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 Zack Beauchamp's Tiwtter pic (courtesy twitter.com)

“There is no longer any defensible argument for a constitutional right to own a firearm, if there ever was.” Who’s that trip-trapping on my bridge? The troll in question: one Zack Beauchamp [above], writer for theweek.com. Shouldn’t that be “writer for the weak”? As in weak-minded? You might say so, especially after reading Ban the Second Amendment, but I couldn’t possibly comment. OK, I could. Let’s start with Mr. Beauchamp’s three “indefensible arguments” for including gun rights in the Constitution . . .

1. Guns protect liberty. Citizens have the right to rebel against a tyrannical government, and they need guns to do that.

2. Citizens have a right to defend themselves however they’d like. Gun rights enable self-defense and, thus, save lives.

3. People enjoy guns, and millions of reasonable gun owners shouldn’t be deprived of something they love because other people abuse it.

I consider recreational pleasure a Second Amendment side benefit, not a rationale for its inclusion in the United States Constitution. But I’ve got no beef with reasons to be armed numbers one and two. Needless to say, Mr. Beauchamp does . . .

The “right to rebel” argument assumes that armed revolt is the last option available if the American government ever goes Full Weimar. Not only has that never happened in a consolidated democracy like the United States, but that kind of paranoid thinking is itself profoundly corrosive of democratic politics.

Hang on. What the heck is a “consolidated democracy”? Wikipedia.org defines it as “the process by which a new democracy matures, in a way that means it is unlikely to revert to authoritarianism without an external shock.” In other words, Beauchamp believes the U.S. is too democratic to become tyrannical. So citizens don’t need guns.

Not only does Mr. Beauchamp ignore the government tyranny all around him – gun control laws that prohibit law abiding citizens from keeping and bearing arms, government agents spying on the public indiscriminately, militarized police conducting “no-knock” SWAT raids on people guilty of victimless crimes, etc. – he fails to understand that civilian firearms ownership created our supposedly consolidated democracy.

Mr. Beauchamp can play semantic games – arguing that the Weimar Republic wasn’t a “consolidated democracy” because it didn’t survive – but the truth is clear: if the government doesn’t fear the people democracy disappears. It’s happening right now in “democratic” Mexico, where autodefensa groups have taken control from a corrupt government using, wait for it, guns.

In one breath Mr. Beauchamp tells us that American democracy is so successful that it’s beyond armed insurrection. In the next he states that Americans exercising their Second Amendment protected gun rights are “profoundly corrosive of democratic politics.” So profoundly that they might destroy it. What sense does that make? Almost as much as this:

Political scientists Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan’s book Why Civil Resistance Works puts together compelling statistical evidence that non-violent protest is more likely to attract mass participation and topple governments than its armed twin, especially in the modern era. Protecting gun ownership, it turns out, is a terrible way to facilitate rebellions against the state. That goes double when the weapons protected are handguns rather than automatic rifles, RPGs, and anti-aircraft batteries.

Mr. Beauchamp’a belief that civil resistance is more effective than armed insurrection flies in the face of the current troubles in Syria, the Ukraine, parts of Africa, the Philippines, all over the planet, really. Why are these oppressed people using guns? Because they don’t live in consolidated democracies! (Or follow the principles laid out in Chenoweth and Stephan’s book.) Ipso facto.

If we set aside this shoddy rhetorical construct and dare to look back before the “modern era,” before American democracy was “consolidated,” the Land of the Free had its own little armed insurrection. As I remember it, guns featured pretty heavily in the Civil War. And wasn’t there something about Confederate forces using guns to take possession of cannons?

The second argument in favor of untrammeled gun ownership, a right to self-defense, is equally incoherent. For starters, there’s no reason that, in a civil society, the right to defend yourself implies the right to defend yourself however you’d like. A basic part of government’s job is to limit our ability to hurt others; assuming the absolute right to self-defense constitutes, in Alan Jacobs’ evocative phrasing, “the absolute abandonment of civil society.”

See what he did there? Beauchamp went straight from the individual right to self-defense – by whatever means necessary – to stating that it’s government’s “job” to limit our ability to hurt others – presumably by whatever means necessary.

First, the laws on self-defense are clear: lethal force may only be used when a defender is facing an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm to himself or other innocent life. The actual method of self-defense is irrelevant. You can drive over your attacker, shoot ’em, hit ’em with a flame-thrower, whatever. The government may object, but it’s up to a jury to determine if an armed self-defender used excessive force.

Second, it’s most decidedly not the government’s job to decide which firearms you should and shouldn’t be able to use to defend your life. Mr. Beauchamp’s suggestion – your choice of weapon should be limited according to its lethality when used illegally – is popular amongst progressives and other proponents of civilian disarmament. It’s also enshrined in law (e.g., the federal ban on civilian purchase of current-day automatic rifles). But it’s unconstitutional.

“Shall not be infringed” means shall not be infringed. Not balanced against the need for public safety. Unless someone’s rewritten Uncle Sam’s job description, all the laws limiting availability of various types of arms are unconstitutional. As for the idea that untrammeled gun rights represent “the absolute abandonment of civil society,” let’s check that cribbed quote from Mr. Jacobs:

But what troubles me most about . . . the general More Guns approach to social ills . . . is the absolute abandonment of civil society it represents. It gives up on the rule of law in favor of a Hobbesian “war of every man against every man” in which we no longer have genuine neighbors, only potential enemies. You may trust your neighbor for now — but you have high-powered recourse if he ever acts wrongly.

Whatever lack of open violence may be procured by this method is not peace or civil order, but rather a standoff, a Cold War maintained by the threat of mutually assured destruction.

Again with the semantics. According to Mr. Jacobs (and Mr. Beauchamp), the “lack of violence” in society created by firearms-enabled mutually assured destruction isn’t peace or civil order. It’s “fake” peace or civil order. I’ll take it! But not these guys. Even when they grasp Mr. Heinlein’s famous pronouncement that an armed society is a polite society, even as they enjoy its benefits, they reject it. What’s their alternative? State control.

