Steve Timmer – hey, when did he get an actual name? – writing at
MNBlue MNProgressive MN MNLib whatever he rechristened Cucking Stool, exhumes an anti-Second-Amendment argument that isn’t the oldest one, but is certainly the least compelling and convincing; “if you think an “assault weapon” is OK, why not a nuclear weapon?”
No, my synopsis is actually better than Timmer’s piece, but since good form demands it, I’ll give you a quote or two:
Scalia believes the test is your right to own a weapon depends on your ability to carry it — to “bear” it, in other words. There’s no room here for consideration of a weapon’s lethality, dangerousness, or complexity.
(Except for all of those “prudent restrictions” that Scalia himself talked about in in the Heller decision. But don’t stop him. He’s on a roll)
One can imagine signs in gun shops: If you can carry it out the front door, you can own it!
In the shops are rocket-propelled grenades, bazookas, hand gernades, the aforesaid MANPADS [shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles], 50 caliber machine guns, fully-automatic rifles, etc. *
And what if Timmer’s fantasy came true?
Let’s just say that a law-abiding citizen, one who’s never stolen so much as a candy bar in his life, walks into a store that, per Timmer’s fantasy, has one of just about everything from the international arms market that doesn’t require wheels or tracks to move?
Let’s hypothetically say that that law-abiding citizen…:
- …has in his possession a document indicating that several levels of government have put on the ol’ rhetorical rubber gloves and poked and prodded his criminal background, and found that he had no crime record? No record of dangerous mental illness? That the cops and sheriff hadn’t had to pull him out of a succession of brawls, and that he didn’t have a record of picking pointless fights? And that…
- …as a result of having that documented clean history, he had the legal right to carry a concealed handgun, and had done so for, say, seven years? And that…
- …over those seven years the only time that gun had come out of his pocket for cleaning, overnight storage and practice? That in fact that citizen, who had never stolen so much as a candy bar, had not been inveigled to, say, kill someone, notwithstanding the fact that they had a gun in their pocket? That in fact, in seven years, not a single person had guessed that the citizen had a gun in his pocket, because there was no reason to guess it? This is rare thing – there are only 110,000 of them in Minnesota, after all.
- The citizen walks into the shop and does some shopping?
The citizen is a history buff who minored in German, so he buys an MG42 machine gun (think the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan) (Image NSFW, if you work around liberals). Or perhaps to commemorate a Marine ancestor he grabs an M2-2 flamethrower?
Or perhaps in a Slavophile moment he grabs an SA7 Grail man-portable anti-aircraft missile launcher – think “bazooka with a heat-seeking rocket”?
Or perhaps he has a wicked sense of irony, and decides to blow the lid off of every lefty strawman (but only figuratively, ghuk ghuk), and buys the fabled “Davy Crockett“, a (very technically) man-portable “spigot launcher” that fired a small nuclear charge, with a lethal radius of about 500 feet, to a range of about a mile and half.
Or heck, he has a Groupon deal, so he gets all four!
Question: As our citizen – who, remember, has never committed a non-traffic crime in his life, has never picked a fight, has never given society the faintest reason to doubt his stability, and has proven it by carrying a legal, permitted, loaded handgun for years and years without even a whiff of an incident – walks away carrying the four weapons he just bought and, what the heck, an M-2 .50 caliber machine gun to boot (he wants a workout), what happens?
Your choices are as follows:
- Our citizen, who has never committed a violent act in his life, is overcome by a psychic force emanating from the weapons he owns. Our hypothetical placid schlemiel, who has carried a 9mm semiautomatic
boogeymanhandgun for most of a decade without incident, is suddenly overcome by voices telling him to mow down commuters with the machine guns! To cut loose with the flamethrower at the mall! To plink at passing aircraft with the SA7! To lob nukes at the Metrodome just to watch the light show? Or…
- Nothing. Same as before.
Of course, all the weapons above are illegal, and nothing the SCOTUS, or Scalia himself, has said or done, officially or not, has changed the “prudent restriction” we put on these sorts of things.
If only the SCOTUS would put “prudent restrictions” on red herring arguments.
Question to Steve Timmer: if I put one of the “MANPADS” (man-portable anti-aircraft missiles) you wrote about in your hands, showed you how to use it (if I knew) and told you to hang onto it for an hour, do you think you could restrain yourself from shooting down an airliner?
Yes? OK – why?
Because MANPADS, machine guns, flamethrowers and nuclear spigot bombs don’t actually kill people. There is nothing about them that overpowers a person and makes them need to kill.