We hear this all the time from gun banners. It's almost always stupid and useless, but I am coming around to the belief that it's very often malicious. The idea that the government can act wisely and judiciously, while sweet, is known to any thinking person to be wrong, wrong, wrong. Remember Senator Kennedy finding himself on the no-fly list?
In August 2004, Senator Ted Kennedy told a Senate Judiciary Committee discussing the No Fly List that he had appeared on the list and had been repeatedly delayed at airports. He said it had taken him three weeks of appeals directly to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to have him removed from the list. Kennedy said he was eventually told that the name "T Kennedy" was added to the list because it was once used as an alias of a suspected terrorist. There are an estimated 7,000 American men whose legal names correspond to "T Kennedy". (Senator Kennedy, whose first name was Edward and for whom "Ted" was only a nickname, would not have been one of them.) Recognizing that as a U.S. Senator he was in a privileged position of being able to contact Ridge, Kennedy said of "ordinary citizens": "How are they going to be able to get to be treated fairly and not have their rights abused?"I encourage everyone to go read that link, which discusses notable cases of No-Fly List failures. Among the people falsely identified as terrorists were the wife of Senator Stevens, multiple Congressmen (including the 3rd highest ranking Republican in the House), Air Marshalls, active duty military (including one returning from Iraq who was denied boarding his flight home and a retired Air Force Brigadier General who was an airline pilot and who was denied boarding his own plane), and children under five years old.
The No-Fly List was intended to keep people safe, to "do something for the children". And it's stupid and useless. The government repeatedly fails to act wisely and judiciously.
And so to Red Flag laws. We are already seeing exactly this same idiocy in action:
This is not a case of mistaken identity:I had several readers who sent me this story (much appreciated, guys):
Seems pretty cut and dry that they have the wrong guy, doesn't it? But he had to turn in his guns, because Reasons. There's no way to see this as other than malice on the part of the governmental employees.
In security terms, this misidentification is called a "false positive". While the problem isn't as bad as it used to be, it was for a while so bad that TV commercials mocked it. Remember Windows Vista and their UAC security feature?
False Positives are a hard problem to solve, and requires diligence to keep bad things from happening. This is why you get a second opinion if your doctor tells you that you have a disease that is expensive and painful to treat. Few diagnoses are 100%, and you don't want to go through that if you're one of the 15% that didn't actually have the disease.
But it costs money, time, and effort to get rid of these False Positives. The government employees clearly didn't care one bit that the guy didn't remotely fit the description. Protecting the guy's rights wasn't a priority for them.
This is a type of malice that has been well documented in literature throughout the ages. Pretty much everything by Franz Kafka covers this, as well as more recent works like Catch-22. The callousness of uncaring governmental employees is legendary.
To those who would say that this isn't really personal malice on display, the question is how is this functionally different from malice? OK, so the guy will get his day in court next month, but that's on his dime. The government has neatly shifted the cost of their False Positive to him.
And quite frankly, this is what we see every time new gun laws are proposed. The restrictions may not be very big or very expensive, but they always fall on law abiding gun owners. Every time. People proposing these laws simply don't care about that. There's a word that describes someone who wants his fellow citizens to suffer inconvenience, expense, or worse.