Mr. Beauchamp trots out some studies to bolster his position that guns are a bad, bad thing. They’ve been debunked here and, more recently, by John “Death by Stats” Lott. Even if you take the studies at face value, the firearms-related damage to individuals or society must be balanced against the Second Amendment’s prophylactic effect on truly horrific government tyranny and the lives saves by tens of thousands of defensive gun uses each year in America.

Beauchamp doesn’t even mention either. He’s too busy trying to harpoon the anti-gunners’ great white whale: the idea that gun rights are not “real” rights.

The rights you protect in a constitution — rights to free speech and against arbitrary discrimination, for instance — are fundamental rights, to be protected absolutely. They deserve that status because they are so essential to the functioning of a democracy that no majority should be permitted to override them.

Gun rights don’t rise to that status. The basic principle of a liberal democracy is that, for laws to be legitimate, majorities must enact them. Setting aside the basic rights protections necessary for majority rule to function fairly, any other determinations about the scope of lesser rights should be set by Congress and state legislatures. Gun rights, then, shouldn’t be constitutionally protected.

Let me see if I’ve got this straight. Gun rights don’t “rise” to the status of a fundamental right because . . . they don’t. And because they don’t, Congress and state legislatures are free to pass whatever gun control laws the mob they see fit. And gun rights shouldn’t be constitutionally protected because . . . they aren’t.

Mr. Beauchamp fails to sum up his line of thinking (such as it is). I reckon he’s saying that the Second Amendment should be banned because 1. we don’t need it, 2. it gets in the way of preventing people from hurting each other and 3. armed self-defense is not a basic human right. Here’s the thing: we do, it doesn’t and it is. ‘Nuff said? [h/t JH]

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257 COMMENTS

    • ” Consolidated Democracy” He’s trying to make himself sound sophisticated by coining a buzz-word . Sugar Plum Attorney General Under L.B.J, Ramsey Clark did the same thing by intoning “Urban Mass Society!” in his anti-gun book. Just to show his versatility, he would swap words and say “Mass-Urban Society,” instead.
      This is just one of several anti-gun articles that have appeared in the last few days and they have an element in common. They call for repealing or amending the Second Amendment to invalidate it. It seems very likely that these far-left screeds are coming from the same with Bloomberg and Soros being likely suspects since they are both on high-dollar anti-gun crusades right now.
      In any case-they have a limited audience- Squirrels who actually read their leftist blogs for information and gun-rights proponents who launch counter-blogs that probably reach a wider audience. Most of the responders on their own leftist sites seem to be gun rights people who want to tell them they are both evil and stupid.

  1. Modern statism is more like religion than political science, and our boy Zack Beauchamp clearly is a fundamentalist. He probably bows down to Washington five times a day.

    And yet, if the White House was under the control of the Republicans rather than Zach’s current demigod, I do not believe his worship of state power would be unaffected.

    In short, Zach is a useful idiot indeed.

      • Statism is a religion. Except their “higher power” is made up of humans. Predictably flawed humans. That’s why the Constitution exist.

      • Circular reasoning proves circular logic proves circular reasoning while the rest of us get dizzy trying to understand this kind of low-brainpower and lacking critical thinking thought process.

        35/100 for the above essay … And that’s being damn generous.

        Hey, Rich – what say when you get elected you immediately and unconditionally transfer 90% of the three letter agency budget to Education so we can pay teachers responsible for the education of future citizens better than lawyers and doctors?

        Dude sure coulda used some better quality learning, anyway.

        • “what say when you get elected you immediately and unconditionally transfer 90% of the three letter agency budget to Education ”

          No Way! That money goes right back to the individuals it was stolen from. Yes, taxation is theft. (if you don’t believe this, just decline to participate.) And government money in the schools has given us “Common Core” propaganda mills, haven’t you noticed?.

          But thanks for the good word! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • I only agree with around 50% of the stuff you’re campaigning on – but it’s a substantially higher percentage than anyone else.

          Just don’t forget to protect the environment and our planet from those who would cut it down, drill it, claw it open and trash it in the name of the Almighty Dollar. If there was ever an argument that actually deserved “but think of the children…”

        • The department of education is a 3 letter agency. I would argue it may be one of the most dangerous to liberty as the purveyor of all things State to impressionable minds 8 hours a day from age 5 to 18. They’d like even more time. Universal preschool sound familiar?

    • Mr. Beauchamp says: “The basic principle of a liberal democracy is that, for laws to be legitimate, majorities must enact them.”

      Wrong. That is the basic principle of a mere democracy — full stop.

      The basic principle of a LIBERAL democracy is LIBERTY — that democratic majorities must PROTECT and can infringe individual liberties only with grave cause to protect those liberties generally. Add republican structural impediments to that, plus divided branches of various exclusive powers, plus the divided sovereignty of federalism vested in the States, and only enumerated central powers, and you have the original design of our actual structure of government — whose first principle is — in fact — to FRUSTRATE passionate majorities seeking to infringe liberties by governmental force — and at every possible turn.

      Mr. Beauchamp fantasy government, by contrast, is a tyrant’s yearned-for idea of a population to be played with by demagogic whim. He may yet get his wish — but only if the people are first disarmed.

    • I agree this flavor is statism is very much like a religion, Ralph. A twisted and distorted religion.

      • Actually, he is arguing for pure democracy which is the purest form of the General Will. His views are quite compatible with what some modern Libertarians believe. The Founding Fathers were men who saw the flaw in pure Democracy which is why they built a Republic.

        • Thank you, I recall you discussing todays Libertarianism in a similar fashion. Easy to forget, and become confused when words have migrated so much from what they meant before-

          “liberals” today means practically the opposite of classical liberalism.
          “Progressive” seems to be the V 2.0 of Liberal, adopted as a tactic to step away from the negative connotation, and take advantage of the “I’m moving ahead” faint superiority implicit in the word- but if you look back at some of the history, and the current branding- “Forward” etc- you can see the Marxist-Leninist roots quite plainly.

