Thursday, February 13, 2003

About a year ago, while writing about the libertarian fantasy that private gun ownership can somehow negate the threat of intrusive government activity like TIA and the Patriot II act, I observed:

...let's look at local law enforcement --- say the Rampart scandal at the LAPD. The community they were operating in was heavily armed --- more heavily, in fact, than a lot of the residents would have liked. But even if there had been people standing on the streetcorners in Santa suits, giving out firearms to all and sundry to make sure that everyone had a gun, it wouldn't have improved the behavior of the police.

I didn't think it was worth elaborating that many people who actually live in neighborhoods where guns are widely available (legally or otherwise) would actually prefer them to be less available, or at least kept out of the hands of the crooks. But the point is apparently lost on the Manhattan Libertarian Party. When the New York City Council proposed a ban on toy guns realistic enough to draw a lethal response from a threatened cop, or drug dealer, the libertarians responded by giving out free toy guns, realistic enough to be at least worth a try in an attempted heist, to kids on the street in Harlem. They even called the event "Guns for Tots". Reports I have seen are not specific about the Santa suits.

Needless to say, this form of protest --- handing out objects to children which could get them killed --- has, well, backfired. But libertarians dealing with complaints about their actions still seem to be missing the point...


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