Quote of the day—Charles Krauthammer

Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic — purely symbolic — move in that direction. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation.

Charles Krauthammer
April 5, 1996
Disarm the Citizenry. But not yet
Originally in The Washington Post on April 5. The above link is in the Seattle Times from April 8, 1996.
[Via email from Ry who said, “Lots of qotd material here”. This was like saying, “Nukes make lots of dust.”

This was part of the overreaching the anti-gun people did in the mid and late 1990s. They were on a roll in September 1994 and thought they were unstoppable and openly announced their intentions. They thought there were no obstacles. They thought at most there were just speed bumps causing them to slow down on their way to total domination. And they were wrong.—Joe]


12 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Charles Krauthammer

  1. My only fear is that somebody might someday write your last paragraph about us, except switch roles and change the dates to now. Some of the open carry folks seem to be pushing things sometimes. Stuff like that could turn things around for us too.

    I’m just saying that we need to continue to be smart. We certainly can’t declare victory yet, that’s for sure.

    Just a thought. 🙂


  2. I tend to look at the change in heart on gun control slightly different than you do, Joe. I’m glad that we are winning this issue, but I am still pissed as hell that we were ever losing it in the first place.

    Look at it this way. Two decades ago, the majority of the people living in America supported violently depriving a large minority of the people their right to defend themselves and their families. One party was enthusiastically and openly gloating about any and all harm done to gun owners, while the other party was “distancing” itself from the gun owners who were in desperate straits. As this QOTD illustrates, many of today’s “conservative” pundits were fully on board with the anti-gun pogrom. In fact, one of the staffers of the most recent GOP candidate for President advised him, during his 2000 run, to go after the NRA as the centerpiece to his campaign.

    Now, obviously, gun control is much less popular, and everybody wants to ensure us of their pro-gun bona fides. My question is, why should we accept them? They were ready, not much over a decade ago, to stomp all over our rights (even as their beloved Stalinist president was refusing to violate Osama bin Laden’s rights). We are owed more than a “no harm, no foul.” We are owed a public apology for the way we were treated by the Clinton regime.

    And not just from the Democrats, either. The Guppies in the Ocean Party was also effectively on board with the persecution. Bob Dole actually killed the repeal of the AWB–a law which, if it hadn’t expired in 2004, could have been used as a “Christmas tree” on which Congress could hang more and more gun bans in the future. To this date, the GOP continues to renominate Dick Lugar–a senator so anti-gun that he refused to even sign onto the pro-Heller amicus!

    Frankly, I’m not personally ready to forgive the general populace either. Since we have not had any major dieoffs in the past decade, I have to assume that a fair number of the people I meet daily were on board with Clinton’s gunowner-stomping. Without a contrite apology from them, individually, I find it hard to accept them as my fellow Americans.

    More to the point: I have to wonder when the screw will turn again. These people who casually supported Nazi-like treatment of their fellow citizens, and then casually decided they didn’t support it any more, could just as casually start supporting Clinton-like persecution again.

    My overall point, I guess, is that America needs to deal with its demons on this issue. We weren’t able to give African-Americans civil rights without getting a mouthful, and occasionally a mouthful of fist, from them–and that was completely understandable, since they were treated as second-class citizens. We shouldn’t let people off the hook so easily for their anti-gunowner persecution, either.

  3. “Some of the open carry folks seem to be pushing things sometimes.”

    Which folks, specifically?

    ‘Pushing’ how, specifically?

    What things, specifically?

    When, specifically?

    Are you a rumor-mongering tabloid journalist, Tim? Because you’re talking like one.

  4. Acksiom: I refer to http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=338401 and the many other threads where the calguns folks have asked to please don’t UOC (or at least do it ONLY for self defense, and not as a part of a movement) in CA because it’s getting in the way of actually making progress in rolling back all the other infringements. Like now we have to deal with this: http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/showthread.php?85411-AB-144-Open-Carry-Ban-%28Here-we-go-again.%29

    I’m definitely a fan of open carry. Heck, it’s the only way I’ve ever actually carried. But in many ways, until we get a lot more legal groundwork done (like the scrutiny level for the 2nd amendment hammered out, better supreme court protections for carrying, etc), it’s somewhat dangerous. If done properly, it can help us win the battle of hearts and minds. If done improperly, it can lose it very quickly.

