A long time ago, anti-gun leader Shannon Watts blocked me on Twitter, so I have no idea, most of the time, what’s she’s spewing into the social media sphere. Now, I’m glad I’m blocked. In a prolonged interaction between Watts and Bethany Mandel, the latter of which wrote an op-ed in The New York Times about why she became a gun owner. In short, neo-Nazis doxxed her and she was forced to go through the tortured process of buying a firearm in the deep-blue and anti-gun state of New Jersey.
We’ll get to that in a second, but where Watts appears to have an issue is this story from Mandel’s childhood in which her mother stopped a would-be attacker from climbing through the window, where Bethany was sleeping. Her mother armed with a rifle let the would-be intruder leave, but warned that next time he’ll be fitted with a toe tag. Mandel grew up in a trailer in upstate New York. It was common to have firearms for self-defense and for wandering bears. Mandel added that her mother was a Green Party supporter, a progressive, but owned firearms. Not your typical profile of a gun owner. The story is critical, as Bethany, now married with a family, is now acting like her mother, protecting herself and her children from threats lobbed against her by neo-Nazis:
It was a spring night and I was sleeping with my window open, which was right above my bed; I loved breathing in the fresh air. That night, in that open window, I heard the banging of a ladder, and by the time my mother made it into the room and began loading her gun, a man was about to climb in.
She said something along the lines of: “Bethany, come over here. I don’t want you to get his brain matter on your face.” I backed up behind her and my mother raised her gun. The would-be intruder slowly backed down the ladder. As he climbed down, my mother approached. The barrel of her rifle was inches away from his face and she told him, “Next time you come here, I won’t hesitate.” She had her gun pointed at him through the window on his way down, and as he went down the ladder she grabbed the top and shook it, just to put the fear of God into him one last time before he fled.
My mother admired Ralph Nader and voted for the Green Party candidate during every presidential election I walked into a booth with her. There was not an issue on which she was not the most progressive person in the room. And yet, she owned guns.
Over the Republican primary season, I was an outspoken conservative critic of then-candidate Donald Trump, and a torrent of hate rolled my way. I would later learn just how much: The Anti-Defamation League named me one of the top 10 Jewish journalists to be attacked by the alt-right during the election season. After years of receiving death threats for my conservative views, months of being attacked by the alt-right and then having our address published online by the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer, I pushed myself to finally go through the process of asking friends for letters attesting to my character, obtaining fingerprints and submitting to background checks.
I was given a reason to feel that I needed to defend myself and my family. And I acted on it.
The self-defense portion was what appears to have triggered Ms. Watts, the leader of Moms Demand Action, who decided to toss white privilege into the mix.
“Because your privilege in feeling that a gun will make you safe is in part because you are white. CDC data actually shows the opposite about gun ownership,” Watts tweeted at Mandel. Her husband, Seth, an editor with The New York Post, took a screenshot and added his pointed and hilarious caption about this exchange, which shows a) how the Left is totally unhinged on this subject; b) why they will never win the gun control debate; and b) how identity politics truly is a monstrous cancer that destroys everything.
Of course, these interactions are golden, but it took a nasty turn when Mandel and others tore into Watts for chalking this up as an example of so-called white privilege. In essence, the lede of Mandel’s column just didn’t register with Watts. When you grow up in a trailer park, I’m pretty sure the pseudo-criteria on this subject by the Left doesn’t apply. And Watts seems to know this as well. Mandel really got personal, saying “Come on now Neon [@neontaster], I just took my mom off life support at 16, had my father hang himself when I was 19 and grew up in a single wide trailer in Northrup’s Trailer Park in upstate New York. Besides that I’ve been truly #blessed.”
Holy mother of god. I've done it. I have actually managed to find the worst tweet I've ever seen. I am actually shocked by what she said here. pic.twitter.com/dPe9EuZwwW
— Noam Blum 🦉 (@neontaster) March 6, 2018
Watts replied, “again, your white skin makes you less likely to be at risk as a gun owner regardless of your hardscrabble background. I guess you don’t believe in racism.”
"My dad hung himself when I was 19."
"Yeah, yeah, your rough-and-tumble childhood doesn't excuse your white privilege."
Shannon Watts is a vile monster.
— Noam Blum 🦉 (@neontaster) March 6, 2018
I can’t win, so let me just accuse you of a) denying racism exists; and b) totally denigrate a woman’s past tragedies because you can’t argue effectively why we should have more gun laws that won’t stop mass shootings, but will most certainly chip away at Americans’ civil rights. We all know the game here, lady. Everytown, Moms Demand—you guys are stuck in the mud because everyone knows your agenda. This is honestly the most insane reaction to a story about why we need a Second Amendment and how its used. It’s used to protect us from would-be attackers and just in case the government becomes tyrannical and usurpatory. For now, it’s almost universally used for the former: self-defense. And that’s a very hard thing to argue against, especially from coastal, snobby elites and those who peddle identity politics garbage. These people are going to protect me? These people are the ones who want to eviscerate the Second Amendment and confiscate guns in America? Yeah—you can get off my lawn with your snake oil on that, progressives.
What’s ironic is that Mandel actually mentions something where common ground could be found:
President Trump is now reportedly considering the idea of gun restraining orders, which have the ability to quickly take firearms away from those considered dangerous, like the shooter in Parkland. A variation of this law is already on the books in California. In 2016, 86 of these restraining orders were issued, and 10 were extended past the initial 21-day period they were granted for. Our side insists that people are the problem, not guns, and to make good on that we need to come to the table with ideas on how to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals who have no business holding them.
As a Second Amendment supporter, I have no problems with this, but due process has to be applied. What Trump mentioned last week was straight up insanity: taking the guns and doing due process later. No, sir—but on principle—taking firearms away from people who could be potential threats to the public is something we can discuss, or am I engaging in white, or in my case, Asian privilege (does that even exist?) on that front.