On Orchestrating Less Violence

Concerning yet another sad, unnecessary incidence of gun violence, Esquire‘s poltical milblogger Lt. Col. Robert Bateman had some most excellent thoughts:

My entire adult life has been dedicated to the deliberate management of violence. There are no two ways around that fact. My job, at the end of the day, is about killing. I orchestrate violence.

I am not proud of that fact. Indeed, I am often torn-up by the realization that not only is this my job, but that I am really good at my job. But my profession is about directed violence on behalf of the nation. What is happening inside our country is random and disgusting…

[F]rankly speaking, I am embarrassed by our Supreme Court…

You do not have to read this full Supreme Court ruling, it is a supplemental. I can spell it out for you in ten seconds.

Five of the nine members of the Supreme Court agreed that the part in the Second Amendment which talks about “A Well Regulated Militia, Being Necessary To The Security Of A Free State…” did not matter. In other words, they flunked basic high school history.

The lengths to which Justice Scalia had to go in his attempt to rewrite American history and the English language are as stunning as they are egregious. In essence, what he said about the words written by the Founding Fathers was, “Yeah, they didn’t really mean what they said.”…

Guns are tools. I use these tools in my job. But like all tools one must be trained and educated in their use. Weapons are there for the “well regulated militia.” Their use, therefore, must be in defense of the nation. Shooting and killing somebody because they were not “upset enough” over the loss of a college football team should not be possible in our great nation….

Lt. Col. Bateman proceeds to offer a half-dozen excellent suggestions towards reducing the number of ‘accidents’ and ‘unfortunate incidents’ caused by too many highly efficient killing machines circulating among us. I particularly liked this one:

4. We will submit a new tax on ammunition. In the first two years it will be 400 percent of the current retail cost of that type of ammunition. (Exemptions for the ammo used by the approved weapons.) Thereafter it will increase by 20 percent per year.

Yeah, it’s an old Chris Rock routine, but then again the Second Amendment fetishists are convinced That Man in the White House is doing this already, so why not?






42 replies
  1. 1
    Trollhattan says:

    “He just wants to keep all the gunz for his ownself.”
    –Several gazillion Esquire commenters

    Have highly enjoyed LTC Bateman’s Civil War series and many other pieces as well. Here’s wishing for the Pierce-Bateman campaign!

  2. 2
    LanceThruster says:

    … My entire adult life has been dedicated to the deliberate management of violence. There are no two ways around that fact. My job, at the end of the day, is about killing. I orchestrate violence.

    I am not proud of that fact. Indeed, I am often torn-up by the realization that not only is this my job, but that I am really good at my job. But my profession is about directed violence on behalf of the nation. What is happening inside our country is random and disgusting…

    I am proud of the fact that this man is so painfully aware of what his job entails.

    Thank you for your service, Sir.

  3. 3

    @Trollhattan: Christ, isn’t that the truth. I love LTC Bateman, and I’ve been following & commenting on this particular thread for two days. Sadly, it has pretty much degenerated into a gun-nut orgy.

  4. 4
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LanceThruster:

    My entire adult life has been dedicated to the deliberate management of violence. There are no two ways around that fact. My job, at the end of the day, is about killing. I orchestrate violence.

    This is something that is discussed in every commissioning course.

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    My entire adult life has been dedicated to the deliberate management of violence. There are no two ways around that fact. My job, at the end of the day, is about killing. I orchestrate violence.

    Bzzt. Wrong.

    Management of lethality by means of sanctioned violence, perhaps.

    And orchestrating? A semantic tea cozy for saying directing battle and war. Like saying that Jack the Ripper orchestrated chastity.

  6. 6
    jl says:

    I read the link. Very good column by Col. Bateman and thanks for pointing it out.

