By Stephen H.
On February 21st, Robert posted a letter from three former mayors and members of MAIG (Mayors Against Illegal Guns: We’re Not Gun Grabbers!). A single line in the letter penned by the former mayors lodged in my memory. Despite my best efforts to pry it from my brain, I’ve thought of that one line (nearly) every day since. “As former mayors of Binghamton, Albany and Utica, we know that a mayor’s most important responsibility is to keep their citizens safe.” This ideology is simply frightening, and it elicited a visceral reaction as I continued to read. It forms the basis of the gun grabber’s entire argument and shows the deep divide between those who cherish liberty and those who fear it . . .
When I hear a politician make a plea toward “citizens’ safety”, what I hear is “you children just need to listen to me”. I know that tone of voice. I’ve used some version of the same to my children many times. The more I hear a version of this from politicians, the more I believe they truly see “citizens” as children (their children, no less) and themselves as the parents. In their ignorance, they fail to understand two things: the job of mayor (or city councilman or school board member or even president) is more administrator than CEO and children don’t really listen that well.
A mayor is elected to steward the tax dollars provided by a city’s residents to accomplish the things we deem necessary; no more, no less. Often those things include roads, water treatment facilities, and other necessities of modern life that we “citizens” have neither the expertise nor the time to deal with ourselves. By all means, spend some of that money on police and fire departments, but politicians need to realize that no amount of money exists to pay for each person and each home to have their own personal guard to protect them from harm. Police exist to hold criminals responsible for the crimes they commit and firefighters to keep fires from completely destroying the town. They do not exist to prevent crime or fires. This concept was put on brilliant (as in “easily seen”, not “good”) display during the rampage in Santa Barbara.
Police were warned about and even investigated the perpetrator in the weeks preceding the “massacre.” However, evil exists and terrible things are done by terrible people. These terrible things are a part of life and every adult needs to be prepared to deal with them. It is not the responsibility of a politician, or someone else, to do this for you. Firearms and the RKBA are an integral part of that very adult “responsibility”.
Speaking of adults, this brings us back to the “politician as parent” mentality. Even if I bought into the idea that the only “adults in the room” were elected officials, I would have to say nearly all politicians, and the three former mayors in particular, are terrible parents.
Good parents don’t shield their children from everything they believe is dangerous. They introduce the danger in a way that is appropriate to the child’s maturity, teach the child why the danger exists and how to deal with it. A great parent never exaggerates the danger and is honest about things that may not be truly dangerous. Our mayors would rather keep their “children” ignorant of what they see as “dangerous” (guns, drugs, the demon rum or anything else that may be associated with your liberty) by eliminating the “danger”. They don’t understand the “introduce the danger in the proper way” idea and they cannot understand their “children’s” lives, no matter how smart they think they are. They also fail to grasp that they have no real power to eliminate “danger”.
The idea that you can simply banish danger with a law was demonstrated starkly by the father of one of the Santa Barbara victims. His impassioned pleas for someone to “do something” are misplaced, but heart wrenching. In his grief he calls upon politicians to pass more laws. I’ll give him a pass for now, because I empathize with him. But I disagree wholeheartedly.
The NRA did not cause this latest tragedy, nor any other. And no law banning guns, knives or other weapons would have stopped it. Even a good guy with a gun wouldn’t have stopped it, but that good guy may have limited the scope of the tragedy greatly.
Ultimately, I have a message for our three former mayors and their Sugar Daddy, Michael Bloomberg. I am not a child looking for a politician’s love and guidance. Neither are you. I am not a psychopath waiting for something to trigger a rampage. Neither are you. Our safety is not your “responsibility” and we don’t need you to keep us safe. We will take care of ourselves in the best way we can. We may or may not be successful, but that’s the chance a free person takes. What we need our politicians (and would be rulers) to do, is the job for which you were hired. If you are not capable, let us know. We’ll gladly find replacements.