So, just after Christmas, an ex-marine named Joshua Boston posted the following open letter to Dianne Feinstein on CNN's attempt at social media, CNN iReport.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government's right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime. You ma'am have overstepped a line that is not your domain. I am a Marine Corps Veteran of 8 years, and I will not have some woman who proclaims the evil of an inanimate object, yet carries one, tell me I may not have one.
I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free. I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve. I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America. I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned. I am an American. You will not tell me that I must register my semi-automatic AR-15 because of the actions of some evil man.
I will not be disarmed to suit the fear that has been established by the media and your misinformation campaign against the American public.
We, the people, deserve better than you.
Cpl, United States Marine Corps
There. Now you have the backstory, in case you missed it.
You don't know me, but, just like you, I was in the military. Unlike you, I did more than just two tours - I retired after 21 years. On the other hand, I only had two vacations in the Middle East, to your four. So, things even out, I guess.
I read your "open letter" on the CNN website with some interest. I get the general impression that you don't support the idea of gun control: if I'm wrong about that, please tell me.
Oh, and congratulations on learning to use Spellcheck: so many of your fellow lunatics can't manage even that much. But next letter, maybe you should see about getting somebody to help you with the punctuation. I know that's hard for a Marine (or even an ex-Marine), but we all need help sometimes.
I could argue with you on the subject of gun control - it's actually not that difficult to refute every one of the NRA's talking points. The hardest part of the debate is keeping you guys from yelling; you seem to feel that your arguments are more valid when they're louder.
Now, since then, you've become something of an internet celebrity. Your letter has gone viral. You've appeared on Fox News several times, you've been interviewed by Piers Morgan (that one seems particularly popular), and there seem to be people lighting candles and incense under your picture. You're another Internet celebrity. Enjoy it while it lasts, I guess - those 15 minutes die out pretty fast.
I'll tell you the truth, though: I'm not impressed. To be honest, other marines aren't impressed. But I'm not going to try to argue the Second Amendment with you, despite the fact that even the most extreme right-wing Supreme Court justice has said that it's not as all-encompassing as you seem to think.
I could even argue history with you. You seem to ignore the first half of the second amendment, because the full text is "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
See, back then, every town had a militia. Where we've got the National Guard, they had the local militia. And when they said "well-regulated," they meant it. They had volumes of regulations covering the behavior of the militia.
The founders had a simple reason for curbing this right: Quakers and other religious pacifists were opposed to bearing arms, and wished to be exempt from an obligation that could be made incumbent on all male citizens at the time.Yeah, but, see, that kind of argument doesn't do much for you. Logic has left the building. The historical reasons for the Second Amendment don't matter so much as your ability to take out your automatic weapons and blow the shit out of everything in the neighborhood, does it?
When the Second Amendment is discussed today, we tend to think of those “militias” as just a bunch of ordinary guys with guns, empowering themselves to resist authority when and if necessary. Nothing could be further from the founders’ vision.
Militias were tightly controlled organizations legally defined and regulated by the individual colonies before the Revolution and, after independence, by the individual states. Militia laws ran on for pages and were some of the lengthiest pieces of legislation in the statute books. States kept track of who had guns, had the right to inspect them in private homes and could fine citizens for failing to report to a muster.
(Saul Cornell, author of "A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America")
I just want to point out a couple of little things you should consider, outside of the Freudian glories of firing off your boom-stick.
First off, Senator Feinstein doesn't carry her gun everywhere. She just happens to own one. That's not hypocritical: she isn't trying to ban all guns everywhere - she wants some simple, common-sense laws to be instituted. Are you aware that out of the 23 executive orders the president just signed into law (yes, they're legal and they're constitutional, despite what you'd like to believe), one of them made it legal once again for the CDC to look into gun violence?
Yes, did you know that the NRA had gotten some of their trained Congressional poodles to make it illegal to even examine one of the 15 most common causes of death in the US? That's how afraid they are of reality.
But, of course you'd see Senator Feinstein's actions in the worst possible light: after all, she's a woman, and I hate to break this to you, but you're sexist.
Yeah, I know. You'd like to deny it: either to call it a lie, or to attack the messenger (it's a pretty common tactic: "liberals always call conservatives racist," as if simply denying it makes it less true).
I mean, it's pretty obvious just from your choice of words. "I will not have some woman... tell me I may not have one," or "I am the man who keeps you free... I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned."
Those are your own words. But that's just subtext, so maybe that's too subtle for you. Let's look at some of your other words. "I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government's right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me..."
That's adorable. Paranoid, but adorable. So I suppose that your car doesn't have a license plate, right?
Let me explain what you've done with your idiotic little rant. You made this statement on a nationally-read website. You told the American public that you weren't going to comply with the law. Now, hypothetically, some members of that same public might just work for the government. And they might just file your little letter away for future consideration.
And then, later, a couple of people might just knock on your door. With pictures of you at a shooting range, firing an unlicensed weapon. Since you aren't listed as owning, say, an AR-15, that could very well be considered "probable cause." And then you get a citation: even then, the government would be unlikely to confiscate your guns - they'd just take them as evidence, and you'd end up with a fine.
Of course, if you still didn't register your weapons, then they would be perfectly within their rights not to release the weapons back into your custody. Which may seem like "confiscation" to you, but it's something that they wouldn't be able to do if you'd just complied with the law.
I'm not saying that this is a likely scenario. I'm just pointing out the obvious flaw in your logic. The most likely way that your stubborn ignorance would turn around to bite you would be if you ended up arrested on, say, drug charges, or suspicion of being a terrorist: some charge that resulted in a search warrant against you.
Licensing your guns doesn't put you on a "confiscation list," despite what you read in The Turner Diaries. It just keeps you from getting further charges filed against you when the guns turn up in your possession.
But mostly, I'd like to thank you. When people see the immediate and illogical overreaction of people like you, to the mere suggestion of guns getting at least as much regulation as a car? It highlights the insanity of certain parts of the American public. And maybe suggests to them that there are some people who probably shouldn't be allowed access to firearms. People like you, Josh.
So thanks for your efforts to get some common-sense gun laws put into place.
TSgt, United States Air Force