In the week following the tragic mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH by evil men who chose to take the lives of innocent people, formerly staunch gun-rights supporters in political offices and in media are scurrying to find ways to look like they are responding to public safety concerns, while at the same time not alienating their base of support who often vote solely based on how a candidate stands on gun control. Dan Crenshaw, U.S. Representative from Texas’s 2nd Congressional district is one of these politicians. In fact, he has probably been the person doing the most scurrying to find a stable part of the fence to straddle.
Rep. Crenshaw was a United States Navy SEAL who lost an eye during his third tour of duty. He continued to serve two additional deployments. He received two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, and a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Valor. This is an impressive resume for any military servicemen. Whether one agrees with our never-ending overseas entanglements or not, it is hard to argue that Dan Crenshaw has not served and sacrificed for his country. The hero soldier-turned-Congressman became the darling of pro-Second Amendment supporters nationwide following his 2018 election to Congress. Finally – it seemed – we had someone in Congress who understood the foundations of and the reasons behind the Second Amendment’s existence. This all changed with the recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton, though. Either one or more authoritarian RINOs or leftists got to Representative Crenshaw and told him he will take instruction from them or he was never the darling of pro-gun Americans that we thought he was. Perhaps he is simply another person who has worn the uniform and has leveraged it to his advantage to obtain a seat in Congress. Personally, I hope that’s not the case. He seems genuine to me, but his recent stance on Red Flag laws is a slap in the face to due process, gun rights, and freedom.
If I were to have the chance to sit down with Mr. Crenshaw, I might say that it is a shame if either of these scenarios is true. I’d tell Mr. Crenshaw that it unfortunately appears that you are in the early stages of abandoning your principles, as has every politician in Congress on the left as well as an uncomfortable number of Republicans. You are falling victim to the infamous tactic of the left of blaming the weapon and largely ignoring the source of the tragedy, which is the sociopathic or evil criminal.
Hundreds of articles have been written regarding the concept of not blaming the weapon. I don’t expect to impart any new wisdom that has not already been discussed. Now and then, however, it might be good to be reminded.
I would point out to Mr. Crenshaw that when it comes to the Second Amendment, I am an absolutist – as were the founders. I believe the Founders knew exactly what they were recognizing in the Second Amendment. After all, they had just finished fighting a war against an enemy who regularly used weapons against the citizenry. Whether we like it or not, the Second Amendment exists so that we can, as free citizens, be as well-armed as the military and politicians that control the use of force. It is a check on those who are in a position to trample our rights. I also strongly believe in due process. A person should never be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. This is accomplished with a fair jury trial by our peers. Judges and law enforcement agencies should never have the power to deprive us without the input of a jury. The British government did this before the revolution with the issuance of writs that were issued by magistrates at the request of civil authorities. A jury was not involved. The American system was created to take this power away from the bench and to give the people greater power than the authorities.
Mr. Crenshaw, the “Red Flag” laws that you first said you wanted to look at and now say you will only support with strong protection on due process are exactly the same as the writs of the colonial era. They need absolutely no jury trial. An anonymous tip can give the police all they need to go to a judge to have a citizen “red-flagged”. The due process you seek cannot exist in this environment. Due process already exists in the Constitution – if we would follow it. Red flag laws and due process are mutually exclusive.
Are the events that happened in El Paso and Dayton tragic? No doubt they are. Any sane and reasonable person does not want to see an innocent life taken. Do we feel for the survivors? Of course we do. All of us have been touched by tragedy in one way or another. We have all lost people who were near and dear to us. Not all of us have lost someone to a mass shooter.
I have often wondered, what if it happened to me? I would be devastated, as all of the families of recent victims are. It would devastate and forever change me if my only son were taken from me unnaturally. I admit that I am only human. If he were taken from me in an event like the ones that occurred in Texas or Ohio, my first instinct would probably be to kill the person who did it. I wouldn’t care at all about which object he used to commit the crime. I would want pure vengeance against anyone to ease my pain. Vengeance is not what the American system is based on. The American system was supposed to build on the foundation of logic which our British cousins laid for us.
