Put Your Muzzle Where Your Mouth Is
By Jeremy M. Helfgot
To America’s staunch supporters of gun rights:
Over the past several years, we’ve engaged in an ongoing dialogue regarding the interpretation and merits of the Second Amendment, and how it is currently applied.
And over and over, you have collectively expressed the same repeated argument: We need to have our firearms to protect ourselves in case the government ever becomes tyrannical and turns on us, creating a police state against which we must defend ourselves and our fellow citizens.
Maybe you haven’t been paying attention, but over the past ten days there have been repeated instances of well-documented police tyranny right in the American heartland. Not in New York or Miami or Chicago or L.A., but in Missouri. That’s right, Missouri.
We’ve seen police roll through an American town in tanks, turn on peaceful crowds, deploy tear gas, rubber bullets and other force, unprovoked; We’ve watched them unilaterally suspend the First Amendment, forcibly stop journalists from documenting events, and even arrest credentialed journalists who were there exercising their Constitutional rights.
And let’s not forget that this all began with an unarmed youth being shot and killed – quite possibly in cold blood – by an on-duty police officer, followed by his agency repeatedly refusing to share with the public vital information that the public has a right to know.
So where were all of you, the mighty Bill of Rights defenders who must keep a cache of firearms to rise up and protect against this kind of tyranny?
Where were all of the photos of Open Carry members packing up their long weapons and heading to Ferguson to face down the tyranny in our midst? Where were all the bedroom warriors, who should have been on the streets of Missouri defending the freedom of American citizens against this oppressive government action?
Why didn’t we see masses of ordinary citizens rising up to defend their Second Amendment rights in the face of an actual threat to those rights?
Apparently, when it comes to mustering the courage to act on your convictions, you’re all shooting blanks.
Sure, you’re tough, real big shots walking into your local Chipotle Grill or Target store with your AR-15 slung over your shoulder; it takes a real Rambo to shop for sundries and eat fast food. But when it came down to a real conflict – the kind that you’re always professing to be worried about – all of a sudden, there was nothing from you except silence.
I believe in your right to protest. I believe in your right to express yourself under the law. And I even believe in your right to carry your arms openly, where the law permits.
What I do not believe is that you are genuinely concerned about defending your rights or anyone else’s.
If you were, you would have been standing in front of the protesters in Ferguson, rifle at the ready, staring down the oppressive police force threatening their rights.
Alas, you were not.
As a group, you frequently like to tout that if you don’t exercise your Second Amendment rights, then you’ll lose them.
In this moment, you have made clear to your peers, to our country, and to the world, that by your very own logic, your rights should be forfeit.
If you do not take up your arms to actively defend the convictions you tout, they are no longer tools for defending rights or preserving democracy. They are simply toys for which you have a fetish.
Playtime is over. And the Constitution affords you no right to bear toys.
Jeremy M. Helfgot is the Principal of J.M. Helfgot Communications