters, and licensed security guards to protect the ultra-rich, like anti-gun activists such as Michael Bloomberg.
Citizens in Western Europe, Australia, and other post-gun control countries live like this today. It is not what our Founding Fathers meant for us. Read historian Stephen Halbrook and you’ll see that the opposite is true. In the debates over the ratification of the Bill of Rights, not one constitutional delegate questioned the right of ordinary citizens to own guns. The exact same muskets and rifles possessed by the military, in fact. A judge in California, who knows how to read the Constitution honestly, just threw out California’s AR-15 ban for this very reason.
A Fundamental Right, Like Free Speech or Religion
Indeed, one after another of the framers of our Constitution called an armed citizenry the last backstop against tyranny — should every other protection in the Constitution fail. The only real disagreement about the Second Amendment? Whether it was too obvious.
Were gun rights such a fundamental human, American right that putting them in writing could backfire? It might seem to suggest that all such rights must be written down. So (future tyrants might argue) those not mentioned were not protected. To quash that anxiety, the founders wrote the Tenth Amendment. It specifically said that all powers not granted the feds were reserved to the states and “to the people.”
Defend Yourself, Go to Prison for Murder
How do we know that anti-gun activists in fact want more than they claim to? By waving off their talk and watching how they walk. During the George Floyd riots, how did Democrat politicians and the liberal media react? How did they treat reasonable exercises of Second Amendment rights on the part of honest citizens in the face of violent, destructive mobs? The left demonized such citizens as “white supremacists” and “Christian nationalists,” without ever presenting any evidence. Few media ever bothered to retract such life-ruining accusations, once rigorous searches turned up zero support for them. Instead they dealt out the Nicholas Sandmann treatment with abandon, apparently unafraid of any defamation suits.
Just consider what happened to Mark and Patricia McCloskey for confronting a violent mob on their front lawn, after reports of arson throughout St. Louis. A politicized prosecutor initiated felony charges against them, despite the “castle doctrine” law in Missouri which specifically permitted the McCloskey’s restrained use of their legal guns.
Painting Good Samaritans as Vigilantes and Terrorists
As I write, Kyle Rittenhouse remains out on bail awaiting trial for charges of first degree murder — after he fired at rioters who attacked him. Rittenhouse had volunteered to help local business owners whose stores were being looted. (He’d been distributing water bottles to peaceful protesters just hours before.) Rittenhouse was surrounded, chased, and fired upon, before he used a borrowed rifle to shoot his attackers. One tried to bludgeon the young, much smaller Rittenhouse with a wooden skateboard, as Kyle lay prone on the ground. Kyle might spend decades in prison for this act of self-defense, the whole of which exists on video footage.
Kyle’s trial starts November 1, according to the legal defense fund his mother started.
The worst instance of citizen abuse by elites during the riots they’d stoked and enabled involves Jake Gardner of Omaha, Nebraska (may his soul rest in peace). Few media saw fit to cover the tragic end of this American citizen’s life at the hands of elites and weaponized mobs.
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The Veteran Whom Mobs Drove to His Grave
But Ann Coulter did. Rather than reduce her superior prose to paraphrase, I will quote key passages from her column on the topic. But please go read the whole thing.
During a BLM “peaceful protest” in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 30 … James Scurlock was peacefully protesting by breaking into an architecture firm — hoisting an office chair and hurling it into two computer monitors, then ripping a phone from a desk and throwing it against the wall, as his friend shattered another monitor — all of which was captured on video.
Nearby, Jake Gardner, an Iraq War veteran and Trump supporter, was keeping watch over the two bars he owned, The Hive and The Gatsby, aided by his 68-year-old father and a security guard. The peaceful protesters soon made their way to Jake’s bar, where they hurled a street sign through The Hive’s plate-glass window. He and his father rushed outside to prevent the peaceful protesters from storming his bar.
