LTC Bob Bateman, Oathbreaker

[This letter was sent in response to active LTC Baker’s anti-Constitutional screed published in Esquire, regarding his disdain for Constitutional rights and individual liberty]
[Edited:  Apparently there are two LTC Robert Bateman’s out there, and despite several indicating that the previous picture was the LTC Bateman, it was not.  For that my apologies to the wholly uninvolved National Guardsman from New York.]

LTC Robert Bateman,

I have attached a link to a letter written for you and yours.

I am sure, as stated in your article, that you are very, very good at killing people. Perhaps that, rightly, gives you the stones to advocate as you do – as is your right. You also sound as if you are very, very comfortable with sending persons to their deaths. I am sure this is what makes you feel you have the right to involve local police forces, with whom you have no connection, in your scheme. I’m not sure that is your right.

In the end, I really appreciate the honestly expressed thoughts of those who oppose individual liberty, and who believe that the words written in the Constitution have some kind of significance apart from the natural laws they reflect. From my perspective, my right to defend myself and to possess the means to effectively do so exists irrespective of any parchment, and will exist regardless of any law. My right exists here in the US, it also exists every other place inhabited by an autonomous human being. This is the same as my right to speak, my right to express my religious beliefs, and my right to privacy in my person, places and effects. These are not political rights, and while they’re protected in the Bill of Rights, their existence is not temporal or subject to political revision.

Your public fantasy regarding the utter reduction of the individual gives me privilege to fantasize about the utter reduction of the authoritarian. I suspect your kill ratio will exceed mine, sadly. History’s lessons regarding the damage done by those willing to impose government will by force are long and irrefutable. Those lessons are particularly strong regarding populations the government is seeking to disarm, or who have been disarmed by the same government.

As for your ideal world, of government policies enforced by the sword, of populations slain or incarcerated for the status of possessing means to defend against the sword, I would choose not to live there, but I would not choose to leave quietly.

My best to your soldiers who have served honorably, many of whom likely take their Oath to the United States Constitution more seriously, sir, than you do.

With the respect that is deserved,
S/V Danneskjöld

[LTC Bateman’s response and following dialog contained in comments]

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8 responses to “LTC Bob Bateman, Oathbreaker”

  1. S/V Danneskjöld says :

    [Response from LTC Bob Bateman]

    S/V Danneskjold,

    Actually, since this is a 100 year plan (it would take at least 40-50 years just to get most the guns out of the criminal world), the long-term vision would be for the police to disarm as well. First losing their armored vehicles, then the assault weapons, and eventually, hopefully, even their guns (for the most part).

    Like you, I’m not really keen on the idea of a police-rich country. (I’d also be OK if somebody wanted to field a plan with basing the majority of the US military overseas for much the same reason.)

    The police would never, under my plan, have to do anything more than accept weapons turned-in, and destroy all weapons used in crimes and those that have been turned in or bought back. Nobody would be taking any living person’s gun, they’d just be accepting the ones voluntarily turned in as their owners died.

    I think a double-barrel shotgun, with bird or buckshot is a wonderful home defense weapon, don’t you? Much better than the average handgun, which penetrate walls much more easily. Also easier to aim.

    With regard,

    Bob Bateman

  2. S/V Danneskjöld says :

    [Response from S/V Danneskjöld]

    Mr. Bateman,

    You cite history in your argument numerous times. From what I can tell, you study and write about it. Where in history, ever, has a government disarmed and lessened its control over a populace voluntarily? Your thoughts on reducing police armored cars are inapposite, precisely because the thousands of military vehicles distributed in the last 18 months for free to police forces small-town and big evince a trend extreme in its opposite.

    If you truly are a student of history, you must recognize the fantastical nature of your thesis. I am trying to accept the good faith of your argument, but your claim that all local police will do is ‘accept’ voluntarily turned in guns is, at best, poorly thought out and at worst pure self-delusion. What will the police be called upon to do when I, hypothetically, do not turn in the arms possessed by my parents? If they are to do nothing, your law has no teeth and no purpose. If they are to go get them, your law has sent them into a violent encounter.