Mr. Crenshaw, in spite of my theoretical thirst for revenge, what I would not do, however, is blame the weapon. To do so simply defies logic. Everyone on the left wants to blame the weapon, but no one wants to blame the shopping mall with limited exits through which to evacuate or the vehicle that the person used to get to the location where they committed their evil. It is just as logical to say that if he did not have access to that vehicle he could never have gotten to that mall. Speaking of vehicles, they have been used in New York, London, and France to inflict massive amounts of damage – comparable to mass shootings. Will the red flag laws that you support also regulate vehicle purchases and building exit designs? If you are consistent with this idea, they should. My mom is getting a little older and her driving sometimes scares me. Perhaps you should act on these ‘red flags’ and revoke her driving privileges. In fact, the US government should revoke the licenses of all drivers over the age of 65 due to many seniors suffering from dementia, slower instincts, muscle weakness, poor coordination, and greater incidence of strokes and other serious health issues that could endanger others on the road. the red flag back to the gas station. Maybe we should restrict fuel availability. Had the El Paso shooter not had so much fuel he might not have been able to get to that mall. Do you see how foolish it sounds to blame inanimate objects for violent crimes perpetrated by people?
The average person cannot tell you what kind of rifle Lee Harvey Oswald used when he assassinated President Kennedy. Almost everyone who has heard of the Kennedy assassination can tell you the name of the assassin – the person. The same principle applies to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Anyone with half an education of the period knows that it was John Wilkes Booth. Almost no one can tell you what kind of weapon Booth used.
Representative Crenshaw, let me remind you of what many consider to be the very first murder to have been committed. In Genesis 4, it recounts the story of Cain killing Abel. I have examined four different translations (yes, I have a literal stack of Bibles) and not a single version tells how Abel was murdered (of course, guns did not exist back during the first few moments of human existence – and the evil AR-15s certainly didn’t exist. Scholars seem to say that Cain either used a large rock, a piece of iron, or – something else that has been used a lot to kill people – and remains one of the most common murder weapons in the world – bare hands!). No translation details the method of killing, only the person who committed the crime and the crime itself.
Sir, all a red flag law does is focus on limiting access of a peaceful person who committed no crime to an object. A constitutionally protected object by the way. (A car is not constitutionally protected, I would remind you.) We should always look at the “who” and not the “how”. Identifying the weapon used in a crime can aid in the apprehension of the perpetrator, but justice cannot be administered (and never is) on an inanimate object. Justice is only applied to the human lawbreaker. No gun has ever been arrested or served ‘25 years to life’ in prison. After a trial and upon conviction, the weapon just sits in an evidence locker – and never harms anyone. The weapon never stands before a judge to face sentencing. Society always seeks to blame the person who commits a crime. It is the person who chooses to commit the crime, not the weapon.
Finally, I would tell Mr. Crenshaw, that by not blaming the person who commits a crime, regardless of what that crime is, we are essentially saying that nothing is our responsibility. If nothing is our responsibility then what is the point of creating laws in the first place? Blame must always be placed on the individual. I would tell him that it would seem, he is getting stuck in the same swamp muck that has sucked in so many others who went to Washington DC with the best intentions. Just as they say it was the fault of the gun that people died in El Paso and Dayton, perhaps I should lay the blame for the loss of you principles Mr. Crenshaw on Twitter or pressure from the media. Surely it cannot be your choice to have given up your principles. Surely something else is to blame. I as a conservative, maybe should blame the phone you used to publish those Tweets. If humanity no longer blames individuals and only blames tools used by individuals, conservatives and libertarians should probably lay off of Mr. Crenshaw and recognize that it is the tool he used to craft those anti-gun, anti due process Tweets that is the real threat.