Norton Begging DHS and SS to Ban Guns Near Obama

Elanor Holmes Norton is asking — well, I don’t really know what she’s asking — I don’t know if she knows what she’s asking either.  But to try to make sense of it, she seems to be asking that the Secret Service expand its zone of protection around Obama to keep these nasty gun toters away.

I’m not sure why she thinks this makes sense, given that the toters were never anywhere near Obama to begin with.  Even if they move them a mile away, the media is still going to report they carried guns to an Obama event.  Pretty soon he’ll be visiting Phoenix, and some dude open carrying in Tuscon is going to get interviewed for why he was carrying a gun at an Obama rally.

10 thoughts on “Norton Begging DHS and SS to Ban Guns Near Obama”

  1. Dear Sebastian!

    I am not sure where to post this, I didn’t want my post to be buried in the overall avalanche of posts on the issue, and it is my goal to explain my view on this in a thoughtful manner. Feel free to move this is if it is possible.

    The first think to understand here is that a lot of people who are doing this gun-carrying are people who do indeed belong to “fringe groups”. William Kostric, the fellow who went on Hardball, was a member of the Free State Project and a Ron Paul activist [voted for Ron Paul in the general, even]. He went and used his eight minutes on Hardball to explain radical libertarianism and the growth of the modern state. In fact, I would argue the open-carry movement isn’t even a majority viewpoint among gun owners.

    Politics in a democratic society (of course America is a Republic) has three major levers that can be utilized to achieve your goals. The first one is sheer numbers. If there were 200 million gun owners, this wouldn’t even be an issue. Another one is money. A wealthy individual (like George Soros on the left or Peter Thiel for the libertarians) can fund an unpopular cause, and then it can gain more followers by using his funds to gain exposure. But a third one is activism.

    The smaller a group, the less mainstream they are, the louder they need to scream to be heard. If you’re in the majority, voting once every four years is sufficient. Minority groups require activism which growth in outlandishness as the group gets smaller because it’s the only way for them to make their views heard.

    The National Rifle Association is not a vessel for radical gun rights positions. It is not possible for it to be such a vessel because it has four million members who are more moderate in their views. The media as we know are anti-gun. But if you make a stunt like Mr. Kostric, then maybe they’ll put you on Hardball and you can talk to the public directly over the heads of the media and the professionals.

    Take Mr. Kostric. He belongs to a group of about 1,000,000 people [I’m probably grossly overestimating the number of Ron Paul’s voters]. He doesn’t have much support to lose by doing this, and neither do any of the radical gun rights people, because radical gun rights people do NOT have a conventional vessel of bringing their views to the public. You of all people know that because you’ve written thousands of words trying to persuade these people that the GOA is not such a vehicle and that they should just give up and get with your program.

    You pointed out that gun ownership can’t be compared with one’s racial identity because gun ownership is a choice. True, but then again, religion is a choice. If people began to discriminate against each other based on their Christian faith or lack of it, you would not doubt for a second that’d be as bad as racial discrimination.

    If you’ve read Brian Doherty’s “Radicals for Capitalism”, you know that one of the tactics used by the early libertarian movement has been to pretend that the status quo did not exist. They called in to the (New Jersey, I think) governor’s radio broadcasts and asked “Do you really think the government should run schools? Wow! That’s amazing. Can you offer me books on this?” and so forth. That was brazen, and arrogant, but it helped grow the movement from 0.00000000000001% of the population to about 1%.

    To sum it up, radical people take up radical means of expression. I don’t have a problem with this because that viewpoint *cannot currently be expressed in a different way*.

    A large movement has all sort of different groups in it. It’s a lot like a military operation. There are massive infantry formations (the NRA), artillery (professional lobbyists and attorneys), propaganda corps, and there are also units of mad shock troops (I love the word! It’s great!) that rush across the top, bayonets charged. People like me are the radicals.

    On a tactical lever, I disagree with you: the gun control lobby is weak right now. It’s not possible – temporarily – to press the advantage politically. But it is possible, right now, to press it culturally. To ride the growing outrage over the Administration by telling people to mistrust te status quo on guns and gun ownership and to start buying guns and ammo and carrying them – not for any kind of “revolution” but because it’s a good idea.

    But more importantly, I disagree with you on a human level. If a person has a “fringe” viewpoint like radical libertarianism or radical gun rights views, that doesn’t make them stupid. It makes them unpopular. But the rational conclusion of being a member of such a viewpoint is that people will not have regular outlets for their viewpoints. Politicians won’t discuss their solutions (obviously!), and neither will the NRA or what-have-you. Of course, they could just learn to adjust to their son dying, but remember, that didn’t work out with John Q. People are not going to just “adjust” to permanent “fringe” status, they’re going to seek ways to express themselves, and the more radical and marginal the group, the more outlandish the means.