    PS: How dare you insult me with the label of “journalist”! 🙂

  5. In reality, England and Wales have the same number of reportable offenses as the United States, eleven million a year. But E/W have about one sixth the US’ population. So by Krautheimer’s and Sarah Brady’s reasoning, we are behind.

    And since it makes little difference to a corpse whether it was done in with a cosh or a bullet, the comparative number of guns and gun related homicides is a propaganda point. The Queen’s ministers do not classify a fatality that is “a matter of interest to the police” a homicide until a conviction has been obtained and all appeals have been exhausted. Meaning that the British homicide rate is as fictional as New York Mayor John Lindsay’s.

    Bottom line? Soho is a great deal more violent than Camden’s worst street. Midlands towns are as crime ridden as Detroit, where similarly situated American towns are still comparatively safe. And the reported body count adds up to nearly one third the US total. Again, for one sixth the population.

    So whether Krautie wants the US to be in the position Britain is in, I do not.


  6. Tim, my thanks and praise for stepping up. That kind of intellectual responsibility and maturity is all too rare these days, online or off.

    I’m reading through the CalGuns thread currently. Unfortunately, so far I have to say I’m not impressed. My views of politics and social activism are much more informed by physics (i.e. the application of the 2nd Thermo Law to human energy exchanges) in general than any active invovlement with legislative efforts in particular. Also, I’m not a member of the pro-2nd Amendment kinship; I stumbled into the OC debate via research into defensive digital recording. Thus the argument from high credibility (‘trust Guy X., he’s shown us the money before’) is not persuasive to me, and the follow-on legislative advantage argument is consequentially likewise unconvincng. And finally, my experience with a similarly taboo activist cause has reduced my interest in working within the system; I’m much more inclined towards routing around it.

    There are other parallels between the two causes that I think 2nd Amendment supporters would find useful, and so I am putting notes by for a post that I hope they will find helpful as points and ideas occur to me. Forex, did you know that the majority of tragic, senseless firearm deaths in the usa from 1981-2007 have been male suicides? 50.13+%, to be more precise (CDC online stats via WISQARS; I did the minimal math involved myself). I’ve gained a lot of valuable information from the OC community over the past couple of years and I look forward to trying to reciprocate.

    Ok, at 120 posts in, I’m finding the counterarguments much more sensible and persuasive. OTGH, though, I find your willingness to accept direct self-defense as a valid justification most persuasive of all, mainly for disarming my knee-jerk libertarian reflexes better than anything else.

    Well, that and the balm to my soul from how Little Sebbie got all Snack Cakes Nazi at me over at SIH when I kept scrubbing the primacy of self-defense into his face in response to his OC-bashing. Not because I’m pro-OC, but because it’s a good, valid counterpoint to his arguments, and I consider it extremely rude when someone consistently and repeatedly ignores those. And especially so when they’re doing it to someone who isn’t on their side but has still contributed an original idea with some solid potential — well, at least IMO — for creating a win-win situation between both pro-2nd Amendment and anti-gun activists.

    Namely, the proposition that if anti-gun activists, or anybody else in this country, really want to prevent tragic, senseless firearm deaths, they should be identifying the people most at risk of suicide and reaching out to them with support. It’s not just demographics; I believe it would also be far more efficient and effective than the current expenditure of resources on mutual opposition. And I firmly believe that the pro-2nd Amendment kinship would be DELIGHTED and PREFER to work on and contribute towards suicide prevention WITH even their current opposition rather than struggle through legislative and judicial battles against them.

    So ok, so I’ve read through the OCDO thread now, and I don’t think it supports your position well either. Thanks and praise again for the links, but you’re going to need much better examples than that. No offense intended, but if that’s all you have, then yes, actually, it was just rumor-mongering tabloid journalist talk.

    PS: Nope, wasn’t an insult because it’s not libel if it’s phrased as a questi —

    — aw, DAMMIT!

  7. Acksiom: In California, this is the reality: Groups of UOCers showed up at CPK and Starbucks, got on national news, and boom, open carry ban bill happened, and will pass if it gets voted on. The last time this happened, they did the same thing. See the first few pictures of this: http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=hp&biw=1435&bih=989&q=black+panthers+guns&gbv=2&aq=f&aqi=g1&aql=&oq= The black panthers protested at the california statehouse with openly carried firearms (totally legal at the time), and guess what, even Ronald Reagan ended up signing the anti-open-carry bill. CA would otherwise have been a completely legal open carry state, like most others. Now, we only have UOC, and I believe that is only because of some tricky language in another bill, though I’d have to dig a bit to be sure.

