The mass shooting at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) has assholes named Joe coming out of the woodwork, but the biggest so far might just be an asshole named Joe who isn’t actually named Joe. Former GOP debate mantra and not-actual-plumber Samuel Wurzelbacher/Joe The Plumber crawled out of a hair clog somewhere to deliver this important message, via an “open letter,” to the families of those slain by Elliot Rodger: “Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”
Actually, he’s not talking to the families of the victims who were stabbed, he quickly points out, just to the ones who were shot to death. To them, and mainly to grieving father Richard Martinez, Joe says he has a huuuge sad about their loss, BUT:
As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.
Mr. Plumber goes on to explain… well, who gives a shit, really. He makes various expressions of sympathy-but, recites the requisite gun-nut jargon, shits on President Obama, and calls it a day.
No matter which side of the debate over gun violence you come down on, the first thing that probably came to mind when you saw Joe’s message was probably something along the lines of ” What kind of person does that?”
Even the NRA has the good sense, if not the good taste, to keep its fucking yap shut for a couple of days after a mass shooting. A cynical person might think that Joe was capitalizing on this tragedy to attract more attention to his cause, perhaps even exploiting it. Even a truly bad person would have trouble coming up with a statement half as cold and shitty as that one.
Here’s the thing, though: Joe the Plumber is actually not a bad guy. He’s actually an extremely nice guy. I’ve met him a few times, and he genuinely is a sweet, generous, and caring person. Unfortunately, he’s also not that bright, and as a result, is susceptible to faulty programming. He really believes that there is no way for him to protect his family if anything at all is done to keep guns out of the hands of people like Elliot Rodger. His fundamental decency is overridden by years of conditioning by the loudmouth at his local bar.
One of the many things that Joe fails to comprehend is that his rights and Christopher Martinez’ right not to be gunned down are not incompatible, but more than that, the outrage that Richard Martinez expresses isn’t for his son. Nothing he ever says or does will bring Christopher back. As he said in his interview with CNN, he’s doing this for the children who haven’t been killed yet. Yet. He even expressed gratitude for the 20 years he had with his son, a damn sight more than the children of Newtown, who presumably also didn’t “trump” Joe’s rights.
I have just one question for Joe the Plumber: can you tell me how keeping Elliot Rodger from buying three semiautomatic handguns and 41 full 10-round magazines would have prevented you from protecting your family?
If you can’t, then please shut the fuck up.