    Bateman was too kind to the corrupt and slimy conservative majority on the Supreme Court, especially the fraudulent Scalia. Scalia is an orginial intentist, or textist, or is adherent to whatever goofy near-relative interpretational doctrinie he needs to get whatever conclusion he needs on a given day for political and ideological purposes. (Edit: Scalia admitted the fact that he himself cannot decide what his philosophy of interpretation is, but then being deeply confused and self-satisfied despite that is consistent with being corrupt and slimy)

    From what I’ve read it is difficult to determine the Founder’s ideas on what ‘well regulated’ means in detail. But there is evidence of how they thought about it in a general way. Here is Jefferson on arms in his 1776 draft constitution for Virginia.

    “Arms

    No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms within his own lands.”

    http://www.revolutionary-war-a.....ution.html

    That standard would not even get by a liberal court.

    Emphasis added in the Jefferson quote.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Another Botsplainer says:

    The comments over there, wow just wow.

  9. 9
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    FUCK THE GUN FETISHISTS!

    LTC Bateman is right on, but as jl says about his appraisal of the dipshit majoirty on the Supreme Court was too kind to them.

    As far as I’m concerned, they’re textbook domestic enemies of the Constitution that I, like Bateman, swore to uphold and defend.

    One of my most memorable moments from my early education as an officer in the US Army after being commissioned was a class on just what the words of my oath of office meant. The officer leading the class emphasized the “domestic” part, specifically in the context of one of the late 70’s truckers protest incidents.

  10. 10
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax:

    Bzzt. Wrong.

    Management of lethality by means of sanctioned violence, perhaps.

    “Deliberate management of violence” is a very good description.

  11. 11
    Amir Khalid says:

    I remember Bateman from when he was a frequent guest poster at Eric Alterman’s blog Altercation. (He usually made a bit more sense than his bloghost, as I recall.) I read a few of the comments under this post. The ones from the gun-lovers — one woman called him a “p*ssy” — words just fail me.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Agreed. In my particular case, I facilitated the orchestration of all that violence by being responsible for providing the means by which it was planned and directed, being a crossed flags guy.

  13. 13
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    “Deliberate management of violence” is a very good description.

    If one is a boxing commissioner.

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: Whatever.

  15. 15
    Amir Khalid says:

    @NotMax:

    Like saying that Jack the Ripper orchestrated chastity.

    I’m not sure I understand the analogy. Jack the Ripper “orchestrated chastity” by killing prostitutes. Lieutenant-Colonel Bateman doesn’t kill soldiers, not those on his side, anyway; he tells them where and when to kill.

  16. 16
    Mike E says:

    That dude either hung out here or at GOS; I remember exchanging comments with him. Decent fellow.

  17. 17
    Gex says:

    @LanceThruster: That’s the trick isn’t it? While weapons and military are necessary, that fact need not be celebrated or turned into a source of pride or fetish.

  18. 18

    @Amir Khalid: ya, I was pretty gobsmacked by that one. There are a lot of one word “traitor” comments as well. A traitor, for advocating a solution to a problem. FSM help us.

  19. 19

    @jl: buried in the comments are a couple of good links on this subject – here’s a good analysis of the “hidden history” of the Second Amendment (hint: it involves slave states), and here’s a brief lesson in 18th Century grammar to help parse the rather peculiar punctuation of the amendment.

  20. 20
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    As I commented in another thread here, the comments there are horrifying.
    Lots of “I dare you to come and take’em.” As if these gun-strokers could hold out one day against their local PD, much less the actual Army.

  21. 21
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Trollhattan: I’m so old I remember when LTC Bateman was Major Bateman.

  22. 22
    jl says:

    @Knight of Nothing:

    Thanks for the link. I downloaded the one on the secret history. I’ve heard about that angle, but did not know there was a fancy law journal article on it.

    Not sure I want to get into arguments about grammar, and whether the phrase about the militia is a ‘case absolute’ or merely a ‘present participle’. I think better to focus on the bogusness of judges simply declaring that a phrase is mere throat clearing, as if writing a law or constitution were like giving a humorous after-dinner talk. If it’s a legal document, or a constitution, the words are there for a reason, and constitutional interpretation should be an honest and good-faith attempt to determine why it was important to include those words.