          • “A Classical Liberal is a guy like Thomas Jefferson.” – me

            “Nobody in football should ever be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”
            – Joe Theisman

        • The best thing you can say about today’s Libertarians is that those who lose out to the majority in a group are free to go and form their own group. That leads to a thorny question is how a society can function with a bunch of collectives with divergent views. Let’s take today’s hot topic of gay marriage. The inhabitants of Group A vote 51% to 49% to allow it. The losing side leaves to for a Group B where it is forbidden. How do these groups relate in the larger society. After all Group B may forbid certain members of Group A from entering their collective. Both Group A and Group B will fracture over other issues as well like guns/no guns or drug/no drugs. The end result will be a total fragmentation of society into small isolated groups which may or may not interact peacefully. Let us call such a system Libertarian Syndicalism. This is a social structure that will be gobbled up by a group with a strong will to power, i.e., the Progressive dictatorship.

          • “That leads to a thorny question is how a society can function with a bunch of collectives with divergent views.”

            Something you collectivists seem to be unable to grasp – Responsibility. Each person is a “collective” of one, and everybody goes their own way, and every time there’s an interaction between two individuals, they both endeavor to make it pleasurable, profitable, or both.

            Some people call it “adulthood.”

        • There is an excellent reason democracy is NOT our form of government: the Founders recognize that democracy is the tyranny of the majority. Two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner. 50%, plus a single individual, deciding what’s “best” for 50%, MINUS one individual!

        • I guess you don’t understand the implications of what I have finally labeled Libertarian Syndicalism. Libertarianism, as currently conceived, will degenerate into a bunch collectivist groups everybody believes in the same things. There will be no divergence of views since every time a group is out voted they will leave one collective and form their own.. Libertarian Syndicalism is just another form anarchy that leads to socialism in one form or another.

  2. Historically speaking, Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan are profoundly wrong. Yes, it works for toppling governments. But on the long run it all turns to hell. Look at history.

    Even India can’t be counted because they quickly fell into mohammdans vs hindus. The Orange Revolution, well, look at Ukraine today. The “Arab Spring”? Bad dictators have been replaced with worse things. So yes, their argument is completely wrong and disproved by history.

    • The “Arab Springs” have indeed been very contrived in nature. With a CIA/Soros flavor to them.

      George Soros, alleged Nazi collaborator.

      • OK Bill, you can say actual Nazi collaborator without fear of being branded an Anti-Semite. Soros has publicly admitted to being a junior war criminal. See his 60 minutes interview. He is also suspected of being a groomed as Armand Hammer’s replacement by the KGB. He was actually doing a good job supporting Eastern European Democratic Institutions until former KGB General named Vladimir Putin became President of Russia.

  3. Watching the world news, country after country has citizen revolts against tyranny. Do these people have their heads in the sand? Or maybe that couldn’t happen here? The Constitution has got us through over 200 years, so let’s just say I’m sentimental. Not to mention in awe of the foresight of it’s creators.

  4. After witnessing events in Venezuela and the Ukraine I don’t know how anyone could support gun control.

    • …because he sides with the socialist dictators. The gun-ban movement makes perfect sense, when you understand that the proponents see themselves on the ruling side of the gestapo, with the other elites, not on the victim side, with the common people.

    • or Egypt

      We were told to see how the will of the people, expressed peacefully, could overthrow a tyrant after decades in power. Three years later? Yeah, not exactly. The good guys need at least as much force available as the bad guys.

  5. He’s an idiot living in an imaginary world, a utopia, where if we just set aside our guns and give upall the things that we value, things that we might kill for or cause conflict, then we can truely understand each other and live in peace. As Picard would say, we would evolve beyond such pettiness and in stead work for the advancement of all mankind.

    As a sidenote,I laughed, hard, at the mention of using a flamethrower for self-defense. I can imagine that court room testimony, “I was afraid for my life, so I reached for my flamethrower and lit him up.”

  6. “The rights you protect in a constitution — rights to free speech and against arbitrary discrimination”
    er… my copy of the constitution seems to lack any reference to that second item. In fact, it’s pretty hard to reconcile against free association, innit?

    • You need to reread the Constitution, particularly the parts that aren’t there, to truly understand the modern view of “positive rights” (i.e. those rights that allow you to impose force on others).

    • I don’t think this is what he meant, but the Constitution does contain the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. So there is a pretty important prohibition against state-sponsored discrimination in there.

      • Yeah, but he neglected to mention “state-sponsored”, now, didn’t he? I can agree with that all day long, but I contend that the guy with a hot-dog stand can refuse to serve anyone he pleases, for any reason he finds compelling enough to forego the profit from that person’s business Including discrimination of all stripes you can even imagine. The flip side is that the denied can then protest and picket or whatever. But the government should not be allowed to send men with guns to FORCE the vendor to sell so much as one hot dog. The concept simply facilitates tyrants consolidating power by picking winners and losers.

    • 14th Amendment, Section 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

      That last bit sounds like a protection against arbitrary discrimination to me.

      • No, that is equal protection under the law, narrowly stated. “Arbitrary Discrimination” can be a lot of things, most of which are not “rights” nor are they objective. I may discriminate in hiring a salesman with full sleeve tattoos. This job candidate may feel arbitrarily discriminated against (I’m a FOWG who doesn’t get it about tattoos), but his feelings are not constitutionally protected.

        If the author wished to state more precisely that equal protection under the law is a concept enshrined under the constitution, he should have stated that.

        • You accepted his position on free speech without clarification, so I didn’t feel the need to provide one for discrimination. I stipulate that 14th amendment rights are subject to the same conditions that apply to first amendment rights, namely that they serve to restrict government power.

        • I agree, but ONLY government power, The push is to eliminate PRIVATE discrimination, as in “If you don’t do as I say, I will kill you”. Which gives the government the ability to increase its power, instead.

