Stone: Protecting the right to bear little sticks
This whole gun thing is getting too weird.
Bloody, deadly and weird.
Let’s be clear. I’m a Bill of Rights guy. Sure, my particular focus is the First Amendment — first things first, as they say: free speech, freedom of religion, free press (yeah, I know, there’s my self-interest). But I recognize that you can’t pull out too many threads without the whole garment falling apart — I have sweaters that prove that point.
That is my way of saying I understand that the Second Amendment — the right to bear arms — is part of the deal.
But as noted above, sometimes things get too weird.
About a week ago — on Martin Luther King Day, a day dedicated to the memory of a great man killed by a nut with a gun — gun-control activists showed up at the Virginia state Capitol. They were waving little American flags, like the good patriots they are.
But those patriots were stopped by Capitol Police and barred from entering the building — until they got rid of the little sticks the flags were attached to. (You’ve waved those tiny flags. You know those sticks: wooden dowels, a foot long or so, about as big around as a pencil.)
Because those sticks could be used as weapons, according to the Virginia Capitol Police.
OK. A little paranoid, but still: Safety first. Right?
Well, maybe, but wait! Even as the gun-control activists were forced to stop and tear their flags off the sticks, a herd of pro-gun activists were ushered into the Capitol — carrying assault rifles and handguns strapped to their sides.
Just to be clear, let’s say it again: Little wooden sticks? Too dangerous. Stop right where you are! Assault rifles? Hey guys, come on in!
The Virginia state Legislature — in its infinite, courageous wisdom — has specifically passed laws allowing openly carried guns into the Capitol. Because — well, because of the Constitution!
Two thoughts pop up immediately:
1. If the gun-control people had fastened their flags to the barrels of assault rifles — instead of wooden sticks — one assumes they would have been waved right on inside. (A thought experiment: Suppose the guns in question, with or without flags tacked to the barrels, were obviously fake. With wooden dowels for barrels. Would they have been allowed in because they were “guns”? Or banned because they were wooden sticks?)
2. Why are these legislative idiots (I add the modifier “legislative” so as not to insult idiots in general) overlooking the fact that the Second Amendment they are so fond of does not refer to the “right to keep and bear firearms”? It’s just plain “arms.”
Under any clear reading of the amendment, those gun-control activists should have been allowed to bring in swords and spears, battle-axes, Bowie knives and crossbows. With or without flags attached.
All those nasty items are, after all, “arms” and therefore must be protected and permitted under the Second Amendment.
I, for one, would love to see a mob (and I do mean “mob”) of gun-control activists pushing their way into the Virginia Capitol armed with razor-sharp spears and bloody battle-axes.
That might get someone’s attention.
By the way, I don’t want to give the impression that I think Virginia legislators are the only idiots out there.
Back in July, in Texas (Texas! Who woulda thunk it?), state Senate guards confiscated tampons from women filing into the Capitol to protest an abortion ban — because those tampons (and, yes, maxi pads were banned, too) could have been used as weapons. They could have been thrown at legislators.
But, even as those brave senators were defended from the horror of feminine-hygiene products, the guards cheerfully allowed people to march into the Capitol carrying firearms.
But, of course, as we all know, gun owners are responsible people. They can be trusted to act wisely and carefully, unlike those flag-waving, tampon-carrying lunatics.
Except maybe, now that I think of it, one Kentucky state legislator — a Democrat, by the way — who accidentally fired her Ruger .380 in her office at the State Capitol. She said she was trying to unload it when it just went off. You know: ka-blam!
“I’m a gun owner. It happens,” Rep. Leslie Combs said. I’m sure she meant to add, “Get over it.”
Anyway — back to Virginia.
You remember Virginia, the state where a thin wooden stick needs to be banned because it is more dangerous than a loaded assault rifle. (Another thought experiment: I’ve got an assault rifle. You’ve got a wooden stick. We disagree violently. Only in the world of James Bond and kung-fu movies are you going to come out ahead.)
Anyway, here’s the fun part: If that little wooden stick really isn’t dangerous, you have to let it into the Capitol, of course — because it’s not dangerous. But if it is dangerous, if it is indeed a weapon, then it deserves full protection under the Second Amendment. And you have to let it into the Capitol.
In short: If it’s dangerous enough to be banned, then it cannot be banned.
I guess that might seem like a clever little paradox, but in fact it’s tragic.
Thousands of people die every year, needlessly, because the dim bulbs who run our government (and who, on either side of the political spectrum, is going to disagree with that assessment of the general brain power of our legislators?) can’t really run the government because they’re too busy running scared from a man named Wayne LaPierre — executive vice president of the National Rifle Association and a man clearly overcompensating for having been mercilessly mocked his entire childhood because of his French-y name. Add that name to his wire-rimmed glasses, and this is clearly a man who spent a lot of elementary school time hiding from bullies who wanted to stuff his head in the toilet.
And so we all must pay.
Pay with our blood. Pay with our lives.
And pay with our right to wave the American flag as we protest these pigheaded cowards.
Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His email address is email@example.com.
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From behind the scenes, the sights and sounds of horse and cattle, and the raucous lifestyle of rodeo culture hasn’t changed all that much since the Snowmass Rodeo arena opened here in the summer of 1973.