Fayetteville, AR –-(Ammoland.com)- As I write this, the #MarchForOurLives is happening, and the hashtag is at the top of Twitter’s trending list. What do the crowds demand? “That their lives and safety become a priority, and that we end gun violence in our schools and communities.” Isn’t that nice?
Note that we’re being asked to sign a blank check, since the statement that doesn’t go beyond vague wishes. David Hogg, the literal poster child for the movement, frequently demands that we “do something,” though he adds a call to work together now and then. He also will admit that he supports universal background check requirements and a ban on “assault rifles.”
The squishiness here is exactly what gun control advocates have been advised to adopt. Facts get in the way of emotionalism, slowing down the march for busywork.
And that is what gun control is about, so much security theater. Supporters of gun control don’t like it when I insist that we base our assertions on evidence, and they also get annoyed if I say that whatever solutions we come up with have to respect basic rights. On that point, I find it telling to see that Hogg is now objecting to a new requirement at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School for students to use transparent backpacks. His objections are that making students have see-through packs is “unnecessary. It’s embarrassing for a lot of students.”
This illustrates the old line about “rules for thee, but not for me.” Hogg implies that he values his privacy and is upset that he’s being punished for the bad action of someone else. It would be interesting to learn if he sees himself as a hypocrite, but he never answers my questions to him, so I doubt he’ll explain himself on this topic.
His generosity over sacrificing rights that he doesn’t exercise, while being offended that rights that he values are being attacked is an example of why the gun control movement is such a danger. In several tweets that I’ve seen in preparing for this article, the claim has been raised that the marchers are a majority taking back power from a tiny minority. But that’s exactly what the Constitution is designed to restrain, since the framers understood the potential for a tyranny of the majority.
Basic rights are the foundation of a free society. If we chip away at that foundation, the superstructure may survive or might collapse right now, but it’s certain that with enough of the base knocked away, the whole thing will come down eventually. Like Hogg, I support privacy rights. And I’ll state that explicitly. And I support the right to express oneself on political topics. If someone doesn’t like guns, doesn’t want guns in society, or wants to ban guns, such a person is welcome to state that. That would be an exercise of rights. The line would be crossed, however, if those opinions were to be enacted in law.
Understanding the difference is a key part of maturity. And a necessary thing to keep in mind as we contemplate public policy. The marchers believe themselves to be on the side of goodness, but the direction they’re heading is one that they may not even realize and one that people who value rights must oppose. They hope that we will shut up and go away if they shout their demands in a loud enough voice. It’s up to us to show that we have evidence and reasoning on our side and that our stand on principle isn’t one that will be driven off the stage.
About Greg Camp
Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.