According to Emily Miller, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson emailed her this message in a pathetic attempt to argue that – despite a district court ruling in Palmer v. DC this past weekend – the constitutional rights of Americans should still stop at the District’s borders:
“Because of the District’s unique national security concerns, the right to carry a firearm in public must be more heavily restricted than any place else in the nation. Four U.S. presidents have been assassinated by gunfire, and at least five others have been shot at, including Ronald Regan who was seriously wounded in 1981. Neither the Secret Service nor the Capitol Police will disclose all incidents where they have recovered firearms, but we do know that just two years ago someone hit the White House with gunfire, and there are frequent threats on the foreign diplomatic corps.”
Consider the preposterous assumptions inherent in that statement. It really comes down to two . . .
1. Americans have to give up their rights to add some highly questionable measure of unproven protection to federal politicians and foreign diplomats.
2. Politicians are so much more important than other citizens that no sacrifice on the part of the people is too much, as long as it makes the politicians feel marginally safer.
This turns the core values of our constitutional republic on their head. Politicians are elected to serve us. We do not exist to serve them. There is no lack of politicians. For every powerful politician, there are dozens…no, hundreds…well, thousands of people just as able, who would love to have the opportunity to serve. Those chosen should assume the position in full knowledge that they assume some risk. If a little more risk comes with the service so that our rights are protected, that’s something that every soldier already accepts. They should have to accept it as well if they want to represent us. Every single one of them has volunteered. All have fought hard for the positions that they are in.
Politicians are all too plentiful and very easily replaced. There’s a virtually unlimited supply of them. Our rights, however, are fragile, constantly under assault by special interests, self-appointed advocates, so-called experts and, well, politicians. Once degraded, they are not easily regained. Once destroyed, it takes enormous effort, blood and treasure to restore them. A great many Americans have given their lives to protect our rights. It is not too much to ask that politicians assume a little risk to preserve them, too.
Life is risk. To live is to put yourself at risk. Politicians, as public servants, should be willing to shoulder as much risk as the ordinary pizza delivery person. Most do. In return, they get the perks and privileges of representing us and the responsibility of wielding power in our name.
Let us have no more foolish talk of the people giving up rights for insignificant increases in a politician’s perceived sense of security.