Recently a guy with an AR-15 standing near a school bus stop raised a lot of ire. People were upset that this man was just there with a gun. They couldn’t believe this was tolerable and they were very upset to find out there was nothing they could do about it.
The gentleman in question made the local news, which then went viral.
Tonight on @wbaltv11: A man with an AR-15 has been showing up for weeks to a school bus drop off for local elementary school students.
Parents say their kids are afraid, the man says he’s protesting @GovWesMoore’s new gun control law. You’ll hear from both sides at 5+6pm. pic.twitter.com/rpdJXAkVh4
— Tolly Taylor (@TollyTaylor) May 18, 2023
However, for a writer at Esquire, the reporting is a bridge too far.
Taylor may well just be trying to abide by coverage guidelines set by his boss(es), but in the process, this becomes really the apotheosis of the Both Sides affliction in the American press. There is no scenario in which some maladjusted creep who’s frightening children at an elementary school bus stop should be presented as just some guy with political opinions by the local news. This is antisocial behavior that should be ridiculed, including by normal people who own guns.
You wouldn’t ask some guy who menaced people on the subway with a knife for his thoughts on whether knife-menacing is cool and good, and make no mistake: this man is attempting to menace members of the public using a deadly weapon that’s capable of killing way more people in way less time. That this kind of weapon is a favorite of school shooters, and these are schoolchildren, only adds to the disgusting character of the events here. Carrying a gun like this in the public square is a way to constantly communicate the threat of deadly force to those around you. A gun like this exists for two purposes: to maim and kill, and to communicate the threat thereof. This loser could make the case that he has a right to carry a gun around via the standard political speech that normal people make use of on this and every other issue. He’s parading around a gun for a reason, the same reason that courts upheld the prerogative of local jurisdictions to restrict who can carry weapons in the public square for 700 years until the Supreme Court conservatives got involved.
First, let’s look at the claim that this is “antisocial behavior.”
While the term is thrown around a lot, let’s remember that there is a psychological condition known as antisocial personality disorder.
Behavior worthy of garnering one such a diagnosis is described by the Mayo Clinic as “consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others.”
Now, did the gentleman in question disregard the rights and feelings of others? Well, sort of. He probably disregarded the feelings, that’s for sure. He didn’t disregard the law, though, so there’s no sign he had no regard for right and wrong, and he certainly violated no one’s rights.
But the author then goes on to set up a straw man argument.
By saying we wouldn’t tolerate someone menacing others on the subway, he’s right, but it’s not a direct comparison.
Had the gentleman with the AR-15 actually menaced anyone, rather than just standing there, he’d have committed a crime as well. The presence of a gun isn’t a threat. That’s something many on the left cannot wrap their little brains around. A gun pointing at the ground doesn’t represent a threat. It just feels that way because of your own biases.
What’s interesting is that the author, Jack Holmes, didn’t seem nearly as worried about the people burning entire cities during 2020. He defended Black Lives Matter protests–a group whose protests were turning violent with startling regularity–and said nothing about the actual antisocial behavior of burning down entire neighborhoods. In fact, he said nothing could be done because such people had no leadership to deal with.
How is it that actual antisocial behavior didn’t warrant any mention of legal action from Holmes then, but now that some dude is just standing around, suddenly there’s a federal case to be made?
What we’re seeing here is absolutely pathetic. It’s the reason why journalism is held in such disregard in general.
Holmes isn’t bothered by looting and rioting. That’s just good clean fun, even if it shows a disregard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others.
While I’m not a fan of openly carrying a gun as a form of protest–all too often, the gun becomes the story rather than the message itself–that man did nothing wrong, and pretending it’s antisocial simply because you don’t like it isn’t going to fly.