  7. “The basic principle of a liberal democracy is that, for laws to be legitimate, majorities must enact them.”

    You see here his basic error – “Liberal Democracy.” He believes, wrongly, that The United States of America was established as a liberal democracy when in fact the Founders went to great lengths to establish a constitutional republic for the very reason that they saw democracies all through history as failed political institutions. They established a representative republic form of government precisely to try to avoid the “Tyranny of the Majority” in which any bare majority vote could force compliance on the minority population.

    It could be safely stated that the inclusion of the Bill of Rights enumerating those natural, civil and Constitutionally protected rights the government absolutely COULD NOT interfere with was the final piece of their “No tyranny of the majority” construct.

    L. Neil Smith: “The freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility.”

    • The right to keep and bear arms is subject, as to its constitutional protection, to democratic process, but only when altered by the republic acting through its constituent states, with the alteration sent forward to the states individually by a 2/3rds majority of both US legislative chambers (or 2/3rds of a constitutional convention), and becoming law only when approved by the legislatures of 3/4ths of the states, in other words by a super-majority. We are a democratic republic, not a direct majoritarian national democracy.

      • I think that is the basis for a really good argument, should anyone ever get around to it. Other than a Constitutional Convention, which implies the entire Constitution and all Amendments are in the trash and we start over from scratch, is it really possible to repeal the 2nd, or indeed any of the BOR?

        By its wording, the 2nd does not give us the RKBA, it just recognizes that it exists (it always has) and prohibits infringement.

        A less ethereal question would be whether it (or any of the BOR) could be repealed without a war.

        • “Other than a Constitutional Convention, which implies the entire Constitution and all Amendments are in the trash and we start over from scratch, is it really possible to repeal the 2nd”

          Well, the 18th was repealed without trashing the rest of it.

        • Actually Larry, there is no such thing as a “Constitutional Convention”. Correctly it is called, an Article V Convention of the States. But semantics aside, it DOES NOT mean or imply that the Constitution or the BOR is in the trash. Far from it. Lots of misperception out there about the “Constitutional Convention”. Get a hold of Mark Levin’s book: The Liberty Amendments. Great study and it will set one straight on what Article V is all about.

    • The United States was founded as a liberal democracy. A constitutional republic is a type of liberal democracy.

  8. I am shaking my head…
    I need more coffee before I attempt to think up some reply to him which does not involve lots of expletives, and colorful language.
    Semantics indeed. He can try to justify the repeal, not ban of the second amendment all he wants, but it isn’t going to happen.

    • I feel seriously stupider for having read that crap. Holy sh*t. I couldn’t put a response into words…I could only slam my head against the wall…

      • Good thing I have learned mostly to not drink and read comments at the same time! Coffee hurts coming out your nose lol

  9. “There is no longer any defensible argument for a constitutional right to own a firearm, if there ever was.”

    You not understanding something, doesn’t make any less of a reality, or a necessity. Example: if you were illiterate, words would still exist, you simply would not be able to recognize them and extrapolate their meaning.

    “That goes double when the weapons protected are handguns rather than automatic rifles, RPGs, and anti-aircraft batteries.”

    Rifles and handguns are protected, so that argument is invalid. And, full auto is perfectly legal in most states, I know people who own full auto rifles.

    RPG and planes: well partner, if the G is going around blowing up people’s homes, you better hope you don’t live next to guns owners, cause your house is getting leveled too. And, if we make to that point, you’ll be begging of weapons, I assure you.

    That is all.

    • No he won’t. He will be long dead or in an internment camp along with many of the other people that put their hope in government to build a utopia.

      • Yeah, you’re right… His type would be gone quickly, probably bludgeoned to death over a can of beans, or something.

    • I wasn’t making fun of the writer of this post (Robert Farago), I was making fun of the “writer” at theweek.com (Zack Beauchamp). My criticism mainly comes from the fact that Zack misunderstood such basic things like the job of government (limit our ability to hurt others? Wow, school funding did really get slashed).

      I apologize if it was misunderstood.

  10. “There is no longer any defensible argument for a constitutional right to own a firearm, if there ever was.”….perhaps this is true. Originally the Founders did not wish to include such a Bill of Rights, for fear of elevating some rights to the exclusion of others. Also, to prevent the targeting of those enumerated rights. Maybe they were correct, and that enumerating certain rights only makes them targets for those who would relegate rights into privileges, or deny them entirely. Let us do away with ALL the enumerated rights in that case. Let people fight to defend their rights to speech, religion, or themselves, by any means necessary (B.A.M.N). After all, these rights are inherent of man. Whenever one feels the courts or laws have unjustly vilated their rights, leave it to the courts to decide whether or not you have such natural rights.
    Or, accept that these rights were enumerated because they are truly important, ALL of them.

  11. Someone needs to show Mr. BeauCHUMP some video of the Korean shopkeepers in Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots … you know, when the police pulled out and let the city burn for however many days.

    • This writer will probably never understand real world experiences like that and has been brainwashed into the liberal sheeple to spout out their propaganda and zombify other sheeple. I was there and witnessed first hand after April 29, 1992. My parents lived in Mid-Wilshire Koreatown and it was a war zone. LAPD was quickly overwhelmed and basically abandoned the city to burn itself out. The public’s safety were in the hands of each individual not LAPD or LASD. Just like Katrina.

  12. “The rights you protect in a constitution — rights to free speech and against arbitrary discrimination, for instance — are fundamental rights, to be protected absolutely. They deserve that status because they are so essential to the functioning of a democracy that no majority should be permitted to override them.”

    The Founders knew full and well that each of the first ten Amendments were essential to a functioning democracy. The wrote them because they saw the majority override their rights with their own eyes, and were smart enough to see that history has a tendency to be repetitive.
    They knew that the country they were forming, with the best of intentions, could fall into tyranny like any other. They didn’t need to know where technology would bring us to know that our basic rights of freedom would be threatened at some point.
    And they were right. He’s calling for the majority to override a founding right of this nation, and he’s too willfully ignorant to accept it.

