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rebuttals to "Gun Control"
David Frum, formerly a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, is probably thought by many to be a largely "conservative" voice in American politics. Reinforcing that notion, Frum has served on the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Convention which in turn describes itself as "the most important voice on conservative political issues for the Jewish-American community."
If so, it's apparently a brand of "conservatism" that does not seek to "conserve" the right to keep and bear arms, as Frum's Twitter feed commentary on the Ferguson, Missouri unrest demonstrates. Responding to the news that gun shops in the area have been very busy since the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old, sparked community outrage and racial tension, Frum sarcastically sneered:
That is indeed precisely what is needed by those who are not already equipped to defend themselves from looters and violent "protesters," not to mention the occupying army sent to crush them--along, apparently, with anyone else who annoys them.
Next, Frum notes that about 42 percent of police deaths this year were by gunfire. Whether that statistic is intended to justify the shooting death of unarmed Michael Brown, or the outrageously heavy-handed efforts to quell the unrest (a task now being handed off by the heavily militarized police to the actual military, as the National Guard is brought in), we can only guess.
Frum also asks if anyone thinks that "things [would] be better in Ferguson if the demonstrators were armed." Well, some of the brutalized demonstrators might.
Perhaps the most chilling of this series of tweets was his observation about the supposed law enforcement need for heavy body armor:
Actually, I cannot remember seeing any objections to police wearing body armor, and would only harbor such objections myself if efforts to ban possession of body armor by private citizens were to gain ground. More importantly, look at Frum's term for private citizens: "the policed." To Frum's way of thinking, apparently, that is how we the people are to be defined: as those who are kept in line by the government's hired muscle.
Frum also has something to say about the militarization of law enforcement, and by now, his "wisdom" on that subject should be pretty predictable:
That--the notion that since private citizens in most of the U.S. may legally own semi-automatic, detachable magazine-fed rifles, the police must equip and conduct themselves like a hostile occupying army--is, of course, hardly a new argument for banning so-called "assault weapons." Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, made a similar argument in the past, contending that since "they're faced with an unbelievable amount of firepower on the streets," we should "not pile too much on the militarization of law enforcement."
By now, CSGV has evidently decided that it is concerned about the militarization of law enforcement, but blames that phenomenon on an "arms race" between "civilians" (CSGV's term for those who are not in law enforcement, as if police were not themselves civilians--better, I suppose, than referring to us as "the policed") and law enforcement, and in turn blame this notional arms race on the gun industry.
Rabbi Bruce Diamond, of the Community Free Synagogue in Ft. Myers, Florida, is another who believes that the way to free ourselves of cops who think of their beats as conquered territory that must be cowed into submission is to be less equipped to defend ourselves:
A far better question, Rabbi, would be, "How can we deny public access to militia-capable rifles 'and every other terrible implement of the soldier,' and remain the masters of the public officials who give the police their orders?"
The militarization of law enforcement, though now at a level never before seen in this country, has been going on for a long time--since long before the federal "assault weapons" ban expired in 2004. To think that police agencies would voluntarily give up their "tacticool" toys, just because we ("the policed") cannot have similar equipment, is to ignore the obvious fact that they are not seeking weapons parity with us, but overwhelming superiority. We must not allow that.
The "arms race" will end when we the people win it.
A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denies that right, inspiring him to become active in gun rights advocacy. He also writes the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Kurt Hofmann Archive.