They’ve done it again. The Campaign for Liberty, which gave away an assault rifle in April, followed up with a “tactical shotgun” Remington model M870 to one lucky supporter in May! The accompanying letter for the assault rifle states that “There can be no freedom without the ability to defend it. C4L is standing up for freedom every day by fighting to Audit the Fed, repeal ObamaCare, stop NSA spying, and reclaim our Republic. But each and every one of us has a God-given right – and duty – to defend freedom. That’s why C4L is giving away a brand new Daniel Defense DDM4 AR-15. The AR-15 will come with Magpul MBUS front and rear sights and two Magpul mags. All you have to do is sign up for free below for your chance to win!”
The letter accompanying the shotgun offering reads the same with the exception of the description of the weapon itself. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic version of the M-16 infantry assault rifle. The special combat magazines that it comes with hold thirty rounds and are what we Vietnam era vets used to refer to as banana clips. The shotgun in question is “tactical,” which means it is the type used by special ops military units and police swat teams. It holds six shells and can be fired rapidly.
I am embarrassed to have to report that the two letters from Campaign for Liberty publicizing the giveaways appeared over the signature of former Congressman Ron Paul, who is the chairman of the organization. I have the utmost respect for Congressman Paul, whose integrity was and is impeccable, but this really is too much, particularly as the accompanying letter, which admittedly Paul might never have seen or actually approved of, is reeking of bullshit.
The problem with the C4L thinking is that possessing combat capable weapons has become an end in and of itself. The argument that “guns don’t kill people” is ridiculous because that is precisely what they are designed to do and the weapons that are semi-automatic equipped with banana clips or magazines can and do kill lots of people without having to reload, which is when the shooter becomes vulnerable. That is why they are the weapon of choice for mass murders and, I might add, most of them are purchased legally.
Also consider for a moment the essentially delusional argument that the promotional letter puts forward: that a heavily armed citizenry is essential to defend freedom. Indeed, that citizenry has a “duty” to do so. And it further identifies the areas of freedom that are under siege as “auditing the fed, repealing Obamacare, stopping NSA Spying, and reclaiming our Republic.” So the implication is that one needs weapons to defend against government programs and against the federal government more generally speaking (though state and local governments are not necessarily ruled out based on the language contained in the appeal).
Which leads to the question of what is one supposed to do with an assault rifle and tactical shotgun if one has a “duty” to defend freedom? How do you define freedom in the first place without crossing the line into anarchy? Does Campaign for Liberty’s inclusion of the federal reserve, health insurance, government intelligence agencies and a general lack of Republican virtue require going out and blasting the nearest traffic light or does it mean calling 911 and then ambushing the cop, ambulance or fire engine when it shows up because they are all agents of an oppressive state structure? Or do you shoot out the windows in the nearest federal building or murder cops having lunch as recently occurred in Las Vegas? And what about the constitutional crisis caused by America’s illegal foreign wars, which have surely killed a lot of people using the very weapons promoted by C4L? Perhaps characteristically, ending those wars is not even on the Campaign for Liberty agenda.
I am sure that most C4L supporters would agree with the premise that individual liberties have declined dramatically over the past thirteen years, largely due to the consequences, both legal and practical, of the so-called war on terror. The unitary executive that has prevailed promoted by both Republicans and Democrats has enabled government at all levels to engage in illegal searches, arbitrary detention without right to trial, and even the assassination of American citizens without any recognizable due process. Compared to those crimes, ObamaCare is small potatoes, but apart from NSA spying C4L does not even mention them nor does it explain how having more guns in more hands provides a solution to the problems it has identified.
Given all of that, what has the heavily armed populace that presumably salivates at the sight of a tactical shotgun and positively swoons at the sound of a click-click as the shell enters the chamber done? Precisely nothing. Which suggests that Campaign for Liberty and the people who cling to its pretensions are all hat and no cattle, talking the talk (poorly) without having to do anything to back up their promise of righteous violence if the government goes too far. C4L should wake up and smell the roses because the government has already gone too far and the horse is long since out of the barn.
One is compelled to ask exactly what kind of affront the heavily armed citizens are waiting for before they start their revolution, particularly as most of them surely know that their insurrection will never happen. They understand full well that government at all levels now has the firepower to blow them away in seconds if it ever came down to that so it is a lot safer to vent their frustration by whining about the Fed and ObamaCare, neither of which they will be able to change in any event. And what about the lost Republic? It was lost a long time ago, almost certainly when Lincoln was president if not much earlier when the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed.
So what do I think about the Second Amendment? I support it but there is that tricky bit about militias that needs to be considered. I nevertheless think that gun ownership is a right but I also believe that with rights come responsibilities. I own guns and have served in both the Army during Vietnam and in the CIA, cultures where weapons were de rigueur. But as mass murders of children become more common aided and abetted by the easy access to guns it is perhaps time for a common sense understanding that a machine designed for killing people should perhaps be subjected to some kind of vetting process before it is sold to a 22 year old who has been receiving psychiatric treatment.
Ron Paul would disagree, noting correctly that it is difficult to tell when someone with a mental problem is likely to become violent and also observing that it is dangerous to give the government any kind of authority to set up and operate a data base defining who is crazy and who isn’t. But he also suggests that the government might conspiratorially manipulate the procedure to deny political opponents access to weapons, which I think most would consider far-fetched and even largely irrelevant given the easy accessibility to guns prevailing nationwide combined with the fact that having weapons does not equate to doing anything with them to bring about political change or to guarantee “liberty.” The only liberty evident is the freedom to buy more guns.
Paul also suggests that shooter Elliot Rodger in California might have been deterred in his rampage if he had known that his intended victims were capable of returning fire, a canard reminiscent of the idiocy promoted by fellow Texan Representative Louis Gohmert who responded to the Newtown shooting by expressing his wish that the school principal who was killed in the massacre had had an M-4 under her desk to shoot back. Actual instances of an armed civilian preventing a shooting are so few as to be statistically insignificant and the whole notion that a heavily armed society is somehow safer is difficult to take seriously, including Gohmert’s desire to have automatic weapons in schools.
To my mind there is something very unhealthy about the current demands for unlimited “open carry” of instruments that are only designed to kill, particularly as it is being linked to some warped concept of “freedom.” Here in northern Virginia a restaurant in a nearby town with a very low crime rate is encouraging its customers to bring their guns with them. Would I want to take my grandchildren to eat there if the dude at the next table is cradling his assault rifle? Absolutely not. The obsession with having free access to weapons as a benefit in and of itself might well be measured against legitimate public safety concerns that should mandate a common sense approach that is somewhere in between complete liberty and government control. Unfortunately libertarians and gun aficionados don’t see it that way with every “right” being an absolute.
And sure, bad guys will continue to be able to get weapons as there are a hell of a lot of them floating around unregistered in the US and ordinary people have a right to defend themselves, but the absurd implication that if you have a gun it will help you secure “freedom” in case you have to turn it against the government some day is utter nonsense and should be exposed for the persistent fraud that it really is. Some people like guns not for freedom or protection but because it empowers or excites them personally, so let them have their fun, but Ron Paul should be ashamed of himself if he actually read and approved of the two letters from Campaign for Liberty that he signed onto.