  13. Mr. Beauchamp says: “And indeed, the evidence is very clear that a government that fails to adequately regulate guns is failing in its duty to protect its citizens.”

    I say that these cases (among others):

    * South v. Maryland (1855, United States Supreme Court)
    * Riss v. New York (1968, Court of Appeals of the State of New York)
    * Warren v. District of Columbia (1981, District of Columbia Court of Appeals)
    * Bowers v. DeVito (1982, United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit)
    * Lynch v. North Carolina Department of Justice (1989, Court of Appeals of North Carolina)
    * DeShaney v. Winnebago County (1989, United States Supreme Court)
    * Barillari v. Milwaukee (1995, Supreme Court of Wisconsin)
    * Ford v. Town of Grafton (1998, Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Worcester)
    * Castle Rock v. Gonzales (2005, United States Supreme Court)

    say that you’re wrong about any “duty to protect its citizens,” Mr. Beauchamp.

    There’s an enormous amount wrong in Mr. Beauchamp’s article (that RF covered quite well) but I did want to add this bit. Other than in some special circumstances (the “special relationship” and “state-created danger” exceptions) a government agency cannot be held liable for failing to protect one person from another person.

    • Thanks for the list Chip. That provides a very good overview of the case law regarding the .gov’s so-called “duty to protect”. Everyone should read those opinions and be disabused of any notion that you can rely on the cops to protect you and yours from criminal predations.

        • Of course, if you’re the mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, they come too fast, shoot your dog, and then claim no wrongdoing (even though you did nothing wrong).

        • I did say “usually” for a reason. To CMA, proof against the inevitable. And, again, the dogs. Sheesh.

    • Just finished reading (and copying) the Police Chief Magazine article. It’s also excellent. Thanks again Chip.

      • Glad to help. I know there are others; FYI I believe the book Dial 911 and Die has a good history of similar stuff (I haven’t read it yet but plan on getting it soon).

        When I was reading some stuff about these cases, this came to mind:
        (1) the police have no legal duty to protect us – they can’t be held liable if they fail to do so;
        (2) the police are not personal bodyguards (unless you’re a politician and/or well connected);
        (3) even if they did have a legal obligation to protect us, they can’t possibly fulfill it – they cannot be everywhere at once and cannot instantly transport to a location; so …

        Given all of that, how is it in any way justifiable for them to prohibit people from using one of the best options available for self-defense, a firearm carried in public?

    • And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. If we somehow held police departments accountable to “protect” us, our protection would not improve in any way, since the police cannot possibly protect everybody. The only change would be that every party who believed he had been injured somehow would be suing the police department and the town council or whatever for damages real or imagined.

    • OK he’s offbase and an education in firearms training just might be the ticket for our misguided young man who through his liberal viewed opinion,has distorted the truth about the actual meaning of our Constitution and it’s amendments,especially the 2nd. I would have him research our revolutionary war as well as the videos of NAZI ‘final soltion’tactics used against an unarmed civilian populas and the detrimental effects it had on humanity as a whole. I would then put him and all other anti 2nd Amendment candidates in a scenario where they are unarmed while under attack by armed repeat offenders bent on mayham ,murder and robbery as they were just released[again]from prison and have targeted his family for disposal.

  14. Ladies and Gentlemen. This is what happens when too many kids go to college to study liberal arts.

    We, as a society, need to stop funding useless courses of college education that turn out these types of “thinkers” – they aren’t good for much, and their reasoning is beyond flawed.

    I propose that institutions that lend money for college index the amounts they lend based on the starting salaries of graduates in that field.

    There is no way an STEM degree is worth the same price as a philosophy degree. By lending equal amounts without regard to market demand for those degrees, colleges turn out this garbage at $40k per year.

    End the stupid way we fund college in this country, and you’ll end these types of idiots getting society’s microphone.

    • I only need one word to shoot down your argument that colleges and universities are the only things that create liberals: Gracchi.

      • No doubt. There are plenty of liberals in Trenton, Camden, and Newark who have never set foot in a college lecture. Those liberals aren’t published, they don’t blog, and generally only have the same voice as any other person – but they vote for wealthy liberals (the Gracci’s of the world).

        I have a problem with our current system of overpaying for liberal educations that, in the end, aren’t worth much – and then have these “spokespeople” advocating for the same system. The collateral damage of that system is the willingness to give up individual rights for some imagined “community” benefit.

    • As a liberal arts & fine arts degreed U.S. Army veteran (& former professor among other things), I have to disagree. Adams himself suggested that it was important that he study war & politics, that his children could eventually study the arts. A liberal arts education that imparts critical thinking is a valuable asset. Unfortunately all too many schools teach ‘group think’ instead of important skills, passing out ‘A’s like candy.

      • Critical thinking isn’t taught as part of a specific curriculum. Critical thinking is learned when someone is taught how to learn.

        Critical thinking is a subset of a higher skill set – not a goal (or degree program) in itself. Every accountant, doctor, physicist, chemist, programmer, teacher, architect, and marketing person should be capable of critical thinking.

        My engineering/computer science degree was obtained alongside other liberal arts majors. Those majors were filled with “easy” courses – and in the end, the degrees conveyed seemed devoid higher level skills.

        I’m tired of hearing of the unemployment crisis of our youth. Those same “youth” in STEM programs simply are not underemployed/unemployed. The market is telling us what we need to know – we as a society simply don’t need as many liberal arts graduates. Unfortunately the over supply condition continues because we will lend these kids the money to pursue courses of education that are simply not worth the money charged for them.

        • “Critical thinking isn’t taught as part of a specific curriculum. Critical thinking is learned when someone is taught how to learn.”

          Very true; it can be self-taught if one is open to the truth. This was mostly the case with me, though I had help along the way. The JFK assassination taught me how to learn.

