Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Dick Metcalf: How bad did he need fired?

Since in the previous post the New York Times raised the two months dead issue of Dick Metcalf's ill fated last editorial in Guns & Ammo, let's first have a look at what he said.

It was a PDF. Darn!
First, Metcalf conflates the word "regulate" in the sense of "government regulation" with the language of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution "A well regulated militia...".  These are not the same thing. Not even close. This has been amply discussed elsewhere, and if a gun writer for Guns & Ammo is unaware of all that discussion, its because he's not paying attention to his own field of expertise. Two seconds on Google got me a nice explanation of the difference.

When the Bill of Rights was penned the term "well regulated militia" meant that given it is assumed that all able-bodied adult males within the citizenry would automatically become the militia, since there was no standing professional army, those citizens would be expected to maintain their shooting skills and keep their firearms in good working condition. "Regulated," thus, meant "regular," or "well disciplined," or "regularly kept in good working condition."
If the citizens would serve as the army or "militia," then they had to take great care in regularly exercising their shooting skills and in keeping their firearms in regular working condition, or else the nation could not depend on the citizens to fight if it came under attack. The militia, or all able-bodied male adults, had to be ready to take up their arms at the drop of a hat in the event of a surprise attack, and to use their firearms quickly and accurately.
The thinking of the Framers as indicated by extensive historical documentation, along with the words of the Framers themselves, is summarized by Daniel J. Schultz.

So contrary to the claim made by Mr. Metcalf, the purpose of the government is not to regulate the people. Rather, it is THE MILITIA which is to be "well regulated". As in, the government is to make sure that the general citizenry is armed, trained and equipped to show up at need and see off any threat foreign or domestic. That's the opposite of a citizenry restricted from owning military firearms, military vehicles, military equipment etc. as Metcalf says they should be.  The point of the Second Amendment was to avoid the formation of a standing army and to avoid government control of people and their belongings.

As you can see, its not a technical distinction we're talking about here. Its a fundamental opposition of philosophical principles.

That's pretty much his whole argument in a nutshell. Pretending that government regulation of The People is what the 2nd Amendment means. His supporting examples are the tired, worn out "you can't yell fire in a crowded building", you can't drive a car without a license, and you can't gather in a group on the front lawn of a person you don't like.

In other words, he's singing straight from the New York Times' hymn book, in harmony with Sarah Brady and Josh Sugarman of Handgun Control Inc fame. He's a Big Government fan who thinks people are stupid and have to be controlled for their own good.

In his supposed apology/explanation/mea culpa post (to be found here), Mr. Metcalf doubles down.

... If a respected editor can be forced to resign and a controversial writer's voice be shut down by a one-sided social-media and internet outcry, virtually overnight, simply because they dared to open a discussion or ask questions about a politically sensitive issue . . . then I fear for the future of our industry, and for our Cause. Do not 2nd Amendment adherents also believe in Freedom of Speech? Do Americans now fear open and honest discussion of different opinions about important Constitutional issues? Do voices from cyberspace now control how and why business decisions are made?

That's the whinging of a man caught doing something he knows he's not supposed to be doing. He knows he was singing with Sarah Brady and he's pissed off because he had to deal with some hefty consequences for running his mouth.

But that's not why he got fired.

No, Mr. Dick Metcalf did not get fired for what he said. He got fired because THOUSANDS of people who buy Guns & Ammo magazine were so enraged by his column that they wrote in and cancelled their subscriptions. Thousands more took to the internet and started ranting about how G&A had jumped the shark and how they weren't going to buy the mag anymore if this was the kind of thing G&;A were going to print.

See, Guns & Ammo is a magazine that a company sells to make money for its shareholders. If nobody buys it, the company doesn't make any money, and they all get fired.

Comparing briefly with the Arts and Entertainment Network/Duck Dynasty uproar, Phil Robertson said some things in a magazine interview that pissed off a group of gay activists called GLAAD. Those activists called A&E poobahs and threatened them, so A&E ditched Robertson the same day. We're talking about one phone call here, maybe a couple of emails. Then THOUSANDS of people who watch Duck Dynasty were so enraged by this, they called A&E and threatened to cancel their cable subscriptions of Robertson wasn't reinstated.

Again, these two occurrences are the exact opposite of each other.

Metcalf was fired for threatening the profitability of a commercial venture. There are no "freedom of speech" issues at play here other than his wish to make everybody who disagreed with him shut up.

To continue Mr. Metcalf's car theme, if Ford makes a really bad car, does the CEO get to complain when people write in and say they'll never buy another Ford as long as they live? Or does he resign after firing the doofus who designed the bad car?

So how bad did Dick Metcalf need firing? Really, really bad. So bad in fact that I personally bought the latest edition of Guns & Ammo just to show my support for the new Editor in Chief.

You play with the bull you get the horns, Mr. Metcalf.

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