When individuals define it for themselves voluntarily, among others left to do the same, we can understand the word’s applicability.
When it is defined by force by the state, it comes slouching and crouching and dragging its knuckles in a predatory fashion, destroying rights and our own views of what is “good.”
The news that the Trump “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms” (BATF) is ready to enact his threat to “ban” bump-stocks will be heralded by some as just that, “progress,” when it is not, and when it is also blatantly, patently unconstitutional.
For example, how does CNN cover the action?
Evidently needing three people to handle this short and soporific online story, Evan Perez, Laura Jarrett, and David Shortell don’t devote one word to the Second Amendment, to enumerated powers, or to individual rights, but, instead, float around the surface, and concentrate on whether this clearly unconstitutional Trump move should be done via the Executive Branch, or the Legislative – neither of which has any power to do so at all.
So they begin with a reference to the Vegas massacre of October 1, 2017, and explain:
President Donald Trump vowed to outlaw the devices soon after the tragedy, and some lawmakers on Capitol Hill urged him to back a permanent legislative fix.
Which is a perfect example of media-employed prejudicial “shading” in favor of something.
Notice how the authors first assume that the ban is a “fix.” Coming right after mention of the Vegas shooting, this implies that, first, this move is a major part of stopping future shootings, and that this move is a positive one. The phrasing implies that without the regulatory or statutory change, the system is not “fixed”.
Finally, notice how they hide behind their attribution of the word “fix” to certain “lawmakers” (more precisely known as politicians who write statutes, which are different from real natural law) whom the authors said urged the ban. One can tell that the authors likely support the “ban”, but they attribute the use of “fix” to “some lawmakers.”
Given that as a starting point, it’s child’s play to see why they never bother to look into the deeper ethical, constitutional, or practical questions underlying this kind of totalitarian diktat.
And what will the diktat do?
Under the new rule, bump stock owners would be required to destroy or surrender the devices to authorities. Members of the public will be given 90 days to turn in or otherwise discard their bump stocks, according to a source familiar with the final rule.
You’re familiar with those “authorities," aren’t you?
Yeah, they’re the ones who have the armed force of the government to back them up when they order you to give up a piece of plastic that could make a gun fire rounds more rapidly (but, as bumpstocks are known to do, with far less accuracy). That would be the government, which has been shown in the abstract to be the most dangerous creation of man, and the agency claiming the legal monopoly on the use of aggressive violence. If you tried to pull that domineering, threatening nonsense on neighbors, do you think they would ever stand for it?
The politicians seem to have such a problem with various speeds of fire that they see no impediment, like, say, a natural born human right, to stop them from telling others what they can peacefully possess. So, one might ask, if they are going to control how rapidly you can fire rounds, why don’t they just make anything over a ball-firing musket illegal? That would slow down the rapidity of rounds real well.
Of course, on the practical side, anyone with a memory longer than that of a rabid squirrel knows that history has shown time and again that prohibition does not work. So what this “ban” does is stop law-abiding people from acquiring bumpstocks, while those who are intent on committing crimes will simply employ the black market, or, as is easy to do, make their own.
And, to make matters worse, the CNN reporters occupy themselves and readers by writing about whether this fanciful “ban” can be done through the BATF under executive control, or it requires a new statute, completely overlooking a rather important factor…
ATF Acting Director Thomas Brandon acknowledged in a Senate hearing this summer that he has been advised that banning bump fire stocks through executive regulation could lead to court challenges that would delay the implementation of a ban.
Which, of course, assumes that either branch of government – the Executive or Legislative – has the Constitutional power to ban a plastic attachment to anything, let alone something that can be used in self-defense, an assumption that it not just wrong, but toweringly, insultingly wrong.
The existence of the so-called “BATF” itself cannot be justified by any reading of the powers granted to the federal government by the Constitution, and one might hope that reporters writing about the workings of the federal government might bother to look into how it is supposed to function.
But this is CNN, writing about politicians the vast majority of whom haven’t the faintest idea what the rules of their vaunted government mean, or, if they do, they simply don’t care.
Some of us do. And we notice. Regardless of the popularity of the news network or the likeability of the figure in office, we notice.
And we don’t call their actions “progress.” We call them unethical, unconstitutional, and threatening.