I for one am glad that Ladd Everitt, formerly of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and now working for George Takei’s new gun control effort, has decided to start a column at Medium.com. His latest piece contains some glorious schadenfreude, into which I shall delve.
First, credit where credit is due: Ladd Everitt is at least trying to own up to the political violence on the left just like he’s demanded Second Amendment advocates own practically every act of political violence that’s come along since… well… as long as I can remember. I’ll give him points for being consistent. But maybe the issue is that he’s just wrong, and that it’s fundamentally unfair to blame the actions of kooks and whack jobs on people who are in no way, shape or form responsible for their actions.
Hodgkinson didnâ€™t come to his violent anti-government extremism by way of right-wing politics (as is common with mass shooters). Hodgkinson was a Bernie Sanders volunteer. He loved Rachel Maddow. He couldnâ€™t stand Karen Handel. He said things like, â€œI have never said â€˜life sucks,â€™ only the policies of the Republicans.â€
You can’t get away from it, can you Ladd? You have to tie the nuts to your opponents, don’t you? Jared Loughner thought that the US government was using grammar to control our minds. Loughner wasn’t on the left or right spectrum: he was a paranoid schizophrenic, who, like many mentally ill people, slipped through the cracks of the system and was never put “into the system” until after he committed an act of violence.
The Pulse shooter? In his mind, at least,Â on a revenge mission for ISIS. The San Bernardino shooters? Same deal. The Charleston Church Shooting? I’m pretty sure everyone was uniformly disgusted by his actions, and I’m pretty sure no one in the mainstream conservative movement advocates or condones that kind of racial violence.
Ladd, you don’t own Hodgkinson any more than I own Roof or Loughner. Neither does Bernie Sanders own Hodgkinson. And you know what? Sarah Palin has never owned Loughner either. Maybe your insufferable insistence on spouting this kind of nonsense is why no one is listening to you.
If there are some on the left who have bought into the NRAâ€™s perverse â€œInsurrectionist Ideaâ€ regarding the citizen / state relationship, make your voices heard now. Suggestions that the solution to our political problems can be found at the end of a gun barrel must no longer be might with silence by progressives. Itâ€™s time for a robust debate about the civic health of our democracy.
No Ladd, they’ve bought into the caricature that exists in your head. This “Insurrectionist Idea” has always been a straw man bandied about by your former boss. The “Insurrectionist Idea” you imagine is not part of nor has it ever been part of any mainstream conservative or libertarian thought.
This might be a shock to you Ladd, but I too an concerned about this country’s apparent descent into the type of madness we’ve been seeing. I’m also concerned about the nastiness, the factionalism, the anger, divisiveness and thoughtlessness we’re seeing today. I don’t want to see this descend into pitched street battles or even worse any more than you do. But the solution is not, and has never been, to disarm people who scare us. A disarmed populace is going to be more easily bullied by extremists factions than a confident and armed population. Think Weimar Germany.
Revolution or “insurrection” is not a mechanism for settling differences over health care, welfare policy, immigration, or any number issues that bedevil us today. We’ve never believed that. To quote Judge Kozinki’s dissent in the Silveira case:
The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failedâ€”where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.
That’s what most of us believe, Ladd. We don’t think it’s OK to start shooting elected officials because an election didn’t go our way. Neither did another group of people who actually used this “Doomsday Provision”:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
This is what we believe. Maybe it’s true that some disturbed people don’t get the details right, but we don’t own those people. Neither of us do.