    I think you have seen the arguments in that thread and may understand some of the strategy that they are moving forward with. This is _critical_ for progress in California. The legislature is pretty solidly anti-gun, as are most people (though maybe that is changing? :-). The only avenue for getting stuff fixed is the courts. So to lay low until the court cases that protect people have been settled seems prudent, especially if it threatens to derail other efforts to roll back restrictions.

    You may disagree. Certainly, others do, as you can see from that one thread (there are actually many others on this topic as well). However, I think that everybody who is reasonable agrees that the end goals of everybody is the same. I am not OC bashing. Neither are the people at CGF. What they are saying is something like “Hey, can you guys stop with the human wave attacks until we can get some artillery in place to take out their machinegun nests? We all want to take hill 2a, but we think we’ll need you later on when we have to conquer the legislature caves.”

    So please, don’t eat your own. I’m not opposed to OC. I’m just saying that, like all things 2a related, we need to be careful. We are standing on very new territory that just got lifted out of the sea, and we don’t know how stable it is, nor is it entirely dry or suitable for growing crops yet, even though it looks very promising so far. I don’t believe that is in any way a foolish or tabloid-worthy stance at all.

    Enough with the analogies. 🙂 Have fun!

  8. I’d say cut California loose, but there are some good Boomershooters stuck there 🙂

  9. Unfortunately, Tim, you’re talking past my concerns. Based on my my experience, both the incrementalists and the exertionists would get much better returns from investing their resources into recruiting new members than trying to limit and control each others’ behavior. When the judicial/legislative incrementalists focus first and primarily on trying to limit and control the relative out-group of OCers rather than those in their own core kinship whose behavior puts off prime recruitment targets like me — again, http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=4968081&postcount=160 — I know better than to believe their blandishments.

    ‘Please don’t make it harder for us to work the system’ starts off unlikely to persuade me because in my preferred default model for analyzing such matters, the expansion of civil rights is far more dependent upon technological improvements and increased general wealth than activism. My observation is that activism just makes things happen a little itsy bit sooner than they would have anyways, and therefore the best way overall to expand civil rights is to focus on scientific and engineering innovation and improvement. Without that, you can work the system all you want but no meaningful change will occur. Civil rights expand when communities can afford it. Make communities wealthier, and you make the expansion of civil rights possible.

    Cap that very different view of how the world works off with “And we’ll let the loudmouths on OUR side get away with behavior we criticize on YOUR side,”, and my normal, adult, sensible reaction is to walk away, shaking my head and muttering, “Nope, too much hypocrisy, can’t trust them, no support from me, won’t give them a thing.” I’ve been noticing this glaring incongruity on the incrementalist side more and more often.

    Simply put, if you’re going to claim that you’re working hard to reduce the State’s ability to tell us what to do, you need to be very, very careful about trying to tell other people what to do.

  10. Acksiom: Have I ever said _anything_ about telling you what to do? I think you may be conflating CGF with me. I’m not CGF. If you have a problem with their advice, take it up with them. I just was referring you to their site and their arguments to show you what I meant about how we sometimes need to be careful.

    On the other hand, I would urge you to stop dividing our side into “us and them”, as you seem to be. When you do that, you weaken us all. I think that most people agree on the goals of getting our rights recognized. We may disagree on the tactics, but that’s something that reasonable people can do. When such disagreements come up, I think we should listen carefully to the people we disagree with, discuss our concerns and see if they make any impression on them, smile, and say “well, I hope you succeed!”, and then part ways.

    At least that’s what I think. 🙂 What I guess I’m hoping for here is less calling people tabloid journalists and people who want to tell other people what to do, and more “that is interesting info. Thanks!”.

  11. Be aware that CalGuns is also full of people who intentionally disrupt progress. I hope you notice how negative it is. Part of this stems from personal issues on the forums and who I work with.

    At the Capitol the anti-gun offices intentionally play one gun rights person against the others. My first interaction this year I was told NRA was calling me names again. Nothing new and you will see the same happen on the forums. The anti-gun groups do not work against each other but the pro-gun groups are a bit competitive at times and need to stop listening to rumors like ones about me fixing bills which is nonsense but if pro-gun groups work against each other it will make us less effective.

    I do not keep track of many items but I did get this on a google alert so I am responding this time. Take Care and Carry On. ~Alany

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