Firearms are now the defining element of our national zeitgeist. Like many hot political topics, the most vocal defenders and opponents of the Second Amendment stand miles apart. Those who try to bridge the gap, like former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, are often vilified by both sides. So what’s Rice’s position?
Earlier this week, Rice appeared on “The View.” For those readers who don’t regularly watch the show, “The View” is a casual, conversational talk show with a regular panel of hosts. Their views tend to lean left.
Rice was asked about her recent comments about firearms policy.
“Let me tell you why I’m a defender of the Second Amendment,” Rice began.
“I was a little girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the late fifties, early sixties,” she explained. “There was no way that Bull Connor and the Birmingham Police were going to protect you.”
“And so when White Knight Riders would come through our neighborhood,” she said, “my father and his friends would take their guns and they’d go to the head of the neighborhood, it’s a little cul-de-sac and they would fire in the air, if anybody came through.”
“I don’t think they actually ever hit anybody,” she added. “But they protected the neighborhood. And I’m sure if Bull Connor had known where those guns were he would have rounded them up.”
“And so, I don’t favor some things like gun registration,” she concluded.
Like so many discussions of guns, lately, there was more. She couldn’t leave it at that touching and eloquent rational.
“That said,” Rice added, “it’s time to have a national conversation about how we can deal with the problems we have. It’s not going to be any single fix to the terrible events at Parkland.”
“You’re going to have to decide ‘should civilians really have access to what are really military weapons?'”
Does Rice represent the middle ground? She speaks so skillfully about her father and the risks he was willing to take in order to protect not only his family but the neighborhood. This, from a strategic perspective, is what we euphemistically call mutual deterrence. The men terrorizing the people of Birmingham had guns. So did some of their targets. As Rice notes, it never escalated to bloodshed, at least not in that neighborhood.
Imagine for a moment asking her father to go up against a force armed with “what are really military weapons.” Some of the White Knight Riders were police officers. Some were military. They were defended by police and military. They surely had access to “what are really military weapons.”
While Rice supports the right of her father to fire warning shots, she seems ready to ensure any one else in his position would be outgunned.
Rice, too, should know how hollow her ultimate argument is. The AR-15 is not a military weapon. While it has military roots, the differences are well understood by those with any experiences with both. And the list of military weapons civilians don’t access to is much longer today than it was in the 1950s.