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home : columns : columns January 23, 2019

4/17/2018 6:54:00 PM
Silence is consent

Sadly, that sort of generosity is lost on a growing segment of our culture who believe - even to the point of personal attacks meant to intimidate the opposition into silence - that theirs is the only view that matters.

This column warned against the absurdity of "rules of discourse" because it amounts to nothing more than an attempt to deprive the opposition of their point of view by controlling their language, presentation, and legitimate dissent whenever it runs contrary to the listener's preferred narrative. Which people genuinely interested in dialogue don't do to each other.

Proponents of rules of discourse have clearly failed to understand the historical import and value of the 1st Amendment to the larger workings of a free and wildly diverse republic. It should come as no surprise that they also fail to understand and appreciate the historical treasure bequeathed to free peoples in the form of the 2nd Amendment.

Under Oregon Initiative Petition 43, they would also be willing to trash the 4th Amendment, by allowing agents of government into the homes of law-abiding and responsible citizens to confiscate firearms and accessories never used in the commission of a crime.

Which, by the way, is exactly what both the Nazis and Soviets did all over Europe.

Many of the people who were, just a short time ago, declaring loudly and with extreme confidence that Donald Trump - who is a large-style buffoon and a national embarrassment - would NEVER be elected President of the United States, now also declare with certainty that those of us vehemently and vigorously defending our 2nd Amendment rights are wildly exaggerating.


Even the briefest glimpse at IP 43, should such a thing ever become law, proves the lie. IP 43 demands in plain language the surrender of firearms and high-capacity magazines under threat of imprisonment. Those of us who are targeted will become instant felons without ever having committed a crime.

Under those circumstances, silence is consent. And this column, along with hundreds of thousands of Oregonians, most certainly does not consent to such an outrageous abuse of power.

But the language of IP 43 aside, what's more troubling is the historical ignorance and intellectual laziness required to believe that converting law-abiding Americans into outlaws, and requiring responsible citizens to hand over legally purchased, legally possessed, and responsibly owned weapons will solve the very real problem of criminal gun violence.

Because it will have ZERO effect. And as evidence I can offer up virtually every major city in America.

This column's position on the issue - which is neither extreme nor negotiable - is also well-earned, given my intimate familiarity with gun crimes, the immediate horror that they induce, and the effects that resonate long after.

As a police officer I was involved in two shootings: the first a gang homicide that happened mere feet in front of me, and wherein I held the dying victim - shot four times in the chest - in my arms while he bled out and breathed his last choking breath into my ear.

Fortunately, his killer is now serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Later, the dead gang member's mother would approach me in court and ask if her son had, in his final moments, asked for her. He didn't.

The second shooting happened in the middle of a notorious citywide celebration that annually brought tens of thousands of additional people to our city. The gunman in that case was shot 19 times by police after pulling out a gun on a sidewalk crowded with people.

I will never erase the image of handcuffing him where he lay on the sidewalk, or be able to unfeel the grinding grist of broken bones in his arms as he gave up his life in a series of otherworldly groans and spasms.

Furthermore, as a crime-scene investigator I responded to countless gun suicides committed by people of all ages, some so tragic they are still impossible for me to discuss.

And finally, my legacy case as a task-force detective was an almost two-year caper where my partner, a BATFE Special Agent, and I worked undercover to seize illegal weapons manufactured and sold by members of an outlaw motorcycle gang. We seized numerous AK-47s, ARs, and stolen pistols from this group, bought drugs from them, and eventually sent 14 people to prison for their crimes.

But what I understood very well in those days - and where I continue to make critical distinctions as a civilian - is in the vast distance between criminals committing heinous crimes and law-abiding citizens exercising their natural and protected right to arm themselves against all manner of threats.

It's both sad and revealing that others can't - or just won't - make those distinctions, and prefer instead (never let a good crisis go to waste) to lean on raw emotion, obtuse views of meaningful dialogue, and prohibition-era mindsets that are, and always will be, notorious fails in the arena of law and public policy. Much worse is the willingness to enforce that mindset by threat of force or imprisonment-for crimes that law-abiding citizens didn't commit and never conceived of committing.

And don't tell me it can't happen, or that it won't happen, or presume to lecture the writer that this column should become a milquetoast apologist space to preserve the feelings of certain readers, all in the name of "civil discourse."

Because Auschwitz wasn't a relocation camp, the Soviet Union wasn't a worker's paradise, and Donald Trump was never going to get elected.

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