Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

Amid all the stories of transgender controversies, gun control debates that will lead to nothing, and general social media dumbfuckery, it’s been hard to find fresh or even fresh-adjacent topics to discuss. Believe me, I can talk about the aforementioned topics all day, but I don’t want to bore you. That’s what my joke writer is for.

But hope springs eternal if you just look around long enough, and buddy did I ever strike pay dirt! During a recent House hearing, the current Director of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Steven Dettelbach had a bit of trouble answering a firearms question: what is an assault weapon. Of course, he had trouble because he’s not a biologist…

But this got me thinking about the ATF as a government entity. Do we need it? What does it do? Can it be renamed the Bureau of a Good Time on a Holiday Weekend? These and other questions are going to be answered…somewhere else, but I’ll give it a shot.

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms

What the Left thinks it means – a government agency designed to regulate the items in the agency’s name

What it really means – a really bad idea made worse through incompetence

The ATF’s website describes its mission as:

ATF’s responsibilities include the investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving the unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives; acts of arson and bombings; and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products. The ATF also regulates, via licensing, the sale, possession, and transportation of firearms, ammunition, and explosives in interstate commerce.

Judging from the number of people who shoot off fireworks in my neighborhood around the 4th of July, it’s clear the ATF is doing a bang-up job, if you’ll pardon the pun. And if you don’t, fuck you!

Anyway, the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version of the ATF’s job is three-fold: investigate offenses, prevent potential offenses, and regulate a bunch of shit involving, well, alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. As of the most recent data I could find (Fiscal Year 2020 for the people playing along at home), the ATF had over 5000 employees across multiple areas, with an annual budget of $1.4 billion. That’s a shit-ton of money spent per employee! So, how effective are they?

That depends on who you ask. Many on the Left see room for improvement, especially in the area of gun violence prevention. Others aren’t so optimistic, citing ineffectiveness and a lack of respect as reasons they aren’t highly regarded and respected in their roles.

Maybe it’s me, but I think the real reason they’re not heralded for their work is how the agency fucked up in Waco, Texas, with the Branch Davidians. For those of you who don’t remember (and, for that, I envy you), the Branch Davidians were a Christian cult whose leader, David Koresh, was accused of some serious shit ranging from stockpiling illegal weapons to child abuse to statutory rape. And 51 days later, all chaos broke loose. Although the details are still sketchier than a mixed drink handed to a hot girl in a sleazy nightclub owned by Hunter Biden, the general consensus was the ATF and the FBI shared blame for things going pear-shaped.

Granted, we shouldn’t base our opinions of a government agency on one fuck-up, even if it’s the mother of all fuck-ups. That’s why I have more examples! And, as you might expect, anti-gun groups keep hammering the ATF to do its job.

Which, according to these groups, is to do what they say.

Which means a) the ATF shouldn’t listen to groups who need people to die to remain politically relevant, b) the ATF must really be fucked up, and c) the ATF needs to be abolished, like, yesterday.

Let’s be frank (especially if your name is Frank), the ATF can’t regulate its way out of a plain brown bag holding a bottle of cheap hooch, let alone the breadth of issues the agency is supposed to address. And for $1.4 billion, we should expect a level of competency even an amoeba could meet.

And let the ATF limbos under it without even having to bend over.

Of course, the Left doesn’t see this as a problem so long as the ATF continues to push for more gun regulations. And with the Biden Administration pushing for more as part of a “gun safety” push, it’s a safe guess the Left doesn’t want the ATF going anywhere for a while.

In the meantime, though, it’s hard to justify why we even have an ATF if they don’t know what they’re doing. I’m sure there are some good folks there (law of averages and such), but that doesn’t make them immune to the legitimate criticism of how the ATF sucks at its job.

What’s more, they are part of two rampant problems the Left doesn’t want to address: redundancy, and redundancy. Not to mention redundancy. So much of what the ATF does is also being done by other federal agencies or can be folded into existing roles without a loss of effectiveness. After all, when you’re effectiveness is a wash, you can’t really lose effectiveness by transferring duties to another team.

Granted, I am biased here because I’m definitely on the “smaller government is better government” bandwagon, so obviously I want to get rid of as much government as possible without damaging the country. Having said that, I think the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has overstayed its welcome and should be heading to the Great Bureaucratic Shitstorm in the Sky. For the money we spend, we should be getting results other than “well, we fucked up again.”