          It’s like around middle school, I figured how how to take a test. Most kids today don’t know how to take a test, or prepare for one. It’s not the kid who studies the hardest, or is most-prepared on the material. One can do just as well as those kids, with less study. When you learn how to take a test, it saves one hell of a lot of work. When one spends less time on schoolwork, one has a better and more well-rounded experience.

    • Liberal arts degrees are not inherently bad and their intention is to create great thinkers. The problem is that universities in 2014(and for the past many years) are full of liberals who prefer to teach students what to think to meet their own agenda, rather than teaching them the process of developing their own thoughts or ideas. STEM degrees are also extremely important, but done properly, liberal arts degrees can also be quite valuable. Key phrase is “can be.”

      • Liberal arts courses are essentially overpaid baby sitters for overgrown adolescents who cannot think for themselves and don’t know what to do in life. It’s probably better than letting them loose in the world, where these mental infants would probably get murdered within days. They are a statistical anomoly mainly affecting children of the middle and upper classes, where the chance to prove themselves in battle is not valued. Or required, as they already have citizenship.

        It is sweet that they are allowed to express themselves, but this should be done only in crayons, with subtitles explaining the type of mental deficiency they are displaying. Don’t confuse them with real people with real opinions.

        In reality, without the right to bear arms, there are NO other rights. The founders knew this very well, and correctly anticipated the rise of a generation of useless spongers inclined to follow the urgings of ruthless demagogues intent on disarming and enslaving the people. Enslavement aways follows disarmament.

  15. “The basic principle of a liberal democracy is that, for laws to be legitimate, majorities must enact them.”

    What? Since when are the United States a “liberal democracy” where “majorities” rule? The whole purpose of the Bill of Rights is to afford protection to individuals FROM the majority.

    That guy’s double speak is beyond words. Protection of free speech and against discrimination from the majority by all possible means, but not the 2nd Amendment? It’s keep what you like and discard the rest for this guy.

    • The author of the post, Beauchamp, simply hasn’t studied the complexities of legitimation from the internal structuralist view of a minority group confronting democratic tyranny of the majority, necessarily adding the dynamic social-development refinements of Jürgen Habermas……and with adequate consideration for the fact that he might be living like a human pearl fish in the cloaca of the United States, that comfy little back end in which the entire history of the nation, and of classical antiquity which tutored its founders, is not merely forgotten, but ignored ab initio.

        • “They missed the bus.” –This was a severe test of my high-school Latin. Was that the past perfect or past continuous? In other words, I assume that once the bus returned they felt cheered, “Et molimina vidit in bus.” Yes?

          • It’s past perfect. This did not missed the bus every single time, just once in a very general way.

        • …or, well, skip the Latin. Instead just google “Wired pearlfish” without the parens. Really, you’ll be glad you did.

        • WB: But the question is “did they miss the bus briefly but get over it? Or did they feel an ongoing sadness?” It seems to me the ‘missing’ was continual, ongoing, as my Latin conveyed.

    • “I’ve made Philip my high counselor!”

      That Beauchamp kid makes me happy I did not choose to go to Brown.

      His writing also serves as an indictment of the absolute lack of critical thinking skills that are a product of an academic system that only rewards parroting the party line to the professor.

  16. Over YOUR dead body. My son works for the government. I won’t say for who but he just spent 2 months in Jordan. He remarked how safe he felt even at night. He also stated a guy with a machine gun was on every corner…and the populace is disarmed. Safe? U BET. Or not. The REAL PALISTINE.

  17. I think the Pro-2A society needs to take a different tack on the Anti-2A stance, to some degree. If and when a situation arises either locally or nationally, when the People need a call to arms to defend themselves from a government run amok, the Antis and their quisling cousins will be extremely valuable. While they are busy lining up like piglets at the teat, they will be occupying vast amounts of government resources, while the rest of us will be loading up. They will be filling the air with their “give peace a chance” rhetoric, while those of us who know history, and its tendency to repeat itself, will be readying for the inevitable. Though they are trying to prevent our ability to ready, an impossible feat in and of itself, i.e. Connecticut’s registration fiasco, they will be wonderful as a political wall of distraction and eventual cannon fodder, allowing the rest of us time to take aim and switch from safe to fire.

    • when the People need … to defend themselves

      Brings to mind Kipling’s poem

      “Tommy.”

      “While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
      But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,”

      • According to Dudley Doright, that’s “For it’s Tommy this, Tommy that, cast him out, the brute! But it’s saviour of his country when the guns begin to shoot!”

        • Q: “Do you like Kipling?”

          A: “I don’t know, I’ve never Kipled.”

          The classics. They never go out of style.

        • Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
          Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
          An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
          Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
          Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
          But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,

  18. Democrats/liberals/progressives whatever you call them now are no longer members of a political party, they are now cultists. They worship big govt, tyranny and control. They think they are “free” because they have IPHONES and can go to Starbucks. They whine about Pussy Riot being silenced in Russia but want any opposition to their utopian fantasies here silenced.

    This type of scum is present in every dictatorship, working for the central govt as enforcers. In Maoist China they would be Red Guards, in Nazi Germany SS Einsatzgruppen, in Stalinist Russia KGB. Its easy to laugh them off but they are insidious and dangerous because they are true believers and their idol is currently in power. Their cult ignores any manner of egregious govt overstep, they would watch anyone they disagree with be rounded up and not say a word.

    This govt has been appropriated by cultist statists and this is a very dangerous time, because the Founders always knew the biggest threat to liberty was from within and the rule of law has basically been suspended. If this sounds hyperbolic then think about what people just a few decades would have said about being monitored by the govt and being told you must buy something you dont want (healthcare.) The Red Scare paled in comparison to the threat we face right now.

    • I’m not much for tin hats, but on the whole I agree with this.

      I tend to think policy should be based on merit through objective interpretation of data in our modern times – never on whether your group is more correct in opinion than the next group (at least in a society where we do not tolerate discrimination – be it black/white or rich/poor). What’s best for society? Crunch the numbers without allowing opinion and politics to interfere and find out.

      In Other News:
      Righteousness on behalf of the State is and should always be a very scary thing to any student of history.

