The new Range War: a query

Has a single “conservative” pol or pundit condemned pointing guns at officials enforcing court orders?

Has a single “conservative” pundit or politician condemned the practice of pointing loaded weapons at law enforcement officials carrying out a valid court order?

Update: Yes. See below.


Not that I’ve seen, so far. Just lots of pap about how “sympathetic” we should be to someone who prefers to use resources he doesn’t own without paying for them and who does not recognize the existence of the United States of America.

And that’s why I usually put “conservative” in scare quotes when referring to the currently dominant faction of the Red Team. There are real conservatives, just as there’s real medical marijuana. But Sean Hannity has about as much to do with actual conservatism as kush doctors offering recommendations to all comers at $35 a throw and dispensaries with bikini-clad beckoners outside have to do with actual medicine.

The difference between the left and the right in American politics is that the lunatic left is a marginal phenomenon; on the right, the lunatic fringe is the mainstream. I hope the genunine conservatives out there will do something to take their good name back from the snipers and the cheerleaders for snipers.

Update Megan McArdle’s column counts as a “Yes” answer to my question, though with two qualifications. First, though her political coloration is clearly Red rather than Blue, she’s a libertarian rather than a conservative. Second, her focus is on the wrongness of Bundy’s defiance of the law and his claim to use resources he doesn’t own without paying for them rather than on the wrongness of his followers using armed force to resist the rule of law.

What’s striking, though, is that so far she seems to be the only player on the Red team – pol or pundit – who has taken any sort of anti-Bundy stance. The default position seems to be that threatening to kill federal officials is just hunky-dory. As Megan points out, the racial dimensions of this are disturbing.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

9 thoughts on “The new Range War: a query”

  1. There is a sympathetic sheriff who is willing to use women as human shields in order to force the Feds to kill women if they move against this well-armed (not well-regulated) militia.… is the video.

    Meanwhile, in Slavyansk in the eastern part of Ukraine, pro-Russian militants are putting babushkas out in the front line to force the Ukrainian army to shoot them if they move against those same militants, thus providing a pretext for a Russian invasion of all of Ukraine. Truth be told, there have apparently been babushkas on both sides of this conflict but the human shield aspect is an interesting parallel.

  2. I think using the term "Reaganists" is better than the scare quotes around "conservative".

  3. “… dispensaries with bikini-clad beckoners outside …”
    Huh? I thought. Bit of blogoetic licence surely. But here’s the upright Daily Mail, with numerous photos, published entirely in the interest of informed public debate. (Made sure I avoided the classic typo there.)

    Under ACA, insurers are beginning to take an interest in preventive care, as they can no longer deny coverage to higher-risk individuals. The Committee of Concerned Elderly Gentlemen, to which I am proud to belong, looks forward to bikinied greeters wheeling us into our heart, prostate and eyesight checkups.

    1. I saw a clever suggestion about removing the word 'pubic' from AutoCorrect – so its use will always trigger a spell check notice. Then one gets to decide which word one wanted…

  4. i must admit something i would once have thought improbable in the extreme–i wish i could read brett bellmore's thoughts on this issue if only for the laughs.

  5. I agree that Bundy and his defenders are acting outrageously here, but the reason for that is because Bundy is not being oppressed. It's perfectly legitimate for the federal government to charge him a grazing fee, and perfectly legitimate to seize his cattle if he doesn't pay it.

    But I wouldn't go so far as to say that one can NEVER justifiably point guns at law enforcement carrying out valid legal process. If some blacks had shot Bull Connor and his goon squad, or a witness had shot the officers who were beating Rodney King, that action would have my full support. The problem for Bundy is that he isn't actually being oppressed.

  6. The idea of allowing Republican political opportunists to operate under the banner of "Conservatives" has always bothered me also. And, in that same vein, the fact that members of the Democratic Party permit being, pejoratively, called members of the "Democrat" Party has also baffled me.

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