    It is civilian police forces that will be forced to stack on doors to get the guns that you want and which free Americans will not give. Certainly the ‘generational theft’ approach has been given wide evaluation (for instance California currently has such a system). But in each instance free citizens and law enforcement have an out: “We moved the guns out of state before he died.” These outs prevent local police forces from having to do as your proposed law would suggest: going in and forcibly seizing citizen’s liberty.

    Laws don’t work without enforcement. And that brings us back to the impetus for your argument. Three years from now after the murderess you referenced is finally done claiming insanity and self-defense, she will get some negotiated sentence for actually murdering a human being that exceeds by a slight and wildly disproportionate bit the sentence a peaceful man minding his own business would get for possessing an ‘unregistered’ gun in New York. Your complaints derive from the refusal to swiftly enforce laws against violent criminal acts, not the ability of persons to possess arms capable of repelling criminals – both common, and Constitutional.

    S/V Danneskjöld

  3. S/V Danneskjöld says :

    [From LTC Bob Bateman]

    You can just call me Bob.

    At least you have the courage to sign your name. Many, if not most, of your peers do not, and I respect that. Particularly as most of the death threats (and threats to rape my wife and kill my baby daughter) are from anonymous peers of yours.

    As you probably sussed out, the whole “plank” thing was deliberate very much in order to get people to talk. And you will please excuse me for the brevity, the number of your peers who have been willing to threaten my life (and my wife and baby’s) is quite interesting. OTOH, they also illustrate my point about the need for such changes, because it is evident that quite a few people who own guns are willing to at least threaten murder.

    Second, thanks for engaging in a rational debate. It is useful for both of us, but if you would, might I suggest you also read this:

    It puts forward the idea that Madison actually threw in the Second Amendment as a sop to southern anti-federalists since it was they who feared the disestablishment of local militia due to the presence of a standing army. And not because they wanted it to confront any future government, but because local militias were the tool used to suppress slave rebellions. Had you seen this analysis before? It was too complex for a “general audience” readership on a blog, but you might be interested.

    Third, and just FYI, the “Running” thing is a longstanding joke on Esquire, that Pierce (a comedy writer) and I (a military officer of no political affiliation) should “run for President/vice” once put forward by readers. It’s not real. I have no desire to ever hold political office, mostly because I am moderately lousy at compromise.

    Look, it’s not about *all* guns. That .50 Barret somebody cited on the comments would still be legal, for example. And I am not talking about total eradication of all violence, that is impossible. But 31,000 or 32,000 people killed by guns (in all uses) is too much. No, you wouldn’t stop all suicides, but you would certainly reduce the number. (Although there is also some scholarly evidence to suggest that suicide is very much more about a cultural inclination. Japan, for example, has a crazy-high level of suicides, almost none of which is committed by guns. But they have a culture which also includes, historically, the idea that one must commit suicide if you have been dishonored. So there is that.) But you would certainly cut down on the nearly 1,000 people a year who die accidentally.

    (Here is the source for most of my numbers, it’s from the University of Sydney. Just so you can see where I am getting my numbers, and dispute them if you like.)

    And, of course, we haven’t even touched upon the woundings. Statistically that should be about 7x greater than the actual deaths, but is actually only a little more than 2x as high. I don’t know why. In 2008 78,622 were wounded.…/resourcebook/pdf/monograph.pdf so call it “more than 100,000” Americans are shot, each year, as a rough ballpark.

    In the question of “What if people did not turn in the weapons owned by the deceased?” you have a valid rhetorical response to my own rhetorical proposition. How about, “nothing.” Meaning the cops do nothing. If, at some future date a weapon is found to have been used in a crime, a weapon that was owned by person X (who got it after the death of person Y), then person X would also be liable for all civil damages asked for by the victims of the crime committed with person Y’s (and then X’s) gun.

    No need to stack on doors. Like I said, 100 years. But wouldn’t it be nice if our great-grandchildren did not see the stories we see today, 30,000 times a year, about somebody being killed, or 70,000 times a year about somebody being wounded, by a gun?

    I’m willing to listen, and if your ideas are better than mine, I’d even put them forward. Obviously “education” is not working. So what would?