    • Sorta-related, re: Pussy Riot

      Honestly, I never paid much attention to them. I knew they were protesting lots of actions by the Russian government with regard to gays and women and who knows what else, but I always kind of dismissed them as a publicity stunt by women who got their kit off.

      Stephen Colbert had them (well, two of them) on his show back on February 4: http://www.colbertnation.com/full-episodes/tue-february-4-2014-pussy-riot

      It was really pretty interesting, and funny. Because they were speaking through a translator, it was one of the longest interviews I’ve seen him do, everything after the first break, so ~14 minutes of his 21 minute show. It’s worth checking out, I think. If you don’t care for his other schtick, the interview starts at the 7 minute mark, which is the first little diamond at the scroll bar at the bottom.

    • “They think they are “free” because they have IPHONES and can go to Starbucks.”
      This is a very interesting statement and one I have given some thought to, thanks to my friend Stefan Molyneux at Free Domain Radio.

      In the youtube below, he explores the idea of human slavery and how it evolved filly culminating in the situation we now find ourselves: Chattel in a tax farm called “the United States of America”.

      Pretty crazy stuff but it does make some logical sense. Qualifier: You may think Stefan is a bit of a limb-climber after seeing this but watch some of his other videos first before coming to a conclusion. Some really good stuff; I esp liked his take down on the Zimmerman/Martin case last year.

      The Story of Your Enslavement: We can only be kept in the cages we do not see. A brief history of human enslavement – up to and including your own.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbp6umQT58A

      • Government, in all but ideal states, is money, money taken to pay for things you don’t want, or of things the takers are not willing to pay you for.

    • Respecting his right to voice his opinion, no matter how ludicrous, is what makes the U.S. free.

      Respecting the opinion itself is NOT a requirement.

      • TTAG must have been given the riot act by certain advertisers to clean up the comments section. Its interesting that this site puts tracking cookies from Comscore, wordpress, Zedo, Google, and Adzerk, etc… but the TTAG owner constantly complains about govt intrusion, internet encroachment, and attacks on the Amendments. I respect its his site to do as he pleases, and he can delete and block IPs all day, however modifying peoples postings is no different than the Moms Against Guns tactics.

        If postings here can be modified, they can be modified to say anything. That is disconcerting behavior IMHO. Either have a comments section with hard fast rules that can be clearly understood, or remove commenting completely, but peoples original words should not be toyed with. Lets ask Ted Nugent what he thinks. Or James Yeager, who is/was mercilessly flayed on these comment boards with no reverence for “ad hominem attacks.”

        • ad hominem (æd ˈhɒmɪˌnɛm) —adj, —adv: 1. directed against a person rather than against his arguments: 2. based on or appealing to emotion rather than reason.

          An editorial opinion or a comment logically refuting or otherwise attacking a person’s stated opinion is NOT the same as an attack on that person’s morals, intelligence, ethnicity, political party, etc.

          Ad hominem means essentially you do not have a good counter argument but you just don’t like the guy.

        • And by the way, while TTAG does rarely delete or chastise comments that are egregiously inappropriate I have never heard anyone complain that their comment has been edited to say or mean something they did not write or intend.

          TTAG is also quite open and liberal about accepting reasonable and rational articles from their readers to be included as posts. You might try that rather than make unfounded accusations of censorship in the comments section (which accusation was NOT deleted or edited, so far as I can tell.)

          • Comments have been removed, or they have been edited to remove flames and replaced with FLAME DELETED where appropriate, but they have not, to my knowledge, ever been edited for content.

            The edits to insert (or replace an entire comment with) FLAME DELETED is because if you simply zap a comment out of existence, then you get a bunch of complaints about “Where’d my comment go?” Replacing flames with FLAME DELETED is actually transparency, of a sort.

    • I can tolerate his opinion. There is no way in Hell that I’m going to respect it. Respect is something given out of courtesy in the very near term, over the longer term it must be earned. There is so much ignorance, fail, ahistorical gibberish and holier than thou arrogance in Zack’s charming essay that it simply boggles the mind. This guy, in my opinion, just doesn’t measure up. And Zack doesn’t have to respect what I think of him either.

    • He’s entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. His opinion should be compared with the facts we find in the world around us; like Robert did in the article, and as others have in the comment thread. His opinion is ridiculous, it should not be respected, it should be mercilessly mocked and ridiculed until everyone holds such opinions in contempt. That’s what makes the US free.

    • Could you maybe replace the FLAME DELETED with This comment has been Moderated by or something similar?

      It looks way more professional.

  19. FLAME DELETED hipsters. My room mate is one and he always get annoyed when I talk about guns with his brother (my landlord). He pretty much refuses to come into my room since I have targets pinned to my walls (don’t really have any decorations so figured shot up targets could kind of spiff it up). And before anyone says take him to the range. We did, he was completely up for the idea and when we got there, he just sat in a corner staring at everybody.

  20. Poor Zack, the cognitive dissonance must be deafening. Probably the only history book that he’s ever read is Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States”. I’m sure he’s read John Paul Stevens recent proposal and it makes perfect sense to him. It’s really embarrassing to have guys like this be known as “my fellow countrymen”.

    • There seems to be an assumption here, that Zack has some idea this discussion is going on. From what I gather, he does not. Has anyone invited him?

  21. Man, it is clearly one hell of a view from the back of a winged unicorn. I love how some article from some no name hack from some no name website is full of “how thou shalt live”. Listen zacko, u dont worry about what i do in my life and I wont worry about what u do in yours.

    • Oh and by the way, Zack, the Department of Transportation requires that you wear a seat belt, full-face helmet and goggles while riding that winged unicorn. Also I see that you have not paid your $300 unicorn registration fee nor completed the 16 hours of mandatory flight training before riding over populated areas and there are seven un-answered EPA pollution citations for unicorn apples falling on your neighborhood. A bench warrant has been issued and should you fail to appear this time a SWAT team will be dispatched to remind you of your civil duty sometime around zero dark thirty next week.

