In the past I have had the impression that Sebastian has not wholly bought into my advocacy of portraying anti-gun people as bigots. But this post by him has him landing on the topic with both feet and getting into a word fight with the Brady Campaign.
I can understand people being of the opinion that pushing the bigotry meme is not productive. But I don’t think any rational person can defend the claim that the following post by Mark Morford is anything other than the words of a bigot:
Hello and welcome to our store! Please, feel free to look around, make yourself comfortable, enjoy our fine offerings and, oh yes, by the way? Please, no murdering.
Also, no raping, gang-banging, popping off, stabbing, mauling, stealing stuff, or walking around in a confrontational macho huff, ready at a moment’s notice to harass any of our normal patrons with a snarl and a vague threat of violence because you feel it is your God-given right, given how you are a card-carrying member of a pro-gun “Open Carry” sect that likes to strap unloaded handguns to your Wranglers, walk around in public places and freak people out. Thank you so much!
I’m sorry, I see you are still wearing your little weapon and strutting about like you are the rather doughy, bad-skinned king of the sand castle. Perhaps we were not clear? Shall we try it again?
Clearly, you are not a police officer. Therefore, the management, our employees and pretty much everyone within a 100-mile radius would very much appreciate it if you would put away that ego-fluffing man-toy that is designed solely to kill other living creatures and induce fear and ignorance as it regresses every hesitant advancement in the human soul back to caveman grunting lunkishness. Thank you again!
Oh, please do not misunderstand! We are all terribly impressed. It is so very patriotic of you to show off your little popper! Are you in a gang? Are you a drug dealer? Are you going to shoot some scary terrorists, Mr. pallid paranoid Constitution-misquoting videogame-addicted guy? Protect all of us here in the casual neighborhood coffee shop from those crazy liberals and their health care reform and organic pretzels? Thank you so much! But really, I think we’ll be OK without your little display. Enjoy your frappucino, won’t you?
What, no drink? You now wish to order nothing at all and instead plop yourself down in the corner, plug in your laptop and angrily scour Facebook all day for evidence that your ex-girlfriend, the one who left you two years ago at a full, what-the-hell-was-I-thinking sprint, is now dating a liberal or a pacifist or an atheist and is far, far happier than she ever was with you? We understand. We appreciate your desire to partake of our free Wi-Fi, buy nothing and not give a damn that we can’t really stay in business that way.
Why, look at you! Refusing to step away from the counter and instead choosing to read aloud from your little card that says how it’s completely legal to carry an unconcealed, unloaded firearm in a public space! Way to stand up for your rights! God bless America!
Turns out you are right. It is legal, sort of. Then again, so is eating gravel, wearing a giant hat made of cow manure and squirrel tails, and slapping yourself in the face repeatedly while ranting semicoherently about Jesus, masturbation and Shania Twain. And you don’t see anyone doing that, do you? Except Carl over there?
We realize it might seem unfair. Far be it from us here at the neighborhood cafe, where families and small children and book readers come to chat and feel slightly better about their day, to ask you to leave because your energy is so low and repellant and also downright silly.
But nevertheless, I’m afraid that’s exactly what we’re going to do. We would appreciate it if you would take your business elsewhere. Right now. No? Very well.
We had hoped it wouldn’t come to this. We had hoped to find a better resolution. However, in response to your insistence on carrying a firearm into our premises, we have no choice but to change our official policy, right here and now, on the spot.
Again, we mean no offense, you jingoistic lump of mancrazy. You are indeed well within your rights to be a thoroughly paranoid coward who has no real inner strength, confidence or social skills, to a degree that you feel you must carry a deadly weapon around to feel like you even exist. We understand your thinking completely. It’s basic psychology. Very, very basic. Childish, even.
So then. Like any business, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. But we realize there are some people for whom this is not specific or clear enough. We realize some people have to have it, you know, spelled out and publicly displayed.
Therefore, we have revised our list. Please note the new sign we have just posted on the front door. We have expanded and clarified a few things. We hope it helps.
Effective immediately on these premises, there will be:
- No murdering
- No raping
- No pillaging
- No gun slinging, pistol-whipping, sucker-punching
- No mauling, jabbing, stabbing, hating or undermining
- No screaming bloody murder
- No morons
- No panicking
- No testing on animals
- No jumping for Joy. While she appreciates your enthusiasm, our cashier is happily married. Thank you
- No live birthing
- No dumping
- No livestock
- No smoking
- No smoking the livestock
- No exit
- No way out
- No diving
- No spitting
- No way!