In their defense, though, “Well, we fucked up again” is the unofficial slogan of the Puddin’ Head Joe Administration.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

With the change of Presidents, there tends to be a change of federal officials. One of the recent changes is in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which if you think about it is an awesome way to start a party. Instead of party tips, the BATF helps to regulate the items in their name and to enforce the laws/regulations surrounding them. And former ATF agent David Chipman wants to be in charge of it.

This got me thinking about the nature of the organization and its place in this world. The Left obviously tolerate it or else they would be attacking it constantly (while simultaneously not doing a thing to get rid of it because reasons). And we could do worse than a former agent heading up the organization, right? Well, that’s a sticky question, as we’ll find out!

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

What the Left thinks it means – a necessary government agency charged with the purpose of protecting Americans

What it really means – what would happen if you gave Paul Blart federal policing power

The ATF as we know it came into being in 1972, the decade that gave us the Pet Rock, polyester leisure suits, and disco. But unlike the three things I just mentioned, the ATF hasn’t gone out of style and still affects society. For the most part, they’ve kept out of the public eye and done their jobs. But when you’ve seen what they’re doing, it’s usually not because they’re handing out hot dogs and balloons for the kids. Just ask David Koresh…oh, wait…

Regardless of where you stand on what happened to the Branch Davidians, it’s clear the ATF doesn’t always do the right thing. The Clinton Department of Justice’s investigation admitted the ATF screwed up, but blamed the fiery outcome on the Branch Davidians because, well, reasons. If someone with the kind of power the federal government wields makes a boo-boo that results in property destruction, mass death, and bad PR for decades to come, we might not want it involved in our daily lives. Even if these mistakes are few and far between, it’s hard to overlook them.

Which bring us back to David Chipman. Seems he was on the ground in Waco and had a part in how everything went down. Doesn’t that instill a buttload of confidence in his leadership?

Typical government incompetence aside, the real problem I have with the ATF is redundancy. I’m a simple man, so I skew towards simple things. But Leftists don’t like simplicity because it makes it harder for them to install bureaucratic “upgrades” to consolidate their power base. Remember, the sole purpose of bureaucracy is to become necessary to as many people as possible, and the ATF is no different.

Think about what is in the name of the agency. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Alcohol and tobacco are considered to be drugs. If only there were an agency already in existence that would handle drugs…oh, wait! We have one: the Food and Drug Administration! With a little work, two-thirds of the ATF’s focus would be taken over by an agency that actually deals with drugs. And I’m guessing the policing actions would come in handy when trying to get drugs approved, too!

That leaves the firearms. For the Leftists and the Constitutionally ignorant (but, I repeat myself), the Second Amendment gives people the right to be armed if they want. Still, there are some elements such as background checks that might be necessary to determine if a potential owner lacks a serious criminal record or has issues that might prevent him or her from operating the gun safely. Well, why not put that responsibility on the Department of Justice? If they have time to issue threats against Republican Governors who might defy the notion of a national mask mandate, they could spare the time to do a couple of background checks.

“But what about the ‘well-regulated militia’?” Leftists might ask. Simple. If you’re going to use that approach, it would fall under the Department of Defense. Either way, the ATF goes the way of an elderly person moving next door to a COVID-19 patient in a New York State retirement community. (And, yes, that was a Cuomo joke.)

With all of this, the next logical question is why we need a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. And the logical answer is…we really don’t. So, why do we keep it around? Easy. Our government officials don’t want to get rid of it. The same goes for any number of agencies and programs currently in place across multiple Cabinet offices and departments. Just think of the ATF as a federal office that went through a copier, oh, 943 times.

Even so, it still has quite of bit of influence over our lives, especially for purveyors and fans of booze, drugs, and guns. As nice as it would be to see someone like a Ted Cruz or Rand Paul tear David Chipman not just a new one, but several, the fact remains the ATF isn’t essential to the operation and defense of our country. To that end, we shouldn’t have Chipman testifying and looking like a giant albino flounder because there shouldn’t be an office for him to occupy in the first place. The only way to end it is to keep on our elected officials to cut the fat. (And, no, that’s not a threat of violence against Jerrold Nadler.)

And this is where the Right needs to make good on their stated desire for smaller government, not big government they can control. The fact we have one government agency, let alone multiple ones, existing when they don’t need to be is a black eye to Republicans and conservatives. Either get rid of the excess, or just say “Hey, I only said I’m for small government because I wanted your votes and money.” Then we will know what kind of snakes you are and who we will need to vote for to get rid of you.

I hear there’s a guy from Ireland who’s pretty good at getting rid of snakes.