    So, when judges say, well eff it, that is just some stuff they wrote in there, ’cause, I dunno, they felt like mentioning that guns sounded better if you put in something about one way they can be used, maybe if it was written on a weekend they woulda put something in about duck hunting’, is pure BS and a 100 sure sign to me that the judge is not being honest or acting in good faith.

    So, for me, the amendment says you need guns to have militias, and we need militias so you need guns, but the militias need to be well regulated. And I find it hard to imagine regulating a militia without the ability to regulate guns in some way or other. So, for me, case closed, and my argument is effing common sense.

  23. 23
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jl:

    So, for me, the amendment says you need guns to have militias, and we need militias so you need guns, but the militias need to be well regulated. And I find it hard to imagine regulating a militia without the ability to regulate guns in some way or other. So, for me, case closed, and my argument is effing common sense.

    That is because you aren’t a right wing gun nut.

  24. 24
    Randy P says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: During some discussion recently I decided to read the relevant Federalist Paper (no. 29) for Hamilton’s thoughts on the subject. He’s pretty clear that the “regulations” in “well-regulated” come from the federal government.

    I must admit that I’m not clear on what he’s responding to, though it seems to be a popular feeling against there being a federal military from what I can tell. There seems to be a distinction between an “army” and a “militia”, though both are under control of the government.

    What reasonable cause of apprehension can be inferred from a power in the Union to prescribe regulations for the militia, and to command its services when necessary, while the particular States are to have the SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE APPOINTMENT OF THE OFFICERS?

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Randy P: I remember reading that years ago. Come on though, it was a pseudonymous piece; no one takes it seriously.

    /snark

    ETA: The difference between army and militia is fairly simple. Army refers to a standing army under the control of the federal government. Militia is citizen-soldiers who get called up for emergencies or for a period of time. Both types of soldiers served during the Revolution.

  26. 26
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Randy P: My guess is that they were throwing a bone to the rough equivalent of libertarian crazies of their day, which is why the wording of the amendment is as ambiguous as it is: they’re trying to please intractably opposed constituencies. There were people who wanted there to be no professional army, and for the mass of able-bodied men to be the only militia. The Constitution does provide for an army; but to mollify the people who were afraid that meant somebody was gonna take their guns away, in comes this amendment saying that, no, we’re not going to do that. But it has the “well-regulated militia” clause in there, meaning, this doesn’t necessarily mean you get to shoot up the courthouse or foment rebellions or something.

  27. 27
    Lurking Canadian says:

    I got out of the boat. Man oh man, it was just like a gun thread from the mid 90s on rec.arts.sf.written. Even some of the same people. Makes me feel young again

  28. 28
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    “Well-regulated” is a very definite term of art in 18th-century military parlance.

    A military organization is “well-regulated” if:

    If it has an absolute and unbreakable rank hierarchy.

    If rank is bestowed by civilian authority (I.e. No election of officers.)

    If it has a regime of discipline so savage that no soldier would even think of running away, because they’re so much more afraid of their own officers than they were of the enemy.

    The collectivity of every Yahoo with a gun does not constitute a “well-regulated) force.

  29. 29
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Here’s a thought: Let’s take the 2nd Amendment fetishists at their word–the “militia” consists of all able-bodied citizens capable of training in firearms. The Congress of the United States has the constitutional authority to set the times and conditions for training and equipping the militia. Therefore, I suggest that Congress make it a law that any citizen who owns a private firearm is required to show up for two weeks a year for militia training. Additionally, each member of the militia is required to provide (at his or her own expense) a suitable uniform consisting of a pair of giant clown shoes and a tiny bicycle horn.

  30. 30
    Chris Rich says:

    I made an interesting discovery this summer about how gun regulation worked in the early 19th century during a visit to an old powder magazine in Cambridge that was built shortly after Jefferson finished his term.

    It is like an early version of what the good LTC mentioned above.

    We will submit a new tax on ammunition. In the first two years it will be 400 percent of the current retail cost of that type of ammunition. (Exemptions for the ammo used by the approved weapons.) Thereafter it will increase by 20 percent per year.