- No Crusades
- No “Star Trek” re-enactments
- No skinny-dipping in the half-n-half
- No doubt
Thank you so much for understanding. Free sample biscotti on your way out?
Had this been about interracial or homosexual couples holding hands and kissing the outrage over a such a post would result in demands that the San Francisco Chronicle fire him. Hemke defends Morford and his support of Morford with:
The key reply is that clothing which some find offensive is different from firearms that others — justifiably — find frightening. That is: pants aren’t guns, and being gay doesn’t kill people. Not sure if CDC counts how many Americans die by strange-looking pants each year, but if they do, chances are the number will be a lot less than 30,000 (the number shot to death every year in this country).
In the paragraph above let’s substitute “ni**er” for “gun” and “firearm”, correct the numbers to match, and see how that plays:
The key reply is that clothing which some find offensive is different from ni**ers that others — justifiably — find frightening. That is: pants aren’t ni**ers, and being gay doesn’t kill people. Not sure if CDC counts how many Americans die by strange-looking pants each year, but if they do, chances are the number will be a lot less than 6,000 (the number murdered by “ni**ers” every year in this country).
That sounds a lot like an argument I would imagine someone from the KKK or some other white supremist would make in supporting restrictions against non-whites. Yet they appear to be blind to the parallel.
That some people are frightened by others exercising a specific enumerated right is not justification for infringing that right. As one judge said in regards to the First Amendment, “… free speech cannot be limited on the basis of ‘undifferentiated fear”. It is a severe and unjustified infringement on liberty to engage in prior restraint based on the imagination and paranoid fears people like Helmke and Morford have about gun owners.
It’s not just Morford and Helmke that want to put up the equivalent of “No Coloreds Allowed” signs on businesses they frequent. Here is another bigot having his say on the topic:
Many intelligent educated and reasonable people feel that the presence of openly-displayed guns in a coffee shop like Starbucks is disturbing. Some of them may feel the gun owners are not to be trusted. Others may feel that guns in a crowded public place are too easily within reach of kids and criminals. Some may feel a tacit threat from those carrying weapons, which gets back to the trust issue. But, whatever they’re thinking, aren’t they free to think it? Don’t they have a right to feel any way they want? Aren’t they entitled to request Starbucks to institute a no-gun policy?
How many “intelligent educated and reasonable people” need to feel the presence of ni**ers in a coffee shop like Starbucks is disturbing before it stops being bigotry? How many people have to feel ni**ers are not to be trusted before it is acceptable to enact regulations and push businesses to ban them?
Certainly they are free to think and feel whatever they want. And they can petition Starbucks to institute a no-gun policy with legal intervention to back them up. No one is advocating otherwise. But that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t feel the outrage from the public for their bigotry. But should they take that bigotry to the next level where they injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate people for exercising their right to keep and bear arms then they should be prosecuted.
I’ve taken Paul Helmke to task on this before but he just doesn’t seem to get it. But I shouldn’t be surprised. Bigots have a tough time learning.
Update: The Brady Campaign has directly responded to this post. They claim that if it is not an immutable characteristic such as skin color then it isn’t bigotry or a civil rights issue:
In order to think this way, the key assumption such gun advocates have to make is that their guns and gun use are functionally identical to race, or sexual orientation — such that one’s status as a gun advocate is essentially an immutable characteristic.
By that logic banning interracial couples, Catholics or Muslims from Starbucks or Woolworths wouldn’t be bigotry either. I’ve got news for the Brady Campaign Staff–they’re wrong and I think they know it.
As long as they held on to the falsehood that the 2nd Amendment did not protect an individual right they might have made a thin case for that. But as soon as the right to keep and bear arms was on the same level as the freedom of association and freedom of religion they lost that crutch. Via D.C. v. Heller we have, and the Brady Campaign acknowledges, a specific, constitutionally protected, right to keep and bear arms. With that decision they became a gentler version of the KKK. No white sheets or burning crosses in our yards but they still attempt to segregate us and ban us from parks, buildings, and businesses. The only difference between them and the KKK is the KKK was sometimes willing to take the law into their own hands. The Brady Campaign attempts to get the government, Amtrack, and Starbucks to do the yucky work of infringing on the rights of others for them. They are now on a slippery slope into obscurity and revulsion and they are grasping at straws with their denial of bigotry.
And their advocacy for public bans of us exercising that right is more than just bigotry. It is just a hairs breadth away from a felony:
If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or
If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—
They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.