The Civilian Disarmament Dialectic

by William Norman Grigg

Recently by William Norman Grigg: Why Is it a ‘Crime’ To Disarm a UniformedAggressor?

The Opinion page in today’s Idaho Press-Tribune published side-by-side op-ed columns by Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue and Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney on the subject of proposed civilian disarmament measures. (The essays are hidden behind the paper's ridiculous paywall.) The comparison is quite instructive.

Sheriff Donahue, who has played to his constituents by joining the ranks of Second Amendment Refuseniks, condemns Barrack Obama's civilian disarmament as u201Cpolitical posturing,u201D while professing his confidence that u201CCongress would not be so foolish as to let anyone strip us of our Second Amendment [sic] rights.u201D He also regurgitates the long-stale and always-unedifying talking point that the country deserves a u201Cmeaningful dialogueu201D on gun-related violence.

Donahue adroitly misdirects the reader from what should be the central question: What would he do in the event that Congress were so foolish as to enact gun confiscation laws?

The astute reader will notice that Donahue gives the game away in this statement from the first sentence of his third paragraph: u201CLaw-abiding citizens have every right to own legal firearms….u201D Here he takes refuge in a familiar statist tautology: Our u201CSecond Amendment [sic] rights,u201D on this construction, consist of the freedom to own whatever firearms the government permits us to have.

Later in the essay, Donohue – succumbing to the irresistible temptation to boast about his supposed accomplishments – describes how he has u201Cworked for years with dedicated ATF agents and other local law enforcement officers to keep illegal guns, like sawed-off shotguns, off our streets and enforce laws prohibiting felons from owning or possessing firearms.”

Sheriff Donahue's message to gun owners is: You can trust me not to help the Feds disarm you, because I only work alongside the Feds to seize “illegal” guns – which actually means that I will disarm you as soon as they outlaw possession of whatever guns you happen to own.

For his part, Sheriff Raney (as I have noted before) insists that the Constitution's supremacy clause – which he deliberately misrepresents – gives the Federal government plenary authority to disarm the public, and that his oath of office requires that he carry out federal orders. In his op-ed, Raney goes out of his way to acknowledge that the Constitution protects “the right to keep and bear arms” and to emphasize that “I personally oppose some of the gun control measures currently under consideration….”

His message to gun-grabbers is: You can trust me to disarm the public, emitting a dense fog of persiflage about individual liberty as I do so.

Donahue and Raney have collaborated to produce a museum-quality example of the controlled dialectic at work in the campaign to disarm the public. Both of these sheriffs will carry out orders to confiscate personal firearms. They’ve just tailored their respective rhetorical approaches for different constituencies.

We shouldn't neglect the role played by the Press-Tribune in this exercise. The mission statement of the P-T's editorial collective is: u201CEmpowering the community.u201D This means, in practice, sacrificing the rights of the individual on behalf of the supposed u201Ccollective goodu201D – and justifying the criminal actions of the state's enforcement caste when they result in harm to the innocent.

Last August 16, a SWAT team from the Gem County Sheriff's Office invaded the home of an innocent couple on the basis of a spurious domestic violence call. One of them, Detective Rich Perecz, assaulted the terrified wife, dragging her bodily from her home. The husband was forced to kneel facing away from at least two officers who held the muzzle of their u201Cassault riflesu201D at the back of his head. Then, without a warrant or probable cause, the team – led by Gem County Sheriff Chuck Rowland – conducted an illegal search of the house. They eventually found an item they called u201Cdrug paraphernaliau201D and wrote the husband – who was left with lasting injuries after being dropped, handcuffed, on his tailbone – a ticket.

Why did the Gem County Sheriff authorize a paramilitary raid, rather than a simple welfare check? One of the deputies identified the husband as a u201Cconstitutionalist.u201D

The victims of this home invasion, Michael Gibbons and Marcela Cruz, tried for months to get the local media – including the Press-Tribune to report on the story. Finally, on October 17 – long after the story had been widely publicized online – the Press-Tribune published a masterpiece of statist stenography entitled u201CGem Sheriff defends deputies in video.u201D (Sheriff Rolland, of course, was involved in the same criminal actions, and hardly qualifies as an objective observer.)

When – not u201Cifu201D – the Feds escalate their war against private gun ownership, u201Clocalu201D sheriffs like Donahue, Raney, and Rolland will do as they are ordered; they will defend their deputies as they commit crimes against innocent people; and collectivist media outlets like the Press-Tribune will dutifully retail the Regime's talking points in the name of u201Cempowering the community.u201D