Scurlock’s friend, catching his wind after smashing computer monitors, knocked Gardner’s father to the ground. (It’s on tape.) Or as CNN’s Madeline Holcombe put it: “An unidentified man can be seen pushing Gardner’s father.”Gardner rushed to help his father, then backed away toward the bar, lifting his shirt to show the protesters he was armed, and telling them to move along. Again, it’s all on tape. Murmurings can be heard from the crowd: “That (expletive) got a gun” and “It’s not worth it (expletive) you stu–,”
At that point, peaceful protester Alayna Melendez leapt on Gardner from behind (not subscribers to the Marquess of Queensberry rules, these peaceful protesters), knocking him down and into the street, whereupon yet another peaceful protester jumped on top of Gardner, who fired two warning shots in the air, scattering his first two assailants. Again: all on tape.
Three seconds later, as Gardner was trying to get up, Scurlock jumped on him from behind and put him in a chokehold — which I believe is considered definitive proof of intentional murder when performed by a police officer. In videos, Gardner can be heard yelling, “Get off me! Get off me!”
With his right arm pinned, and Scurlock choking him, Gardner moved the gun to his left hand and shot over his shoulder, hitting Scurlock in the collarbone, killing him.
Gardner was immediately taken into police custody for questioning and held until 11 p.m. the next night.
The Democratic district attorney, Don Kleine, his chief deputy Brenda Beadle, and all the homicide detectives spent 12 hours that weekend reconstructing the incident with multiple videos. Their unanimous conclusion? That Gardner shot Scurlock in self-defense.
But “the community” erupted like COVID in April. Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt (bisexual, graduate of a now-defunct college) repeatedly called Gardner a “white supremacist.” Another Nebraska state senator, Kara Eastman (bisexual), called Gardner’s shooting of Spurlock a “cold-blooded murder.”
(Why do I mention their sexual orientations? A lot of the hate toward Gardner seems to come from the transgender community for his posting on Facebook that transgenders would be restricted to the unisex bathrooms because a man in a dress had attacked a female customer in the ladies’ room.)
Protesters besieged Kleine’s neighborhood.
Kleine responded to the mob’s demand for “justice” by calling in a black prosecutor, Fred Franklin, to make damn sure the grand jury indicted Gardner — whom Kleine (the elected D.A.) had found to be innocent. As he was expected to do, Franklin produced a series of fanciful indictments, including for manslaughter and making a “terroristic threat.” (The “terroristic threat” was Gardner lifting his shirt to show the peaceful protesters that he was armed.)
Facing death threats and a kangaroo court, and with no means to mount a defense, [Jake] Gardner killed himself, rather than be killed by the mob waiting for him back in Omaha.
Gardner’s landlord, Frank Vance, promptly evicted Jake’s bars from the building, and sent an anguished apology letter to Scurlock’s family (“deepest sympathy … the pain and suffering … losing a child to unnecessary violence … apologize for this horrible incident … time to heal … very deepest condolences”).
Gardner was facing 95 years in prison for shooting a career criminal who was choking him, and now he had lost his source of income. So naturally his friends tried to set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for his legal defense.
GoFundMe’s response? They instantly and repeatedly took down the page, based on their clearly stated policy: We don’t like you.
Meanwhile, the family of the convicted criminal who jumped Gardner has already raised more than a quarter-million dollars on GoFundMe. (Funeral expenses can be costly!)
Last weekend, facing death threats and a kangaroo court, and with no means to mount a defense, Gardner killed himself, rather than be killed by the mob waiting for him back in Omaha.
A Victory Dance on His Grave
Nor does this bleak, un-American tragedy end there. Elites insisted on doing a little victory dance on Gardner’s body. Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt, who’d led his persecution, went on Twitter to mark this US veteran and small businessman’s suicide by gloating:
Ghouls like Megan Hunt are the people who want to ban one type of gun after another. They wave the banner of “common sense” to distract from their extremism. But when someone shows you who she really is, the safe thing is to believe her. The Megan Hunts of this world have published their Mein Kampfs already. Let’s take them seriously. No, we won’t give them the Sudetenland. We won’t even give them the Rhineland. Since they want us six feet under, we won’t give them an inch.
Jake Gardner’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave. His soul goes marching on.
John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream, and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”