Earlier today, I blogged Dan Baum’s upcoming article for Harper’s Magazine: Happiness is a Worn Gun: My Concealed Weapon and Me. I asked the PR flack for an interview with the author. What we got was a comment from an irate gun-toting scribe. And a reply from a TTAG reader. Of which I’ll share with you. First up, Mr. Baum:
Just what is the “obvious conflict of interest between his liberal upbringing and the consequences of his acceptance of gun ownership”? What exactly is the conflict between a belief in collective over individual action that is in “conflict” with either an enthusiasm for guns and the desire to defend oneself from criminals? And why on earth is it in the interests of the gun-enthusiastic community to drive away anyone who doesn’t sign on to the whole small-government/low-taxes/loose-regulation ideology?
Now TTAG commentator rhill’s response:
Mr. Dan Baum, I think I can provide you some partial answers to the questions you asked in the post above.
I am a licensed concealed carry instructor as well as a college instructor in an academic field typically dominated by political liberals.
1) Part of the “conflict of interest” in the first two questions can be found in your own words. Once you begin carrying a gun to defend yourself (and I am very glad you have chosen to do so) then you are engaging in individualistic behavior and self-reliant thinking and action. You are no longer relying totally upon the “approved governmental authorities” to protect and defend your life. One of the characteristics of modern American liberals is that they typically prefer governmental answers to problems over individual answers to problems. They prefer public solutions to private solutions.
You simply cannot get any more private and individual in your actions and decisions than choosing to carry your own gun to protect yourself. And by taking such an intensely private and individualistic action, you are doing things that run very much counter to large swaths of modern American liberal ideology, thought, and legislation.
2) As a new convert to providing for your own self-defense, you are not familiar with the very long history of animosity and outright hate that modern American liberals have had for American gun owners, and that can be seen by merely looking at anti-gun legislation and laws for the last several decades.
For example, you cite the ban on military-style “assault weapons” as a piece of anti-gun legislation to which gun owners really took exception . ( By the way, “assault weapon” is a term created by Josh Sugarman–another anti-gun liberal–specifically for the purpose of confusing non-gun owners into thinking that semi-auto rifles were actually machine guns and should be banned. And Josh says that in his own words, too. Here’s a link, look under “quotes.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josh_Sugarmann ).
The so-called “assault weapons” ban of 1994 was enacted by legislators who all bought into the big-government/high-taxes/tight regulation ideology. You can’t have any more tight regulation than a ban, you know.
The two biggest proponents of this ridiculous, draconian, ban were then-President Bill Clinton and his VP Al Gore, both “centrist” Democrats from southern states.
In 1994, Gore provided the tie-breaking vote in the Senate for the so-called “assault weapons” ban, and made quite the production of walking down to the Senate chambers to cast the tie-breaking vote, and Clinton made quite the production in signing it. Clinton made all sorts of disparaging remarks in public about the “NRA bubbas” who were against the bill’s passage.
Neither Gore nore Clinton, while in Arkansas and Tennessee, had shown any anti-gun tendencies at all….ever.
But once they reached the nation stage, they enacted the most draconian, awful, hideously anti-gun law perpetrated in the US in decades.
Clinton and Gore proved that when it comes to wanting to ban guns, there are no Democrats on the national level who can be trusted to be reliably pro-gun.
The simple, undeniable historical fact is this, Mr. Baum.
For the last 50 years, all of the most restrictive, onerous gun control policies, legislation, laws, codes, and practices have all been passed, signed, enacted and supported by people who strongly buy into the big-government/high taxes/tight regulations ideology.
It is the “blue states” and “blue cities” that have the most anti-gun laws and regulations (Vermont being the lone exception). It was Washington D.C. and Chicago that both lost gun-ban cases in the US Supreme Court recently, not Atlanta and Oklahoma City.
Look at New York City’s Sullivan Law. Look at California’s state gun laws. Now compare them to any so-called “red state” or “red city” of your choosing.
Check out Chuck Schumer’s record, and public statements about gun ownership. Go read about Ted Kennedy’s efforts to ban .30-30 ammuntion because it was “armor piercing.” Be sure to read about when the .30-30 caliber was developed, too.
We gun owners have been burned in the past, many times over, by liberals.
We have been burned by liberals who never once showed any anti-gun tendencies until they got to the national political stage, where they then stabbed us in the back, and then lambasted us for not enjoying the process of being stabbed.
And we have good memories.
So don’t be surprised at all when we come off as rather skeptical of pro-gun liberals.