    Back then, they regulated the powder and the magazine was where you went to get your ration of it. I’m guessing they felt that letting every village yahoo keep a keg of gunpowder at home was a dumb idea. After all, homes were illuminated with candles so consensus must have formed that gunpowder would be a bad mix.

    Local militias were generally described as unruly low grade neighborhood contingency soldiers and drill often turned into a period version of a kegger.

  31. 31
    mclaren says:

    Maybe the clueless Colonel Bateman can explain why and how roasting children and women with white phosophorus munitions in defiance of the Geneva convention “defends the nation.”

    America’s armed forces are an evil version of the Keystone Kops. Their violence is incompetent, chaotic, random and pointless. The only difference twixt the crazy pointless random shootings that break out in America on a daily basis (because this sick twisted nation is a breeding ground for sociopaths) and the pointless random violence perpetrated by the U.S. military against mostly innocent bystanders and wedding parties in third world hellholes is that the U.S. military uses much more lethal weapons.

    Listen to the words from the horse’s mouth, former General Stanley McChrystal in charge of JSOC death squads in Afghanistan and Iraq:

    “McChrystal: We’ve Shot An `Amazing Number’ of Innocent Afghans,” Huffington Post, 10 June 2010.

    Or see:

    “Pentagon reverses position and admits U.S. used white phosphorus against Iraqis in Fallujah.”

    Also see:

    “Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah ‘worse than Hiroshima,'” The Independent, 24 July 2010.

    Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a new study.

    Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs. They said they were also seeing far more cancers than they did before the battle for Fallujah between US troops and insurgents.

    Their claims have been supported by a survey showing a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s. Infant mortality in the city is more than four times higher than in neighbouring Jordan and eight times higher than in Kuwait.

    Also see:

    “US drone strikes target rescuers in Pakistan – and the west stays silent: Attacking rescuers – a tactic long deemed by the US a hallmark of terrorism – is now routinely used by the Obama administration,” Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian, 20 August 2012.

    Or consider the broadside against our sadistic incompetent military by former U.S. ambassador Karl Eichenberry:

    “The Limits of Counterinsurgency Doctrine in Afghanistan: The Other Side of the COIN,” Foreign Affairs, September/October 2013.

    Blindly following COIN doctrine led the U.S. military to fixate on defeating the insurgency while giving short shrift to Afghan politics.

    Self-styled “deliberate managers of violence” like Colonel Robert Bateman are incompetent ignorant sadistic fools who combine the perspicacity of the Three Stooges with the people skills of Jeffrey Dahmer. Most of the U.S. military in the Pentagon E-ring (colonels and above) should be on trial for war crimes, and then afterward courts-martialed for gross incompetence.

    And if you don’t believe me, just take a gander at the gobsmacking ABC News report “Report: U.S. Bribes to Protect Convoys Are Funding Taliban Insurgents,” 22, June 2010.

    Way to go, Col. Bateman! You’re helping “defend the nation” by paying bribes to our enemies that funds the very insurgency we’re trying to fight. Real genius. That kind of magnificent military strategy puts the exploits of Alexander the Great into the shade, doesn’t it?

  32. 32

    @Lurking Canadian: Ugh! Some kid just threatened me with violence if anyone tried to take their guns. I’d better go to bed now, or I’ll be suffering from “someone is wrong on the internet!” all night.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @mclaren:

    Oh, what a marvelous rant that was.

    Good to see you’re fundamentally an ally of the gun fetishists. For a moment, I though you might be sane.

    Also, way to address what LTC Bateman was talking about here, too.

  34. 34
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @Knight of Nothing:
    Thanks for the link to the “hidden history” article. It figures that, like so many other fucked-up things in American politics, the Second Amendment came from slavery, our country’s original sin.

