Contact Lance Cayko
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1/1/19
Welcome to Bat Country
by Bonnie Pyle
Anyone familiar with the iconic film “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” will surely remember the scene, driving through the desert when somewhere around Barstow, the drugs began to take hold. Out of nowhere swarms of bats appeared, tormenting the driver, at least in his mind. Once he saw the bats, our driver began to worry that his friend would also be attacked, and sure enough, the bats came for him too! Of course, these bats were the product of drug induced hallucinations, but like any type of mass hysteria, they spread.
Here in Colorado we are on the precipice of another type of bat swarm, this one comes to us in the form of red flag laws. A red flag law allows law enforcement or family members to obtain a court order to confiscate the guns of any individual they consider a threat to themselves or others. Let’s define the criteria for determining if someone is a threat …. if you’re hearing crickets right now there’s a reason. There are no defined criteria. This “threat” is left up to individual perception. A threat to one person could just be “weird uncle Bob” to another.
This of course brings up the question of what happens if someone just doesn’t like weird uncle Bob and wants to cause trouble for him? What if someone barely knows uncle Bob, but knows he has guns in his house, and believes no one should own guns? All they need to do is obtain a court order based on speculation to have those guns taken away. It doesn’t matter if weird uncle Bob has a collection of non-working muskets and flintlock pistols, because to someone opposed to gun ownership they are just as bad as an arsenal of military grade weapons.
The next question to ask is, what happens when law enforcement shows up to take those guns? In Maryland an armed homeowner was shot by a police officer enforcing a red flag law. We hear about innocent civilians being shot by law enforcement all the time. Is this ok as long as the innocent citizen is a gun owner? It shouldn’t be. Innocent until proven guilty vis a vie due process is the basic premise of our entire justice system. Unfortunately, red flag laws remove that right from gun owners. It now becomes innocent until accused. The right to self-defense is a fundamental human right.
The Libertarian platform sums it up perfectly: “This right inheres in the individual, who may seek to be, or agree to be aided by any other individual or group in the exercise of the right to self-defense. Maintaining our belief in the inviolability of the right to keep and bear arms, we reject all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, transport or transfer of any item or tool that could be used for self-defense.”
History is filled with similar scenarios, innocent people whose lives are destroyed simply because someone suspects or accuses them of something. In America we have seen the Salem witch trials. Approximately 200 people, mostly women, were accused of being witches. Nineteen of these individuals were hanged for the “crime “of witchcraft. People died, and lives were ruined simply because of an accusation.
In the 1950’s we saw the era of McCarthyism, a time when Americans were seeing communists behind every tree. McCarthyism is defined as the practice in the United States of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. People lost their jobs and had their lives turned upside down because they were accused of something with no supporting evidence. Sounds a bit like the red flag laws doesn’t it?
The idea of innocent until proven guilty is a sound principle to base our justice system on, it should not be set aside during periods of mass hysteria. Here on the eve of red flag laws coming to Colorado, we would do well to remember that. No matter your feelings about guns, common sense should dictate that this type of law will do more harm than good. No one is immune to accusation or speculation, one complaint and law enforcement could be at your door, leaving you with a permanent record; or, as the case in Maryland, dead.
The bats are coming, and as we saw in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas “they spread and multiply rapidly. Watch out Colorado, they are coming for you!
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Bonnie is a libertarian living in Teller County, Colorado. She’s a passionate about fitness, animal rescue, and an avid outdoor adventurer.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Lance Cayko at 303.775.7406 or email at CommunicationsDirector@LPColorado.org.