    Bob Bateman

  4. S/V Danneskjöld says :

    [Response by S/V Danneskjöld]:

    Bob –

    Lives lost, genocide, violent crime rates with/without firearms; these are operative arguments about legislative and policy decisions, and the issue of a person’s right to bear arms is not a legislative or policy decision.

    The nature of this ‘debate’ is such that we could fling statistical study after statistical study at one another. We could go head-to-head on the historical arguments underlying the amendment. Even though I propose that I would ‘win’ on both prongs, both are distractions from the nature of the right.

    There isn’t a more fundamental natural right in nature than self-defense. We recognize and don’t question that right even when an animal uses it against a person. We do not judge bees to be evil because they sting, for instance. Nor do we judge an animal who defends itself, even if it’s means of defense is ‘unfair.’ Human beings possess no less right to defend themselves. Certainly you would agree that history’s greatest monsters are not individual actors, but those who combine their own malice with institutional or governmental power. An individual is not capable of committing such wrongs without the backing of the larger institution. Be it Herrod, Nero, Attila the Hun, Mao, Pol-Pot or Stalin; and back and forth through history.

    You cite a horrible number – 30,000 – firearm related deaths. Even granting you the inclusion of suicides, and even with recognizing the awfulness of even a single death, this number pales into obscurity when compared to the genocides and democides committed by men given power in a government against individuals stripped of their liberty to defend themselves.

    This is the fundamental nature of the human right to bear arms – any arms – useful in their defense against any – but particularly a powerful, organized, and government – enemy.

    I have found, in prior discussions, that the fact that I personally, in my position, would not do a thing has blinded me to the fact that others in my position would. You may take a position of “I would never use my power to enslave, or force my particular way of doing things upon others.” But that doesn’t mean others given the power to do so would not, and in this particular case, it doesn’t mean that it is not precisely what you are advocating.

    You indeed may wish to wait 100 years in order to accomplish your goals. I believe that history, human nature, and an observation of reality around you today, would conclusively demonstrate that others likely to obtain power would not wait. Even if your goal itself was not anathema to natural human rights, there is no possibility that one of the players involved would not shorten your timeframe. Be that impatient confiscationists after some mass tragedy, or desperate libertarians needing to strike while a strike is still a possibility. I believe you are cognizant of the inevitability of violent resistance to your policy, the confession of which is the proposed time-scale. The only conceivable way this policy would not provoke violent confrontation being the nascent hope that people will ‘forget’ over the coming century that they are free. Given the history of the last century, and the progress of the current, I grant there is a legitimate possibility of this end.

    I disagree with the premise of your article – that the right to bear arms is negotiable, limited, or subject to debate. I disagree with the goal of your policy – that individuals be limited in their ability to possess the means of self-defense of their choice. I disagree with the effect you believe your policy would have – that the people would be safer in such a situation. I disagree with your method – generational theft inevitably supplemented by force. For that matter, I also disagree with people threatening you or your family for expressing your opinion. I haven’t read any forums or comments on the matter, but I do not support threats of violence in response to opinion sharing. In the same vein, I disagree with being referred to as a ‘peer’ with such persons, much as I imagine you would not accept being referred to as a ‘peer’ of any number of the despots listed above; despite similarity of opinion from each of us with each of them, on certain matters.

    As you are aware, violence does have a place, but that place is not for use in suppressing opinion.

  5. Steve Hammond, CPT, USA ret says :

    Hey Bob, if you are an infantryman, as you claim, then why do you not have an EIB, CIB or blue rope? I think you are a liar and a fraud.

  6. spookybearscat says : This is the real Bateman . Vet before you print. you have the wrong person and you need to find him and apologize. The LTC. Bateman in the circling pages is of Bateman of the New York National Guard!!! Get it !

  7. Steven says :

    I am a retired infantry officer. I served in Germany and the US. Can you tell me where you’ve served. I find it hard to believe an active duty Ltc would express himself like you have in public. What else can you use to prove you’re really a Ltc on active duty? Many people “claim” to be active duty and almost all say they are Special forces, Ranger, or Delta. Most are not. Did you go to Ranger School? What class number. Mine was 1-79. What units have you been in? I was in Berlin and 9th ID.

    Thank you
    Steven Stuart

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