Lethal Force at the Capitol

In the Olympian we see an article in favor of the capitol gun ban, SB 5344. That's not surprising. What is surprising is this quote:

[Brendan] Williams [D-Olympia] responded: “This is by no means gun control as that term is commonly used. What I would refer to as 'place and time' restrictions are as applicable to gun rights as they are to First Amendment rights. The rationale for concealed weapons is self-protection. Yet self-protection cannot be a principled motive for carrying a gun in the Legislative Building, as lethal force can generally only be used in response to lethal force under our self-defense laws—and if only the State Patrol were armed, whose lethal force would one have to protect oneself against?”

He seems to think that the only threat model at the capitol is people shooting at you. I, for one, recognize that there are a lot of ways one can be threatened with death or grave bodily harm. Admittedly, they already ban knives and other objects from the capitol, although that seems pretty silly to me, too. (I need to take note of the fact that Olympia apparently has a three inch blade limit. Other jurisdictions are longer.)

His statement contains a fallacy. He asserts that by making it illegal to carry on the capitol (they already have metal detectors to enforce it) that the only one that might threaten you with a gun on the capitol is the State Patrol. However, as an example, that presumes that someone authenticating as a State Patrol officer is not a threat (can anyone see the security risk in that?). As another example, imagine someone (or several of them) shooting their way into the capitol and getting past the troopers to the unprotected legislators and observers inside.

Personal protection is just that. You cannot abdicate personal protection. You cannot assign it to some troopers who are there to maintain order for the entire capitol. They have a hard enough mission without having to worry about me. Add to this the precedents that police are not obligated to protect individuals but rather society and you can see the key problem. I do not want my personal safety to be someone else's responsibility.

Williams seems to believe that when he and I are faced with the same risks (because we're on the capitol) that I should not be responsible for my own life, because he feels I threaten his. He can make that choice for himself, but I don't like it when he makes that choice for me. He made a choice to run for office and be there.

What I think is happening is that Williams is afraid of his constiuents. He considers his personal safety to be more important than theirs. He thinks his job is more important than theirs. To me he has become a malignant narcissist. He should be ignored. Certainly this self-important blow-hard shouldn't be in office.

Josh Poulson

Posted Tuesday, Feb 1 2005 05:04 PM

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