Saw This One Coming

I’ve lost count but America is in about its fifth week of protests. It started out as a right wing thing, with the police killing of George Floyd evolved into a left wing thing and then the right wing, not to be outdone, started showing up in armed counter protests. There was a serious shooting in Albuquerque on Monday and I saw it coming. Let’s explore.

To my recollection it started with Trump supporters trying to intimidate the Michigan Legislature because Michigan Governor Grethchen Whitmer started getting positive press for her efforts in attempting to contain the coronavirus in her state (in other words doing her job) and mentions as a possible running mate for Joe Biden. Simultaneously Trump was making a fool of himself while blowing the containment effort on the nation front. So right wing militia members showed up at the state capital in their dress up outfits complete with guns. They wanted their state opened up damn the data and consequences.

I have to give a shout out to the Michigan State Police. I will always remember the photo of an unmasked (masks in a pandemic mainly protect the other person) militia member shouting in the face of a Michigan State Trooper who remained stoic. The temptation had to be to arrest the idiot but that would have provoked a shootout in the Capital Building that would almost certainly have resulted in deaths. That was a heroic display of discipline and officer’s discretion!

As the protests of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of the Minneapolis Police continued often armed militia began to show up supposedly to keep the peace. We have police forces in America to keep the peace and those trained officers are having a difficult time doing it. The last thing we need is a bunch of untrained, unorganized gun tooting amateurs showing up to “supplement” them. Smart people who choose not to participate stay away and let the police handle the situation. It is somewhat like the scene of an accident. Unless you are a medical professional the best thing you can do is to quickly and safely exit the area and let the trained first responders do their jobs.

Here is the reality of the militias’ motivation: They want to show the police how to put “those people” in their place. Monday night that resulted in a man in the hospital in critical but stable condition from a gunshot wound and that round came from a militia man who would have served America better by simply staying at home.

Now the right wing will talk about their Second Amendment rights. It may surprise them but I recognize America’s gun culture, the need to keep and bear arms in many situations and their right to do so. In a civilized society rights come with constraints. Almost all Americans over the age of 18 have a constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. However, those rights are somewhat constrained by election laws. We can’t simply vote whenever and wherever we choose to.

The gun regulations reasonable people across the political spectrum seek are along those lines. There are times and places to carry guns. One place they don’t belong is in a State Capital Building especially when the legislature is actively in session.

I agree that law abiding citizens often need multiple weapons. The weapon you keep in your bedroom for personal protection is very different than the one you use to hunt deer. However I’m of the feeling that the police and the military should be able to outgun Bubba. The gun you legitimately need to keep close at hand on your farm or on the range is often far from appropriate in an urban environment. It’s not that different than clothes. I might wear some big rubber boots to work on the land but different footwear is appropriate when visiting the office of my state legislator.

America has a gun culture; that does not preclude it having gun safety.

I live in an open carry state; open carry laws, like stand your ground laws, are simply unsafe. I saw this one coming and it will not be the last such incident as long as we continue to allow the irresponsible bearing of arms.

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One thought on “Saw This One Coming”

  1. Two things: If that ugly, armed militia man shouting at the police had been black…then what? Also, I disagree that law abiding citizens, or anyone except the police, need guns. I realize this means a new interpretation of the Second Amendment, and related codification. Let’s get after it!

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