A firestorm has been started on Esquire's The Politics Blog with a Tuesday opinion piece by Lt. Col. Robert Bateman titled "It's time to talk about guns and the Supreme Court." He not only takes SCOTUS and Justice Antonin Scalia to task for their Heller decision interpretation of the Second Amendment, but goes on to propose citizen disarmament edicts that dispense with false assurances given by some in the gun ban camp that nobody wants to take our guns away.
Bateman does, big time, and makes no bones about it. In a way, he's done us a service by giving a glimpse of the end gameless candid incrementalists are inching toward.
Per his profile at Small Wars Journal, he "is an infantryman, historian and prolific writer. Bateman was a Military Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and has taught Military History at the U.S. Military Academy."
That he can boast these achievements brings an assumed gravitas to the discussion he wants to start simply with his credentials. When such a man speaks out, there is a natural presumption of authority.
The problem is, his arguments don't live up to that expectation, and rather quickly fall apart with just a superficial analysis.
The Second Amendment only protects a well regulated militia, he argues. "As of 1903," he maintains, "the 'militia' has been known as the National Guard."
Actually, the resulting United States Code also recognized the "unorganized militia" to include "members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia," but Bateman dismisses that responding to a comment poster that "they are not 'well regulated' [and] are therefore not the body considered in the 2nd Amendment as protected."
There are two problems with Bateman's assertions in addition to the obvious one that he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about: First, as the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the United States Senate Ninety-Seventh Congress documented, "Congress has established the present National Guard under its own power to raise armies, expressly stating that it was not doing so under its power to organize and arm the militia."
As for who is protected by the Second Amendment, it's the people, just like it says. Alexander Hamilton addressed "well regulated" in The Federalist No. 29, conceding "To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss...Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped … "
Hamilton recognized that soldiering is a profession, and knew that people had farms to work, shops to tend, trades to ply. But the value of them being "properly armed and equipped" was nonetheless recognized, even if they weren't "well regulated" as a body -- what regulation they would be subjected to would come if and when mustered, but there was no precondition on arms ownership imposed on what they could possess outside of militia duty.
As wrong as he is on chastising SCOTUS for "flunk[ing] basic high school history," that's not where Bateman has generated the most applause from his "progressive" followers and the most contempt from gun rights advocates. That comes when he tells us about laws he'd like to see enacted.
He wants to end the practice of police being able to auction seized weapons. He wants to do a nationwide "buyback." He wants to nationalize arms manufacturers. He wants draconian and escalating ammunition taxes.
But wait, as late TV pitchman Billy Mays used to say, there's more.
He wants to limit private gun ownership to "Smoothbore or Rifled muzzle-loading blackpowder muskets … Double-barrel breech-loading shotguns [and] Bolt-action rifles with a magazine capacity no greater than five rounds."
"We will pry your gun from your cold, dead, fingers," Bateman threatens. So much for the illusion of civilian control of the military, although it does drive home the fear the Founders had of a standing army.
"That is because I am willing to wait until you die, hopefully of natural causes," he explains.
"Hopefully," but not necessarily, Colonel? Will you also wait for my heirs?
"When you die your weapons must be turned into the local police department, which will then destroy them," he dictates. "Weapons of historical significance will be de-milled, but may be preserved."
While he doesn't flesh out how all this will be enforced, he does offer some chilling clues.
"My entire adult life has been dedicated to the deliberate management of violence," he explains.
"There are no two ways around that fact. My job, at the end of the day, is about killing. I orchestrate violence.
"I am really good at my job," he self-assesses.
Ah, that monopoly of violence the "progressives" are so intent on crushing the Republic under …
Still, since he started the conversation in this direction, it would be helpful if Oberstleutnant Bateman would provide some specifics.
What happens if some of us say "No"? What happens if some of us resist? Creatively? Give us some scenarios here. I mean, after all, you guys have jets and tanks and nukes and everything.
Flesh your jackbooted terror campaign of national conquest out for us. Tell us about that violence you will organize, you ridiculous and contemptible totalitarian.
Jeez, Bob, we're not scared of you and we are everywhere. What now?
Well, it might be the time to remind ourselves that before he proved what he was really made of, one of our greatest military heroes was Benedict Arnold.