    Finally, a question.

    You say the time has not come for the large gun rights groups to get behind a massive political offensive like people like me would like. I grant you this – at least in agreeing that these groups will not do this.

    You say that radicals cannot get what they want by starting their own groups. Quite likely you’re right.

    And now you say they shouldn’t even do any stunts! What are they to do? Shut up and get with the moderate program because that just happens to be the only way to accomplish their goals?

    Don’t you think it’s a bit too much to expect from people to do, to willingly resign their views to permanent irrelevance?

    1. If she gets action on it, yes. Remember, she’s managed to work with House leadership to pull the DC gun provision from getting a vote. She’s not exactly a high stake power broker and she’s usually only good for incoherent rambling, but every once in a while she gets involved when it gets in our way.

  2. That’s the whole issue, these guys weren’t near Obama. They never approached the security perimeter.

    Had the Secret Service thought any of the weapons were within potential range of being a threat to the President, they would have interceded.

  3. Yep, and I believe they have pretty wide powers to detain suspected individuals.

  4. Norton Holmes is looking ahead to put in these prohibitions by the Whitehouse in advance of a sucess in Gura’s lawsuit to allow carry in DC or another amendment by Congress to get rid of DC authority to regulate guns.

    This is actually quite smart. DC has greater focus in security with 9/11 and all the protests that are held there. DC is also looking in the future of losing the ability to prohibit carry of handguns.

    I suspect the Secret Service would like it and the Whitehouse can justify it with all these OC incidents at his rallies. They can’t get states to change their laws but it would work in DC.

  5. MB:

    There’s a lot to address in there, and I agree with much of it, and disagree with some of it. Saul Alinsky certainly believed that groups needed to behave different depending on their size. But while Alinsky believed that smaller groups needed to make more noise than bigger ones, I don’t think he would have advocated just any noise. He speaks a lot of looking at things through the lens of means and ends. And in that regard, I’d look to someone like Alinsky, who was very successful in mass movements, than to the Libertarians who have been utter failures. I don’t think that makes Libertarians stupid. I know many Libertarians who are brilliant people. But brilliant people often fail to understand how to work within systems constructed of people who are not as brilliant, or who look at the world through an entirely different lens than they do.

    But let me address your question:

    And now you say they shouldn’t even do any stunts! What are they to do? Shut up and get with the moderate program because that just happens to be the only way to accomplish their goals?

    Don’t you think it’s a bit too much to expect from people to do, to willingly resign their views to permanent irrelevance?

    I don’t presume to shut anyone up. I can’t stop you from doing what you want to do, or joining what group you want to join. I have an opinion about what’s effective activism and what’s ineffective activism, based on what I’ve seen from groups that are effective and groups that are failures. Where I seem to piss people off, and what probably makes me a sorry excuse for a community organizer, is that when I see someone practicing a tactic that I think has very little upside potential, and a lot of downside potential, I call it like I see it. People don’t like being told that what they like doing isn’t effective. I can understand that, because I’ve had that bit thrown at me too by other people who think that the methods I advocate aren’t effective.

    I’m not really sure how to bridge the gap, to be honest, because neither of us can really prove that we’re right. Just take the open carry issue.

    A lot of folks who advocate open carry think that if people with guns just gets enough public attention, and the public sees enough people with guns, then surely they will get used to it and accept it.

    I think there’s a very strong potential they’ll be horrified and it will move to them to the side of the gun controllers, and we might end up with a movement to restrict it, and then God knows what else once the anti-gunners find a constituency.

    Truth be told, if you asked me how confident I was that I’m right and the open carry people were wrong, I might not give my viewpoint more than a 30% chance in Pennsylvania. I’d probably give it less in a place like Texas, and probably no chance in Arizona or New Mexico, where open carry is already accepted practice.

    But I still say even if it has a 30% chance, I still think it’s a lousy tactic, because I don’t think the upside is really beneficial enough to warrant the risk. Even if you manage to legitimize open carry, you still won’t likely be able to do it to work, in many places of business, or in other places where the property owners frown on openly displayed weaponry. I think open carry folks can likely achieve law enforcement acquiescence, but I think that’s about the most you’re going to achieve. I can’t speak for other states where the culture is different, but for Pennsylvania, I don’t think open carry is ever going to be accepted enough that your average person will be able to walk around unencumbered by people who don’t like guns and don’t want them on their property. That’s going to mean most people will pay the 26 dollars, get an LTC, and carry concealed.

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