Monday, April 30, 2007

Shots Exchanged

Madison progressive Paul Soglin and Waukesha unprogressive James Wigderson are having a gun battle. The conflict begins when former Mayor Soglin tosses off a brief innocent comment about the significant increase in hand guns in Madison. Wigderson, in turn, highlights this snippet of a thought in a post he calls Liberals Mugged. Paul – either browsing the right side of the Cheddarsphere or Googling his own name – finds the post and reacts. (Remember – being offended is always an internal reaction).

Wigderson: Shoot First, Ask Questions Later: Too bad Jim shot first and, it appears never bothered to read the article or ask questions. You see, the residents who choose to arm themselves are not the kind of people who ought to have firearms. … Wigderson supports a real nice collection of thugs pursuing their Second Amendment rights.

The way Soglin phrases his last two sentences strikes me as quintessentially liberal. The background newspaper story triggering his initial musing is about the increase in professional criminals disarmed by the city. Soglin says his concern is about rising crime, but his phrasing - “residents who choose to arm themselves are not the kind of people who ought to have firearm” - implies that the mere choice of owning a weapon reflects questionable judgement. The Mayor may quibble with this interpretation but the idea that guns equal crime is well entrenched in Madison.

Furthermore, the idea that thugs might purse their Second Amendment rights seems deeply disturbing to liberals. In Wisconsin, felony convictions can abrogate a person’s right to keep and bear arms, but given that our civil society depends on the application of innocent till proven guilty, a misdemeanor thug has rights. The left interprets the fact that poverty has a partial correlation to crime to mean that poverty causes crime. This is simply false. Crime is not a result of income, objects or situation. Crime is personal acceptance of unapproved values.