Beto O’Rourke is a pretty risible character even among the clown show that is the 2020 cycle’s Democratic candidate-aspirants. A faux-populist with a history of burglary and DUI, he married the heiress of a billionaire and money-bombed his way to a seat in the House of Representatives, only to fail when he ran for the Senate six years later because Texas had had enough of his bullshit. Beneath the boyish good looks on which he trades so heavily, his track record reveals him to be a rather dimwitted and ineffectual manchild with a severe case of Dunning-Kruger effect.
Beto’s Presidential aspirations are doomed, though he and the uncontacted aborigines of the Andaman Islands are possibly the only inhabitants of planet Earth who do not yet grasp this. Before flaming out of the 2020 race to a life of well-deserved obscurity, however, Beto has done the American polity one great service for which I must express my most sincere and enduring gratitude.
In September 12th, 2019, at third televised debate among the Democratic aspirants, Beto O.Rourke said “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15”. And nobody on stage demurred, then or afterwards. And the audience applauded thunderously.
At a stroke, Beto irrecoverably destroyed a critical part of the smokescreen gun-control advocates have been laying over their intentions since the 1960s. He put gun confiscation with the threat of door-to-door enforcement by violence on the table, and nobody in the
Democratic Party auditorium backed away.
It’s that last clause that is really telling. Beto’s own intentions will soon cease to be of interest to anyone but specialist historians. What matters is how he has made “Nobody is coming to take your guns” a disclaimer that no Democrat – and, extension, any advocate of soi-disant “common-sense” firearms restrictions – can ever hide behind again.
His talk of “military weapons” was, of course, obfuscatory bullshit. The AR-15 is a civilianized rifle the lacks exactly the capability to fire full auto or bursts that is essential for a battlefield weapon. Over ten million AR-15-pattern variants are in civilian hands; it’s the single most popular sport and hunting rifle in the U.S. or for that matter the entire world.
Every single AR-15 owner is on notice. The Democratic presidential candidates and their audience are down with the concept of LEOs raiding your home and forcibly confiscating your guns, even if you’re a model citizen with no criminal record or red flags. The fact that you, your family, or your pets could get shot dead through malice or incompetence does not really signify to them. Got to break a few eggs to make that omelette, comrade!
Hell, if you happen to be white or male today’s Democrats might consider it – what’s the currently fashionable phrase? – “redistributive justice”. No worries though; there are statistical reasons to expect that blacks and Hispanics will be over-represented in the actual body count.
This is horrible – it’s a nightmare and a bad sign for our republic that advocating police-state behavior like this doesn’t get politicians driven from public life – but it’s also very clarifying.
Consider registration and licensing laws, background checks, and other requirements that allow the government to identify and target gun owners. Our civil-rights advocates have been saying for decades that these were intolerable because they have the corrupt purpose of enabling future confiscations. In response, we’ve been treated to endless condescending repetitions of “Nobody is coming to take your guns”.
We knew that was a lie, that forcible confiscation was always the endgame once lesser restrictions had shifted the Overton Window far enough, but way too many people outside the gun culture were fooled. The great service Beto O’Rourke has done is that the pretense will now be very much more difficult, and perhaps entirely impossible.
Thank you, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. You did not intend it, but you have provided a teachable moment for which everyone who takes the Second Amendment seriously should be grateful.
EDIT: Now lightly altered to reflect that at least one Democratic legislator has demurred. Senator Chris Coons said he disagreed with Beto: “We need to focus on what we can get done.” This of course is code for “You idiot! You let the mask slip! We need to continue with the slow strangulation!”