How do you justify pushing for more gun control when you have an armed security detail that is likely equipped with the same firearms and magazines you seek to ban the common citizen from owning? Does your life matter more than mine or my family’s or these people’s?” a Virginian named Clarke Chitty asked Democratic Party presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg during a recent Fox News town hall.
It’s an outstanding question. And Bloomberg’s answer is pretty straightforward: Yes, his life is worth more than yours.
“Look, I probably get 40 or 50 threats every week, OK, and some of them are real. That just happens when you’re the mayor of New York City or you’re very wealthy and if you’re campaigning for president of the United States,” Bloomberg replied. “You get lots of threats. So, I have a security detail, I pay for it all myself, and . . . they’re all retired police officers who are very well trained in firearms.”
In the United States, our rights aren’t — or shouldn’t be — meted out according to status. But you’ll notice Bloomberg doesn’t really answer the question, anyway. I suspect millions of Americans who aren’t as famous or rich (very rich, in this case) live in situations in which their property and safety are threatened to the same extent. Not that it matters. Does Bloomberg propose that everyone undergo a government risk assessment before being allowed to practice constitutional rights?
More importantly, Clarke Chitty, one suspects, has zero interest in stripping away Bloomberg’s constitutional right to own a firearm, or to hire professional armed bodyguards to protect him from legitimate threats. The former mayor of New York City, on the other hand, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in efforts to pass laws and regulations that would leave Americans like Clarke Chitty defenseless.
It’s this kind of arrogance that brought about District of Columbia v. Heller, the case affirming that the Second Amendment is an individual right. One of the first plaintiffs in that effort, Shelly Parker, was an African-American resident of Washington, D.C., who had gotten fed up with the crime near her Capitol Hill home. She attempted to rally her neighbors to clean up the neighborhood, provoking the ire of local drug dealers, who began vandalizing her property and threatening her life. “In the event that someone does get in my home,” she explained, “I would have no defense, except maybe throw my paper towels at them.” It would have been illegal for Parker, neither wealthy nor famous, to obtain a gun to protect herself. She was also in danger.
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