      Have a nice day.

    • I’ve always found it funny how they constantly condemn unsafe gun owners yet make excuses for and ignore unsafe behavior from certain others…

    • Somebody’s got to speak up for Lenin, speaking privately in hell to his pal Felix Dzerzhinsky: “Look at him, Felix! He believes his impulse to cheer on the momentary enthusiasms of the masses should receive universal assent, even if we have to bring that about with machine guns. This is exactly the kind of approval-seeking thoughtless self-regarding material that proves so useful when the vanguard of the proletariat over-throw a constitutional regime! Afterward? Well, as you know, afterwards he shall help build the camp in which he will labor. After the Great Change he will be useless indeed, for he can do nothing to actually build the new state, the state whose purposes he does not comprehend, but merely enable.”

  22. Let’s talk about ban freedom of speech and see how these ignorant fools react. Heck, let’s see if they even KNOW what the rest of the first 10 amendments are and how they protect our country!

  23. “You might say so, especially after reading Ban the Second Amendment, but I couldn’t possibly comment”

    Mattie could’ve used a gun, that’s for sure!

  24. Another village idiot heard from, and more sophomoric ranting from the people who “just don’t like guns”.

    “Gun rights, then, shouldn’t be constitutionally protected.”

    And he really hates that provision in the Constitution which lays out the Amendment process, so he should get to ignore that one, too. Hey, Zack B, read the Declaration of Independence (written by the same guys who wrote the Constitution), and find the only DUTY mentioned in that document – mixed in with all of the Rights mentioned. If you can’t find it because you are blinded by your bias, here it is:

    “… 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… ” Kind of tough to throw off an absolute Despotism if your only recourse is words.

  25. A word about ad hominem attacks — don’t. Leave the ad hominems alone. They’re not hurting anybody. All they want is to get married, join the military and smoke pot, just like everyone else, except maybe not in that order. And remember: armed ad hominems don’t get attacked.

  26. This article is the far left having a temper-tantrum since they know SCOTUS is going to take up at least one of the cases regarding gun-rights circulating in the lower courts due to split decisions. Following the jurisprudence of Heller v. District of Columbia it’s easy to see that self-defense outside of the home will be deemed consistent with that decision.

    Heller v. District of Columbia for the far left is the same as Roe v. Wade is for the far right. It’s going to take an extraordinary amount of time for them to accept the Heller decision. In the meantime they are going to fight tooth and nail at the state level putting up as many barriers to access just like hard core pro-life types do with regards to abortion.

    • Is there such a thing as contempt of court at this level? Will the judges just allow themselves to be danced around?

      • What happens is that the state legislators just replace the enacted statute, which was deemed unconstitutional, with some other law with an erroneous burden. No contempt of court since the old law was removed and a new one gets put in it’s place. The process starts over making its way through the court system, then it’s ruled unconstitutional.

        The is the modus operandi for groups attempting to skirt constitutional protections. The anti-gun groups will introduce legislation for microstamping and smart guns just as the pro-life groups introduce legislation for ultrasounds and fetal person-hood. All of these measures are prima facie unconstitutional, but that doesn’t stop these people from trying.

  27. zack, I’d like to appologize for the brutish unkind comments you received & realize a man of your fine stature & education should be given due respect (I plugged your new policy Robert)./// zack, try to live your own life.

  28. I’m posting a Housekeeping post on our commenting policy which deletes ad hominem attacks. Please withhold comments about it until that post appears.

    • …or he’s captivated by his own professors, who are captivated by their own brilliance, and who rue the fact that a constitutional republic is constructed specifically to avoid an overthrow of civil life by the ascent of their silly ideas. The professors preaching the political correctness of today as if it were natural law live in an ivory tower, constructed by men with blood and money, that they may educate those of our young interested in such activity, and may keep the rest of our kids of the streets for a few years until more checkout clerks have retired.

  29. “But what troubles me most about . . . the general More Guns approach to social ills . . . is the absolute abandonment of civil society it represents. It gives up on the rule of law in favor of a Hobbesian “war of every man against every man” in which we no longer have genuine neighbors, only potential enemies. You may trust your neighbor for now — but you have high-powered recourse if he ever acts wrongly”.

    This person apparently does not understand preparedness. I carry jumper cables and other gear in my car, but it is not because I don’t maintain it and expect to break down at any moment. I have a fire extinguisher, but not because I’m scared that I can’t cook without setting the kitchen ablaze. I keep a first aid kit around while working, despite having never hurt myself seriously on the job. I have a couple guns, and plan to carry when I can, and it’s not because I believe my neighbors could turn on me or that I’ll have to defend my home from looters or a tyranny. It is for the unplanned, unexpected, and undesirable events that we do our best to avoid, that we have these emergency items.
    The fact that it’s also fun to shoot is just a convenient bonus.

  30. Perhaps Mr. Zack Beauchamp should go to Kiev, Ukraine and talk to protestors. I believe it was the violence and the capturing of hundreds of police that did the trick because the peaceful protests did nothing!

  31. Be my guest. Try to amend the constitution to ban firearms. You don’t have 2/3rd of each house of congress. Much less at least 34 states to vote in favor. And by some miracle. or electoral fraud, then you get to come and take them. I can’t decide which one will be harder. Getting away with that much fraud or prying them from my cold dead hands.

    • Proposal takes 2/3 of both houses of Congress or 2/3 (34) of the legislatures of the states.

      Ratification, though, requires three fourths of the States – 38, at present.

  32. “Freedom of speech does not include making light of someone who wears corrective glasses.”

    I’m sorry, but yes it does. What’s the point of protecting speech that’s all hearts and flowers and unicorns? There is no guarantee against having your widdle feewings hurt.

  33. Gun rights don’t rise to that status.

    So says the scrawny unshaven twerpy-looking guy wearing two pairs of glasses disrespecting the American flag by wearing a piece of it in his shirt and sitting under a toadstool. Riiiiight…