  35. 35
    Petorado says:

    Wow. LTC Bateman is certainly bearing up under the slings and arrows of outrageous comments over at Pierce’s place. But at least he spoke. And that’s what’s at the roots of a new video ad on the upcoming anniversary of Newtown. Congrats to Bateman for not remaining passive in front of so much evidence that something needs to be done.

    The crucial interpretation of the 2nd amendment, to my eyes, is whether the right to bear arms is for personal interest or national interest. The NRA seems to be pointing to be it being all about personal rights, personal safety, personal empowerment, but the constitution seems to be pointing to personal arms bearing as being of interest to the safety and security of the other people in this nation as well. That would appear to be where being “well regulated” is brought to bear on to the individual.

  36. 36

    @…now I try to be amused: isn’t that the truth?

    @jl: I hear what you’re saying, but I’d point out that lawyers argue over grammar too — structure and commas are just as important as the vocabulary chosen. So I think it’s worthwhile to have a small lesson about 18th Century grammar rules. I’ve seen gun advocates parse the language of the Second Amendment in their own favor (complete with sentence diagrams!), but the link above is the only historical analysis of its syntax that I’ve seen.

  37. 37
    Sherparick says:

    One also has to remember not only the secret history of the 2d Amendment and why the Founders, particularly the Southern Federalists and Anti-Federalists wanted something like it, but also the modern history of the Gun Rights movement as it evolved in the 1960s and 70s and the “law and order” movement to protect “Whites” from the perceived threats of “criminals (Blacks) which continues to this day. Meanwhile, the folks at Alec and NRA who have sponsored “Stand Your Ground” have an ever increasing body count that they can brag about. http://www.timesfreepress.com/.....nother-st/

  38. 38
    Chris Rich says:

    @Petorado: My sense is that smoothbore muskets in that time (rifles were rare), functioned as household utensils for bringing game to the table and the basic entry device for militia participation.

    People actually needed these things to augment their food array. It would be interesting for scholars to sift period literature to see if muskets had any fetish role to the extent that they do today. Was there even anything like a proto NRA outlook in, say 1810?

    If nothing it might make for good obscure comedy writing. “Angry Paranoid White Guys Through the Centuries.”

  39. 39

    @Sherparick: I don’t really consider gun control one of my front-burner issues (those being jobs, health care, and education), but the story of the Alzheimer’s patient being shot has made me sick to my stomach for days now. But, thanks to the link you posted, I now feel worse about it. Buried in the story is this little item:

    This is not Hendrix’s first time in the public eye. Last year, he served as the communications director for Scottie Mayfield in an unsuccessful campaign to unseat Congressman Chuck Fleischmann.

    Yes, the guy who shot the scared, cold, senile old man was a staffer on a Republican campaign to primary an incumbent Republican congressman. Tea Party? I don’t know, but who else was running primary campaigns against them?

  40. 40
    slippy says:

    I saw a headline yesterday that made me pause, and get really, really angry.

    The round of votes, city after city, banning 3d printed guns. Not because I think we should all have 3d printed guns (quite the contrary) but that apparently this is not rousing the ire of the NRA since it doesn’t mean fewer sales for them.

    I realized, then, what a bunch of fucking hypocrisy all of this gun rights shit is. It’s only a problem when gun MANUFACTURERS stand to lose a precious dime of their blood-soaked filthy lucre.

  41. 41
    MCA1 says:

    @Another Botsplainer: No shit. This culture’s twisted, grotesque ideas of what constitutes masculinity, and our full embrace of anti-intellectualism, are on full, glorious display in that comments thread. There’s one dude over there throwing out links to some semi-credible sources and trying to spin every crime as the fault of liberal policy, and the rest of them are too busy calling the blog author a traitor and a pussy, and talking about the end times and how they’re totally going to stop the military when they come knocking on their door, to even notice how blinkered their sense of reality is. The chasm between those invariably white, middle to upper middle class gun fetish mercenary wannabes and the rest of us is, sadly, unbridgeable.

  42. 42
    Paul in KY says:

    @mclaren: LtC Bateman is way below the paygrade where those decisions you put in your post are originated.

Comments are closed.