Yesterday, the Occupy Seattle group decided to engage in that time-honored form of lefty "mostly peaceful" protest: the riot. They smashed store windows. They destroyed cars. They were a general threat to anyone in the area where they happened to be. At 2:37 PM, local time, the Mayor of Seattle issued a proclamation of civil emergency. Less than 30 minutes later, he then also ordered the police to confiscate anything which could be used as a weapon from anyone in the affected area- businesses and residences were exempted, but just walking down the street with your otherwise legal weapon would now be a crime punishable by up to a $500 fine and/or 180 days in jail.
I want to make two points about this.
First, these punks (they deserve no better title) decided to riot because they have been coddled for nearly a year, now. When riots occurred in Oakland, the Occupy permits were quickly re-issued. The original Occupy group, Occupy Wall Street, was allowed to squat in a private park over the owner's objections for months. Even now they stay there, leaving only when the city requires them to so the city can clean up (at tax-payer expense) the refuse which accumulates whenever 3 or more lefties decide to "demonstrate." Their property crimes, assaults, and even rapes are covered up by the media, and largely ignored by the civil authority.
So, on this Glorious Marxist Holiday of May 1st, how could they resist? And what reason would they have for doing so?
The second point, however, is about the misconceptions that modern society has about gun ownership and gun crime. Despite Hollywood's version, the so-called "Wild West" was a relatively peaceful time and place. There were plenty of other things that could kill you- from falling off a horse, to a mine cave-in, to just a routine disease- for people to be getting in constant gun fights. Indeed, at the height of its "glory" the infamous Tombstone Arizona had only a handful of murders- and most of those were what we would call a "gang war" today. And, yet, virtually anyone could carry a weapon -openly- and no one would say a word. Yet, yesterday, Mayor McGinn went to the extreme step of depriving ordinary citizens who happened to have to be transiting through the riot zone of their second amendment rights.
It is easy to see why he chose to do so, and it's easy to rationalize. He had a situation, and he wanted to deal with it. However, what the government actually did was to make innocent citizens less safe. If someone had to be walking through the area for some reason, they were now deprived of any means of self-defense.
When Gabrielle Giffords and several others were shot by Jared Laughner, there were several citizens legally carrying concealed weapons in the crowd. Because they did not have a clear shot at Laughner, they chose not to draw their weapons, and to assist in other ways. You see, the truth is that responsible gun owners are not a threat to the safety of others. They know the limits of their weapons, and their abilities with same, and they bear a high burden of responsibility whenever they discharge said weapon. Removing the rights of such citizens does nothing to make anyone safer.
Certainly one can make the argument that the violence was so extreme yesterday that the Mayor had little other choice, but that is simply not borne out by the facts. Whenever the police did move in on a group of rioters, the thugs were either arrested or dispersed quickly. They were doing property damage, but had not- to that point- assaulted anyone. The behavior the Mayor wanted to curtail was the rioting. The behavior he chose to punish was the exercise of a Constitutionally guaranteed Right.